‘Stranger Things’ Season 4-Part 1: Ending, Explained – Did Eleven Get Her Powers Back? What Happened To Nancy?


The crux of the “Stranger Things” series is its gory and grisly monsters, and the enthusiastic teenagers who, someway or the other, get involved with everything wrong happening in Hawkins, Indiana, and make it their mission to stop evil at all costs. With the arrival of every new season, the audience gets a new intriguing antagonist who facilitates thrilling adventures for these teenage investigators, and in ‘Stranger Things Season 4, we are introduced to a threatening creature called Vecna.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Part 1 of Season 4 has 7 extremely long episodes that follow the multiple storylines of different characters at different locations. After Hopper’s disappearance in Season 3, Eleven, with the help of Sam Owens, was relocated to Lenora Hills, California, where she moved with Byers’ family, i.e., Joyce and her two sons, Jonathan and Will. And while Eleven becomes a target of the bullies in her new school in Lenora, her other friends in the Hawkins deal with the new monster, Vecna, who has been terrorizing the whole town and targeting the innocent teenagers. Joyce, on the other hand, gets a mysterious postal mail from Russia and finds out from a corrupt Russian guard, Enzo, that Jim Hopper is still alive and is imprisoned in a secure facility in Kamchatka. “Stranger Things” Season 4 majorly follows these 3 storylines, and thus, without any further ado, let’s explore the end of Part 1.

See More: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4-Part 1: All Episodes Recap

Were Joyce And Murray Able To Rescue Hopper?

After Joyce was sent a mysterious note hidden inside a doll that came from Russia, she quickly contacted her Russian translator-cum-friend, Murray Bauman, who instantly arrived in Lenora Hills, California, to help Joyce clear her doubts about Hopper’s survival. In the previous season, when Joyce triggered the Russian machine to close the gate to the other dimension, Hopper was standing near the machine, and everyone believed that he had died in the blast. However, Joyce never saw Hopper’s body, nor was it recovered by the American soldiers, and thus we all had our doubts. Though Season 4 didn’t build much on this mystery and quickly established that Hopper was captured by the Russians after the blast, who took him to a secure prison in Kamchatka. There he met a corrupt prison guard named Enzo, who was fed up with his mundane, low-paying job and wanted extra bucks. He made a deal with Jim Hopper that he would help him escape the prison in exchange for forty thousand dollars, which his girlfriend (as he believed) Joyce would have to hand over to a smuggler named Yuri Ismaylov, who would bring Hopper from Kamchatka to Nome, Alaska after the money had been deposited.

However, Yuri got greedy and snitched upon Enzo and Hopper, after which they were brutally thrashed, arrested and constantly watched. While in Nome, Alaska, Yuri drugged Joyce and Murray and decided to hand them over to the Russians in order to gain their trust and favor, but fortunately, Joyce and Murray captured Yuri during the flight to Kamchatka. Murray disguised as Yuri made Joyce and Yuri (real one) prisoners and took them to the prison in order to trick the Russians and help Hopper escape the prison. However, at the facility, they found out that the Russians not only brought Hopper from Hawkins but had also captured a Demogorgon. They fed the Demogorgon with the captured prisoners, and Hopper and Enzo were its next prey when Joyce and Murray arrived at the prison. Thus, Murray decided to flaunt some of his action moves and finally helped Hopper and Enzo escape the wrath of the Demogorgon. At the end of “Stranger Things,” Season 4, Part 1, Joyce had saved Hopper’s life and rescued him from the Demogorgon, but the question here is, will these four people be able to escape Russia and successfully arrive in their motherland? Probably, Part 2 will bring them to Hawkins again, where they will support Eleven in her final battle against the new nemesis, Vecna.

Did Eleven Get Her Powers Back?

The fierce battles and excessive use of powers often traumatize Eleven both physically and mentally, causing her to suffer seizures and temporary loss of her abilities. At the end of Strange Things Season 3, when the Mind Flayer attacked Eleven at Hopper’s cabin, it left an infection on her leg that transformed into a crawling parasite inside the wound. After a traumatic and painful experience, Eleven extracted the parasite out of her wound, but in the process, she suffered a stroke, because of which she forgot how to use her powers. As Dr. Martin Brenner elaborately explained in Season 4, sometimes, in the event of a stroke, the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, which scrambles the signals in the brain, and a person tends to forget how to do things. In normal cases, people forget to eat, walk, or perform other functions, but in Eleven’s case, she forgot how to use her power after the Mind Flayer’s attack. And thus, to repair the broken signals, Sam Owens brought Eleven to Ruth, Nevada, where Brenner had created another secret laboratory inside a silo. During his time in Hawkins National Laboratory, Brenner used to send Eleven inside a sensory deprivation tank to heighten her powers, and thus to help Eleven regain her powers, he used a similar isolation tank which he had named “Nina.”

Brenner wanted Eleven to re-experience the memories and events she experienced in Hawkins National Laboratory in order to re-learn how to access and use her brain powers. He placed a cerebral device on Eleven’s head and played the recorded videos of the events at the laboratory, the memories from which Eleven had been running away for a long time. Brenner explained that the human brain has a defense mechanism against bad memories and trauma, but it was in these memories where Eleven found the trick to re-accessing her powers.

As mentioned earlier, Eleven became a victim of the bullies in her new school in Lenora Hills, but it wasn’t the first time she was bullied. In Hawkins Laboratory, she was bullied by an older boy named Two, who teamed up with other kids and attacked Eleven in the rainbow room. At this moment of need, an orderly, named Henry Creel (also known as One or Vecna), who was living in captivity in the laboratory, manipulated Eleven and turned her against Brenner. Though, in the process, Henry revealed to Eleven the secret to realizing the full potential of her powers, which was to harness the emotions generated from traumatizing past experiences and transform them into a deadly rage to be used against her adversaries. In other words, one should turn one’s weakness into his or her most potent weapon.

For a long time, Eleven believed that she was a monster who killed other kids at the Hawkins National Laboratory on September 8, 1979, the same massacre that was depicted at the beginning of Stranger Things Season 4. However, as she plunged into her buried memories with the help of “Nina,” she finally found out that it was a psychopathic Henry Creel, Victor Creek’s son, who brutally killed everyone in the facility. Eleven battled against Henry using the same technique that he had taught her earlier and threw him into the other dimension. It can be speculated that after this incident, Eleven lost a chunk of her memories. For Brenner, Eleven was the only surviving kid from Project MKUltra, and thus he took extra precautions with her. But even with such high-level security, Eleven was able to escape the laboratory on November 6, 1983, which brings us to the beginning of “Stranger Things” Season 1.

Nevertheless, in the present timeline (1986), while Eleven is floating inside the “Nina” tank, we see her nose bleeding and thus can speculate that she has finally regained her powers by the end of Part 1, or as Dr. Brenner confirms, “it’s happening.”

See More: Who Is Vecna? Is He Related To Victor Creel?

‘Stranger Things’ Season 4-Part 1: Ending Explained – Why Did Nancy Become Vecna’s Target?

The monsters and creatures of the dark realms prey upon the weak minds of men and women. The ones with a traumatic past, the ones who overburden themselves with a guilty conscience, or the ones who try to run away from their sins instead of confronting them, become the perfect victim of these menacing creatures like Vecna. It is for this reason that Vecna attacked the teenage kids from Hawkins High School, i.e., Chrissy Cunningham, Fred, Max Mayfield, Patrick McKinney, and Nancy Wheeler, each of whom was tormented with a traumatic memory.

In Max’s case, she blamed herself for her brother, Billy’s death, who was killed by the Mind Flayer in Season 3. Max distanced herself from all her friends and even broke up with Lucas Sinclair after the incident. In short, she tried to run away from the memories that had been tormenting her, and her troublesome mind became a perfect spot for Vecna to reign. Fortunately, Dustin, Lucas, and Steve were able to help Max escape Vecna’s realm as they diverted her mind using the tunes of her favorite Kate Bush song, “Running Up That Hill.” Nancy learned this trick from Victor Creel, who revealed to Nancy that he heard a song when an evil spirit tried to capture him in the dark realm, and it was because of this song that he was able to come out of the trance.

Dustin formulated a theory according to which Vecna, who was an agent of chaos working for the Mind Flayer, made psychic contact from the Upside Down dimension with the tormented teenagers in the human dimension in order to open different interdimensional gateways at the location of their death. 

Vecna, or Henry Creel, who was the root of all evil and source of all mind-controlling abilities in the universe of ‘Stranger Things,’ had the power to open the portals between two dimensions. To open the gateway, he used to make psychic contact with the entities of the other dimension, just like Eleven did in Season 1 when she made psychic contact with Demogorgon. With these gateways, Vecna was probably trying to help the Mind Flayer to re-enter the human world and raise an army of his own to kill Eleven and his friends, a motive that he had already stated out loud at the end of “Stranger Things” Season 3. Like all evil creatures or entities, the Mind Flayer wanted to reshape the human dimension in his own image, while Vecna, on the other hand, just wanted to get rid of humans, whom he hated the most as they abandoned him or treated him like an outcast in his childhood. He told Eleven that all the people that he killed became a part of his conscious mind and made him stronger, and his greed for power had just begun.

At the end of “Stranger Things” Season 4-Part 1, Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Eddie came to Lover’s Lake, the death spot of Patrick McKinney. Dustin had received some electromagnetic signals and believed that there was an interdimensional portal in the vicinity that brought the teenagers to the Water Gate in Lover’s Lake. However, as Steve tried to locate the underwater gate, one of the creatures from the Upside Down dimension pulled him into its domain, and Nancy jumped into the dark dimension with Robin and Eddie to save Steve. Though they saved Steve from the violent attacks of the monsters of the other dimension, Nancy discovered something really mysterious about these dark lands. The Upside Down dimension was supposed to be an exact replica of the human dimension, but Nancy found out that the dimension had not been updated since November 6, 1983, which was the exact date when Eleven made first contact with Demogorgon, though it was not the first time that she opened the inter-dimensional portal. For some reason, the Upside Down was still dwelling in the past, as if time had stopped entirely in the dimension, the reason for which wasn’t explicitly given in Part 1 and would probably be explored further in Part 2.

Nancy and others wanted to escape the dark realms but the Watergate was heavily guarded and thus they made contact with Dustin through the light signals sent across dimensions. Dustin asked Nancy to meet them at Eddie’s uncle’s trailer in the Forest Hill Trailer Park, where Vecna had killed Chrissy Cunningham. Inside the trailer, Dustin and his friends found an interdimensional gateway and thus helped Nancy and others escape the dark realm, but while Robin and Eddie were able to make the jump, Steve and Nancy were left behind as Vecna had captured Nancy in a trance where he toyed with her tormented soul. Nancy blamed herself for her best friend Barbara Holland’s death, who was killed by a monster from another dimension. At the time of Barbara’s death, Nancy was spending time with Steve Harrington, and thus she held herself responsible for abandoning Barbara, because of which she died. Henry Creel or Vecna took a personal interest in Nancy as she was the only one who came very close to discovering his true identity, i.e., finding out that he was Victor Creel’s son. But even though Vecna has captured Nancy’s mind, there is still some hope left to save her from Vecna, in the same way Dustin and others rescued Max.

In ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4-Part 2, we may expect an ultimate clash between Vecna and Eleven, who regained her powers by the end of Part 1. Eleven will probably return to Hawkins and reunite with her friends, while Hopper and Joyce may be able to escape Russia and meet Eleven and others in Hawkins. But what is uncertain in this whole deal is whether the creators will go for a happy ending without any loss of life, especially the death of any major characters, or whether they will part away with the viewers on a bit of a sad note, taking away from us one of the beloved characters who can be Eleven too. It is quite possible that the major character, Eleven, who stirred the chain of events and whose powers are the foundation of the entire conflict in the series, may die, leaving the human world in a normal stable state. The possibilities are endless, and let’s just hope that whatever the end result will be, it just satisfies our expectation for an appropriate closure.

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

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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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