Ever since Stranger Things 4 volume 1 wrapped up and left us with a lot to ponder, we’ve been running up that hill in our heads, wondering how it’s going to all go down. But because we’re possibly overthinking the next two episodes — yes, Stranger Things 4 volume 2 is a mere two-parter — we’ve racked up an unlucky number of queries for the Matt and Ross Duffer, aka The Duffer Brothers, the guys who are pulling all the strings in the Upside Down.
From potentially killed-off Hawkins kids to the ins and outs of how this reality beneath ours was created, this Stranger Things 4 volume 2 has a lot of answers to deliver. Hopefully, they don’t kick some of these down the road to Stranger Things 5, which is likely due out by the time the gang’s graduated college.
So, without further preamble, here are the 13 Stranger Things 4 questions that we need answered in volume 2.
1. Who created the Upside Down?
At the end of episode 7, we saw Eleven throw Henry Creel against the wall of the Hawkins Lab, creating the Upside Down in the process. Or did it already exist and she merely hurled Creel/Vecna into it?
One reason to think it was created at the moment is that there are obvious connections between Creel and this netherworld — not least the fact that the Mind Flayer strongly resembles a spider, and young Henry is obsessed with black widows.
On the flip side, it is possible that Creel was plunged into the Upside Down, but has in some way been able to shape it since he’s been in there. Hopefully this will be explained in the remaining episodes (or at least in season 5). — Marc McLaren
2. What is the relationship between Henry Creel and the Mind Flayer?
Similarly, there’s good reason to think that Creel/Vecna either created the Mind Flayer or can control it in some way. Chiming clocks are heard whenever Vecna is about to enter the mind of a victim, and as eagle-eared viewers have pointed out to Den of Geek (opens in new tab), chiming clocks can also be heard when Will first encounters the demogorgon in S1 ep1 and when Billy meets the Mind Flayer in S3 ep2.
Could this be a signifier that there’s more to the relationship than just the spidery form? To further add weight to it, there’s the fact that Billy — who was best buddies with the Mind Flayer — is seemingly well known to Vecna too, featuring in Max’s vision when she nearly dies in S4 ep4. — MMc
3. Why is the Upside Down stuck in 1983?
This is a slightly complicated question, with possible connotations for question one above. We know that the Upside Down is stuck in 1983 — specifically, November 6, 1983. That’s because when Nancy, Steve, Eddie and Robin visit the alternate version of the Wheeler House, Nancy found her diary, and that was the final entry. However, it’s not entirely clear why it’s in 1983 rather than March 1986 (when season 4 takes place) or September 1979 (when Eleven threw Henry Creel into the Upside Down).
One explanation is that November 6, 1983 is the date on which Eleven first encountered the demogorgon and opened a portal to the Upside Down. It could be that before that date, the Upside Down was the Hell-like world we see Vecna form in, but that once Eleven opened a connection between the worlds, the dark mirror-image version of Hawkins was born. — MMc
4. How did Nancy ‘fall’ into Vecna’s clutches?
Nancy Wheeler’s had an up and down season. Constantly deflecting questions about her and Jonathan’s seemingly not-there relationship, dispelling Robin’s notions that she might still like Steve (which she totally does, and needs to get over herself before something happens to either of them) and then falling into Vecna’s clutches. Yes, right when our gang inside the Upside Down was about to get right-side up, Nancy got pulled right back (just when you think you’re out, eh?).
Vecna first put Nancy in a trance, and then she was haunted by the memory of Barb (RIP to a real one). Once she escaped, she got a behind-the-brain tour of Henry Creel’s life and childhood. I bring all of this up because this makes it seem like Vecna can strike at any random moment, especially if you’re in the Upside Down.
I hope our heroes bring their favorite tunes, and enough batteries, with them for next time. Greater clarity on the “how” of this situation will definitely make Vecna spookier, and raise the stakes for season 4. — Henry T. Casey
5. What purpose will the Mike & co. story serve?
While Will Byers has had a rough go the entire series of Stranger Things, the whole “boys on the run” storyline involving Mike Wheeler, Will, Jonathan and Jonathan’s herbally-proficient friend Argyle feels like utterly wasted time.
While Mike should be trying to help El, especially with how rough things were left once El’s lies about her popularity were exposed at the roller-rink incident, we’re struggling to see what point these guys serve.
Sure, it’s excellent that they got us to see Dustin’s sweetie Suzie hacking in real time, but aside from that pleasantry (with scenes that felt copied out of Home Alone), we’re wondering what the hell these guys are contributing to the whole scheme. Is it all just a convoluted way of moving their character pieces across the veritable D&D map that is Stranger Things 4? — HTC
6. What the heck is going on with this Demogorgon?
Are Demogorgons the new wild animals of Russia? Hopper’s storyline seems to be serving one big question: get a better understanding of what makes these beasts tick. We already knew they hate fire, but it feels like this Demogorgon Fight Club held in the Russian prisons is going to give us some new understanding.
Or was it just a way to explain away what seemed like Hopper’s death, break Eleven mentally so she had a hard time getting her powers back and give Joyce and Murray something to do? Oh, and how the heck did they find and capture this Demogorgon? — HTC
7. What will get Hawkins’ most paranoid to stop their witch-hunt?
I know South Park hasn’t aired in Hawkins yet, but it was kind of both hilarious and depressing to see the townsfolk go full “theystoleourjobs!” with the mindless paranoia that’s been raised by dumb jock Mason Dye.
But since the townsfolk seem ready to raise their flaming pitchforks in anger, one wonders what can get them to be silenced? There’s no way that Chrissy (one of Vecna’s early victims of the season) can be saved, right? How will the gang prove Eddie Munson’s innocence? Or is the complete absence of proof all Eddie really needs? — HTC
8. How will Eleven get her full powers back?
It’s not fully clear why Eleven lost her powers to begin with. She had two super-traumatic experiences in succession, nearly dying in an attack from the Mind Flayer remnant and losing the only loving father figure she’s ever known.
Eleven’s powers have always been tied to her emotional state, and while she still has some fraction of her abilities, she’s going to need something to kick start the correct parts of her brain. An emotional spark plug, if you will, and who else can manage that but Hawkins’ big bad (former) sheriff? We just need Joyce and Murray to get him back from Siberia in one piece. — Tom Pritchard
9. Why the heck is the finale 2 hours and 19 minutes long?
Right now, it seems like the one question we can all agree on is “why is the Stranger Things 4 finale one giant MCU movie-length feature, and not just, you know, two regularly sized episodes?”
If this episode is, in fact, more of a film, with no perceivable intermission? And for some reason it flows together like that? We’ll get it. But, instead, we think many folks — if not everyone and their mother — is going to hit a point in this episode where they pull a reverse Spice Girls, and one episode becomes two. Hitting ‘Stop’ is as easy as hitting play (especially if this finale isn’t the most captivating thing ever). — HTC
10. What is Nancy Wheeler’s favorite song?
Right now, I’m betting all my money on Steve being Nancy’s savior in the Upside Down, because it’s possible that of all our heroes, he’s the only one who knows Nancy’s favorite song.
As we’ve seen with Max and the renewed success of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” hearing your favorite song can help free someone from Vecna’s clutches. We’re just curious what that song is, and which musician will benefit from it.
Oh, and since images of Eddie Munson playing his guitar in the Upside Down were seen in trailers? We’re betting that the axe man will be the one who hits the right notes to save Nancy. — HTC
11. Who dies?
We don’t know for sure that a major character dies in Stranger Things season 4, but there’s certainly a good chance. In an interview, Noah Schnapp (Will) hinted as much when he stated that “One of us will die. Or more. The cast is so big.”
Now Schnapp might merely be speculating, but given how many characters have died across the show’s four seasons so far, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising if a main cast member joined the likes of Barb, Bob and Alexei. It seems unlikely it will be Hopper, given the whole ‘Is he dead?’ thing at the end of S3, while Joyce and Eleven are surely both too important. But any of the others could feasibly be at risk.
Steve and Nancy certainly have a few problems as of episode 7, stuck in the Upside Down with Vecna on the prowl. Mike, Will and Jonathan, meanwhile, might be about to face off with some trigger-happy army guys, so they’re also at risk. And then there’s Max… — MMc
12. Is Max still in danger?
In the superb episode 4 (Dear Billy), Max managed to escape Vecna’s clutches thanks to the enduring power of Kate Bush’s Running Up that Hill. That was quite the plot twist — I mean great song and all that, but it’s not even as good as Wuthering Heights.
Anyway, now that the team understands the power of music, Max should be safe, right? Well, maybe. Batteries can run out, after all — as Dustin proved many times with his walkie-talkie — and a Walkman can break. And to the best of our knowledge, everyone Vecna has targeted so far has died, so presumably he’s not done with Max yet.
Our advice: buy a second Walkman just in case. Or better still, upgrade to an iPod, cassettes have a habit of getting all tangled up. — MMc
13. What’s the deal with Will’s awful haircut?
Looking back at the ‘80s with hindsight, I can never quite believe that the hair fashions of the time were so popular. Given the amount of hairspray you’d need to maintain it all, I’m not shocked that there’s a hole in the ozone layer. But Stranger Things features one hair-based sin that’s a cut above the rest — Will’s terrible bowl cut, which now looks worse than ever before.
I have it on good authority that the bowl cut is a sign of the times, and it’s likely Joyce cut Will’s hair herself. The only question I have is, why have her skills deteriorated to the point where WIll has that terrible semi-bowl-shaped hairstyle? I feel like no self-respecting California teen would put up with that. — TP