What We Want To See In Stranger Things' Final Season

Warning! Major spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things" season 4 (volumes 1 and 2 ahead).

There's a lot to unpack with regard to the rollercoaster of a season finale of "Stranger Things" volume 2. This season's final episode, "The Piggyback," which is longer than a feature-length film, and the episode preceding it, "Papa," sets up some hefty exposition and developments to set up the stage for a grand finish. You can check out a spoiler-free review of volume 2 by /Film's Chris Evangelista, who touches upon the highs and lows of the final episodes and how they fare, as a whole.

However, I will not be dissecting the final episodes in the post, but instead will make an attempt to look into how season 5 of "Stranger Things" — which will be serving as the final season for the show — could potentially play out based on the events of the finale. There were some epic moments and high points, for sure, while other moments felt contrived and did not quite pay off the way audiences would expect them to.

Nonetheless, here's what we absolutely want to see unfolding in the final season of "Stranger Things," especially in terms of the fates of the characters, and the mysterious town of Hawkins.

The details of Hawkins gradually turning into Upside Down 2.0

The worst is definitely not over — in Vecna's (Jamie Campbell Bower) words, this is "just the beginning ... of the end." However, Hawkins is in the process of being transformed into a real-world version of the Upside Down, thanks to Vecna successfully opening the four gates via the deaths of the four teenagers (although Max is thankfully alive, her heart did stop for over a minute). I'm not sure how the authorities are spinning this near-apocalyptic event as a high-magnitude earthquake, as the town is almost unrecognizable after the portals opened, with smoke billowing from the cracks.

The Duffer Brothers previously mentioned that season 5 will have a time jump, partly to explain the accelerated ages of the cast, who clearly do not look like kids anymore. Judging by the events that occurred in the final episodes, leaving several injured and missing, there could be a time jump of a few months or a year, during which, Vecna (who is still alive, by the way) could come back stronger and unleash the monstrous horrors of the Upside Down on to the real-world.

This would be a great opportunity to explain how the lives of the common townsfolk are affected by these events, and whether they're still buying the whole Hellfire Club conspiracy, with Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) being responsible for everything. Speaking of Eddie ...

Eddie Munson should be publicly recognized as a hero

While the "Stranger Things" cast and crew did hint at some deaths this season, the only major character who dies is Eddie (well, there's also Dr. Brenner, but he was single-handedly responsible for a lot of death and destruction, so it's a bit hard to empathize). While I will not plunge into a rant about how unjustified and contrived his death was, the character definitely deserved better, as he sacrificed himself for a town that blindly hated him until the very end.

Eddie's name being cleared is the least season 5 could do to honor the character, and it would be great to at least have one scene in which some of the characters, including Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), and Robin (Maya Hawke), discuss Eddie's sacrifice and display some appropriate emotion, as they spent a considerable time with Eddie throughout season 4. This aspect was completely sidelined in the final episode, as Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) seemed to be the only one who remotely cared about Eddie's death, relaying the devastating news in an emotional scene to the deceased's uncle. Apart from this, the town seems to be allowing itself to be engulfed by paranoia, and it is likely that they will continue to label Eddie as a Satan-worshipper/cult leader in the face of horrors they do not understand. Hence, a memorial of sorts held in Eddie's name would be great, thank you very much.

Answers to the pivotal Max question

Max underwent unimaginable horrors during her confrontations with Vecna, and the poor girl would have died, had Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) not stepped in and attempted to bring her back. Despite being alive, Max is in a coma, with several broken limbs and no eyesight. What's worse, when El reaches inside her mind, she finds it empty, begging the question: Where is Max, and is she safe?

Although we have no idea what Vecna is up to right now, Will (Noah Schnapp) says that he can feel his presence and that he's hurting, but he will soon be back and fulfill his diabolical plan. While it is possible that Vecna has a hold on Max's psyche, is it possible that she is simply hiding, as Will did from the Demogorgon in season 1? Things are not looking too great for Max right now, as her physical body is extremely injured, while her psyche might be stuck navigating a mental dimension she had no idea about. Nevertheless, the show needs to find a way to bring her back, and we might see more of Eleven diving into her mind to help her out.

The space-time mechanics of the godforsaken dimension

Vecna/Henry/One offers some lengthy exposition to Eleven while he has her tied up: after she yeeted him into the Upside Down, he became an "explorer," explaining that the dimension was untouched by humanity in any way, with the already-existing Demogorgons/Demodogs freely roaming the place. Eventually, he came into contact with the sentient particle that the Russians referred to as "the shadow," which he reaches out to and shapes into the Mind Flayer. This makes sense, as the Mind Flayer is also known as the Shadow Monster, and it was Vecna pulling the strings all along.

An important element of the plot that was not addressed in season 4 is that time had completely stopped in the Upside Down for some reason after Will's disappearance in season 1. While Vecna can control the flow of time (he is shown slowing down the grandfather clock as a child), has he also been altering the Upside Down to resemble the real Hawkins all these years?

There must be some integral reason behind time stopping in the Upside Down after Will's disappearance, potentially revealing why Will can still sense Vecna's presence and has a connection to his mind after all these years.

The gang absolutely demolishing Vecna

Things are only bound to go downhill from here, per Brenner's bleak prediction of Hawkins' future and the visions Vecna chose to show Nancy. The creatures will run freely around Hawkins, and the gang will hopefully be able to put a stop to things getting worse before it is too late. Vecna won't stop until he has remade Hawkins, and the world, as per his twisted imagination, and it will take more than strength and bravado for the gang to kill the big baddie and close the portal for good (or better, destroy the dimension altogether). 

There are other players involved in the situation too: let's not forget the military dude Sullivan, who wanted to have Eleven killed as he believes she is behind the murders in Hawkins. While the Russian prison in which the shadow and the creatures were held has been dealt with, for now, it is unclear whether there are more monsters locked up around the world for experimentation purposes, connected to the hive mind. 

There might be a few potential character deaths lurking around the corner, based on the warning issued by the Duffer Brothers to not expect a traditional happy ending by the end of the show, so I am guessing blood, trauma, and tears will once again be a part of the equation.

Joyce and Hopper going on their damn date

Hopper (David Harbor) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) finally had a romantic moment that was long overdue, before being cut short by the overwhelmingly bleak directions things were heading towards. Now they're reunited, sure, but given that Hawkins has now fallen, and bits of ash are now floating in the air, it is unlikely that the two can go on the date they had planned anytime soon. Hopefully, once the catastrophe is over, the two can finally spend time together in peace without worrying about the kids fighting a tentacled monster on their own. Let them have lasagna with a bottle of chianti, or whatever they like, please.

Everyone living out their lives (and dreams), in peace

Although things cannot be overly positive at the end of "Stranger Things," everyone in the gang deserves to be able to heal from these traumatic events and move forward. Will shouldn't have to feel alienated due to his sexuality, and the show should absolutely grant him the safe space he deserves. The Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve storyline might be tackled in the next season, and I'm hoping it will be handled in a way that does not do a disservice to any of the characters and their personal agencies.

Eleven has been made to feel different all her life, and the poor kid deserves a break from it all, without having to give in to the trappings of "normalcy." The same goes for everyone else — Robin, Dustin, Lucas, Max, Erica, and Mike — and one can hope that they are able to actualize their respective dreams, whatever they might entail. We might end up losing a character or two before we reach this juncture, leaving an inevitable bittersweet taste during the season 5 finale. At this point, one can only root for these beloved characters and hope against hope.

Volume 2 of "Stranger Things," season 4, is currently streaming on Netflix.