The final two episodes of the fourth season of Stranger Things were released on July 1, and proved to be more than worth the six-week wait. Filled with twists and turns, touching character moments, and some of the best special effects ever seen on television, it’s easy to see why Stranger Things 4 broke the Nielsen streaming record.
Though it’s just been days since we last visited Hawkins, fans have already turned their attention to the upcoming fifth and final season. With many questions still unanswered and the fate of the world in the balance, the wait for season 5 is going to feel very, very long indeed.
SPOILERS: The following contains spoilers for the fourth season of ‘Stranger Things’
Have The Worlds Merged?
Let’s start by addressing the mammoth cliffhanger that the Duffer Brothers left us with at the climax of season 4. Vecna, after claiming his fourth victim, merges the four gates he has created, rocking the town to its core. Though it appears to be a massive earthquake, our reunited characters soon discover that nature around the gates is quickly dying, and the Upside Down seems to be seeping through into our dimension.
What does this mean for the future? Will Demogorgons roam the streets? Will the Mind Flayer come for Will again? And how on earth can Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the rest of the gang stop it? Only time will tell.
Will Max Survive?
In one of the most emotional moments in the entire show, Max (Sadie Sink) died in the arms of her on-again / off-again boyfriend Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) after losing her battle with terrifying villain Vecna. Thankfully, Eleven somehow manages to use her powers to bring Max back to life, and at the end of season four, the no-nonsense skateboarder is trapped in a coma.
She suffered severe injuries at the hands of Vecna, though. Not only did he break one of her arms and legs, but it also appeared as though the monster had blinded Max. It has to be assumed that Max will wake up at some point in the final season, but how will she cope should her injuries turn out to be permanent? Whatever happens, we’re just hoping she and Lucas eventually go to the movies as they planned.
Will The Jonathon / Nancy / Steve Love Triangle Be Resolved?
Season 4 saw the show’s most solid couple stumble into difficult times. After living in separate cities for several months, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) are not sure where they stand with each other. Jonathan no longer wants to go to college with Nancy, but he has no idea how to tell her, and the two spend almost the entire season separated from one another. This separation, however, allows Nancy to grow closer to her old flame Steve (Joe Keery).
Steve eventually tells Nancy he still has feelings for her, but when Nancy finally reunites with Jonathan, they each act as if nothing is wrong. Though feelings are mixed on whether or not Steve and Nancy should get back together, we’re sure this love triangle will be resolved when season five finally arrives on Netflix at some point in the (hopefully not too distant) future.
Will Will Finally Open Up About His Sexuality?
Noah Schnapp delivered a powerhouse performance in the final two episodes of season 4. Though Will finally showed Mike the painting he had been working on, it’s clear that Will is leaving something unsaid, and we can only think it has to do with his sexuality.
In the original pitch deck the Duffer Brothers submitted to Netflix when pitching the show, Will is described as a young boy with ‘sexual identity issues.’ Many fans have speculated that Will secretly loves his best friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard), which would explain why Mike’s crest on the painting is a red heart. No matter what the truth is, we’re hoping Will’s character will be given enough of a focus in season 5 to provide this moment with the respect and bravery it deserves.
Why Didn’t Vecna Die?
If there’s one thing we thought we knew about the many monsters from the Upside Down, it’s that fire is their weakness. Demogorgons, Demodogs, and even the vines of the alternate dimension can all be harmed and killed by fire. Yet somehow, new villain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) is able to survive being both doused in fire and literally shot out of a window. The fire undoubtedly weakened and hurt him, but it did not have the devastating effect that it has on all the other creatures from the Upside Down.
Is Vecna able to withstand fire simply because of his incredible strength, or is it perhaps that the human part of him enabled him to survive somehow? Either way, his survival can only mean bad news for the town of Hawkins.
Will The Russians Continue To Intervene?
For most of season 4, we’re led to believe that the Russians only had one demogorgon that they fed with live prisoners. After Joyce (Winona Ryder) helps Hopper (David Harbor) escape, however, we quickly learn that they have a whole host of monsters from the Upside Down.
Though Joyce, Hopper, and Murray (Brett Gelman) manage to kill all the creatures being held in the prison, it’s safe to assume that Russia’s involvement and interest in the Upside Down will not end here. If anything, they’ll be even more invested in unlocking the secrets of the alternate dimension now they’ve seen just how much damage the monsters can inflict. Do not be surprised to see the Soviet Union’s best soldiers arrive in Hawkins in the final season. And don’t be surprised if Hopper isn’t particularly pleased to see them either.
Who Will Survive?
If one criticism can be leveled at Stranger Things, it’s that over 4 seasons now; not one main character has died yet. Sure, both Eleven and Hopper have supposedly ‘died’ at the end of various seasons, but neither ‘death’ has lasted for more than an episode or two. Many fans expect the Duffer Brothers to really up the stakes in the final season, however, which makes it very unlikely that all of the characters we’ve come to love will make it out with their lives. And with the younger members of the cast now almost adults, nobody will be safe.
Best to stock up on tissues and take the time before season 5 to emotionally prepare ourselves to say goodbye to the heroes of Hawkins.
Will There Be A Happy Ending?
Ok, this is the most important question of them all. After years of risking their lives to save their hometown and even the world, will our favorite characters get the happy ending they deserve? This will likely depend on who survives the final season and how much damage Vecna manages to inflict on the world before the gang manages to stop him. There are, however, some absolute non-negotiable outcomes that we fans need to see.
First, fans would love to see Joyce and Hopper live happily ever after together. Also, Eleven needs to discover her place in the world (please do not make fans watch her get bullied anymore). And most importantly, do not kill Steve Harrington. Seriously. Protect Steve at all costs.
NEXT: ‘Stranger Things’: How ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Influences Make the Story Better