Both literally and figuratively, Season 4 of Stranger Things is its biggest adventure yet. Over the course of the first seven episodes of the season, we jumped across multiple continents and to multiple dimensions, while every episode had a run time of at least 70 minutes. These last two episodes come in at a combined run time of nearly four hours, making for an experience that was nothing short of epic. As has been the trend with the series, these final episodes did answer some of our questions somewhat definitively, while also leaving open room for interpretation and teases for what the future could hold. Stranger Things Season 4 – Volume 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Stranger Things Season 4 – Volume 2
While Vecna had captured Nancy (Natalia Dyer) into his Mind Lair in the last episode, he allows her to escape to inform her friends of his plan. Nancy, along with Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), Eddie (Joseph Quinn), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Max (Sadie Sink) Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Erica (Priah Ferguson) realize that, much like how Max became paralyzed when she was taken to his Mind Lair, this also leaves his physical form defenseless. Knowing that they can essentially attack him while he's incapacitated, they gather weapons and make their way to the otherworldly dimension.
After learning that she is responsible for banishing One (Jamie Campbell Bower) to the Upside Down and turning him into Vecna, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) manages to revive her telekinetic abilities. This encounter also leads Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) to reveal his entire plan was to use Eleven to contact One in the Upside Down, though this also occurs when the military arrives at the facility in the desert, resulting in Brenner's death as Eleven uses her telekinetic abilities to overpower her attackers. Luckily, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Argyle (Eduardo Franco) arrive to get her out of the situation.
Using her powers, Eleven discovers that Max realizes she is the final victim that Vecna is after to open up a massive gateway between the Upside Down and Hawkins, and, given that she's thousands of miles away, creates an impromptu isolation tank to project herself back to where Max is using herself as bait. Max's plan works, to some degree, though Nancy, Steve, and Robin are neutralized by treacherous vines in the Upside Down, while Dustin and Eddie come under attack by demobats. Eddie helps Dustin escape by drawing the bats away from him, though he earns fatal injuries in doing so.
Despite Eleven's best efforts, Vecna confronts her and reveals that he connected with the Mind Flayer in the Upside Down years ago, with that connection resulting in a grand plan to bring the dark realm into the unsuspecting Indiana town. While the nature of their symbiosis isn't entirely detailed, Vecna and the Mind Flayer have both been using each other's powers in some capacity to orchestrate their master plan.
ith both Eleven and Max in the clutches of Vecna, Mike appeals to Eleven back in the real world, professing his love for her, which inspires her to overpower Vecna and free herself. In doing so, she overpowers him in the Mind Lair, which goes on to free Nancy, Steve, and Robin, allowing them to unleash shotgun rounds on Vecna's physical form before setting him on fire. Sadly, Max inadvertently left herself vulnerable in the encounter, as she earns broken limbs before succumbing to a non-responsive coma.
Throughout all of this, Joyce (Winona Ryder), Hopper (David Harbour), and Murray (Brett Gelman) manage to briefly defeat a demogorgon in Russia, though this comes with the reveal that the prison holding Hopper captive also housed a number of other demogorgons and demodogs. Even though they could potentially escape and save themselves, they choose to return to the facility to kill off the deadly threats, ultimately taking them all on using guns, flamethrowers, and swords.
Even though Vecna was seemingly defeated in a physical sense, he still manages to carry out his plan, as violent and fiery rifts open in Hawkins and cause immense damage to the town. As all of our heroes descend on Hawkins, local authorities claim that the event was a major earthquake, while some members of the community still claim it was the result of Satanic cults in the area. The final moments of the season finale show an eerie ash falling from the sky, with the characters discovering a spread of death and decay mirroring the Upside Down in the nearby meadow. As they look out over the town, they see mysterious smoke and flames, confirming that Vecna managed to succeed in his plans. While most of his friends are seemingly relieved by the defeat of Vecna, Will feels a chill on his neck, confirming that he can still feel his existence, hinting at the villain's return in a nightmarish Hawkins for Season 5.
Stranger Things Season 4 – Volume 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
What did you think of these last episodes? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!