Stranger Things Season 4 Finale Explained - Looper (2023)

Stranger Things Season 4 Finale Explained - Looper (1)


Vonmatthew jackson/Jul 5, 2022 at 2:34 PM EST

Every season ofstrange things"It's been bigger than the previous seasons, but even if you take that into account"stranger things 4"feels extra-big. It's a story that seems bigger than not just season 3, but all seasons combined so far, setting the stage for a huge showdown that will conclude the series with a fifth season.

The sheer scope of Stranger Things 4 means a lot happens throughout the season, and it also means that the saga's nine-episode finale leaves plenty of lingering questions, implications, and issues for Season 5 to address and combat. Throughout season 4, we met a new villain in Vecna, we learned his place in it.the upside down mythology, and watched as the Hawkins children tried to fend off his plans for an all-out invasion of their world. The way it all ends, and what the ending means about what comes next, is just as powerful as the rest of the season.

Now that we've all played through Season 4 in its entirety, let's break down everything the finale tells us about what's to come. From romantic relationships to the future of reality itself, that's the ending of Stranger Things 4 explained.

The Hawkins case

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For four years in the world of Stranger Things, Hawkins has been plagued by forays into the Upside Down reality. He started small with a single Demogorgon and has since grown to include various gates between this world and this world, including new gates that Vecna ​​used to infiltrate Hawkins and claim various victims.

By the end of season 4, this infiltration has become a full-fledged pre-invasion, as Max's near death marked the end of Vecna's quest for four lives and the beginning of his planned invasion of our world through of the Upside Down. Starting with Hawkins. Even as Hawkins' gang celebrated his survival of the battle with Vecna ​​at the end of season 4 and claimed victory in a battle in a larger war, his celebrations were interrupted by the start of an all-out assault. The rifts are now open throughout Hawkins, spreading across the city and converging in the center of town. Nancy's visions in Episode 8 are now a reality and Hawkins is a city under siege whether the residents know it or not.

For the past four years, the group of friends fighting the Upside Down in Hawkins have worked in the shadows, doing everything they can to prevent the evil of this alternate dimension from spilling over into everyday life. Now there are no more hiding places, no more secret fights. The fight is there, out in the open, and that means Season 5 is going to look very different than the previous fight.

Vecna's Attack

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The final images of Stranger Things 4 show us an escalation of Vecna's attack on Hawkins. What began as a series of cracks opening below the city expands to include the familiar snow-like particles of the Upside Down that float around in the real world as the cracks begin to roar like smoke and red flashes in the clouds above. the city to crackle. . Our heroes know full well what that means, even if no one else in town does. Something bigger is coming after Hawkins, and soon.

However, the question that remains at the end of the season is what exactly that bigger something will look like. Over the years, we've become very familiar with the different types of creatures that exist in the Upside Down, so will Vecna ​​just mount an all-out attack with as many of these beasts as she can summon? will bringthe mental skinnerto the colossal life above the Hawkins skyline? That's what our heroes need to discover when they launch into Season 5, because the scale of the battle will be unprecedented.

robins happy ending

The Hawkins children face an unimaginable force of darkness in the transition from Season 4 to Season 5, but that doesn't mean their personal lives are totally lost in chaos. All these kids still have hopes and dreams and things they want to do besides fight the Upside Down, and they're going to chase them in some way. This is perhaps most evident in the story of Robin, who early in the season reveals her crush on a fellow student named Vickie and sees things come together in the end.

In episode 8, Robin learns that Vickie has a boyfriend from out of town, but only one episode later, when she volunteers at Hawkins High School along with her fallout, she finds out that they broke up and Robin and the new bachelor Vickie is left really alone. connecting for what seems like the first time, making sandwiches for earthquake refugees and laughing and joking together. Right now it's hard to imagine what life will be like for everyone at the end of this fight, but Robin seems closer than ever to the happy ending she deserves. Will she really she get it? Will Vickie get involved in the fight? We can't wait to find out.

Jonathan, Nancy y Steve

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Jonathan Byers and his girlfriend Nancy Wheeler are geographically separated for most of season four, but something else stands in the way of their relationship. Since he moved to California, Jonathan has developed doubts about whether he will ever be enough for Nancy, especially since he won't be going to the same college she hopes to attend.

Meanwhile, back in Hawkins, Nancy is acutely aware of how distant Jonathan has been of late, and this awareness coincides with the reappearance of Steve Harrington in her life. As they fight Vecna ​​together, Nancy realizes that Steve has grown a lot since her breakup, and he makes that growth even clearer when he confesses that he has constantly thought about starting a family and growing old with her ever since they broke up. above. It looks like a reconciliation could happen, but then Jonathan returns to Hawkins and puts everything that could have happened on hold. Will Steve continue to take the main road and keep his distance out of respect for Jonathan? Will Jonathan and Nancy realize their relationship is over? Will Jonathan accept his secrets? We don't yet know what that means for Season 5, but it's pretty clear that something in this random love triangle has to go back.

mike and him

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Mike and Eleven entered season 4 with serious problems in their relationship, often stemming from personal issues in each of them. For Mike, a big part of the problem was not just the physical distance from El, who moved to California with the Byers family, but also the perceived distance in their personalities from him. To him, he's an extraordinary person, and he just isn't, and he's sure that one day she'll realize it and decide that she doesn't need him. The problem for El, who is struggling with the loss of her powers at the end of season 3, is that she believes that Mike doesn't have as strong feelings for her as she does for him and that his own status as an outsider made her feel that some kind of of a monster that can never be redeemed.

By the end of the season, of course, they both learn that they are wrong. Will helps convince Mike that he is vital to his entire group of friends and to Eleven's life, as he is the heart of the party and the person who brings hope to everyone. Through her work with Dr. Brenner he makes it clear to Eleven that she is not a monster and that she was simply manipulated into perceiving some kind of evil in her mind and body. This leads to an emotional reunion and reconciliation at the end of the season, but of course the happiness is short-lived. Will they really have happy endings or are they destined to be torn apart again?

joyce and hopper

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Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper spend most of the fourth season meeting after Joyce receives a message from Hopper revealing that he is being held in a Soviet prison. Through more than a few mishaps and risky moves, Joyce eventually finds her way to prison, only to find Hopper's life in new danger. It's only at the end of the season, as they work to find their way back to America, that the two are able to get back together as a real couple.

Of course, the joyous reunion does not last long. Hopper and Joyce return to the United States in time to discover that the children's battle against the Upside Down has gone horribly wrong and that Hawkins is now embroiled in disaster as rifts open throughout the city. Their relationship doesn't feel shaky in the slightest, but the big question as we head into Season 5 is how Hopper and Joyce will get out of this fight unscathed. You've been lost before. Now they have to fight to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

disturbances of will

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All of the Hawkins kids go through their own big struggles in Stranger Things 4, but Will Byers is going through one of the most difficult periods of his young life, in part because he's spending so much of his fighting alone. There has been speculation since a key moment in season 3 that Will will be gay and will eventually come out to his friends and maybe even reveal that he has a crush on his best friend Mike Wheeler. In season 4 we had more than one moment where Will seemed to hint at his secret and a very strong moment towards the end of the season where it seemed like he was almost going to say it but went silent worried about the bigger battle. . Will's personal narrative falters, but it's clear he longs to tell someone about the secret he's keeping.

Then there's Will's other inner turmoil, something that hasn't been directly addressed since season 2. Will still has at least some connection to the Upside Down thanks to his obsession with the Mind Flayer at the end of season 1 and ever since Vecna began its invasion, feels it more and more. Will he be able to hold together in the coming battle, or is he destined for an inner struggle as dangerous as the outer?

Brenner's true fate

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Towards the end of Stranger Things 4, Eleven makes a devastating discovery about her "dad", Dr. Martin Brener. As Brenner urges her to stay in her secret lab and continue cultivating her powers, she realizes that the experiments she remembers from Hawkins Lab were never on her. They always wanted to use her to get closer to Henry, Brenner's first patient whom Eleven sent to the Upside Down, where she transformed into the creature the children call Vecna. All of her efforts to augment and shape Eleven's powers revolved around Brenner's desire to reconnect with Henry, making him the true monster at the center of all of Hawkins' problems.

It's a great moment of catharsis for Eleven, who realizes that the problem was never her and her powers, but it's also an interesting twist in the ongoing saga of what was really going on at Hawkins Lab. In Season 4, it's clear that there are still many dark forces within the US government in disagreement about the nature of the Lab, the Upside Down, and Eleven itself. What is less clear is whether others knew what Brenner really wanted to achieve. If someone did know, would they be there trying to finish his job? Does anyone else know what happened to Henry? These are questions that could have major implications for what's to come in the final season.

the against the government

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As season 4 begins, Dr. Martin Brenner and Dr. Sam Owens form an uneasy alliance with the common goal of restoring Eleven's powers to full strength through the use of the NINA machine at their secret desert facility. At the end of the season, they are at odds again when Owens tries to help Eleven escape to help his friends and Brenner is determined to keep her in the lab longer to try to catch One in the Upside Down. Later, the entire operation is interrupted when Lt. Colonel Sullivan and his troops arrive, kill Brenner, capture Owens, and attempt to end the operation once and for all by killing Eleven.

All of this means that by the end of the season, Eleven is on the run, with few government allies on her side and dark forces in the human world that not only want to contain her, but want her dead. That explains why she goes back to hiding in Hopper's cabin at the end of the season, but what we still don't know is how far the government will go to get her, especially now that cracks have opened up all over Hawkins. Will the government realize that it needs Eleven more than she wants to neutralize? Will Eleven hide from the dark forces forever? It is arguably as important a conflict for her survival as fighting the Upside Down.

the soviet agenda

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The ending of Stranger Things 4 reveals a lot, and not everyone is American. During Hopper's Soviet prison break, Hopper and Joyce discover a secret laboratory filled with preserved Demogorgons and Demodogs, and a chamber filled with swirling particles that the Soviets call "The Shadow", later revealed to be the dark material that forms the Mind Flayer. . By the end of the season, the facility is essentially destroyed, but his presence and Brenner's insistence that his experiments were just to fight the Soviets raises some interesting questions.

Over the past two seasons, it has become increasingly apparent that the Soviet government has linked its own operation to the Upside Down, perhaps designed to arm its creatures for a fight against the West. What remains to be seen now is how this fight will continue after the prison facilities have been destroyed. Are there similar institutions in Russia? How far have you progressed in your research and how does that affect Season 5? Depending on the answers to these questions, the next battle could unfold on more than one front.

Where is Max?

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In an attempt to defeat Vecna ​​before he could invade Hawkins, Max Mayfield crafted a daring and selfless trap for the creature, using his past connection to him to lure it out. After some persuasion, the plan worked, but what didn't work so well were the parts of the plan surrounding Max's efforts. He was able to lure Vecna ​​and hide in a happy memory for a while, but the Upside Down's own pressure on his friends caused the plan to kill Vecna ​​to be delayed, and Max was trapped by the same psychic force that killed Vecna. three. other Hawkins youth. At the end of the battle, Vecna ​​was driven off, but Max was dead, only revived by the power of Eleven's powers.

At the end of the season, Max is comatose in a hospital bed, with broken limbs, seemingly no sight, and worse, his consciousness seems unreachable. He eleven tries to get into her mind and find her, looking for a sign that Max is still there somewhere and he can't find her. Where is Max? Does her strange in-between state of hers mean that she was trapped in a new version of Vecna's mind cave? Is he so far away that it will take him a while to regain consciousness? Is she already dead and waiting for her body to fail? It's a big and potentially devastating question for season 5.

The nature of the shadow.

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The last two episodes of Stranger Things 4 reveal several new backstory elements for the series, including how Vecna ​​began to shape the Upside Down of his own free will. It is revealed through his own discussion of his backstory that after being turned upside down by Eleven's powers, he wandered the landscape until he found the Shadow and seemingly transformed her into the Mind Flayer, making him the true power behind her. the entire invasion made by Hawkins. .

But even with this reveal, we still don't know much about the Upside Down. It seems that many of the dimension's creatures, including the Demogorgons, were already residents when Vecna ​​arrived there. Now they are all part of an expanded hive mind that he seems to be the master of, and the shadow retains a sort of symbiotic connection to his will. so whatEsthe shadow why does it work for vecna and what does that mean for the bigger fight? There's still a lot we don't know about the nature of this other dimension, and this seems to be one of the biggest unanswered questions in Season 5.

Hawkins Wilderness in the Upside Down

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At the end of the first part of Stranger Things 4, Nancy Wheeler made a shocking discovery about the Upside Down, or at least the version of Hawkins that exists inside the Upside Down. The entire landscape is seemingly frozen in time, a version of Hawkins as it existed in 1983 when Eleven first opened the door at Hawkins Lab and released the first Demogorgon. It seems that at that moment a duplicate version of Hawkins appeared in the Upside Down landscape, only to remain frozen in time and never replicate the changing landscape of the real city on the other side of the gate.

At the moment it is not entirely clear what that means. It could simply mean that the moment Eleven opened the door, Eleven's powers accidentally created a strange reflection of Hawkins Lab and the surrounding town. He may have something to do with Vecna's own invasion plans and his attempts to open gates around the city. Or it could be something else entirely. Whatever happens, it's clear that Hawkins' reflection in the Upside Down will remain an intriguing centerpiece of the conflict that also plays out in Season 5.

Vecna ​​was right

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In the teasers leading up to the final episodes of "Stranger Things 4" and in the episodes themselves, Vecna ​​made startling predictions about Hawkins' future. She told Max, Eleven, and Nancy in various ways that Hawkins would fall, his friends would die, and that they had already lost the battle. The Hawkins children mounted a daring operation to stop him, and though they managed to defend themselves and prevent him from carrying out every part of his plan, they didn't stop everything. Max is still near death, the loss of him is still strong enough to count as his fourth soul, and he was still able to open rifts in Hawkins, devastating the city and killing dozens of innocent people in the process. . And, of course, there were some permanent deaths, most notably Eddie Munson, who lost his life in the final battle.

So in many ways, Vecna ​​was right. He took down Hawkins, killed some of Eleven's friends, and managed to launch his invasion of the real world from the Upside Down. By season's end, it's clear there's a big fight ahead, but in many ways, the psychological wounds inflicted by Vecna ​​will be just as important as the physical ones. He showed them that they can't win every fight. He can't be hit backwards every time. So what makes you think you can win when it really counts?

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