What happens at the end of Stranger Things Season 4?

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
The cast of Stranger things walking towards the gate in Season 4 poster
Netflix

The finale of Stranger Things Season 4 has arrived, but what strange things happen in it? And who won’t be making it to Season 5? SPOILERS FOR STRANGER THINGS AHEAD…

After much anticipation – and fear – the finale of Stranger Things Season 4 has dropped on Netflix, and boy does it pack a punch.

The finale was a source of many questions for fans of the hit show, especially after trailers and cast interviews teased major deaths. Would Eleven have her powers back? Would Vecna be defeated? Who was going to die? Fans could only fear the answers, and tune in to watch the final two episodes.

So now that these Stranger Things Season 4 episodes have dropped, let’s talk about what happens, and what that ending means for our Hawkins heroes.

What happens in Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2?

These final two Stranger Things episodes focus on one thing: defeating Vecna. But there proves to be a few twists along the way.

As was the case for Volume 1, our cast is still split across three locations: Hawkins, California, and Russia. And while their stories are all interconnected, it’s worth talking about those three locations individually.

In Russia, after the Demogorgon is still loose and on a rampage, Joyce, Hopper, Murray, and the two Russians manage to break loose from the prison. However, they almost immediately have to go back. After finding out what is happening in Hawkins, Joyce figures that if they are able to destroy the Upside Down creatures in the prison – and there are a lot of them – that would weaken Vecna back in Hawkins, as they are all connected in a hive mind.

We get to see Hopper, Murray, and Joyce kick butt and take names, as Hopper slashes through a Demogorgan with a sword, Joyce saves Hopper from a demodog in a way that she couldn’t save Bob in Season 2, and Murray goes mad with a flame thrower. While it only effects the main plot slightly, it’s still fun to watch, especially as Hopper’s battle is set to an amazing remix of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill and the Stranger Things’ theme song.

Hopper fights a demogorgan in stranger things season 4
Netflix
Hopper faces off against the demogorgan for a second time

In California, Eleven – who has recovered her powers – manages to break out of the Nina facility, after Brenner attempts to drug and keep her there. She makes it out just in time too, since the military has tracked her down and starts firing on the building. Mike and co. also arrive, and the group drives off to safety (without the military catching up to them…somehow).

They then becomes aware that Max is again in danger from Vecna, so El travels into Max’s mind in order to fight the killer villain off, while Mike keeps her from becoming a victim too by finally yelling that he loves her.

max and vecna in stranger things
Netflix
Max made it away once, but Vecna won’t let it happen again

The reason Max is in danger is because the kids in Hawkins have devised a plan to defeat Vecna. Max baits Vecna into possessing her again – with Lucas and Erica keeping guard – so that Nancy, Robin, and Steve, who have travelled back to the Upside Down, can destroy his body while he is in a more vulnerable state. Meanwhile, Dustin and Eddie distract Vecna’s swarm of bats, which results in that epic guitar scene that was shown in the trailer.

However, naturally things don’t go quite to plan. Since Hawkins is currently in hysterics over the Hellfire Club, everyone is hunting out our heroes. Jason – Chrissy’s boyfriend – finds Lucas while Max is still in a trance, and Lucas is too busy fighting him off to help Max break out of her dream state when things start getting too dangerous.

The bats prove a bigger foe than Dustin and Eddie expected, and even Nancy, Robin, and Steve have trouble taking down Vecna’s vulnerable body. Although, the scene where they fight him is one of the most epic things to ever appear in the show, as Nancy sends him flying through a window with a gun blast.

Nancy firing a gun in stranger things
Netflix
Nancy is epic in this Stranger Things finale

Who dies in Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2?

Grab the tissues folks, because while the Stranger Things Season 4 finale may not be the bloodbath we thought it would, there’s still a lot of deaths.

Firstly, the less than emotional casualties. At the end of the episode, Vecna is able to open a massive gate across Hawkins, which causes a giant earthquake. As stated in the episode, 22 people are immediately killed, but those numbers are expected to rise.

These numbers include Chrissy’s boyfriend, Jason Carver, who gets carved (sorry) up by the gate’s lava, but considering that he’s been a hysteria-creating antagonist for most of the season, he probably won’t be missed.

After the military breaks into the Nina facility, and the Upside Down creatures run rampage in the Russian prison, naturally scientists and soldiers are killed en masse. It’s gruesome to watch, but considering we’ve seen this all before, it’s not super heart-breaking.

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 trailer
Netflix
Some deaths are certainly explosive to watch

Dr Brenner, aka Papa, also dies, after attempting to escape with El. He gets shot down by a helicopter sniper multiple times, before El is able to send the helicopter crashing down. While Papa is no doubt an awful person, the scene is still somewhat emotional, as Eleven holds his hand while he uses his dying breaths to beg her to understand that everything he did, he did for her. She doesn’t understand, which is satisfying to watch as she finally accepts the monster that he is, but it makes for a bittersweet moment all the same.

Now for the big one, the death we all saw (and feared) coming: Eddie Munson dies.

Eddie was the new MVP of season 4, after charming us with his antics, and becoming the pariah of Hawkins after Chrissy’s death.

Eddie manages to die in a way that fulfils his character arc however. After feeling guilt over running away from Chrissy’s tragic fate, he plays his guitar solo in her honor, and when he and Dustin are attempting to escape from the Upside Down bats, he sacrifices himself by pulling them away from the gate.

He fends off the bats with a shield, determined to stand his ground and fight for once. And fight he does, until eventually the bats prove too much. They strangle him and bit at his stomach, and while Murray’s flamethrower antics kills the hive-minded bats, it’s clearly too late for Eddie. He dies in Dustin’s arms, while tragically stating, “It’s finally my year.”

Eddie musnon playing guitar in stranger things
Netflix
Eddie goes out in a blaze of glory

Eddie’s actor, Joe Quinn, has stated in interviews that he hopes he will be brought back for Season 5, which gave some fans hope that he would survive, but it seems that if he does return, it will be similar to how Billy appeared this season.

Finally, while Max doesn’t die officially, Vecna is finally able to get to her. He stabs her in the face with his claws, causing her eyes to bleed. He even breaks many of her limbs in the horrifying way he has before. While Eleven is able to save her before Vecna makes the killing blow, Max is left blind and scared, until her heart stops beating for one minute, and she slips into a coma, where even El can’t find her. And it seems she will stay there long into Season 5.

Because sadly, Vecna doesn’t die. He wins in the end.

How does Stranger Things Season 4 end?

Stranger Things Season 4 ends on an unsettling note. As Robin stated in the trailer, “It might not work out for us this time,” and she’s right. Despite their best efforts, our heroes are unable to kill Vecna. He manages to crawl away injured, his plan fully set in motion.

Vecna has succeeded in using his victims to open portals, which causes a massive gate to open across Hawkins. It splits the ground open, destroying buildings, and resulting in powerful earthquakes. While no monsters start jumping out of the gate, the destruction is enough to create mass casualties.

Because of this, Hawkins residents start packing up and leaving the town in droves. Our heroes stay behind to help in the relief efforts, with Steve, Dustin and Robin giving out spare clothes and food, and Lucas and Erica watching over a comatose Max in the hospital. Just as Hopper wasn’t able to make it to a dinner date with Joyce, Max now isn’t able to make it to a movie date with Lucas.

lucas and max in stranger things
Netflix
Lucas and Max’s sweet relationship is cut short

The rest of the gang all meet up in Hopper and Eleven’s old cabin – which includes an emotional reunion between the pair – and as they rebuild the house, all seems somewhat well for a moment. True, Nancy and Johnathan’s relationship is still rocky – especially after Steve has confessed his feelings to her – and Eleven’s confidence has been knocked after losing to Vecna, but the immediate danger seems over.

Until, Will begins feeling a shiver down the back of his neck again. He revealed earlier to Mike that once they were back in Hawkins, he could feel Vecna, and he can sense now that Vecna won’t stop until everyone is dead.

Will-Byers-in-Season-4-of-stranger-things
Netflix
Will’s Upside Down sense starts tingling once again

This mass death plan seems to begin in the final moments of the final episode. What looks to be snow, but is in actuality Upside Down flakes, start pouring down on Hawkins, as the remaining townspeople look on in confusion.

A number of our main heroes, including Eleven, walk through the woods and onto the hills of the town, where they spot entire fields of flowers withering to dust. They then look out further, to see giant clouds of black smoke – lit by red lightning – pouring out of the gateways in the town.

While the military is there to help, it seems like Eleven’s greatest battle has just begun.

Stranger Things Season 4 is available to stream on Netflix.

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