Stranger Things Season 4: Breaking Down How Part One Ends

Warning: This story may contain spoilers Stranger Things 4 Part 1

First half Stranger Things’ penultimate season has arrived, and since it’s a Netflix show, all seven episodes dropped at once. As the super-sized second episode of Season 4 arrives in July with two episodes, it was broken into two separate parts. The season itself was full of episodes. So, it’s going to take even the most dedicated bingers a bit to get to the finale. But, once you get there—or if you’re just curious and want to skip ahead for spoilers—here’s an explanation of what happened in the midseason finale, what it reveals about the season’s big bad, and what it could mean for Stranger Things 4 Part 2.

It was amazing! Stranger ThingsEnd of Season 3.

Let me briefly summarize: Let’s take a moment to summarize. recap where we left things off at the end of Season 3, all the various characters—including newcomers Robin (Maya Hawke) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery)—convened in Starcourt Mall to fight the flesh-monster hivemind the evil Mindflayer sent after them. It turned out that the mall was constructed over top secret Soviet bases, which were studying how to open the portal to The Upside Down. But the gang wins the battle against the monster, closes the gate and then destroys the base. Billy, who has been taken over by the monster’s power, is forced to sacrifice himself before Max (Sadie Sink). It seems that Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), has lost her powers. The Byers family and Hawkins leave Hawkins for California. And, Hopper (David Harbour) sacrifices himself to destroy the gate and is presumed dead… though he’s Actually been transported to the U.S.S.R., where he’s imprisoned in a labor camp.

What happens when Stranger Things 4 Part 1?

Now, before we get to the midseason finale, let’s recap what happened in the first six episodes of Stranger Things Season 4. There is a Season 4. TonNumber of characters Stranger ThingsIt is logical to separate them into three major groups. There’s a crew in California, a group in Hawkins, and some characters who spend the season in snowy, desolate Siberia. Let’s start with the West Coast.

STRANGER TITLES. Joe Keery (from left to right) as Steve Harrington. Gaten Mattarazzo is Dustin Henderson. Maya Hawke portrays Robin Buckley. Sadie Sink plays Max Mayfield. Natalia Dyer portrays Nancy Wheeler. Caleb McLaughlin portrays Lucas Sinclair. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

How does the California crew fare?

Eleven Brown, Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan and Joyce Ryder all moved to California. Mike Wolfhard also came to Eleven’s house over the break. The authorities arrive at Eleven’s door after she, Eleven, was defeated by the Mind Flayer in Season 3. While one faction of the government wants to eliminate Eleven, another, including Doctor Sam Owens (Paul Reiser), wants to re-power her, thinking she’s their best hope against the Upside Down. She goes with them and Will, Mike, Jonathan, and Jonathan’s new stoner friend Argyle (Eduardo Franco) try to track down where she is. Eleven is taken to a secret facility where she’s reunited with Matthew Modine’s Doctor Brenner (who is still alive!) and put in a sensory deprivation tank so she can relive memories that will hopefully restore her powers—and answer some questions.

How does Hawkins’ gang get along?

Back in Hawkins, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sink), Robin (Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), and newcomer Eddie (Joseph Quinn), the Dungeon Master of the gang’s Dungeons and Dragons group who has been wrongfully framed for murder have been tracking down a new threat from the Upside Down they call Vecna. Vecna is known for creating psychic bonds and torturing his victims with visions. Then he will brutally kill them by taking their limbs apart and making them explode. Max almost succumbs to Vecna’s influence but is saved when music—specifically Kate Bush—tethers her back to reality. In the course of tracking down Vecna, Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Eddie enter the Upside Down via a gateway that opened where one of Vecna’s victims died.

Vecna is in “Stranger Things”.

Netflix – Courtesy

What’s the deal with Max and Kate Bush?

Vecna targeted Max as a pretext for his attack. He tortured Max with psychic visions and reminiscences about her deceased stepbrother Billy. (Montgomery briefly came back in a supporting role). As he tried to kill Max, he took her consciousness to the Upside Down. But, in the nick of time, Robin and Nancy figure out that a previous victim of Vecna’s had been saved because he heard his favorite song and it pulled him back. Lucas, as Max’s ex, knows her favorite artist at the moment is the iconic English art-pop singer Kate Bush, and they slip headphones on her comatose body in the real world and blast her 1985 song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God),” which allows her to escape. Great song, don’t be shocked if it re-charts now that Stranger ThingsIt deserves to be back in the spotlight.

STRANGER THINGS. Caleb McLaughlin plays Lucas Sinclair in STRANGER THEMES. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

What’s the deal with Hopper? Are his remains still in existence?

Meanwhile, Joyce got a package from the Soviet Union from Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha), a crooked prison guard in Siberia, who wanted to illicitly ransom Hopper—alive but imprisoned at a Soviet labor camp—back to her. Joyce and Murray (Brett Gelman) travel to Alaska to get him, but Dmitri’s smuggler betrays them all. Demitri’s imprisoned with Hopper and Joyce and Murrary are flown to Siberia, but they’re able to turn the tables on their kidnapper and enter the labor camp just as Hopper’s about to enter a cage fight with a captured Demogorgon.

David Harbour portrays Jim Hopper in “Stranger Things”

Netflix – Courtesy

Watch the last episode to find out what happens Stranger Things 4: What’s the First Part?

Hopper, Dmitri and Murray hold their ground against the Demogorgon. Joyce and Murray take hostages but manage to rescue the two from the pit. Joyce and Hopper have an emotional wordless reunion, and that’s where we leave them until the premiere of Part Two.

Two other plotlines from the States are converged with the same discovery while they’re back home. Dustin and Co. realise that Vecna greets a new portal between the Real World and the Upside Down at every site of each killing. They use some Season 1-esque light shenanigans to convey their message to the teens trapped. Robin and Eddie make it to the next gateway. As Nancy’s about to exit, Vecna makes a psychic connection with her and kidnaps her consciousness where he reveals his backstory. You’ll find out more about that shortly.

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Eleven, after begrudgingly working with Brenner, her abuser and former “papa,” finally gets to the end of some repressed memories while in the sensory deprivation tank. One of the attendants at the facility where she was trained and grew up encourages her to escape, and in the process, Eleven removes an implant that was inhibiting this young man’s powers. Eleven joins him on his rampage to reshape our world. His backstory—again, more on that in one second. Eleven says no, and drawing upon a memory of her mother, she’s able to defeat him and send him to the Upside Down. This scene at Hawkins Lab that suggested Eleven was the one responsible was just a ruse. This man was also called 001 and also known by Vecna.

Millie Bobby Brown plays Eleven on ‘Stranger Things.

Netflix – Courtesy

Who is Vecna then?

They are identical, as we see in the intercutting sequence when 001 describes their history to Nancy and Eleven. They were once the son of Victor Creel—the man imprisoned in Pennhurst Asylum who Nancy and Robin interviewed in Episode 4. While Victor Creel assumed his whole family was being tormented by some evil force back in the late ‘50s, it was really his son, who innately had incredible and horrible powers and was behind all the torment. Victor unknowingly survived his son’s assault thanks to a musical connection, much like Max, though he was blamed for his family’s murders and later carved out his own eyes. His son’s body, however, was never found.

Vecna is in “Stranger Things”.

Netflix – Courtesy

That’s because the boy had been taken in by a doctor that his mother—who suspected on some level that her son was behind the evils tormenting the family—had wanted him to see. Martin Brenner was the doctor. The boy, who was named and tattooed “001,” was the first of Brenner’s experiments. Eleven beat him and cast him into the Upside Down. As he fell, his body was burned by warped lighting. Since then, he’s been lurking in the shadows, amassing power and tentacles. Dustin, who has been on the money about pretty much everything, hypothesized that Vecna is acting as a general or sorts for the Mind Flayer, but the finale didn’t confirm the relationship between the two villains.

Dungeons & Dragons players likely guessed that Vecna was once human. As a member of the D&D team explained to TIME, the character from the tabletop game who inspired the villain was once a human wizard, but he transcended mortality and became a powerful undead being known as a lich—and eventually ascended to godhood.

What does Eleven mean by this?

Eleven—who is once more sporting the buzzcut look that helped make her an iconic character in Season 1—seems to have gotten her powers back. In addition to learning some new shocking information, she also discovered new facts about her hidden path and the man who will be opposing her. While Eleven was always connected to the Upside down and its various threats, never before did she have such a close relationship with Vecna. After all, she was the one that defeated 001, and kept him trapped in the Upside Down. Owens and Brenner—whose uneasy peace with Eleven will surely be tested going forward—already thought she was their best hope at stopping the Upside Down from wreaking havoc. Now that she and the Upside Down’s latest threat have a personal history, the stakes are even higher.

Millie Bobbie Brown, Stranger Things

Curtis Baker/Netflix

What does this mean for our final episodes? Stranger Things Season 4

You can find many cliffhangers. Stranger Things 4 Part 2The premiere of ‘The Lieder,’ will be held on July 1. Hopper and Joyce have been reunited, but they’re still in the Soviet Union and there might still be prison guards to contend with before they get home. Mike and Will have been tracking Eleven who appears to be able to regain her powers. Dustin, Lucas, Lucas’ sister Erica, Max, Eddie, and Robin are all safely in Hawkins, and they know how Vecna’s powers work but don’t know who he is. Steve is still in the Upside Down where he’s trying to awaken a comatose Nancy. And, Nancy’s consciousness is standing right before Vecna, meaning she’s in mortal danger.

Presumably, the final two episodes of Season 2 are heading toward a rematch as Vecna (née 001) throws down with a newly re-powered Eleven. Mike’s cohort, who haven’t had a ton to do in the first part of the season, will likely join up with her and make their way to Hawkins and/or the Upside Down. Joyce and Hopper will try to make it back to the states, and if they do, there will be an emotional reunion between Eleven and her dad—her hero—Hopper. Predicting what this could all mean for Season 5 is difficult, since we don’t yet know how Season 4 ends. All of this will depend on our knowledge about the Upside Down and whether Vecna is defeated or surviving to the last season. It remains to be determined what the relationship is between Vecna (who still seems to be looming) and Mind Flayer.

Does anyone die in Stranger Things 4: What’s the First Part?

Aside from Chrissy Cunningham (RIP), none of the major characters are killed in the first season. Nancy, as of the Midseason Finale, is most likely in greatest peril. One thing we can say is that, although Part One was quite gruesome and resulted in several character deaths, it did not lead to any major characters being killed. Previous seasons have killed off major characters like Sean Astin’s Bob Newby and Dacre Montgomery’s Billy Hargrove, though nobody from the “main” cast has fallen yet. (Hopper’s demise last season was an obvious fakeout.) Seeing as there’s only one season left after this, it wouldn’t be a shocker if a member of the main cast went belly-side up in the Upside Down.

STRANGER TITLES. L to R: Finn Wolfhard portrays Mike Wheeler, and Gaten Matarazzo portrays Dustin Henderson in STRANGER THANINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

When does Stranger Things 4 Part 2 Netflix?

The final two episodes of Stranger Things 4, “Papa” and “The Piggyback,”—which boast runtimes of 1 hour and 25 minutes and 2 hours and 30 minutes, respectively—hit Netflix on July 1.

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