Major spoilers ahead for the Stranger Things Season 4 finale. After a month of guessing who would (and wouldn’t) survive the Stranger Things Season 4 finale on July 1, viewers finally have the very sad answer. Moments after one final epic musical moment (Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets,” in case you were wondering) Eddie Munson sacrificed himself to help give his friends a fighting chance against Vecna.
The newcomer’s death quickly became one of the show’s most heartbreaking moments — but it’s far from the only pivotal plot twist. In fact, one major character’s fate still hangs in the balance. Here are several more major moments from the Stranger Things cliffhanger ending, explained — because it’s time to start theorizing about Season 5.
Why Is Max In A Coma? Eleven & Vecna’s Fight, Explained
The entirety of Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 was a pretty rough ride for Max. Once she realizes that she’s still “marked” by Vecna — and thus, could be key to luring him in for the kill — she decides to go and face the monster one more time, sans the protective power of Kate Bush.
And it works! For a few minutes. Max is armed with a happy memory of the Snowball Dance with Lucas — and some help from Eleven, who taps into her friend’s mind even though she’s not physically in Hawkins yet. Lucas is on standby to help Max escape Vecna if things get too dicey; as he tells her earlier in Episode 8, “The second you start to lift, I’m calling in Kate Bush.” (They even shake and say “deal,” as if they’re making their own little “Deal with God.” Ouch!)
Unfortunately, Lucas isn’t able to stop Max from lifting when that moment finally comes — because their little séance is interrupted by Jason, who steps on Max’s Walkman. By the time Eleven is finally able to defeat Vecna, Max has been through it: limbs cracked, eyes bleeding, the whole very scary deal. She tells Lucas she can’t see or feel anything before she dies in his arms.
Eleven is able to heal her back to life using happy memories the two shared together — but as Lucas later explains in the hospital, she was dead for a whole minute. And she may not ever wake up from her coma! But on a technical level, she’s alive — which should give you hope until next season. Sadie Sink seems to be an optimist, herself, when it comes to all the trauma Max has endured this season. As she told The Hollywood Reporter before Volume 2 dropped, “The heart of the season and the entire show is based upon the idea that friendship is stronger than fear.” Maybe it’s stronger than a coma, too?
Are Their Shipping Developments With Steve & Nancy, Or Mike & Will?
Yes! While the Stranger Things Season 4 finale didn’t start or end any relationships, it definitely gave shippers plenty of fodder to work with. During their road trip to rescue Eleven, Will tells Mike how much Eleven has been missing her beau — but it sort of sounds like he could be talking about himself, too. “These past few months, she’s been so lost with you,” Will says. “She’s just so, different from other people, and when you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake. But you make her feel like she’s not a mistake at all — like she’s better for being different. And that gives her the courage to fight on.”
Jonathan picks up on his brother’s emotional moment, later giving him the sweetest pep talk ever. “I’ll always be here,” he says. “No matter what. Because you’re my brother, and I love you, and there is nothing in this world — OK, absolutely nothing — that will ever change that.” (No, you’re crying.)
Back in Hawkins, Steve takes Eddie’s advice (RIP Eddie!) and broaches the relationship talk with Nancy — even telling her that he’s dreamed about having a family with her. Jonathan returns at the end of the finale, of course, so things are complicated. For now, though, Steve just seems content to watch Robin and Vickie strike up a potential flirtationship.
Where Is Murray After Joyce & Hopper’s Escape?
The biggest ship update, of course, was Joyce and Hopper. During Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2, the pair finally get together — and get out of Russia, too. Though some fans were concerned about whether Murray might die in Volume 2 (who were we not concerned about?), he actually fends off the Demogorgon attack with Joyce and Hopper and is implied to escape the prison with them, too, even though we don’t actually see him back in Hawkins.
What Happened To Hawkins?
Speaking of that charming little town! In the final moments of the Stranger Things Season 4 finale, Will feels a creeping sensation and realizes that Vecna is very much still kicking — and as our group discovers in horror, the Upside Down (and all its attendant storms and decrepitude) is infiltrating the primary dimension. “I 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,” Will tells Mike. “We have to kill him.”
In an interview with Variety, Matt Duffer explained that the full significance of the Upside Down “is actually one of the few questions that we’ve raised this season that isn’t going to get answered in Volume 2,” but promised that it’s “setting the stage for some big reveals in our final season.” Here’s hoping that comes a little sooner than the gap between Season 3 and Season 4, of course.