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The Stranger Things Season 4 Ending Was Filled With Love and Loss—With Teases For Much More

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4.


Stranger Things Season 4 brought love, loss, and gore for our hapless Hawkins heroes. Years after supposedly beating the Mind Flayer and Demogorgon (the monsters from Seasons 1-3), El, Will, and Jonathan have since moved to California with Joyce, Hopper is presumed dead but actually in a KGB prison, and the rest of the gang is starting their first year of high school in Hawkins. But just because they’ve moved on, doesn’t mean the Upside Down has.

Throughout the nine episodes in the season, we learned El is still needed to save the world, and while she works to revive her powers (which she lost at the end of Season 3), she digs up repressed memories about her childhood as a lab rat. Meanwhile, the others still in Hawkins discover their classmates dying via supernatural ways and suspect there’s something sinister afoot, rather than a murdering Dungeons & Dragons Master named Eddie, like the rest of the town posits.

All that culminates into an explosive ending, one that sets us up for what’ll most likely be a heartbreaking final season expected to come in the next few years. In the meantime, we’re still reeling from the twists and turns that finale threw at us, and there’s no shame in needing a refresher after a harrowing two and a half hour episode. Here’s where the Stranger Things characters are after the finale, and what it means for the upcoming season.

How Did Stranger Things Season 4 End?

In the aftermath of the kids’ failed plot to kill Vecna, Max is in a coma since Lucas and El weren’t able to stop Vecna in time before he broke all of Max’s bones and blinded her (yikes). And while Dustin and Eddie had “the most metal concert ever” in the Upside Down, it wasn’t enough to keep the bats distracted the whole time, and Eddie sacrificed himself so everyone else could focus on Vecna. Honestly, it felt a little pointless for Eddie to give up his life for a small side mission, but we mourn his death just the same.

In Russia, Joyce, Murray, and Hopper broke out and then back into the prison to close a small portal the Russians opened to try and utilize demogorgons and demodogs for their own personal gain. We got to see Joyce and Hopper finally reunite after all this time, and oh, Murray had a pretty sweet flamethrower moment.

Over on the West Coast, Will, Mike, Jonathan, and Argyle helped El make a sensory deprivation tank so she could fight Vecna and also astral project to Max and Lucas. It’s not clear but she probably saved Max from death? Reviving the dead isn’t exactly a known power of El’s so…that could be cool? We’ll have to see if Season 5 explores it more.

stranger things l to r charile heaton as jonathan byers, millie bobby brown as eleven, finn wolfhard as mike wheeler, eduardo franco as argye, and noah schnapp as will byers in stranger things cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix

El couldn’t stop Vecna, and the Hawkins gang couldn’t burn his body. Even with Max surviving Vecna’s attack, four victims was all he needed to open a portal into the Upside Down and cause a seismic event in Hawkins, opening up fiery cracks into the ground the town rests on.

At the end of the season, we see everyone meet back up in a destroyed Hawkins, aiding the injured and displaced. Although Eddie gave his life for the town, his name still was never cleared, so the kids are still the only ones who know the truth about his innocence. Back at Hopper’s cabin, El and some of the group also notice Hawkins is slowly becoming barren and dark, subtly becoming part of the Upside Down.

So what does all this mean? Well, the fight against Vecna is nowhere near done, and the final fight may actually take place in Hawkins, not just the Upside Down. El’s powers have not only returned but grown stronger, but still not strong enough to defeat Vecna, so much of the next season could be spent preparing for the fight of a lifetime.

Relationships-wise, it sounds like Mike and El are back together after a rocky reunion in Volume 1, while Jonathan and Nancy are growing further apart (and Nancy is growing close to Steve again). Meanwhile Robin may or may not have a love interest after all this time, and Joyce and Hopper will finally be able to go on that date they planned back in Season 3. Awww.

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