This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things. Check out our Season 4 review if you haven’t watched yet!
Strangely (wink wink), Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 didn’t end in as much of a cliffhanger as expected. There are a lot of open-ended plots, to be sure, but Episode 7 pretty much felt like a natural pause point for the season. Eleven has her powers back, and we know all there is to know about Vecna (spoiler alert: he’s the long, lost One and son of Victor Creel). There’s a lot of convoluted timeline stuff that comes into play with those two plot points, but the gist is: Eleven was blocking out huge hunks of her past; Dr. Brenner crams her back in a sensory deprivation tank in the present so she can remember (thus regaining use of her powers); she flashes back to her battle with One after he betrays her and kills everyone; and just as she’s about to lose Eleven accidentally opens a portal to the Upside Down and knocks One in, ultimately creating Vecna.
Whether the neat little bows on those two stories will be to the show’s advantage when the final two super-long episodes of Part 2 drop in July is yet to be seen. In the meantime, we still have some burning questions as the show enters its mini-hiatus.
How Are Joyce, Hopper, and Murray Getting Back To America?
When we left our intrepid heroes at the end of Season 4 Part 1 (no, it’s never going to be a mouthful), Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray (Brett Gelman) had successfully reunited with Hopper (David Harbor) after the seven -episode of stretch of trying to rescue him from the Russian gulag. There’s a very cute long embrace where Hopper hopefully realizes that all of his “I’m cursed” doom and gloom nonsense was just that, but the three are facing a new challenge now that they’re reunited: How in the heck are they getting back to America?
Joyce and Murray crashed Yuri’s (Nikola Djuricko) plane attempting to escape, and, despite sparking an unlikely friendship with Hopper, it seems improbable that Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha) will help given his fear of being labeled as a traitor by his children.
Is Steve Going To Turn Into A Were Bat?
Steve (Joe Keery) found himself face to face with some demobats at the end of episode 6. We get a good look at a festering wound before Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is able to get him bandaged up to stop the blood loss. Given the look of things, it seems possible that a loss of blood isn’t going to be Stranger Things’ favorite babysitter’s biggest problem. Then again, we only get a brief glimpse at his injuries while they’re in the Upside Down. Maybe they’ll become normal, not-so-festering demobat bites now that they’re back in the rightside up version of Hawkins.
Is Eternal Just, Like… Bored With Max Now? Why Isn’t He Still After Her?
Ok, so, thanks to Nancy and Robin’s (Maya Hawke) investigation into Victor Creel (Robert Englund), we know that music helps ward Vecna off. Dusty (Gaten Matarazzo) puts this to use before the creature can turn Max (Sadie Sink) into human origami like his other victims, but there are no further attempts by Vecna after they initially save their friend. What’s the deal with that?
We see Max periodically put the headphones on through the rest of the season, but it seems strange that we don’t see the big bad try to come for her again? What kind of villain doesn’t make it his mission to get the one that got away? It seems especially out of character given what we know about Vecna’s origins after the finale.
What Does Eternal Want?
Vecna’s curious lack of follow through takes us to the next question: what does he want, exactly? We know he’s got mommy and daddy issues and has ultimately decided that humanity should go, but what’s his endgame? Is he creating a hoard of crunchy followers (with less-than-useful joints now that he’s mutilated them) with the intent to take over Hawkins? We did get a few hints about cult-y proclivities from the Hellfire Club’s DnD session earlier in the season. But a deep dark hole where he and his spiders can thrive seems like exactly where a baddie like Vecna would want to hang out, so escape seems like a weird motivation, and he definitely isn’t looking for any friends. Strong “What Do You Want ?!” energy, Eternal.
When Will We Be Freed From Love Triangle Hell With Steve / Nancy / Jonathan?
Love triangles are always exhausting, but you know what we don’t need in an overstuffed season? You guessed it! A love triangle. Why are we here? What are we doing? Why are we doing it? Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy have reached a complicated stage in their relationship, which is the impetus for the two remaining separated throughout the first hunk of Season 4, but those struggles would have been more than enough on their own. Adding Steve back in as a “will-she-or-wont-she return to the lowest point of her life” for Nancy is an odd addition to an over-long season that will hopefully get resolved sooner rather than later in Part 2.
Amelia is the Streaming Editor here at IGN. She’s also a film and television critic who spends too much time talking about dinosaurs, superheroes, and folk horror. You can usually find her with her dog, Rogers. There may be cheeseburgers involved.