Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4. Read at your own risk!
The finale of Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 totally crushed it as it delivers a movie-long end to the fourth installment of the show and there remains a lot of questions like whether Vecna is still alive, will Max survive, what happens now that the gates are fully opened. Here is the ending explained.
The Ending of Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Explained
Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 closed off with a bang as it left so many cliffhangers that Season 5 would have to address but first, here’s a quick rundown of what happened in the last two episodes of the fourth season.
Nancy becomes Vecna’s prophet as he showed her his plans of opening gates throughout Hawkins and letting the Upside Down seep through the real world. Even after her encounter with the villain, Nancy insists that getting back into the Upside Down is worth a shot in defeating Vecna and they craft a plan with Max as bait.
Hopper, Joyce, Enzo and Murray discover that the Russians have the “particles” or creatures from the Upside Down and they decide to break out of the prison with Yuri in hopes of having transportation but of course, the Peanut Butter Smuggler would not give in that easily without money.
Mike, WIll, Argyle, and Jonathan manage to get themselves lost or so they thought until Argyle sees tracks of military cars. They follow it to get to Eleven.
Eleven finally gets her powers back but Dr. Brenner decides it is not yet time for her to face One, contrary to Dr. Owens’ view. Dr. Brenner puts her back to an inhibitor choker but unfortunately, their base has been found by Lt. Colonel Sullivan who wishes to have Eleven eliminated and seeing her as the cause of all the things from the Upside Down.
Dr. Brenner chooses to save Eleven at all costs even if it means his life and he wants Eleven to know that everything he did is for her. Eleven takes down a helicopter of Sullivan who targets her and finally, she says her goodbyes and leaves Dr. Brenner for dead when Mike and the rest arrive on scene.
Eleven knows they would not be able to reach Hawkins the same night so she decides to “piggyback” where she enters the mind of Max like what Vecna does and fights him from there. Meanwhile, in Hawkins, the rest of the gang are preparing for their all-out plan to kill Vecna once and for all, even if it takes stealing an RV.
Hopper, Joyce, Murray, and Enzo decide to break into prison once more to help the kids by killing off the monster from the Upside Down being kept by the Russians. Meanwhile, Yuri is still thinking whether he would save them or not.
Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle go to a pizza shop where they set up Eleven’s tub with salt to help her focus on her “piggyback,” while the plan of the Hawkins gang is being laid down.
Phase one is for Steve, Robin, Nancy, Eddie, and Dustin to go into the Upside Down and drop-off Max, Lucas, and Erica at the Creel house and if Vecna is there, Erica sends a signal to the Upside Down; come Phase Two, Max becomes the bait and taunts Vecna to leave him defenseless; Phase Three, Dustin and Eddie will distract the bat creatures, and last, Steve, Robin, and Nancy will take the kill.
However, plans don’t always work. Jason Carver gets into a fight with Lucas, Steve, Robin, and Nancy are detected by Vecna and almost smothered to death by the deadly vines, and though Eddie and Dustin are successful in luring the bats, they didn’t cover all the exits so their hideout is infiltrated and Eddie decides not to run away anymore, sacrificing his life to save Dustin.
In the end, Eleven gets her face-off with One slash Vecna slash Henry who reveals to her that he planned it all out for the two of them to be predators or superior beings. Still, Eleven fights back. As Vecna starts claiming Max as the fourth victim, Eleven hears the voice of Mike and she fights Vecna really hard.
Eleven pinned him within the mindscape which gave Steve, Robin, and Nancy the chance to kill his physical body off. Vecna tells Eleven they already lost. Meanwhile, Steve, Robin, and Nancy finish him off with some molotovs and a shotgun, sending Vecna flying through the window. Unfortunately, when they run outside to check Vecna’s body, it’s gone.
Vecna’s plan did push through; as Max regains consciousness, she is basically blind and crippled and she tells Lucas she is not ready to die yet but she did, Max dies. Eleven can’t let it happen so she made sure that she revives Max which she is successful in doing so. However, gates open all across Hawkins.
Eleven, Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle arrive at Hawkins and they visit Max at the hospital while Steve, Robin, and Dustin volunteer for the community. Eleven and Hopper are reunited again thanks to a friend of Dr. Owens. Will Byers reveals to Mike that he still feels Vecna is alive and that the villain will not stop until all of them are dead.
Max’s fate remains unknown because while Eleven managed to keep her alive, when Eleven tried to connect with her, Eleven could not find Max’s consciousness. Lucas, himself, saw Max die for more than a minute which makes her survival a miracle.
Vecna is still alive, somehow, somewhere, and with the gates finally opening wide at Hawkins, he may have just unleashed his full plan of letting the Upside Down take over the world through the creatures he made there like the Mind Flayer. One thing is for sure, Vecna will be back.
See the gut-wrenching and heart-stopping finale of Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2, now streaming on Netflix.