Warning: This story may contain spoilers Stranger Things 4
Its final two episodes will be released July 1. Stranger Things 4 has ended—and a couple of major characters meet their end by the finale, too. Netflix’s flagship sci-fi show has never been afraid to kill off characters before (RIP Barb), and the final feature-length episodes included a couple of big deaths—and some near-death moments sure to have huge ramifications for the show as it heads into its fifth and final season.
Here’s everything to know about the major—and devastating—deaths of characters in season 4, the characters who nearly died, and the few whose fates remain unknown. Here is a full summary of the end of season 4.
Who was killed in Stranger Things 4?
Many fans have assumed for years that Doctor Martin Brenner (Mathew Modeine), Hawkins Lab’s researcher, was killed by a Demogorgon in season 1. But in season 4, it’s revealed that Brenner survived his injuries and created the NINA Project—a top-secret lab in the Nevada desert designed to give Eleven her powers back.
While Eleven and her “Papa” maintain an uneasy alliance at first, and work together to unlock memories of Vecna’s origins and restore Eleven’s powers, Brenner eventually betrays her. Instead of allowing Eleven and Doctor Owens to leave for Hawkins, Brenner says Eleven isn’t “ready yet” and has his men handcuff Owens while he sedates Eleven and puts a power-inhabiting collar on her.
However, just then Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan (Sherman Augustus)—the leader of a rival governmental faction who thinks Eleven is a threat who should be killed rather than empowered—attacks the base. Brenner attempts to flee with Eleven, but he’s shot multiple times by a sniper in a helicopter. Eleven can use her power to take down the chopper despite the collar. It’s too late for Brenner, though, and in his dying moments, he unlocks Eleven’s collar. Although he was an insane monster that abused Eleven, and other children, he had a deep and sincere affection for Eleven. Likewise, Eleven’s complicated past with “Papa” meant it was still a touching moment when he died.
Millie Bobby Brown portrays Eleven while Matthew Modine plays Dr. Martin Brenner.
Continue Stranger Things’ grand tradition of introducing a new main character only to kill them off by the end of the same season they debuted in (See: Bob Newby, Alexei), Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) does not make it to the end of season 4 alive.
Eddie and Dustin were key players in Vecna’s plan. The pair created a distraction for his mob to escape while Nancy Dyer (Natalia Dyer), Steve Keery (Joe Keery),and Robin (Maya Hawke), pursued his body. Eddie smashes the Metallica solo from the Upside Down RV roof, creating the most dramatic moment in the series. Despite all their security measures, the bats can break into the RV. Dustin (Gaten Matearazzo), who is being tricked by Eddie, retreats into the real world to safety. But he remains behind to give his friends more time. Eddie was plagued with guilt over running away from Chrissy (Grace Van Dien), who died in the premiere. He finally finds courage and he lures the bats out of the RV before making the fateful decision that he would go into battle with them. Dustin is fatally wounded by the bats, but he makes it back to The Upside Down just in enough time to give Eddie his last breath.
Eddie died a hero, but the people of Hawkins think he’s a villain. He’s still the prime suspect in all the brutal murders, and people think his love of metal and Dungeons & Dragons is actually part of some satanic cult—a reference to the real-life satanic panic in the 1980s. Only his friends know how brave he was in the end, but Dustin attempts to tell Eddie’s uncle the truth. He can’t tell The whole truth, of course, but at least Eddie’s family can take some solace in knowing that he fought (against an earthquake?) For his family. RIP Eddie, you’re shredding with the angels now.
Maya Hawke plays Robin Buckley; Joe Keery portrays Steve Harrington; Priah Ferguson is Erica Sinclair; Natalia Dyer is Nancy Wheeler and Sadie Sink is Max Mayfield in Stranger Things’
Stranger Things leaves no doubt about who’s fate.
Max (Sadie Sink) almost dies in the first half of the season when she becomes Vecna’s target. Thanks to her favorite song—Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”—that Max regains a tether to reality and escapes Vecna’s psychic realm. The rest of the season she keeps her Walkman close by so that she can play the song once more to repel Vecna. But, in order to make the plan to defeat Vecna work, she must be the bait. She forgoes the Walkman and makes a plan to avoid Vecna within Here own memories since it’s her mind that he’s invading. The plan works—at first.
Disaster strikes when Vecna overpowers all of Max’s friends. Eddie is defeated by his bats, while Robin, Steve and Nancy are entrapped by their vine-like tentacles. And, although Eleven comes to her rescue and projects into Max’s conciseness to battle Vecna, the villain is able to defeat Eleven. To make things worse, Chrissy’s psycho boyfriend Jason (Mason Dye) accosts Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) while he’s defending Max’s body, accusing him of being involved in Eddie’s “satanic” cult. Jason accidentally destroys the Walkman, which means Kate Bush can’t come to the rescue.
Max appears to be floating in the air. Max’s eyes begin bleeding and her legs snap like twigs. Then, Eleven, with Mike’s encouragement, summons the strength to defeat Vecna while Nancy’s crew torches his physical body. Max falls to the ground before her eyeballs explode like past victims, but she’s been fatally wounded. She dies, scared, in Lucas’ arms. The fourth gate to the Upside Down is opened with her passing.
Eleven won’t stand for this, though, and she uses her power to bring Max back to life. Two days later, Max was alive, although only briefly. She’s in the hospital, all her limbs are horribly broken, and she’s in some sort of coma. The doctors don’t know if she’ll ever wake up, and when Eleven tries to go inside Max’s mind, nobody is there. Though Max is technically alive, it remains to be seen to what extent she’ll ever recover.
Sam Owens, Doctor
It’s unclear if Doctor Owens (Paul Reiser) survives the season. We last see him handcuffed to a pipe after Brenner’s betrayal, begging Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan swore not to murder Eleven. While Sullivan’s men have no qualms about killing, it’s unclear whether he would have Owens executed when he’s already got him captive as a prisoner. Owens could be dead or alive. But he’ll be in trouble when season 5 begins.
Vecna, “Stranger Things”
Is there anyone who is still living in? Stranger Things?
Eleven defeated Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). Nancy and Steve set fire to his body and Nancy fired several shots with a sawedoff shotgun at him. But it’s not enough. Vecna’s body goes flying out the window of the Upside Down Creel house and he lands with a thud. However, the body soon disappears—almost certainly a direct homage to when Michael Myers does the same disappearing act at the end of Halloween.
Some heroes believe he may have died from his injuries and is now gone. But Will (Noah Schnapp), who was possessed by the Mind Flayer (revealed to have been a servant of Vecna) in season 2, has a connection with the Upside Down, and knows Vecna isn’t gone. In the end, as the Upside Down invades the real-world, Ash starts falling from heaven.
It’s as Vecna warned: His defeat wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning of the end. He’s almost certainly still alive and our heroes will have to finish the fight in season 5. Let’s hope they all survive.
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