Netflix is trying to build up hype for Stranger Things season 4 in a not-so-subtle way: by letting you watch a significant chunk of it. The service has shared the first eight minutes of the introductory episode in hopes you'll tune in for the rest. We won't spoil the finer points, but we will say that it's mostly a flashback that sets the stage for what's to come.
It's also clear just why the fourth season is split in two — some episodes are exceptionally long. Volume 1, premiering May 27th, includes seven episodes that are conventionally-sized apart from the last, which runs for an hour and 38 minutes. Volume 2, arriving July 1st, is another matter. It consists of just two lengthy episodes, with the last running for nearly two and a half hours. You're effectively watching a feature film.
There are reasons for the long runtime. The Duffer Brothers previously said they'd planned to finish the story in four or five seasons, and this fourth run is the start of that climax. The story is also far-reaching, with scenes in Hawkins, California, Russia and "elsewhere." It's a busy plot, and the creators are apparently determined to tie up every loose end.