A look at who survives and who does not in season 4, Volume 2.
By Nick Romano July 01, 2022 at 08:00 PM EDT
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Warning: This articlecontains spoilersfrom Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2.
All we kept hearing about Volume 2 of Stranger Things season 4 was that it was bigger and more deadly.
The Duffer Brothers confirmed in an interview with Variety that there would be a "body count" in the final two episodes, which have a total runtime of nearly 4 hours, while star Joseph Quinn (Eddie) described the finale as "just carnage" to The Guardian. The trailer for the two-part finish also teased lines like "your friends have lost" and "it might not work out for us this time." So, was it as fatal for our heroes as it sounded?
Not quite. Only two individuals died in season 4, Volume 2 — unless you count all the unnamed lab workers and soldiers who got shot up in the NINA Project headquarters. So, let's say there were two main characters who didn't make it to the end.
Dr. Martin Brenner/Papa
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Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) are back at it in the 'Stranger Things' season 4 finale episodes.
| Credit: Netflix
Brenner (Matthew Modine) actually dies this time. No seemingly getting devoured by a demogorgon off-screen only to come back three seasons later. Although, it seems we might never find out how Papa survived that season 1 attack.
After regaining her powers in the NINA tank, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is determined to return to Hawkins to save her friends before they get themselves killed by facing Vecna/Henry/One (Jamie Campbell Bower) in the Upside Down. Brenner had other plans. His men beat the heck out of Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser), while Brenner drugs Eleven and puts an electric collar around her neck. He wants to continue their work in the tank so he knows for sure she's strong enough to face Vecna.
Even though Eleven gets some good telekinetic punches in, that's not what kills him. Lt. Col. Jack Sullivan (Sherman Augustus), still believing Eleven is causing the horrors in Hawkins, leads his forces on an assault on Brenner's underground desert lab. Brenner tries carrying Eleven to safety and gets shot up a bunch of times by a sniper in a helicopter — before Eleven uses her powers to blow the crap out of that bird.
Adding more confirmation that he's truly dead this time, Brenner gives a final exhale as he goes still on the ground.
Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) in 'Stranger Things'
| Credit: Tina Rowden/Netflix
Well, Eddie, it was good knowing you while it lasted.
One of the standouts of Stranger Things season 4, Joseph Quinn's Eddie Munson goes out in a blaze of glory. The kids in Hawkins suit up to go back to the Upside Down on an assassination mission. While Max (Sadie Sink) lures Vecna to come try to kill her again through astral projection, Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), and Robin (Maya Hawke) head for the other dimension's Creel House to attack his defenseless body.
Eddie and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) remain crucial for this plan to work. They are in charge of distracting the demo-bats long enough for the others to sneak into Vecna's lair undetected. So Eddie finds his guitar, sets up an amp on the roof of his alt-dimension house, and performs Metallica's "Master of Puppets." But that means the demo-bats have now set their sights on Eddie and Dustin.
The kids lock themselves inside the house with the creatures threatening to break in. To save Dustin, Eddie throws his buddy back through the portal to the real world before luring the winged minions away on a bike through the Upside Down. Not wanting to be a coward, like when he ran away from Chrissy's mangled body in the season 4 premiere episode, Eddie decides he's going to stand his ground and fight. Unfortunately, he does not survive.
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Will Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) reconcile?
| Credit: Netflix
If we're pulling hairs, okay, technically three people died in the finale. But this third one came back to life, so it doesn't really count.
Unbeknownst to her, Eleven telepathically piggybacks into Max's mind and waits for Vecna to emerge. She and Vecna both get the upper hand at various points in the fight, but El is unable to stop Vecna from killing Max. He injures her so badly that, while her contorted body in the real world is lying in the arms of Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) with bloody eyes and broken limbs, Max dies for 10 seconds or so. Eleven's astral self is able to use her powers to bring Max back, but the girl is left in a coma at the end of the finale with no signs of recovery.
And because Max did die, that was all Vecna needs. The gang figures out Vecna's master plan: destroy the barrier between their world and the Upside Down. To do that, he needs to kill four individuals, each one leaving behind a new crack to the dimension at their murder site. With Max dead, even for seconds, the barrier drops and the Upside Down crashes into the world of Hawkins. How is anyone going to fix that big problem? That's for the fifth and final season to determine.
Looking back, everyone was worried about Steve being the one who might meet his end. The Duffers had even said if Steve does die in Vol. 2, it wouldn't be from the demo-bat bites he withstood. The real surprise, perhaps, is that none of the mainstay players were killed off. Not even Vecna, the big bad, died by the time the credits rolled. Perhaps this is all just setting things up for an even deadlier fifth and final season.
Stranger Thingsseason 4 is now streaming in its entirety on Netflix.
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Stranger Things 2
Netflix’s hit sci-fi series follows a group of kids in the '80s battling supernatural forces in Hawkins, Ind.