Stranger Things has to answer a lot of questions in Season 5. Spoiler: Will Max survive? What is Vecna up to? Is Hawkins lost? And what will become of Will’s love for Mike?
We made it through the month-long Stranger Things ride. It brought us a lot of heartbreak, sadness, and a bunch of memorable moments. Season 4 was probably the most intense season of teen fantasy, and it had enough stature for a series finale. But it continues with Netflix‘s biggest hit. A 5th and final season of Stranger Things is still to come.
Before Stranger Things Season 5
We pick up the loose threads of the season 4 conclusion and discuss the 5 biggest unanswered questions. Spoilers for Stranger Things season 4 follow, of course.
Question 1: Is Max still alive and if so: how?
In the emotional low point of episode 9, Max once again falls into the clutches of Vecna. This time, Kate Bush couldn’t save her. You don’t even want to look: The demon breaks her bones and sucks the life out of her eyes until only a dead white remains. At the last moment, Eleven and Co. intervene and interrupt the terrible procedure. Unlike the previous attacks, Max’s injuries do not cause immediate death. Max succumbs to them only after a few moments. Two minutes she is clinically dead, then Eleven revives her friend. The Duffer brothers confirm: Max is alive.
The question that remains: What is left of her? When Eleven beams herself into Max’s brain in the hospital, there is only emptiness. Max’s body has survived, but where is her consciousness, her soul? We will definitely see actress Sadie Sink again. Such a narrative effort and then the character is just dead? No, that doesn’t fit. Max’s spirit may have traveled to an Upside Down limbo or the like. Sadie Sink, by the way, is not allowed to reveal. Sorry, of course she “doesn’t know” whether Max is alive or dead.
Question 2: Where is Vecna?
In the finale, it looks for a long time like a resounding defeat for the villain. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has him fully in his grasp after Mike’s love boost and the clique around Nancy (Natalia Dyer) throws Molotov cocktails at Vecna’s real body. But the tough demon doesn’t make it that easy for us. He falls through the window of the house of horrors, gets out of sight of his opponents and flees – humiliated, badly injured, but still victorious and arrived at the destination.
The Stranger Things kids are now in a similar position to the Es kids at the end of Es. They have won a battle but have not destroyed the supposedly superior enemy. Vecna is still out there somewhere, and he wants to complete his work.
Question 3: Do Upside Down and Hawkins merge?
So Vecna reaches the intermediate stage on his path to total destruction with difficulty: the dam between the Upside Down and Hawkins is broken after Max’s murder (the murder counts as complete because Max was clinically dead). What looks like a fatal earthquake to outsiders is actually the first step toward the world’s end. This is made clear in the final scene of the season.
The characteristic upside-down ash rains from the sky and infects the landscape. Healthy flowers rot. There is much to suggest that the gloomy world is spreading like a disease throughout the earth. And that Vecna will accelerate this process in season 5. Until the Upside Down has engulfed the entire world. The Stranger Things makers truly have a knack for atmospheric cliffhangers that leave us with a depressing feeling going into what will likely be another very long hiatus.
3 pertinent bonus questions to ask:
- Does the Hopper plotline in Russia still play a role in season 5? As we know, another gate to the Upside Down was opened there.
- Does the announced time jump make any sense after this cliffhanger? The world we leave will continue to turn by about two years. That would take a lot of momentum out of the story. On the other hand, we could jump right into the post-apocalypse with Demogorgons and Demobats at every turn. That certainly sounds exciting and effective.
- Why is the Upside Down an exact copy of Hawkins frozen in time?
Question 4: Will is in love with Mike, but when does Mike find out?
This was a little weird, the way the writer:s kept throwing us chunks in this question, but then leaving us hanging with a bunch of loose clues. Will is the big black box of season 4, a closed book, see also question 5. He’s in love with his best friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard), under which the conversation with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) on the bus at the latest sets a seal. But the author:s fumbled around a clear naming of the queer, one-sided romance. (How) Will Will’s secret be resolved in Season 5 without turning into an outing spectacle, which is already hard to avoid?
2 Matching bonus questions about this:
- Will season 5 be the queerest Stranger Things season ever? Robin (Maya Hawke) already got her happy ending with her crush Vickie in season 4. Add to that Will’s possible outing.
- And how does the Nancy, Jonathan, Steve (Joe Keery) love triangle play out?
Question 5: What is Will’s role in fighting Vecna?
Let’s get back to the fight against Vecna. Let’s not forget that Will (Noah Schnapp) has the most Upside Down experience in Stranger Things. He knows the Upside Down and its sinister inhabitants, the Mind Flayer and the Demogorgons, better than any other character in the series, even better than Eleven. The series reminds us of this regularly in Season 4. Will is hyper-sensitive when it comes to sensing presences of the Upside Down. It’s a dichotomy somewhat reminiscent of Harry Potter and Voldemort. Does the series tap into this expertise goldmine? If so, Will could become a key in the fight against Vecna. The series kind of owes him that, too.
It is not yet known when Stranger Things season 5 will start. However, we don’t expect a launch before 2024.