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Spoilers for Season 4, Volume 2 of Stranger Things are present in this article.
Everything in Stranger Things revolves around One, also known as Henry Creel or Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). It was accurate in the sense that a young 11 (Millie Bobby Brown) established the first entrance to the Upside Down during her confrontation with the supernatural prodigy at Hawkins Lab years ago, but the season 4 conclusion in the two-part Volume 2 release on Friday included a fresh revelation that tied a significant series-long thread together.
Vecna restrains El as they engage in combat in the astral realm of Max’s (Sadie Sink) mind before continuing to narrate his origin narrative. He tells how he’s been covertly in charge in Hawkins at least since season 2, but the secret dates much further back to season 1.
The Mind Flayer is Vecna. Vecna is the Mind Flayer.
One was in the Upside Down after his initial conflict with 11. He describes himself as having been an “explorer” who found “something that would transform everything.” The swirling, buzzing mass of Upside Down particles that Joyce (Winona Ryder), Hopper (David Harbour), and Murray (Brett Gelman) discovered locked in the Russian prison’s lab appeared to be a living, black cloud that was whizzing around in the air.
Vecna explains to El, “I saw a way to realize my potential to transcend my human body, to become the predator I was always born to be.” The cloud is subsequently transformed into the elongated form of the Mind Flayer by One using his magical abilities. Vecna did admit to having a soft spot for spiders, especially Black Widows.
When Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) got caught in the Upside Down in season 1, it was the Mind Flayer that first saw the young boy. Then, in seasons 2 and 3, it took control of Will and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). It is the being capable of controlling Demogorgons, tendrils, and essentially all other creatures from the Upside Down. The entire time, it was truly One/Henry/Vecna.
He refers to El’s opening a portal to the Upside Down back in season 1, saying, “All I needed was someone to unlock the door, and you provided that for me without even realizing it.” However, One/Henry/Vecna struggled to shut the gate and all others that would come after it, and he then tried to build his own portals.
In order to totally destroy the barrier separating the worlds of Hawkins and the Upside Down, Vecna just needed to kill 4 people in his Freddy Krueger-like manner, as shown in the first episode of Vol. 2. And he succeeds: in the climactic scene, the Upside Down collides with the small town in a huge earthquake, allowing whatever hell exists in that alternate realm to now freely roam across America.
Vecna is still alive when the closing titles start to appear. When Will sets foot in Hawkins once more, those peculiar feelings begin to return. Though the creature was seriously injured when Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) burnt him on fire, he can still feel Vecna’s presence.
At least the genuine threat from Stranger Things now has a face, although one that still requires moisturizer.
Netflix is currently offering Stranger Things season 4 in its entirety.
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