Main spoilers for Stranger Issues 4 vol. 1 beneath. Beware!
After three seasons of Stranger Issues, you’d assume you’ve seen all of it—demogorgons, exploding rats, a secret Russian operation below the native mall—however to that the fourth season says, not so quick. Enter Vecna, a brand new villain from the Upside Down come to wreak havoc on Hawkins in Stranger Issues 4. Impressed by well-known ‘80s and ‘90s film villains like Freddie Kruger, Pinhead, and Pennywise, present creators Matt and Ross Duffer have launched a menace not like some other Eleven and co. have ever seen.
To begin, Vecna is, frankly, gross: a towering skeleton-like being lined in darkish gooey vines that transfer and mission from his again. His palms are eerily massive with claws that he makes use of to pierce his victims’ faces. He’s a gnarly sight to behold (which simply speaks to the spectacular efforts of the prosthetics and visible results crew). And his low, gravely voice solely provides to his creepy presence.
Just like the demogorgon, Vecna will get his title from Dungeons & Dragons, of which our lead kiddos are avid gamers. The primary episode of the brand new season has Mike, Dustin, and Lucas’ sister Erica (Will is in California and Lucas is attempting to be a basketball jock now) enjoying the well-known board recreation with the Hellfire Membership, which consists of some nerdy upperclassmen and head “freak” in cost, Eddie. Vecna is among the most formidable villains within the recreation, stated to be a strong wizard who grew to become a lich—a form of undead creature—after he was destroyed, with solely his left hand and left eye remaining. (Liches are normally depicted with skull-like options, which may clarify the inspiration for onscreen Vecna’s look.) Based on D&D lore, his hand and eye are precious relics within the recreation that others can search out and use for particular protections and skills. However that’s not essentially the case with Upside Down Vecna; additionally just like the demogorgon, he isn’t a direct duplicate of his D&D counterpart. Is he simply as scary, although? Maybe!
This Vecna is a sure sort of evil, feeding on folks—particularly youngsters—with insecurities and previous traumas. He can sense them in his thoughts, choose a goal, then begin to taunt them; first with voices then with visions, which normally contain a grandfather clock. Early in ST4, we see him goal Chrissy, a cheerleader fighting physique picture points, and Fred, who blames himself for a pal’s demise in a automotive accident. When Vecna goes in for the kill, his victims turn into entranced, their eyes whiten, they usually levitate earlier than all their limbs snap and their eyes get gouged out. Terrible.
What did Vecna do to the Creel Home?
Based on native data, a so-called demon invaded Victor Creel’s home in Hawkins within the ‘50s and put it below a curse. Victor tried to stage an exorcism but it surely solely additional angered the demon, who murdered Victor’s spouse and kids, Henry and Alice, leaving their our bodies damaged and their eyes eliminated. Victor was blinded however survived the assault; although he believes he was spared as punishment. He was blamed for killing his household and imprisoned for the crime. However every part concerning the assaults has Vecna’s title on it.
When Nancy, Steve, Dustin, Robin, Lucas, and Max later break into the deserted Creel home, they uncover that Vecna is residing within the attic—however within the Upside Down model.
Can Vecna be defeated?
It’s nonetheless unclear by the top of the episodes (although we’re hoping Eleven may very well be the important thing), however the children have discovered a solution to at the very least hold him at bay. Throughout Max’s encounter with Vecna, and thru Robin and Nancy’s analysis, we be taught that one solution to break Vecna’s spell is with some form of musical remedy. Victor Creel stated that he was virtually taken by Vecna however heard the voice of an “angel” and adopted it, which led him to security. That voice was truly a tune enjoying on the radio. The identical tactic works for Max, who’s tight in Vecna’s clutches till her associates play her favourite Kate Bush tune, “Operating Up That Hill,” on her headphones, snapping her again into actuality. She spends the remainder of the episodes enjoying the tune on loop to guard herself from Vecna.
What does Vecna need, precisely?
Dustin figures it out: Vecna is attempting to open extra gates to the Upside Down to assist the Thoughts Flayer, the most important unhealthy of the Upside Down, take over the world. It seems Vecna has extra energy than a typical demogorgon.
Every place the place Vecna kills somebody, he leaves behind a gate to the Upside Down, therefore the “Watergate” below Lover’s Lake, the place basketball participant Patrick was taken, and the gate within the ceiling of Eddie’s trailer, the place Chrissy was killed. It appears a gate kinds when there’s a psychic connection between somebody from the actual world and a being from the Upside Down, like when Eleven contacted a demogorgon utilizing her psychic powers. That’s precisely what Vecna is doing along with his victims, as he infiltrates their minds earlier than he kills them.
The gates may additionally clarify why there’s a surge of power when Vecna kills, like when the youngsters’ flashlights burst within the Creel home when Patrick was murdered. As we’ve seen prior to now, these gates hone highly effective power.
What’s Vecna’s origin story? And the way does Eleven tie into all of this?
Warning, greater spoilers forward.
All through a lot of the later episodes, Eleven revisits repressed reminiscences from her previous in hopes of regaining her telekinetic powers. She does this utilizing a NINA sensory deprivation tank in a secret lab out West, below the jurisdiction of Dr. Brenner, aka “Papa,” and accompanied by Dr. Owens. Whereas she’s below, she revisits her time at Hawkins Lab, main as much as a bloody bloodbath on the facility, which left children and attendants brutally killed in a mysterious rampage—which she believed was her personal fault. Within the time main as much as the tragedy, Eleven relives her reminiscences of studying the best way to use her powers, doing workouts with different children, and even being bullied by a few of the stronger ones. She befriends an orderly (an attendant) on the facility who secretly lends her assist and even tells her that she reminds him of “One,” the primary youngster to be examined on the lab. Papa says One doesn’t exist, Eleven insists, however the orderly tells her she’s being lied to.
Impressed by Eleven’s dedication and skills, the orderly tries to assist her escape by means of a secret tunnel within the lab, however he can’t be part of her as a result of he has a tracker put in in his neck. Touched by his generosity, Eleven provides to assist him and makes use of her powers to dislodge the system from below the attendant’s pores and skin. This frees him to do extra issues than simply flee the lab: When they’re chased and cornered by guards, the attendant reveals he, too, has psychic talents and takes down all of the guards along with his powers. Seems, he’s One.
Nonetheless, One is just not the ally Eleven hoped he’d be. Left alone in a utility closet, Eleven hears screams within the distance and emerges to seek out the notorious bloodbath has taken place. She realizes: She didn’t kill all these folks, One did. Maybe embittered by the mistreatment he endured on the facility (in an earlier scene we noticed him getting tasered and tortured below Papa’s command for serving to Eleven), One took out his anger on everybody within the lab. Eleven confronts him within the Rainbow Room and learns one thing else about One’s historical past.
Much more spoilers for the top of episode 7 beneath!
One opens as much as Eleven about his childhood alongside a montage of Nancy strolling by means of a imaginative and prescient of the Creels at house. The reveal? One is definitely Henry Creel, Victor Creel’s son. (The years sort of take a look at; the Creel killings came about within the ‘50s whereas the occasions in Stranger Issues 4 are in 1986. Particularly, the reminiscence Eleven is reliving may very well be round or earlier than 1983, which is the 12 months Will disappeared and by then she had escaped the lab. Henry would’ve been round 30 years outdated.)
Henry was a “totally different” child with unusual powers, however academics and docs advised him he was damaged. So his household moved to Hawkins hoping a recent begin would treatment him. Of their new house, he grew to become keen on black widow spiders dwelling within the rest room vent (bear in mind Steve discovered this compartment when he and the gang seemed by means of the home). Henry felt akin to them; they had been solitary, misunderstood, and consumed weak issues to deliver stability to their ecosystem—however the human world was disrupting that stability. He felt oppressed by human construction, the routine and monotony of human life and the rigidity of time and schedules. (This explains the clock visions.)
Henry didn’t wish to shut off his thoughts and assimilate to this lifestyle, so he started utilizing his powers. He practiced reaching into the minds and reminiscences of animals, which explains why Victor noticed lifeless rabbits and different slain creatures on their property. He resented his dad and mom and started to hang-out them round the home. Victor believed these had been the doings of a demon, however his spouse knew Henry was behind them and despised him for it. She even referred to as a physician to have him taken away and get “mounted.” Fed up, Henry killed his mom in a well-known means: She levitates, her bones snap, and her eyes are gouged out. He did the identical along with his sister. With every kill, he grew to become stronger and his victims grew to become part of him, however with out figuring out his limits, the murders practically killed him and he collapsed and fell right into a coma. However Henry didn’t die like Victor thought. When he awakened, Henry discovered himself below the care of Dr. Brenner, who started operating an experimental program with him as the primary topic.
As Eleven appears round on the kids One/Henry killed within the Rainbow Room, all of them have comparable wounds to Vecna’s victims: damaged limbs and empty, bloody eye sockets. Which brings us to the subsequent reveal…
Is One Vecna?!
Sure. And right here’s why: On the lab, Eleven refuses to hitch forces with One/Henry. They combat utilizing their supernatural powers and he or she wins—not solely by channeling a reminiscence that triggers anger and disappointment (which is what he advised her to do), but additionally by remembering one which’s stuffed with love (her mom holding her within the hospital when she was born and telling her she loves her). Her victory sends One/Henry into the Upside Down and leaves behind a gate within the wall within the lab the place he stood. As he’s flung by means of the alternate dimension, One/Henry is struck by lightning, mangling his look. The ultimate shot exhibits One/Henry in his current kind—Vecna—with a tattoo studying 001 on his wrist.
Vecna is One, who’s Henry Creel.
That additionally explains just a few different issues, like Henry’s fascination with spiders and Vecna’s web-like, vine-y look. (The D&D Vecna can also be stated to take a seat on a Spider Throne.) And Vecna’s feeding on “weak,” traumatized teenagers mirrors the spiders’ urge for food for weak creatures of their ecosystems. Henry was additionally seen spending a variety of time within the attic, which explains Vecna’s house base. All of it ties collectively.
But, regardless of the main reveal, that ending nonetheless leaves us with just a few unanswered questions:
- What’s going to occur to Nancy? Additionally, will she and Steve get again collectively? Nancy is Vecna’s newest sufferer, focused for her guilt over Barb’s demise. She falls below his spell simply as she, Robin, Eddie, and Steve are escaping the Upside Down. Vecna exhibits Nancy visions of the pool the place Barb died and reminds her that she was hooking up with Steve when Barb was taken again in season 1. When quantity 1 ends, Nancy continues to be below Vecna’s trance, and he or she and Steve haven’t but left the Upside Down. And talking of Steve, he and Nancy appear to be exchanging a variety of sparks this season, particularly with Nancy upset that her present boyfriend Jonathan didn’t go to her for spring break. There have been loads of longing stares (and a shirtless scene) which may indicate a reunion between these two exes.
- Will Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle discover Eleven? After Eleven is taken, these highway trippers get a tip from a dying undercover agent to name “Nina” to be able to discover El. The quantity they’re given results in a pc, in order that they drive as much as see Suzy (Dustin’s hacker girlfriend) in Salt Lake Metropolis to seek out its location. With some convincing, Suzy obliges and discovers “Nina”—which she doesn’t understand is the NINA machine Eleven is below—is in Nevada. We assume the boys are actually en route to save lots of their pal.
- What’s going to occur to Eddie? Vecna’s latest killings in Hawkins have been blamed on Eddie, who’s now accused of being a conduit for the satan. Although he’s within the firm of Robin, Nancy, Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Erica now, he’s nonetheless a needed man. The police are nonetheless after him and so is the remainder of the city, after some goading from basketball crew captain Jason, who was Chrissy’s boyfriend. They’re after the remainder of the Hellfire Membership too, which implies Dustin, Lucas, and Mike aren’t secure both.
- Will Hopper return house to save lots of the youngsters? It took fairly a journey, however Joyce and Murray lastly attain Hopper after sneaking into the key Russian jail maintaining him behind bars. By then, Hopper is going through demise as he and different inmates are tasked with combating a mysterious “monster”—a demogorgon. With previous demo-fighting expertise below his belt, Hopper is ready to hold the beast away by lighting his spear on hearth with a smuggled bottle of vodka and a lighter, however that doesn’t final lengthy. He and his new pal Dimtri ultimately attain security after Joyce and Murray overtake the jail management room and conveniently open a door for his or her escape. Joyce and Hopper embrace after they reunite. Are they headed to Hawkins subsequent?
- What’s going to Eleven do subsequent, now that she is aware of what she did to One? She’s defeated One/Henry (an earlier type of Vecna) earlier than, can she do it once more?
The solutions will hopefully arrive in Stranger Issues 4 vol. 2, which premieres on July 1. Within the meantime, we’ll begin cooking up our theories.
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