This article or section reveals details from the fourth season.
Outside the church, Yuri fixes Katinka and tells Murray and Dmitri that the helicopter might work if he gives it another try. The stalling of the engine leads Murray and Dmitri to think Yuri is purposely sabotaging Katinka to get his award. Inside the church, Hopper and Joyce wait for a callback from the U.S. Waiting for the phonecall, Joyce notices Hopper's scarred wounds and expressess concern of his time being confined in the prison with Hopper reassuring and tells her that it has given him some time to reflect. He tells Joyce that he never should have sent the message, but Joyce reaffirms that it was her choice to pursue the rescue mission and that she would do it again. The pair advances their relationship as they kiss with one another before the phone rings.
Back in Hawkins, Dustin, Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Eddie go over the plan again with Phase One initiates when Nancy, Steve, and Robin got Erica's signal at the playground outside the Creel House, and she'll signal Max and Lucas inside the house when the trio is ready. Phase Two begins with Max baiting Vecna, and distracts him by putting herself in a trance, Phase Three starts with Dustin and Eddie drawing the demobats away from the house and clear the trio an opening. Phase Four ends with Nancy, Steve, and Robin head to Vecna's lair and kills Vecna's physical body while he is using his powers. Arriving back at the Forrest Hills Trailer Park, the group travels through the hole in the Munson trailer. In the Upside Down, as the two groups split up, Steve tells Dustin and Eddie if anything goes wrong, they will have to abort. Eddie and Steve acknowledges this and bids the trio as Nancy, Steve, and Robin walk off to find the Creel House.
At a gas station, Jonathan calls and begs for a plane ticket to Alaska to find Joyce and informed her of recent events. El takes notice of a billboard featuring a woman piggyback her daughter, and comes up with an idea, recollecting the time she went to her mother and Billy's minds in the Void. Jonathan tells Mike and Will that the earliest flight is tomorrow morning. Eleven tells them that she has a way to protect Max from their current location. El explains that since Vecna will be in Max's mind, she will be in there as well and can "piggyback" her mind to protect her. Will suggests going back to the motel that they had passed earlier, but Mike tells them they won't have enough salt. Argyle, measuring Eleven's size, tells the confused crew he knows a place that has 600 pounds of salt, and they soon head off.
In the Creel House, Lucas, Max, and Erica search for Vecna's presence. They search each floor in silence and uses notepads to communicate. Erica finds him on the first floor and alerts Lucas and Max. Conducting Phase One, Erica runs out to the playground. A man walking his dog, seeing the lights from the home, notices Erica and calls it in to Andy, who alerts Jason.
In Russia, Hopper tells the others the caller on the end of the phone was a friend of Dr. Owens and told her he had Eleven and Joyce's children prepare to fight an evil in Hawkins, but they all went off-grid. Murray suspects that it's the KGB again, but Joyce says that the particles they saw in the prison were alive, meaning there's a Gate opening in Hawkins. Murray says that even if Yuri was able to fix Katinka, the earliest they'd get home would be late tomorrow. But Joyce says that the particles are connected to the hive mind, and they can buy time for the kids by killing the army inside the prison. Murray objects at first but the trio relents into going back the prison. Hopper tells Dmitri to do whatever it takes to get Yuri to fix Katinka while he, Joyce, and Murray go back with the help of their weaponry, including a flamethrower.
The California crew arrive at a local Surfer Boy Pizza store. Argyle tries to convince to the fellow Surfer Boy Pizza cashier and explains that they need his kitchen. The employee is somewhat hesitant, until Jonathan offers Argyle's Purple Palm Tree Delight joint as payment, and soon allows the crew to get to work. Will and Jonathan fill the freezer with salt and water while Mike crafts pair of sunglasses from the van. Meanwhile, Eddie and Dustin barricade the trailer with scrap metal, and Eddie is ecstatic to find an Upside Down version of his guitar in his bedroom.
In the decaying woods of the Upside Down, Nancy, Steve, and Robin travel to Creel House. There, Steve begins to reminisce about his stupidity and confidence from before and thanks Nancy for waking him up from his stupidity two years prior. He tells Nancy that she had changed his life for the better, but wonders had he had changed before he met Nancy if they still would have been a couple. Steve reveals to Nancy his dream of traveling across the country with his family involved Nancy by his side, but knows it's too late. They're interrupted by Robin telling them they've arrived at the Creel home and see Erica's light at the playground.
Arriving at the prison, Joyce, Jim, and Murray notice the lack of guards in the prison. Dmitri watches over Yuri and berates him for treating the Americans so coldly when they've warned them about an evil that can harm their families and lives. Dmitri then tells him how he was told how great the "Peanut Butter Smuggler" once was, and causes Yuri to take out the missing piece he needed and help.
Back in the Hawkins' Creel House, Max and Lucas sit as they wait for the next phase in the living room. Through their notepads, Max tells Lucas she's glad he's here with her. Lucas asks her if she wants to go the movies with him this Friday and accepts his invitation by showing a crude drawing of her and Lucas going to the movies together. Erica then flashes her light at the playground to Lucas and Max, and once Lucas flashes back, she confirms to Robin through the Upside Down to move to phase two as they wait for Vecna to take the bait. Max puts on her sneakers and approaches the lantern flickering where Vecna is. Max attempts to call and taunt Vecna, but is confused as to why there's no response. The lantern's light fades out as Max and Lucas slowly walk upstairs.
Back at Surfer Boy Pizza, Mike finishes his crafted sunglasses. As they laugh and flirt, Mike attempts to tell El of his feelings, but is interrupted by Argyle. Will sadly observes them from afar. Jonathan, taking notice, asks Will if he remembers when he was little and asked Jonathan to get a Lego figure named Larry out of his nose. As they laugh, Jonathan says that he misses Will asking him for help and advice, feeling he doesn't do it anymore, but also apologizes for being stoned a lot of the times when Will needed him. As Will gets emotional, Jonathan emphasizes to him that he's here for him, and that he'll love him no matter what or what he does. Will embraces his brother, and Jonathan reassures him that it'll be okay. They soon finish preparing the freezer and inform the others. El places herself in the freezer, and quickly finds Max and Lucas in the Void. She tells the boys that Max's plan isn't working.
Max and Lucas are now in the attic as they stand near a lantern. Max tells Vecna she knows she can hear him, and sits down without her Walkman. She tells Vecna how what he said about Max wanting Billy to die was true, as there were nights she'd pray something bad to happen to her stepbrother since he made her life miserable every chance he got. She admits that the day Billy died, she hesitated to run to him because she didn't know whether he truly deserved to be saved. She says she can't forgive herself, and at night, she now prays she could be taken instead, admitting to Vecna that she wants him to disappear. Lucas asks Max if that's the truth and if she ever thinks those thoughts about him. Max is confused as to why Lucas is talking but he tells her normal people don't fantasize about killing other people. Lucas begins to back Max in a corner, telling her he's glad she'll be the final sacrifice that will break the world. Lucas, in reality, attempts to wake up a cursed Max. El tells the boys in the Void that Vecna has Max. In Max's hallucination, she hits Lucas who turns into Vecna as she bolts downstairs. Holding Max's hand, El concentrates and retreats back to a skate park in the 1970s. Back in reality, Lucas signals Erica through the window, and she tells Robin to initiate Phase Three.
Robin informs Dustin, and he sets up the speakers on top of the Munson trailer. Eddie begins to play Metallica's Master of Puppets to lure the Demobats away. Nancy, Steve, and Robin approach the Creel house as the bats are led away. In Max's hallucination, she attempts to escape the house but finds the doors boarded up. In reality, Jason and Andy speed towards the playground as Andy chases Erica away. When Max opens a door, she finds a hallucination of Billy in the sauna room yelling at her. Andy catches up to Erica and tackles her. As Billy breaks through the door, Max thinks through her memories and transports herself back to the Snow Ball dance in 1984. As the swarm of Demobats approach, Dustin and Eddie countdown before sprinting into the trailer and cheering over how metal his performance was.
In Russia, Joyce, Hopper, and Murray crawl through the hole and finds the contained creatures are now broken free. Armed with a flamethrower, the trio to find the security room riddled with dead bodies and a barely breathing general. Murray asks what had happened, and translates to Joyce and Hopper that the monsters had broken it and were led by "the shadow", before succumbing to his wounds. Through the security cameras, the crew realize the Mind Flayer has begun controlling the Demogorgon and the Demodogs.
In the Upside Down, Steve, Nancy, and Robin open the Creel house door and navigates carefully. El walks through the skate park and eventually finds Max as a younger child, and tells the boys that she can't interact with her. When Will asks if anything is off in the memory, El finds an out of place DJ stationon top of the bridge. Max sits at a table in the Snow Ball and waits, only for the decorative balloons beginning to explode blood. The record on the DJ table warps as it begins to affect in the memory of the skate park as well. In the Snow Ball memory, the banner and flowers begin to decay as flakes begin to fall. Thunder and lightning begin to surround both memories. In reality, Lucas keeps attempting to signal Erica. Erica is being held in an arm hold by Andy, who threatens to break her arms. Lucas turns around to find Jason approaching Max, believing it to be the same ritualistic sacrifice that killed Chrissy. Lucas tries to stop him, but Jason holds him at gunpoint. After forcing him to empty his pockets, Jason dictates him to wake Max up. Lucas refuses and tells him waking her up could kill them all, but Jason says he'll kill him if he doesn't comply.
At the Russian prison, the trio arrive in the courtyard with a plan to bait the Upside Down's creatures into the arena and set it on fire to help out El and the kids. Murray is given the flamethrower while Joyce is told to monitor the security system. Hopper plans to lead a Demodog out from the prison laundry room, but Joyce is haunted by Bob's encounter with the Demodogs that resulted in his death. Hopper reassures her that while he'll die someday, but not today.
In the Upside Down Munson trailer, Dustin and Eddie have weapons in hand as the bats crash against the windows, with Eddie realizing they're on the roof. Hearing noise from the vents on top, a bat pops through and causes the pair to stab at it vigorously. At the Creel House, the trio crawl up the stairs and are about to enter the attic when a random earthquake alerts Vecna of the trio's presence. The vines take Robin and pin her against the wall, and soon take Nancy and Steve as they attempt to help.
Hopper approaches the laundry room and baits the Demodog to follow him and flees through the halls. In the Munson trailer, Eddie places his garbage can lid over the hole, but it proves to be futile as the bats make their way through Eddie's bedroom vents. Closing the bedroom door, Dustin climbs up the rope back to Hawkins' version of the Munson trailer. Eddie is about to climb, but quickly comes up with a plan to buy more time. He cuts off the rope and pulls away the mattress to protect a distressed Dustin, and leaves outside. Eddie bikes away and causes the bats to follow behind.
At the Snow Ball, Max barricades the doors using tables and chairs, but turns around to find them all gone and the Creel House door in place of it. Vecna begins to taunt Max as she attempts to find more happy memories, but it's interrupted by visions of her friends failing to fight back against him. Vecna pops behind Max and throws her against the wall. Back in reality, Lucas attempts to explain to Jason who Vecna is, and Jason asks if the Hellfire Club had summoned him. Lucas explains that Hellfire isn't a cult but Jason asks why Chrissy was at Eddie's trailer. Lucas tells him that Chrissy needed to buy drugs which angers Jason. Lucas rephrases and tells him Chrissy was seeing visions that Vecna enforced it on. Jason says he knows Lucas is lying since Chrissy would've told him what was going on. Lucas tells Jason he's wrong about Eddie but Jason corrects him and says he was wrong about Lucas, regretting ever let him join the team. Lucas retaliates that he should've never join, and realizes that normal is actually a raging psychopath. Enraged, Jason tells Lucas he has five seconds to wake Max or he shoots. As he counts, Lucas charges towards him and tackles Jason. Andy, distracted by the noise, is incapacitated by Erica who soon bolts back to the Creel house. Jason and Lucas begin to brawl, and Jason initially has the upper hand. In the process, he breaks Max's Walkman. In the Snow Ball, Vecna approaches Max and tells her while she's brave but like everyone else, she'll eventually break. Before Vecna can kill Max, he is thrown back into the air by an unseen force, revealed to be Eleven. Vecna, recognizes her, is thrown into the bleachers.
Eddie leads the swarm through the trailer park, taunting them. Dustin grabs a chair and hoists himself through the portal, inadvertently injuring his leg as he falls through. A bat hits Eddie and causes him to crash, initially causing him to run. But Eddie halts when he thinks back to how he ran when Chrissy was murdered, and decides to stand his ground.
At the prison, Hopper runs through the halls as Joyce watches from the cameras and notices tasers hung on the wall. Back at the Creel House, Erica runs to the attic while Jason and Lucas continue to fight. Back in Max's memories, El and Max reunites although Max questions if El is really real. Their reunion is interrupted when Vecna rises up from the bleachers. El threatens to kill Vecna again if he touches Max again. Vecna questions whether El really killed him, and tells her he's glad El is here with El and Vecna battling against another. At Surfer Boy Pizza, they realize El is fighting against Vecna. Back in the Upside Down, Dustin limps outside the trailer and sees Eddie swarmed by the bats. El is thrown around by Vecna with Max attempting to intervene but is knocked out by Vecna. Vecna captures her and informs that he wants her to watch before killing her. He sends her to his mindscape and traps her. Vecna brings an unconscious Max and hoists Max up. As a last ditch effort, El informs Vecna of Brenner's death as she understands why he was made into who he is. While he admits that Brenner did hurt him, he says Brenner was not a monster, but just an ordinary man. His need to control both Eleven and Vecna proved to be futile as it was El that shapes him into Vecna. Vecna explains when he was sent to the Upside Down where he thought to be Hell turned out to be a world untouched by humans, and was fascinated by the dimension's biggest creature, the Mind Flayer. He needs an opening, which was what Eleven inadvertently did back in 1983. When Eleven resisted by destroying the Demogorgon in 1983 and closing the Gate in 1984, Vecna then sought her powers by using the Mind Flayer's proxy form to attack El in 1985. El attempts to persuade Vecna to stop but is told that it's over and her friends have lost; Lucas continues to be beaten by Jason while Erica is locked out, Hopper is tackled by a demodog, Eddie is pinned down by demobats and is slowly mauled. Nancy, Steve, and Robin are being choked out by vines. Vecna tells El that Hawkins will fall as he plans to built something new out of it. As Vecna begins his killing of Max, Max's physical body begins to float.
At Surfer Boy Pizza, Mike sees El hyperventilating and tells them to put her on the pizza table. As she chokes, Mike calls out to her. Will reminds Mike that he is the heart of the Party, causing Mike to finally tell her he loves her. El, listening, becomes emotional as Mike apologizes as he's afraid that one day, El will realize she won't need him anymore, and expressing his feelings will make their departure hurt more. Mike tells El that his life started the day he found El in the woods, and that he loves her regardless of who she is, with or without her powers, and that she is his superhero. Motivated by this, El breaks free of the vines' grasp. In reality, Lucas hits Jason's head against the wall and finally knocks him unconscious. Lucas, however, is left horrified as Max's arms and legs break and her eyes slowly bleed. Eleven finally breaks free and throws Vecna away from Max.
In Russia, Joyce runs to Hopper and tases the Demodog on him to death. As they embrace, Hopper and Joyce run as the Demogorgon sprints towards them. Arriving at the courtyard, the couple is cornered by the monsters when Murray calls for them on top of the viewing stand and lights up the flamethrower onto them. This causes Vecna to shake violently, while also causing the Demobats surrounding Eddie to fall and the vines to release Steve, Nancy, and Robin. The trio gather their weapons and once again head to the attic. The Demogorgon, the only monster alive, approaches Hopper, who grabs a sword following running out of ammo. Nancy, Steve, and Robin find Vecna's body in the attic. With Eleven, Vecna tells her that she thinks she and her friends have won, but it is just the beginning of the end. Hopper runs to the Demogorgon and decapitates it. Steve throws a molotov at Vecna's body and lights him on fire, which causes Vecna and his mindscape to vanish around Eleven. As Vecna stands up, Robin throws another molotov at him, while Nancy shoots Vecna multiple times, causing him to fall out of the window and onto the ground. At the prison, Murray cheers while Joyce and Hopper watch in shock as a functioning Katinka arrives, driven by Yuri and Dmitri. Nancy, Steve, and Robin arrive outside the Creel house to find Vecna's body gone, with only singes remaining.
Dustin limps towards a mortally wounded Eddie, who is gushing blood. Eddie, choking on his blood, says he didn't run away this time and makes a tearful Dustin promise to look after the Hellfire Club. Telling him that he loves him, Eddie dies as Dustin cries. Erica breaks through the attic lock and is horrified to find Lucas holding a mutilated Max in his arms. He tells her to call an ambulance as she bolts down the stairs. Max tells Lucas she can't see or feel anything, her eyes covered in blood. El, in the Void, cries alongside Lucas as Max says she's not ready to die. Lucas sobs hysterically as he calls for Erica when Max succumbs to her injuries.
In the Upside Down, the Creel House's clock chimes four times as Robin, Nancy, and Steve realizes Max is gone. Suddenly, the house begins to shake as the trio holds onto the banister. In the Creel House on the other side, Lucas pulls Max away as a large, red crack forms within the middle of the attic, quickly gaining momentum as it tears through Jason, killing him. The crack tears through the Creel home and continues onward with the remaining cracks formed from each murder rip open and tear through Hawkins, causing massive destruction and mayhem everywhere. At the Wheeler home, Karen runs to Holly as their house shakes violently. The four tears meet at the center of Hawkins, the library, as it explodes and causes a wave of clock chimes to ring through. Back in Surfer Boy Pizza, Mike tearfully whispers to El that he know she's in there and needs to wake up. In the Void, El sits in silence as Lucas cradles Max's body. Not willing to let her go, El uses her abilities to restart Max's heart.
Two days later, the California crew arrived in Hawkins, only to find numerous citizens leaving the town. The opening of the Upside Down is perceived as an earthquake through the media and the townspeople with 22 casualties result from the disaster. At the Wheeler home, Karen begins packing while helping Nancy, Steve, Dustin, and Robin load up Steve's car with donations for the Red Cross at Hawkins High. They're interrupted with the arrival of the California crew, and everyone embraces. Karen reunites with her son Mike. Jonathan reunites with Nancy and tells her that he knows a lot more that she thinks, and apologizes for not reaching out more since he couldn't risk contact. Dustin embraces Will and El, who ask where Lucas is, cause Dustin to tell them what has happened.
At the Hawkins Memorial Hospital, Max is in a comatose state while Lucas and Erica sit by her bedside. The Party arrives, and Lucas embraces Mike, Will, and El as he tells them the doctors aren't sure when Max will wake since it was a miracle she's even alive; her heart stopped for over a minute and she died clinically. El sits on Max's bed, holding her hand and whispering that she's here.
At Hawkins High School, Steve, Robin, and Dustin arrive with donations as they see how many people are homeless and injured. Offering their services, Steve is sent to comb through the clothing donations, while Robin is sent to make sandwiches. Vickie pops out from the kitchen and is caught off guard that Robin is there. Her discombobulated nature and ranting leads her to apologize to Robin, who is amused and tells her she relates to her, causing Steve to smile from a distance as he watches Vickie and Robin chat away. Dustin has been sent to give water to the people, but stops when he sees Wayne Munson put up missing posters for Eddie. When Dustin approaches, Wayne is initially cold when asked about Eddie, believing him to be like everyone else, but Dustin stops him and tells him he was with him when the earthquake happened. When Wayne asks where he is, Dustin tearfully pulls out Eddie's guitar pick and tells him he's so sorry. Dustin comforts Wayne by telling him that he wasn't at all how everyone portrayed him, and that he fought so hard to protect a town that hated him, hailing him as a hero.
Eleven, Mike, Will, Nancy, Jonathan, and Argyle arrive at Hopper's cabin in the Surfer Boy Pizza van, and decide to spruce it up. Outside, while Jonathan and Nancy board up the windows, they apologize for not being there for one another. Jonathan asks if things between them are alright, to which Nancy hesitantly says yes. Nancy asks if Jonathan ever got his college acceptance letter, to which Jonathan lies and says it hadn't arrived yet. Mike and Will discuss El's struggle to fight, with Mike hoping that Vecna is dead. Will says though Vecna is hurt, he's still alive, and that now that he's in Hawkins, he can feel the presence of Vecna on his neck. Will had thought it was the Mind Flayer, but realizes it was Vecna who simply used the Mind Flayer as a puppet and tells Mike he won't stop until he's taken everyone, but Mike tells him that they'll find a way. Their conversation is interrupted when a car approaches the cabin. It's revealed that back in the hospital, El had attempted to locate Max's presence in the Void, but couldn't find her anywhere. Suddenly, El hears a large figure approaching her door, and is shocked to see it's Hopper. She breaks down in tears and the two embrace as El never stopped believing he was alive with the two rekindle their father-daughter relationship. Hearing noise outside, El runs out to see Joyce, and the two hug. Hopper and Joyce were given a ride by one of Owen's agents. Mike approaches Hopper, who says he's grown and the two embrace. Suddenly, Will begins to feel goosebumps on his neck as he looks to the sky to see looming clouds. The group take notice as they look and El sees gray particles falling out of the sky. Meanwhile, all over Hawkins, the people take notice as well; Karen and Holly at the Wheeler house, Lucas and Erica at the hospital, and Steve, Robin, Vickie, Dustin, and Wayne at Hawkins High. Joyce, Hopper, El, Mike, Will, Nancy, and Jonathan walk their way to a field over Hawkins, seeing the clouds stemming from the cracks of the Upside Down, with red lightning striking out. El takes notice of the field slowly dying as the group realizes that the Upside Down is beginning its invasion on the world.
- "Master of Puppets" by Metallica - Covered by Eddie Munson as an auditory distraction in the Upside Down, and was dedicated to Chrissy.
- "Every Breath You Take" by The Police/"Dream A Little Dream of Me" by Ella Fitzgerald - Max transports herself to her favorite memory, the Snow Ball, only to find it infected by Vecna's presence.
- "Running Up That Hill (TOTEM Remix)" by Kate Bush - El defeats Vecna in the Mind Lair.
- "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die" by Moby - Eddie dies in Dustin's arms. Erica discovers Lucas cradling a dying Max, and runs to call an ambulance. El, in the Void, and Lucas sob hysterically as Max succumbs to her injuries.
- "Deep" by Peter Sandberg - Hopper and El reunite; Joyce embraces El, while Hopper embraces Mike.
- "The First I Love You" - Joyce and Hopper embrace their romantic feelings and kiss.
- "Portal Drill" - Vecna starts to invade Max's happy memory.
- "Aftermath" - El, Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle arrive in Hawkins to discover many of the residents fleeing and the town a complete wreck.
- "Eight Fifteen" - El, Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle arrive at the Wheeler home and reunite with Dustin, Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Karen.
- The title of the episode was revealed on November 6, 2021, on the occasion of Stranger Things Day.
- Post-production for the episode took a long time and wasn't completed till just a few hours before release, as it was confirmed by the Duffer Brothers that they even added 20 VFX shots moments before Vol 2 dropped. 
- According to the Duffer Brothers, this episode has more visual effects than the entirety of Season 3.
- This episode currently holds the title for having the longest runtime in the entire series.
- The Snow Ball makes its return through Max's memories.
- Will is confirmed to have feelings for Mike, and Jonathan is shown to know and love him regardless.
- Joyce and Hopper are confirmed to have romantic feelings for one another, embracing their pining for one another and becoming a couple.
- Confirmed by the Stranger Things writers, Eddie telling Dustin, "I love you, man.", Lucas yelling "Erica, help!", and Hopper kissing Joyce on the head while escaping the prison was all unscripted.
- This is the first season finale where the characters have ultimately lost; Vecna, though injured by Nancy, Robin, Steve, and Eleven, is confirmed by Will to still be alive, and ultimately succeeded in opening a gateway between worlds through the four portals.
- Max's fate is left in the air; unlike previous seasons' that left main character's fates in the air (Eleven in the first season finale, and Hopper and third season finale), Max is left in a comatose state, her bones broken and her mind empty in the Void. It's also currently unknown if she's completely blind, since her eyes weren't gouged out by Vecna, rather they bled and her pupils went into her head.
- The doodle Max drew of her and Lucas at the movies was taped next to her hospital bed by Lucas.
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