‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Ending, Explained: Is Vecna Dead Or Alive? What To Expect From Season 5?


The finale episode of “Stranger Things” Season 4 includes some of the best action sequences of the entire series, along with a thrilling narrative that captures our attention for its entire runtime of 2 hours and 22 minutes. “Stranger Things” Season 5 also leaves us with a shocking cliffhanger that makes us crave more, but sadly we have to wait maybe a year or two for another season, i.e., “Stranger Things” Season 5. Nevertheless, the last episode of Season 4 depicts an ultimate clash between the kids from Hawkins and their nemesis, Vecna, from the Upside Down dimension. However, even though Eleven is able to save the world, for the time being, the question that still bothers most of us is whether Vecna is dead or not, and why it all of a sudden starts snowing in Hawkins? Hence, without any further ado, let’s explore all the compelling questions of Season 4 and how they set up the stage for Season 5.

Did Henry Creel, AKA, Vecna Create The Mind Flayer?

Dr. Martin Brenner, who was the first to discover Henry Creel’s psychic abilities, decided to use him for experimentation. But when Henry refused to abide by his rules, Brenner implanted a device called “Soteria” on his neck that stopped him from using his superhuman abilities and turned him into a normal human being. However, Brenner used Henry’s DNA to create more kids like him, and so Eleven and other superhuman kids came into existence. Brenner was too obsessed with Henry or maybe with the experiment, and so he employed Henry as an orderly in the Hawkins National Laboratory. At the laboratory, Henry manipulated Eleven to get rid of Soteria, and as soon as he got his power back, he massacred the whole lab and killed almost every kid except Eleven. It was revealed at the end of “Stranger Things” Season 4: Part 1, that when Eleven refused to become a part of Henry’s sinister plan to destroy the world, Henry decided to kill Eleven too, but she retaliated and, with the help of her powers, sent Henry to another dimension, which was none other than the Upside Down dimension.

In “Stranger Things” Season 4: Episode 8, Nancy, Robin, and Steve decided to attack Vecna’s body in the Upside Down dimension when it would be in a trance-like state. As Eleven was genetically related to Vecna, they both had the same strengths and weaknesses. Dustin Henderson told his group that, much like Eleven, Vecna uses extrasensory perception abilities to attack his victims in order to capture their minds and create a doorway between two realms. Hence, he would be most vulnerable when he would be attacking his next target, and thus, Max Mayfield decided to sacrifice herself and become bait for Vecna so that Nancy, Robin, and Steve could destroy his body and put an end to him. And while Eleven failed to travel back to Hawkins in time to help her friends, she decided to use her ESP abilities to enter into Max’s mind (the same way she infiltrated Billy Hargrove’s mind) and protect Max from Vecna’s attack. For a moment, Eleven believed that she would be able to fight the all-powerful Vecna all by herself, but suddenly he overpowered her and captured Eleven in his mind-space. It was at this moment when Vecna revealed to Eleven that she might have pushed him into the Upside-Down dimension to die, but he used his survival instincts to survive the new realm. He became an explorer of this other realm unspoiled by humans and one day found mysterious particles or strange anomalies through which he could transcend his human form and finally transform into an ultimate predator. Henry or Vecna controlled these mysterious particles through his psychic abilities, which gave birth to a new monster called The Mind Flayer. In Season 4, Part 1, when Henry revisited his childhood, we discovered that he was obsessed with poisonous predators like spiders, which probably was the reason why The Mind Flayer looked like a giant spider, as its physical figure was the creation of Henry’s mind. Through these particles, Henry was able to control other creatures of this new realm. As soon as these particles entered the creatures’ minds, they became slaves to Henry’s wishes, and thus he became the master of the Upside Down dimension.

Hence, the monster, The Mind Flayer, never existed, but Henry created it to control the new realm and then take revenge on Eleven. He had been waiting for Eleven to open the gate to another dimension just once, and she eventually did on November 6, 1983, when she made physical contact with a Demogorgon on Dr. Brenner’s order in Season 1. Since then, Eleven and her friends have been trying to stop the monsters from coming into their realm and thus sealing all the gates that open to other dimensions. Henry, on the other hand, has been trying to get Eleven’s power to open portals, and eventually, in Season 4, he started making contact with traumatized teenagers and consuming their souls, which in the process created a pocket portal between two dimensions. He wanted to destroy the barrier, or the veil, that existed between the two worlds so that he could bring his destructive army to the human world and then, ultimately, recreate the world in his own image. This was his ultimate goal, and he had probably accomplished half of it since he broke down the wall between Hawkins and the other realm. If he wasn’t stopped, the rest of the world would be destroyed soon after.

See More: Who Is Vecna In ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4? Is He Related To Victor Creel?

Is Max Mayfield Dead Or Alive?

Max decided to sacrifice herself so that her friends could destroy Vecna’s physical body inside his father, Victor Creel’s, house in the upside-down dimension. However, Vecna defeated Eleven initially and captured all her friends, and was about to consume Max’s soul when suddenly Eleven’s boyfriend, Mike, cheered her up and helped Eleven face her ultimate nemesis. However, it got a bit late, and Vecna had already taken away Max’s soul, or consciousness, which eventually led to a crack between the two worlds. Max’s sacrifice went to waste as Vecna broke the barrier between the two realms, creating havoc in Hawkins that further caused a massive earthquake, leading to death and destruction. Around 22 people lost their lives while many of them went missing.

Inside the void, Eleven tried to save Max and used her powers to bring her to life, and for a moment, she believed that she had saved Max, but it wasn’t the case, really. Two days later, when Eleven and her friends came to Hawkins, Max’s boyfriend, Lucas Sinclair, told Eleven that Max had gone into a coma. Eleven tried to use her ESP abilities to enter Max’s mind and make contact with her consciousness, but inside the void, she found no one, which could literally mean that even though Eleven saved Max’s body, she failed to save her soul or consciousness, which was probably taken away or captured by Vecna. So Max’s body might still be alive, but to bring her back to life, Eleven and her friends have to rescue her consciousness from Vecna’s mind prison.

‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Ending Explained: Is Vecna Dead Or Alive?

In the Upside Down dimension, Nancy, Robin, and Steve finally found Vecna’s body and threw a Molotov at him to burn him down, when suddenly Vecna came back from his mind space and tried to fight back, but his entire body was already under fire. Nancy finally loaded a shotgun and fired bullets at Vecna to put an end to his menace. In the end, Vecna’s body fell down from the window. However, when they came outside the house to check the corpse, Vecna wasn’t there. He had escaped.

Two days later, when all the kids were finally reunited at Hawkins, Will Byers sensed Vecna’s presence around him. In earlier seasons, the Mind Flayer, or the particles from the upside-down dimension, had possessed Will, because of which he could feel the presence of these creatures. Henry had already told Eleven that he was the one who created the Mind Flayer, and could control all these creatures through these particles. Hence, Henry or Vecna could control Will too, which could be depicted in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5. Nevertheless, at Jim Hopper’s cabin, Will told Mike that Vecna was still alive and he wouldn’t stop until he had taken every one or everything. And soon, Vecna made his presence felt to other people as well. As the kids reunited with their families, they saw ash particles falling down on Earth, and as they walked towards an open patch of land, Eleven finally noticed the world weathering in front of her. Vecna had brought the dark particles from the upside-down dimension to the human world, and slowly he was consuming the world. It could be speculated that with the help of these dark particles, Vecna would be able to control humans, too, the same way he controlled the mindless creatures of the upside-down dimension, and probably through his mind control abilities, he would re-create the world in his own image, something he always wanted to do.

See More: Character Of Eddie Munson In ‘Stranger Things,’ Explained: Is Eddie Dead Or Alive?

What To Expect From ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5?

“Stranger Things” Season 4 ends on a cliffhanger where Eleven and her family and friends get a glimpse of impending doom brought into the human world by Vecna. He has successfully destroyed the barrier between the two realms and thus brought his monstrous army onto human land in order to seize the human world. But there is still some hope left. Eleven and her friends are reunited at Hawkins, and they will together fight against their common enemy to save the world. But that’s not all there is. Eleven has to save Max’s soul as well, from Vecna’s prison so she can bring her best friend back to life. However, as the previous action sequences and the face-off between Eleven and Vecna suggest, it’s best not to expect some thrilling one-on-one battle between them as the basic theme of “Stranger Things” is love and unity against evil. So, it will be Eleven, her friends, and their families against Vecna, and, as going by the trend set up so far by the series, it is probably going to be a happy ending after all. Even by the end of Season 4, the Duffer Brothers avoided killing any major characters and instead killed Edward Munson, fortunately with a much-deserved closure. However, Dustin still wants to clear Edward’s name as the entire town blames him for the death and destruction caused by the earthquake.

However, other than Vecna, Eleven may have to face one more crisis that will probably come from the government, as Colonel Jack Sullivan is obsessively looking for Eleven. In Season 4, he had given orders to eliminate Eleven, and he probably thinks that she is the root cause of all problems and hence will do anything in his power to get rid of Eleven and can even threaten her family or friends. So Sullivan can come back as a potential antagonist in Season 5. Let’s hope the next season is finally the end of Vecna and the crisis of the other dimension, and that the creators will not stretch the narrative further as it is already losing its grip a little bit.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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