Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Trailer Breakdown: Everyone's Ready To Die On That Hill

Warning: major spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things," season 4, volume 1. 

The official trailer for "Stranger Things" volume 2 is here, folks, and it sure does look promising. Volume 1 of the series ended on a major cliffhanger, wherein various characters of the central group embarked on their own journeys of personal realization. 

While Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) has now come to terms with her past with regards to Vecna, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) was last seen under the influence of Vecna's spell, as he finally revealed his origin as Henry Creel/001. Meanwhile, the boys back in Lenora Hills are on their way to rescue Eleven from the underground facility in which she is being kept, but she might just end up not requiring their aid, as she most probably has her powers back (hopefully). 

Back in Russia, Hopper (David Harbor) has been reunited with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray (Brett Gelman), but they are still stuck inside the facility which harbored the frenzied demogorgon we saw attack everyone towards the end of volume 1. With the trailer for volume 2 dropping now, here's a breakdown of what could potentially happen in volume 2 of "Stranger Things," which looks darker and bleaker than any of the show's previous seasons. 

'Your friends are not prepared for this fight'

The trailer for volume 2 opens with Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) looking at the wall which eventually turns into a portal for the Upside Down, and I'm guessing this occurs between the time 001 (Henry Campbell Bower) gets sucked inside the Upside Down and the crack morphs into a portal to that dimension, after he transforms into Vecna. 

This could be an extension of the flashback sequences (the repressed memories) that Eleven had re-lived in the sensory deprivation tank, in which Brenner asks a younger, blood-soaked El, "What have you done?" This scene, of course, was a red herring, as it is eventually revealed at the massacred at Hawkins Lab was carried out by 001, and that Eleven had only lashed out out of self-preservation, unwittingly opening the portal to the Upside Down. 

While this explains El's connections to the various monsters that inhabit this otherworldly dimension, it does not explain Vecna's ultimate motives when it comes to attacking emotionally vulnerable kids back at Hawkins. While it has been hinted that Vecna is opening several mini gates with every life he is claiming for his own, what exactly does the tentacled being want? As Henry/001 was disillusioned with the human world, it is possible that he intends to remake the world, starting with Hawkins, in the image of the Upside Down. 

In a rather bleak turn of events, Brenner tells Eleven that while he understands that she, along with the others, have been traumatized by Vecna beyond measure (especially Max, who had a very close brush with death), it is impossible to win a fight against Vecna, as they are prepared to take him down. But hey, the gang has taken down an entire demogorgon in season 1, and dealt with the Mind Flayer in the previous season. While the fight against Vecna does seem hopeless, banding together might be their only chance to defeat this greater evil.

Armed to the teeth, but are they ready?

Next, we see the gang back in Hawkins inside an RV of sorts, seemingly on their way towards the big fight. While their destination is unclear at the moment, their somber faces are proof enough of a terrible collective realization: they might end up dying in their fight with Vecna. Thankfully, at this point, everyone in the gang back in Hawkins is accounted for.

Nancy seems to be free from Vecna's spell, as she can be seen in the next shot sitting next to Steve (Joe Keery) who is driving the vehicle, while Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) are seen sitting together, wearing forlorn expressions. We also see Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) sitting opposite Max (Sadie Sink), while Erica (Priah Ferguson) is also present with them.

The way in which Steve looks at Nancy in the next shot is heartbreaking, especially within the context of this season taking the route of rekindling their feelings for one another, courtesy of the distance between Nancy and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Steve still not really quite being over Nancy. Just look at them:

Considering that the Duffer Brothers have heavily hinted at emotional character deaths this season, it is heartbreaking to realize that one or more persons among them might just meet their end in Volume 2. I apologize in advance for the person I will become if it is Steve Harrington, as he is integral to the group in many ways (everyone is, but Steve's arc from unlikable bully to doting babysitter is something else). Another new, extremely likable character, Eddie, might also be in danger of being killed off this season. Well, I just have one thing to say: our favorite metalhead definitely deserves better. 

El makes a pivotal decision

Brenner's voiceover in the first half of the trailer is part of a conversation with Eleven, which most likely takes place after she learns the truth about her past and Vecna. Although Brenner was the one pushing Eleven to her limits during the sensory deprivation sessions, he seems to be disapproving of her returning to Hawkins to help her friends. Considering Brenner's arc, which fluctuates between him being a morally-grey Hawkins scientist and the originator of Project M K Ultra in Hawkins (with kids paying a heavy emotional price), it is not entirely unlikely that Brenner wants to use Eleven for his own ends. 

While his counterpoint is unclear at this moment, Eleven seems to have made up her mind in terms of helping her friends, as she firmly says that her friends need her and walks away from Brenner. Brenner's ominous "Hawkins will fall" line could be a foreshadowing of the events that might unfold, if there is any stock to the theory that Vecna wishes to remodel Hawkins into another version of the Upside Down, or worse, mesh the two worlds together. Although every member of the gang is resourceful in their own way, they've always relied on El for her powers, and now that she has them back, it makes sense for her to finish what she (inadvertently) started. 

Moreover, Vecna still has unfinished business with Eleven, making a confrontation between the two inevitable. However, is Brenner right when he says she is not ready? After all, she just got her powers back, and does not quite know what Vecna is capable of firsthand. 

Déjà vu, not the good kind

Nancy seems to be back at the Hawkins Memorial Hospital, where she and Jonathan had fought off the Hospital Monster (a less powerful manifestation of the Mind Flayer in season 3), who had killed everyone in the scene and chased the duo until the gang had intervened. 

Narratively speaking, it does not make sense for Nancy to be back at the hospital, and the scene is too similar to the one in season 3 (unless something major occurs, spurring a trip to the hospital). I think this is Nancy under Vecna's spell, and he is simply attempting to break her further by making her relive traumatic memories, as he has already done in volume 1 (Nancy found herself inside the swimming pool in which Barb died). 

This theory is strengthened by the fact that we see Vecna advancing towards her menacingly in the next shot: 

Vecna's surroundings suggest that he appears in this reconstructed hospital memory, most probably trying to manipulate Nancy into giving up, and maybe even fuel her guilt over the deaths of those close to her. While it is a relief to see Nancy okay in the promotional material for Volume 2, the scenario is extremely scary nonetheless. We know that music is a way back to reality, so will the gang use this technique again to save Nancy from Vecna? While this remains to be seen, I must say it's absolutely rotten of Vecna to use people's personal traumas against them time and again (he is an antagonist for a reason, I know, I know). 

Will the Wise

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) might be the only one in the gang (apart from Eleven and Max) who has faced the terrors of the Upside Down time and again. After all, it is his disappearance which triggered the events of the show, and his connection to the Mind Flayer was seminal in propelling the plots of seasons 2 and 3 forward. Will tells Mike (Finn Wolfhard) that Vecna will not stop before he claims everyone, and he's absolutely right: no one is safe, especially in Hawkins. 

Apart from this, there's also the question of whether the show will do justice to the handling of Will's sexuality, and his feelings for Mike by the end of the season. I just want Will to be able to express himself in a safe space, and get the support he deserves. Maybe this scene, in which he hugs his brother, could be in reference to that:

Will's words hold more weight than it seems to, as the next shot is that to Max listening to Kate Bush's "Running up the Hill" on a loop. While she did fight Vecna and come back to reality, she is obviously not safe yet, as long as Vecna is there to feed on her guilt over Billy's (Dacre Montgomery) death, and use her fragile emotional state as a weapon against her.

We don't abandon our friends, nope

The questions of how Nancy might have been freed from Vecna's influence are potentially answered by these next shots in the trailer. We see Eddie inside the Upside Down again, grabbing his beloved guitar, which might be how the music aspect of returning back to reality comes to play. 

We saw Eddie shredding his guitar in a rather badass fashion in the first trailer for Volume 1, and this could be the only way to create a link back to reality for Nancy. This theory is supplemented by this shot of Steve going back in, as he we can see the cloth rope that Dustin, Lucas, and Erica dangled to get the older teens out of the Upside Down: 

This might be a great callback to a scenario in volume 1, wherein Nancy was the first one to dive into the water after Steve does not resurface for some time. From the way the shot is framed, it does look like Steve is the first one to land back in, a testament of the fact that he is ready to head back into the mouth of danger for Nancy's sake. I'm guessing Robin and Eddie also follow suit, as they previously had when Steve was sucked into the underwater (Watergate!) portal to the Upside Down. 

Going back to where it all began

Look, I know it is necessary for the gang to go back into the Creel House, as it is where evil was born in Henry's context, but that does not mean I like this one bit. Max, Erica, and Lucas seem ready to leave their RV behind and straight to the Creel House, as the now-decrepit site might hold all the answers to defeating Vecna. Interestingly, the Upside Down version of the Creel House is where Vecna actively operates, creating surges in energy whenever a child is taken from the real world and killed (and horribly displayed in Junji Ito-esque fashion) in Vecna's lair. 

However, they are not the only one's entering the cursed lair, as we soon get a shot of this:

This looks like Steve and Nancy venturing inside the Creel House in the Upside Down, based on the stained glass window motif on the door and the general layout of the room they enter. The two events might be interconnected, and key to understanding Vecna's motivations. However, as Joyce says in the trailer, I have a bad feeling about this. 

Hopper cannot catch a break, you guys

A lot seems to be going down back in Russia, as we see Joyce, Hopper, and Murray stumble upon a secret lab inside the tunnels they are trapped in, and they see a weird, swirling substance inside a tank (a sentient creature of some sort connected to the other monsters, perhaps?). Soon, things get real bad as we see several men shooting at something in full military gear, while Hopper himself is engaging in some sort of shootout. There are obviously more demogorgons in the place, as we see the monster opening its "mouth" in one of the shots: 

While demogorgons are not as dangerous as the Mind Flayer or Vecna himself, they are notoriously vicious and quick on their feet, as we can see one leaping around, with shots of Eddie and Dustin fighting off something with a shield and DIY armor. While they might be warding off some of the other nasties in the Upside Down, the whole situation is extremely concerning, as the sheer number of monsters is too much to keep with. Let's just hope that swirly sentient matter does not get out into the real world. Please. 

Personal battles, personal hells

The gang is ready to face their biggest fears, and I do not mean that lightly. We see Nancy firing off her gun fearlessly at something, which is in line with her previous interventions, such as during the Battle of Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, Lucas, who had struggled with the notion of fitting in this season, goes head-to-head with jock bully Jason (Mason Dye). This is an important turning point for Lucas, as he was initially willing to part with his friends briefly to fit into the popular jocks, but now seems more than ready to beat him up. 

While Jason grappled with Chrissy's death and was understandably affected by the events that took place, he and his lackeys heavily contributed to the idea that Eddie Munson and the Hellfire Club was responsible for the deaths, creating mass hysteria inspired by the Satanic Panic among the residents. Elsewhere, in the Upside Down, we see Steve and the others hacking away at a portal, which could be a mini gate back to the real world, a figure who looks like Eleven watching the sky changing its hue, and Eddie playing his guitar, and Hopper having an extremely close encounter with a creature. 

Everyone is crying, screaming, and distressed, including Eleven, and we also see Vecna stalking the hallways of the Upside Down. Structures get blown to shreds and everyone is fighting for their lives. I hate it here. 

Everything boils down to El vs. Vecna

The final shot of the "Stranger Things" volume 2 trailer is spine-chilling. Vecna says that Eleven's friends have lost, and this is juxtaposed against a shot of Eleven inside the Creel House, presumably using her powers. Is this the aftermath of someone in the group dying, pushing Eleven to great distress? Although I'm tempted to say that El will assuredly save the day and defeat Vecna once and for all, things might not be that simple in season 4. Vecna, in a certain sense, came into being after Eleven opened the portal, and a fight between the two will obviously be the culmination of the season finale, as she emerges as the final and only hope in the end. 

Everybody has fought valiantly, although we are yet to see El reuniting with the gang in Hawkins, which could technically act as a huge morale boost for everyone, especially when it comes to banding together and fighting a powerful being like Vecna. However, it is inevitable that El will have to face Vecna alone in the end, as it would bring their arcs full circle, allowing Eleven to fully step into her power once again.

Kate Bush's music is used to great effect here, as it immediately elevates the scenes and adds layers of hope and despair simultaneously to the events that occur. The threat of the Upside Down will not be done and dusted with this season, of course, as the Duffer Brothers have a final season planned, where one can hope that the horrible dimension will collapse in on itself. Let the kids breathe, come on.

The clock is ticking, as volume 2 of "Stranger Things" season 4 will premiere on July 1, 2022.