The long-awaited moment of the final showdown with Vecna has finally arrived! What sauce will Eleven, Dustin, Robin, Steve, Eddie and the others be eaten? It’s time for the quirky recap!
Warning, spoilers! This article reveals key plot elements of Season 4 of Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen Part 2 of Season 4 and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read on!
That’s it, the hour has come. A little over a month after the release of volume 1 of this season 4 of Stranger Things, two XXL episodes come to conclude this season of all dangers. We shivered with dread in front of the horrible Vecna. We dropped our jaws upon learning his true identity and connection to Eleven. And we roll into a ball at the idea of how all this will (badly) end…
Back to where we left off. Mini Eleven – understand Eleven in 1979 at age 8 – all raging anger and runny nose just shipped Peter Ballard aka Henry Creel aka One aka Vecna into the Upside Down. The gate closes with a rather disgusting noise of organic matter. And we stick together with the famous “What did you do ?” of the first episode struck by Dr Brenner, in a cowboy posture, who arrives after the battle and still hasn’t understood a thing…
Nancy, still in a trance, trapped by the curse of Vecna, attends the scene where Brenner has tattooed the wrist of little Henry Creel who becomes One. Vecna gives him a little private tour of his twisted childhood, then of his plans to destroy Hawkins, with very little evidence of psychology. Then he releases her to go tell Eleven that she’s going to have a bad bite. In five minutes, we already have a ball in our stomachs.
Generic. And chills at the sound of the synth, but it does it every time.
Back to Russia. The demogorgon spins caged in the yard with its carnivorous flower head and Joyce heals Hopper’s arm from cover. They are happy to meet again. We are happy too. After the mist in the eyes, Hopper and the others make a discovery creepy to wish: a baby demogorgon attached to an operating table, being the subject of experiments in full vivisection. We seriously hesitate between disgust and a mini gram of compassion for the thing.
Hopper finishes off the beast and discovers the cabinet of horrors behind it with demogorgons raised in vats, like the formaldehyde vats of dingo scientists in the 19th century. Really creepy. They also discover what looks like a portal contained by a sort of vault where thousands of particles of the Upside Down swarm. The same ones that had invaded Will… Not reassuring, but Dmitri has just found a passage to a tunnel. Zou, everyone is gone.
A short electroshock session and Eleven regains her senses within the NINA project. She unbolts and raises the three-tonne metal tank and puts it down delicately like a feather. And still this runny nose problem… but hey, good news: Eleven has her powers back! Dad is happy.
In Nevada, a stoned Jonathan drives the van with Argyle, Mike and Will on board. Everything is normal. Will dreams of winning at the casino – don’t ask why – and Will worries about Eleven. Or rather for him, in the event that Eleven would no longer need him. “Boys…“as the Ricans say.
To cheer her up, Will shows her the famous painting that he kept hidden all this time. And frankly… even if it’s all cute and the explanation that goes with it, the discovery is not quite up to the expectation. Then he launches into a speech about Eleven, being different and feeling out of place and how thanks to Mike, her difference becomes her strength. And there, we guess that Will speaks as well of Eleven as of himself. He has tears in his eyes. And U.S. too. Then he cries. U.S. too.
At the NINA project, Brenner gives us a little short course on the mythology of the series. After dispatching Peter/Henry/One/Vecna to the Upside Down, Eleven fell into a coma. When she woke up, she had lost her memory. But Brenner was doing a dance of inner joy as he realized the extent of his powers. Small problem, the express sending of One in the Upside Down created a portal. And it became the Mouth of Hell as they say in buffy.
Brenner had a feeling Henry was still alive on the other side. And that’s why he sent poor men – whom he used as cannon fodder – to visit the Upside Down and confirm his hunch. Brenner explains to Eleven that Henry/Vecna is about to swallow Hawkins. She leaves straight like an i determined to save the world. Finally Hawkins.
In Hawkins, Nancy tells the others about the nightmarish visions Vecna showed her. And the world is afraid. The gang tries to come up with a plan to kill Vecna under the impulse of Dustin (that genius kid!). Shot that Eleven listens to while doing her astral projection thing. Convenient at a time when there are no smartphones. Max offers to serve as a hook while the others kill Vecna. Good plan, but risky. Eleven is scared, we are scared.
Russia. The tunnel leads well outside the prison. Bingo. And Yuri is particularly annoying.
In Hawkins, the gang decides to raid a gun store. Eddie wears Max’s Michael Myers mask (don’t ask why) and they steal a motorhome. Because why not. Meanwhile, Eleven convinced Brenner and Owens to let her go to Hawkins.
In the motorhome, little folk music in the background, Nancy and Steve look at each other like kittens who want to cuddle. In the back, Lucas and Max are also playing cute carols.
In Russia, Yuri continues to be annoying. But a plan is taking shape to leave the country. In Hawkins, the gang arrives at the crowded gun store, where people seem to be shopping like in a toy store. All is well in the land of Uncle Sam. They leave just as dry after falling on the angry basketball team, led by Jason.
In Nevada, Jonathan, Mike, Will and Argyle are still looking for NINA. And for once, Argyle is good for something (while he’s still stoned). Inside Project NINA, Brenner has Dr. Owens who is on Eleven’s side neutralized.
It’s the great return of the Toxic Dad for a conversation where he accuses Eleven of being the source of all this great drama. But she puts him back in his place from the height of his meter fifty and tells him that she is not the monster. It’s him. Well sent. He drops a small tear in the form of an admission of guilt.
As she turns her back on him, he sticks a needle in her neck. Toxic to the end, Dad. Eleven is finishing her off until she passes out from the drugs Brenner injected her with… Frustration.
In Hawkins, the gang prepares for battle like they did in the movies of the 80s: in DIY mode but with a badass edge. Cute little moment of bromance between Eddie and Dustin. We love bromances and we hope Steve isn’t jealous. No, he’s with Robin and she has a bad feeling… The one we been telling us for days and we don’t like it.
Eleven wakes up. Brenner put a collar on him that inhibits his powers. He treats her like a vulgar lab rat… An alarm sounds: the wicked Lieutenant Colonel Sullivan arrives with his brutes of soldiers. With his dark glasses and his scowl, we clearly don’t want to pat him on the back.
Brenner takes Eleven to safety and exits the military compound. Outside, a Sullivan helicopter awaits them. A sniper fires three times at Brenner. It’s not good, but zero compassion from our side. But it’s Eleven who’s in the line of fire now. We tremble for 30 seconds while the Argyle van arrives at top speed.
Despite her collar, Eleven takes control of the helicopter and crashes it. Big explosion. Eleven’s cry of rage. Badass moment. The next shot, Mike joins Eleven and hugs her. Cute moment.
In a final breath, Brenner, believed to be dead, remotely deactivates Eleven’s collar. Instant redemption? He tells her that she is his family, his child, gently placing his big hand on her face. “Everything I did was for you” he says to her like any self-respecting toxic parent. But she does not grant him the salvation he asks of her and leaves him alone in the desert as he deserves. (Lack of compassion bis)
The frustration on Sullivan’s face when he sees Argyle’s van drive away is heartening. Just like Brenner’s outstretched hand in the direction of Eleven which slips away from him for good as he breathes his last.
In the camper, the mines are serious as they go to war. Literally. Journey’s “Separate Ways” begins to play, making our hearts pound with its dramatic overtones. Erica, Lucas and Max get out of the vehicle and face the terrifying Creel house that has become Vecna’s HQ. The moment is critical and we have goosebumps.