The Stranger Things season 4 finale is the last episode before the long wait for the fifth and final season. The episode picks up right where things left off with Yuri trying to get the helicopter to work so Hopper, Joyce, and Murray can get out of Russia. During the wait, Joyce and Hopper change their clothes inside. Joyce looks back and sees a shirtless Hopper. She notices the horrible scars on his back.
“What did they do to you?” she asks. Hopper tries to look on the bright side of things. His time away has given him time to think about what he’s done and who he’s been. He wishes he’d never sent Joyce that message. He never wanted to put her in danger. Joyce stresses that it was her choice to come to Russia to find him.
Joyce brings up that she had to find him so they could go on that date they had planned. “I’ve been dreaming about it,” Hopper says, before adding that he has it all planned out. Hopper explains that he’s getting two orders of breadsticks and then some lasagna.
“Should I have been dreaming about something else?” he asks. Joyce replies, “You tell me.” They talk about wine, dessert, and then after. Joyce and Hopper finally give in to their feelings and kiss. The Jopper makeout session is cut short by the phone ringing. Their call from the States has come through.
Hopper gets an update from the States about Eleven and Joyce’s kids. Hopper is desperate to get home. However, they have to destroy those particles in Russia inside the prison so the kids get the upper hand with Vecna. This means they have to break back into the prison.
Steve Makes A Confession To Nancy
Over in Hawkins, Nancy goes over the plan one more time before they head out. There are 4 stages to the plan, each one crucial to making sure everything works. She stresses that nobody moves on to the next phase until everyone copies. Nancy, Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Eddie go into the Upside Down. “If things here start to go south, I mean, at all, you abort,” Steve tells Dustin and Eddie.
Steve, the worried mom he is, doesn’t want to risk them getting hurt by trying to be heroes. Dustin and Eddie acknowledge they are the decoys in the plan. Steve walks away and Eddie stops him. “Make him pay,” Eddie says.
Meanwhile, Eleven says she has a way to protect Max from Vecna, even though she’s thousands of miles away. When Vecna/One/Henry attacks Max, he’ll be in her mind. Eleven can also go into Max’s mind. She can piggyback off Max to get to Vecna. She can fight remotely. However, she needs a tank full of saltwater to stay steady. Argyle knows just the place: Surfer Boy Pizza.
Erica makes it to the playground across the street from Creel House to initiate Phase 1 of the plan. However, a guy walks by and sees a glow coming from Creel House. Eddie and Dustin are preparing for the “most metal concert” in history. Steve, Nancy, and Robin try to find the Upside Down Creel House.
Steve and Nancy get a chance to talk, and Steve thanks her for giving the biggest wake-up call of his life 2 years ago. Steve wonders if they would have made it if he’d had that wake-up call before Nancy. He also brings up his dream about having “6 little nuggets” running around and taking his family on a road trip in a camper. For Steve, Nancy’s always been the one beside him in his dream. “You’ve always been there,” he tells her.
Before anything else can happen between them, Robin interrupts them. She’s found the Upside Down Creel House. At the other Creel House, Max tells Lucas that she’s glad he’s here with her. He asks her to go to a movie on Friday. Max accepts his invitation by drawing a photo of them at the movie.
Now that it’s time for Phase 2, this means that Max has to distract Vecna. She turns off her Kate Bush music. Dun dun dun.
Eddie Rocks Out To Metallica
Mike and Eleven have a brief moment to themselves at Surfer Boy Pizza. He says he’s had time to think about the last talk they had. Argyle interrupts them with some pineapple pizza before Mike has a chance to say anything else. Will looks on at Mike and Eleven from the kitchen and Jonathan notices.
“I miss talking to you. I, like, really miss it,” Jonathan tells his brother. He thinks they need to talk now more than ever. “I don’t want you to forget that I’m here,” Jonathan continues. “I’ll always be here no matter what. Because you’re my brother and I love you. And there is nothing in this world, okay? Absolutely nothing that will ever change that. You got that?” Will breaks down into tears and hugs his brother.
After getting into her makeshift tank, Eleven finds her way into Max’s mind. She realizes that Max’s plan to lure Vecna isn’t working. Max confesses that at one point that she wanted Billy to disappear. “I didn’t know if he deserved to be saved,” Max admits. She feels guilty for wanting her brother to die, and she can’t forgive herself for it. When lying in bed at night, she prays something “terrible” will happen to her.
“I just want you to take me away. I want you to make me disappear,” Max tells Vecna. He doesn’t waste too much time hiding. “It’s going to be you that breaks the world,” Vecna says.
Phase 3 is Eddie and Dustin’s moment. “Chrissy, this is for you,” Eddie says before rocking out to “Master of Puppets” by Metallica on top of his trailer. Meanwhile, Nancy, Robin, and Steve move into the Upside Down Creel House since the Demobats are distracted by Eddie. When the epic performance is over, Eddie and Dustin celebrate.
Max and Lucas face serious trouble when Jason shows up at Creel House. One of Jason’s cronies has tackled Erica outside. Jason pulls a gun on Lucas and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t wake up Max.
Joyce, Hopper, and Murray make it back into the Russian prison. They find one of the guards mortally wounded. The particles have escaped and “the shadow” has gone into them. The trio knows they have to take care of these monsters before it’s too late. “I’m gonna die someday. But not today. I still got a date to make, remember?” Hopper says to Joyce. He promises this time will be different. “It better be. I am not having another funeral,” Joyce replies. They kiss before Hopper acts as the bait for a Demodog.
The Demobats come for Eddie and Dustin. They manage to get in through a vent. Robin gets caught in the tentacles at the Upside Down Creel House after it shakes. Steve and Nancy also get caught in the tentacles while trying to save Robin.
Eddie is able to shut the vent in the roof with his trash can shield. However, there’s another vent in the trailer. Dustin climbs out of the Upside Down and waits for Eddie to join him. Eddie starts to claim but stops himself. He cuts the rope and stays behind.
“I’m buying more time,” Eddie says as he gets on his bike and lures the Demobats away. He doesn’t run away from danger this time. Dustin climbs back into the Upside Down to go find Eddie.
Vecna calls for Max and says it’s time for her to die. As Max faces Vecna, Lucas is fighting off Jason. “I thought I wanted to be like you. Popular. Normal. But it turns out, normal’s just a raging psychopath,” Lucas says. During their brutal showdown, Jason destroys Max’s cassette player, making it impossible for Lucas to save Max with her music. Just as Vecna is about to kill Max, Eleven shows up in her memory of the Snowflake Ball.
“Are you real? Did I make you?” Max asks Eleven. Vecna returns and fights Eleven. “Before I kill you, I want you to watch,” he says. Eleven reveals to Vecna that Brenner is dead. “I know what he did to you. You were different. Like me. And he hurt you. He made you… into this. He is the monster, Henry. Not you,” Eleven says. Vecna doesn’t agree with Eleven. “He did not make me into this. You did,” Vecna reveals.
Initially, Vecna thought that Eleven sent him to purgatory after she opened the gate, but he found himself somewhere new. He began exploring the Upside Down and found The Mind Flayer. “It was you. Always you,” Vecna tells Eleven. All he needed was someone to open the door. “Once again, you have freed me,” he says.
Vecna warns that there is “nothing” Eleven can do to stop his plan. “Hawkins will burn and fall,” he continues. Vecna plans to remake it into “something beautiful.” At one point, Vecna wanted Eleven to join him, but now he just wants her to watch him destroy everything she loves.
Eddie Dies In Dustin’s Arms
All of Eleven’s friends and loved ones are losing the fight. The Demobats attack Eddie as Dustin watches. Jason is strangling Lucas. Vecna goes to Max and begins to try and kill her. Vecna manages to get Eleven in a bind. Mike, Will, and the others see Eleven struggling. Will tells Mike that he’s the heart. He’s the key to saving Eleven here. Mike declares his love for Eleven. “I love you for exactly who you are. You’re my superhero. And… I can’t lose you,” he says. Mike begs Eleven to fight, and that’s the encouragement she needs.
Vecna still has his grip on Max. He breaks her hand and then her legs. Before he does much more damage, Eleven is able to get the upper hand. Joyce saves Hopper from one of the Demodogs. When they’re both facing more monsters, it’s Murray who comes in for the save with the flame thrower. This last kill initiates the downfall of the other monsters in the Upside Down. Steve, Robin, and Nancy escape, while the Demobats around Eddie collapse.
Steve, Robin, and Nancy find Vecna in the Upside Down Creel House. Vecna tells Eleven this is “the beginning of the end. You have already lost.” She responds, “No. You have.” Hopper takes down the last Demogorgon by decapitating it. Murray, Hopper, and Joyce get out of Russia in one piece.
Steve initiates killing Vecna by throwing one of the kerosene grenades. Robin lights the second one and throws it at Vecna. Nancy takes her shot. She doesn’t miss. It appears that Nancy kills Vecna, but when they walk outside, he’s gone.
Dustin makes his way to Eddie, who is in bad shape. Dustin swears Eddie is going to be fine. “I didn’t run away this time, right?” Eddie says. Eddie asks Dustin to look after his “little sheep” from now on. Dustin is trying not to lose hope, but Eddie is well aware of his fate. He tells Dustin that he loves him, and Dustin says it back. Eddie sheds one more tear and dies in Dustin’s arms. Dustin weeps over his beloved friend.
Max Is In Coma & Hawkins Is In Peril
Eleven may have thought she saved Max, but her friend is in bad shape. Max cries to Lucas that she can’t see or feel anything. “I don’t wanna die. I’m not ready,” Max says. Suddenly, Max stops talking. Inside Max’s mind, Eleven is crying. Everyone soon hears the last chime. The gate opens up at Creel House, killing Jason. The 4 faultlines of the Upside Down meet at the center of Hawkins.
Eleven refuses to let Max die. “You’re not going. No,” she says to her best friend. Two days later, the California crew makes it back to Hawkins. The news is reporting a massive earthquake in Hawkins. There’s even talk that the “Munson murders” opened a doorway to a new world.
Jonathan reunites with Nancy and apologies for not calling. “I’ll tell you everything, I promise,” Jonathan says. Robin comforts Steve as he witnesses the reunion. Max is currently in a coma. The doctors don’t know if she’ll ever wake up. Lucas tells Eleven that Max’s heart stopped for over a minute. She was dead and then she came back. “They say it’s a miracle,” Lucas says. That miracle was Eleven.
Steve, Robin, and Dustin head to the relief center to help. Robin stumbles upon Vickie at the food station. Vickie reveals that she broke up with her boyfriend. Robin and Vickie finally get a chance to spend time together, and Steve watches on like a proud brother.
Dustin spots Eddie’s uncle putting up a missing poster sign for Eddie. Dustin says he was with Eddie when the “earthquake” hit. Dustin takes this opportunity to tell Eddie’s uncle just how much of a hero Eddie was.
“I wish everyone had gotten to know him,” Dustin says. “Really know him. Because they would have loved him. They would have loved him. Even in the end, he never stopped being Eddie. Despite everything. I never even saw him get mad. He could’ve run. He could’ve saved himself. But he fought. He fought and died to protect this town. This town that… hated him. He isn’t just innocent… Mr. Munson, he’s a hero.”
Eleven returns to her former home, and the crew helps her clean it up. While fixing up the cabin, Jonathan apologizes for not being here for Nancy. When Jonathan brings up Steve and laughs about him, Nancy defends Steve and says he’s grown up a lot. “Are we okay?” Jonathan asks. Nancy promises that they are okay. However, when Nancy asks Jonathan about his college application letter, he says it never came.
While Mike is hopeful that Vecna is gone for good, Will knows that’s not the case. “Now that I’m here in Hawkins, I can feel him,” Will reveals. “And he’s hurt. He’s hurting. But he’s still alive. It’s strange, knowing now who it was this whole time, but I can still remember what he thinks and how he thinks. And he’s not going to stop. Ever. Not until he’s taken everything. And everyone. We have to kill him.”
Suddenly, a car pulls up to the cabin. The kids think it’s the government. It turns out to be Hopper and Joyce. Hopper and Eleven have the sweetest reunion. “I kept it open. I kept the door open three inches,” Eleven cries to her dad. She never lost hope that he was still out there. “It’s okay. I’m here,” Hopper says. Joyce has a heartfelt reunion with her two boys.
Will gets that feeling on the back of his neck. The rest of the crew feels something rotten in the state of Hawkins as well. When they look off at Hawkins, it’s clear that the Upside Down is starting to infiltrate the real world. Hawkins is dying, and it’s going to take Eleven and everyone else all their power to stop Vecna once and for all.