Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2 Ending Explained: The Beginning Of The End

Eleven in underground bunker in Stranger Things
(Image credit: Netflix)

I’m not crying, you’re crying. 

Stranger Things Season 4, Vol 2. has come out and broken records everywhere, and I’m still recovering from it a week later and trying to think about that crazy ending. While it’s already been confirmed that Season 5 of the show is going to be its last, you can’t help but wonder what exactly is next after that cliffhanger the show left us on.

Everyone that we know and love is back together, but at what cost? If you’re like me and you’re just waiting to talk about that Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2. ending, then stay here as we break down everything that went down - and everything that could potentially happen for the future of this series. BIG, FAT STRANGER THINGS SEASON 4 SPOILERS AHEAD!

The ending of Stranger Things Season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

The State Of Hawkins At The End Of Season 4

As we all knew by the very end of Stranger Things Season 4, Hawkins is in not so good shape. While the media is portraying what happened there as “earthquakes,” we all know what really caused those gaping chasms to open up in the middle of the town - our old buddy, Vecna, played by Jamie Campbell Bower

Vecna, using the strength that his four victims gave him (Max’s heart stopping for over a minute counts in this case) opened up the gates to the Upside Down and basically turned Hawkins into a disaster. From some of the last scenes, we can see that people are either leaving the town, or some have taken shelter in the high school, but it’s the ending shot that really makes you think. 

We can see that everything around our group of protagonists is starting to turn grey, and in the distance, Hawkins is presumably being destroyed as ash and dark clouds spread over the small town, featuring those familiar flashes of red - signaling that the storms from the Upside Down are in our world now. 

The last episode ends on that, and it makes you wonder - good God what is going to go down in this town? The Duffer Brothers, via Entertainment Weekly, have actually already confirmed that Season 5 is going to take place entirely in Hawkins, adding:

We wanna go back to a lot of the things we did in season one. A lot of the original groupings and pairings that we had in season one–there’s something nice about coming full circle.

This makes me excited, because to be honest, Season 1 is the best season of Stranger Things besides the most recent, but it also makes me wonder how exactly they are going to continue their story in Hawkins since a time jump is confirmed for Season 5, according to TV Line. I don’t know entirely how they are going to bring us all back to Hawkins for a time jump, but it’ll be exciting to see, that’s for sure.  

The main cast of Stranger Things.

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Stranger Things Characters At The End Of Season 4

There were some big deaths at the end of Season 4 of Stranger Things - ones I don’t necessarily agree with, but we will get into that in a bit. Let’s take this group by group because everyone was all over the place this season. 

Eleven, Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle helped Eleven use her powers to get into Max’s mind so she could take on Vecna in a pizza place, but near the end, after Eleven brought Max back to life despite her injuries, they drove all the way back to Hawkins and arrived two days later - when Nancy was packing up some of her old, childhood, things. 

Everyone who was a part of the Hawkins group of kids and teenagers - Nancy, Steve, Robin, Erica, Lucas, Dustin, and Max - made it out alive, except for Eddie, who was tragically killed in the Upside Down by a large group of Demo-bats, and no, I am still not okay. Max technically did die - which was what gave Vecna his ability to open up the gates of the Upside Down into Hawkins, but Eleven brought her back to life, as mentioned before. 

However, the Duffer Brothers have confirmed that while Max is breathing, she is not okay. In an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, they said that she is “braindead and blind and all her bones are broken.” So that does not sound good for her. Even so, I still have hope that somehow, she’ll make it through. 

On the other side of the world, Joyce, Hopper, Enzo (a new face for Stranger Things), and Murray (who was promoted to a main character for Season 4), survive the Demogorgon/Demo-dogs attack and escape from Russia. Joyce and Hopper do make it back to Hawkins alive and they reunite with their children. It’s currently unclear where Enzo and Murray are - as well as their helicopter pilot, Yuri - but I’m sure we’ll get some form of an answer in Season 5. So many Stranger Things questions, so few answers.

Jamie Campbell Bower on Stranger Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

Vecna And The Upside Down

Oh, Vecna. That scary looking, Game of Thrones-inspired monster that had some of the most interesting backstory to appear on this show. He is hurt, ya’ll. Badly. But he’s hiding somewhere.

Will Byers, while in Hopper’s cabin, confirms to Mike that Vecna is still very much alive and that he can feel him, and that the monster is hurting but he’s not going to stop until he’s achieved what he wants. Which means that this isn’t the last time we’re going to see Vecna - a.k.a., One, or Henry. Whichever one you want to choose. 

The group in Hawkins did a good job wounding him, with Eleven helping out from a distance mentally, and the teenagers using the combined powers of Molotov's and shotguns weaken him physically, but it wasn’t enough to end his reign of terror. And it looks like Season 5 is going to have even more horror for us to enjoy. 

However, there is something to talk about, and that's the the connection that Will has with Vecna, and what it could mean for the villain. The Duffer Brothers, in an interview with Collider, confirmed that Will is going to be a big part of Season 5: 

Will's going to be a big part and focus, is really all I can say of Season 5, in his journey. We're starting to see his coming of age, really. Which has been challenging for a number of reasons, some of which are supernatural. But you're starting to see him come into his own.

Considering Will has sort of taken a backseat in Stranger Things for the last couple of seasons, it makes me excited to hear he’s going to be a big part of the show, and honestly, I can’t wait to see him be the main focus of the story again, or maybe even become the villain. Now that would be cool. 

With his time in the Upside Down, and this connection that he has with Vecna, I’m almost sure that Season 5 is going to dive deeper into how Vecna is trying to heal up to take on Eleven once again, and take Hawkins (and the world) down once and for all - and how Will is going to be a focus of that. It begs the question - is this going to spell more trouble for the teen? Or is Will somehow going to make it out of Stranger Things alive?

Either way, please, for the love of God, give him a new haircut. 

Stranger Things Season 5 is a long way away, but at least until then, I can re-watch this show over and over to find new things to obsess about. And no, I will never be over Eddie’s death, thank you. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.