Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 is a masterpiece of storytelling according to our season 4 advanced review. But how did things end? Who is Vecna? What is his connection to Eleven and how was he created in the first place? Did Joyce reunite with Hopper after all? What happened to those in The Party? We’ve got all the answers, theories, and more in this ending explained for season 4 volume 1.
1. Who is Vecna?
We come to find out that Vecna is actually Number One.
Originally the Creel youngest son, he found himself disillusioned with life and his family. And when he moved to Hawkins, he found himself connecting with a force within himself that allowed him to hurt those around him. And when he found out that his parents weren’t perfect and that his parents had enlisted the help of Dr. Brenner, he lost it and killed his mother and sister. Leaving his dad to take the blame for their deaths.
He was quickly taken in by Dr. Brenner and given the name of One, the original blueprint for all the special children at the Hawkins lab. Eventually, he grew up, was chipped by Brenner to keep him in control, became an orderly, and manipulated Eleven to grow to her full potential because he saw someone similar in her. He went on a rampage and killed all the children after tricking Eleven to take out the chip controlling him.
After giving his life story to Eleven in the Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 finale, he expected her to join him. What he didn’t know is that Eleven is not a monster like him. And when he went to kill her, she fought back, opened a portal, and pushed him into the Upside Down before it was the Upside Down we know. While falling, he was hit with supernatural like lightning and transformed into the monster Vecna.
Vecna became one with the mysterious entity that lives in the Upside Down. Together they were able to enter the minds of young people who felt insurmountable guilt in their lives and use them to tear open holes into our world. This is what he did to Billy in season 3 and what he did to his other victims in season 4 volume 1.
2. Vecna got Nancy
Vecna let Robin and Eddie escape before grabbing a hold of Nancy. He pulled at the guilt that she felt over Barb’s death, something we didn’t expect Stranger Things to dive into again, and lured Nancy into her death. Now she could be saved like Max was, with the power of music, but Nancy’s guilt for Barb is huge and what are they going to do when they don’t have her favorite song?
Our theory is that while Vecna is showing Nancy the truth (We think he’s interested in Nancy and her inquisitive mind. Plus this is what villains do.) he is allowing Steve and the gang to formulate a plan. And if there’s anything that we learned from the trailer, it’s that there is a scene of Eddie playing his electric guitar on top of the trailer in the Upside Down.
What if Nancy is a metalhead at heart and Steve tells The Party what song is her favorite, because of course he’d know. Then Eddie jumps back into the Upside Down because the police might’ve taken his guitar as “evidence” or some shit” and then plays one of Nancy’s favorites on top of the trailer for some reason? That could pull her out and bring Steve and Hopper closer together.
3. Hopper is reunited with Joyce
After a perilous journey where Joyce traveled into another country, she’s reunited with Hopper in the season 4 volume 1 finale of Stranger Things. Hopper was basically stuck between a rock and a Demogorgon, not knowing how he was going to survive into the next second, before Joyce came around, smashing every button she could to open the doors to the creatures cage and keep him and his new comrade safe.
And just when Hopper thought that he had traded one cage for another, Joyce and Murray appeared. The look on Hopper’s face is absolutely priceless. He’s gone through quite a journey this season and felt like he didn’t deserve the good things in his life because he was the curse. Joyce coming for him is proof that that thought is wrong. He is loved and cared for by those in his life and they think he’s absolutely worth it.
In a super touching scene, Joyce runs up to him and hugs him. And Hopper, shocked as he is, can barely move. He’s shattered and almost can’t believe this is real. He pulls her away, looks at her face to confirm she’s actually there, and then pulls her close. He buries his head in her hat, a smile forming on his lips because he’s with people who love him and one step closer to finding his way back to his daughter, Eleven.
4. Eleven comes to realize she’s not the monster.
For the longest time, Eleven has thought of herself as the monster. She’s thought of herself as the big bad who opened rifts, destroyed lives, and turned Hawkins into the shit that it is. With Vecna’s confession, she now knows that she is not the darkness. She is not the monster. She is the one who sent the monster away and protected the world at such a young age. And with that comes the return of her powers, we can only assume as previous power breaks were small in comparison to this.
That’s not to say that things are going to be A-okay with Eleven from here on out. She is still separated from her friends and family and only has Dr. Brenner by her side to push her forward. She will slide backward when it comes to her progress because that is life. But she’s better equipped to take on Vecna, the military, and anyone else that comes her way in trying to protect her loved ones and everyone she cares about in Hawkins.
The last two episodes of season 4 of Stranger Things will see an Eleven with the power and might to take on the general of the Upside Down. And if she isn’t 100% powered up, then it’s a good thing that she has her friends and family to back her up and get her to a point where they can vanquish Vecna/One for good and get one step closer to destroying the true evil of the Upside Down that drives this whole thing forward.