The Upside Down in Stranger Things season 4

There are spoilers ahead for the entire fourth season of "Stranger Things," so consider this your only warning.

"Stranger Things" season 4, volume 2 broke Netflix when it was released on July 1, 2022. We lost our beloved Eddie (Joseph Quinn), Max (Sadie Sink) is in a coma after having clinically died for a full minute, the entire town of Hawkins was split open with some of the residents blaming it on an earthquake and others on a satanic cult, and Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) made it back from Russia just in time for Upside Down spores to start falling on Hawkins, killing every plant in sight. We only have one season to go before "Stranger Things" ends its run, and there are still so many questions left to be answered.

Evidently, "Stranger Things" season 5 will have a time jump, which is good, because the kids are like, what, 80 years old now? We know that most of the action will be confined to Hawkins, which is also good because jumping between California, Hawkins, and Russia was a bit much. We also know it won’t be as long as season 4 with its epic, movie-length episodes, so there isn’t that much time to wrap up. But now we’re left with a lot of questions as to what’s going to happen.

Here are the questions we want to be answered in the final season of "Stranger Things."

Will Max survive?

Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things season 4

Our brave Max, played beautifully by Sadie Sink, is the MVP this season. Max had to deal with having her past trauma used to torture her, but she’s faced her fears and run into danger. With nothing but a Kate Bush song as her sword and shield, Max chooses to be bait for Vecna. There is no one but Lucas by her side as she ventures into the Upside Down in the Creel house to face off against the monster in her mind.

Fans have been expecting to lose cast members this season, but not Max! Not after everything she’s gone through, losing her step-brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), being separated from her best friend Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), watching Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) drift away in the direction of the jocks, and levitating in the graveyard. For her troubles, she ends up blind, with multiple broken limbs, and clinically dead for a full minute, leaving her in a coma.

Though Eleven tries to contact her through her psychic powers, Max isn’t answering any calls right now. Will Max survive what Vecna did to her? If Vecna is still alive, will he be back in some form for another round? Will Eleven be able to contact her at last?

Will Nancy end up with Steve, Jonathan, or no one at all?

Natalia Dyer and Joe Keery in Stranger Things season 4

At its heart, "Stranger Things" is a show about some very brave kids, which means that romance couldn’t help but be a big part of the series. One of the major questions left open at the end of season 4 is whether Nancy (Natalia Dyer) will end up with Steve (Joe Keery), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), or no one at all. The show could add another player, but in a shorter final season, that’s very unlikely.

Steve started out as a complete bully and a jerk, but he’s evolved in a heartwarming way and truly grown as a character. He’s best friends with Robin (Maya Hawke), keeping the secret of her sexuality at a time when it was much harder to discuss openly. He cares deeply for Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), protecting him, giving advice on life and hair — which he really should be giving to Will (Noah Schnapp) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) — and dreams of going on vacation with six children and a wife someday. That wife is Nancy, as he tells her at the end of the season. He’s turned into a lovely person, something none of us could have predicted in season 1.

As fun as it was to watch Jonathan and Argyle (Eduardo Franco) act like giggling stoners all season, it’s not doing his relationship with Nancy any favors. The final scene between the two of them was strained and didn’t give any real insight into how their relationship may go, but it seems like the show is favoring a Nancy and Steve ending. Of course, Jonathan is also a wonderful guy, taking care of his brother the way he does. It just seems like they’re going down different paths in life.

Of course, Nancy could end up on her own, pursuing a career in journalism or whatever else she wants, with no one by her side. If she survives, that is. The Duffers do love a good misdirect.

Will we ever find out the truth about Will’s feelings for Mike?

Finn Wolfhard and Noah Schnapp in Stranger Things season 4

Since season 3, it’s been very clear that Will has romantic feelings for Mike. Though it’s been speculated that he wasn’t maturing as fast as his friends and wanted to continue his childhood pastime of playing Dungeons & Dragons with his adventuring party, in the fourth season we could see the love he has for Mike. Fans were hoping that he would reveal his heart in the final two episodes, and though we got close, it was never stated outright. Will made it clear that he feels like an outsider that’s different from everyone else and even had a crying hug with his brother about it. He finally showed mike his painting, where he drew his friend bearing a heart on his chest. He explained that Mike was the heart of the group and that his love for Eleven would save them all, but at what cost?

Is it possible that we’ll finally get to hear Will talk about his feelings for real in season 5? Will he meet someone new, and fall in love? Will he even make it through the season? Will still has a strong connection to the Upside Down, with that version of Hawkins stuck on the day he first disappeared in 1983 and the hair on the back of his neck standing up when things start to bleed between worlds. The entire show started with Will, and it only seems right to give him a happy ending after everything he’s been through.

Will we see Eight again?

Linnea Berthelsen and Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things season 2

Back in season 2, we met another member of the lab with Eight, aka Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who grew up with Eleven at Hawkins Lab. Kali has the power to create illusions, but instead of saving the world, she’s going after the people who hurt her and her friends. Eleven winds up with Kali and her gang for a little while, but Kali’s murderous habits don’t sit well with El, who leaves to head back to Hawkins. The whole thing helped in terms of Eleven’s independence and self-reliance, but a life of crime — this sort of crime, anyway — didn’t suit her.

We never found out what became of Kali after saying goodbye to the character. It seems like a huge loose end to have someone that powerful and who is willing to murder people just running around. Will Kali come looking for her sister now that Dr. Brenner is dead? Will Dr. Owens contact her if he’s even still alive? Would she be able to see the Upside Down’s threat for what it is and come help? It seems unlikely that she’d survive with her penchant for destruction, but you never know. Unless, of course, she’s going to be the subject of that mysterious "Stranger Things" spinoff that’s on the way.

Is Vecna coming back in the same form?

Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in Stranger Things season 4

Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) had a rough time in season 4, and he deserved every second of what he suffered. He appeared to be destroyed by some Molotov cocktails, but Will can still feel him. In fact, Will tells Mike that Vecna is "hurting, but he’s still alive." Will also reveals that he knows Vecna won’t stop until everyone is dead.

Eleven destroyed his human body in Hawkins Lab, and the gang blew him to bits in the Upside Down. So how will Vecna come back?

Will he merge with the Mind Flayer? Will he become a Dzalmus, the three-headed dragon from Dungeons & Dragons that Will drew in his picture? Maybe it will have even more heads than Will drew and become Tiamat? Since Will is so connected to the Upside Down — and Vecna — it stands to reason that, despite the fact that he said Eleven commissioned the drawing, it probably came from his mind as a premonition. Even if Eleven did commission it, she’s got a connection to the Upside Down as well. It would be pretty surprising if Vecna didn’t come back as a dragon of some kind, but who knows?

Who lives and who dies?

Steve Keery in Stranger Things season 4

After so many deaths throughout the series so far, we know our heroes aren’t safe. We’ve already talked about Max, but what about side characters like Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha), Yuri (Nikola Djuricko), and Murray (Brett Gelman), who we didn’t see at the end of season 4? They obviously made it, but they’re probably high on the death list. Joyce already lost one partner (RIP Bob Newby), and everyone understandably thought Hopper died in season 3, so it likely won’t be him. It’s possible that the show can make Nancy’s choice easy by killing Steve like we thought they would this time. But please don’t kill Steve, Duffer Brothers. For all that is good, don’t kill the character with the best arc in the series.

We don’t know if Dr. Owens is still alive, though if the show would like to kill his captors, that might be ok. Sullivan is mean! The rest of the kids might be safe, but maybe not? So many have died already. Is it possible that they’ll kill off Eleven? It would make fans really angry, but it could happen in a final sacrifice.

If Vecna goes down in a final battle, would his victims come back? Knowing that Eleven can now revive the dead opens up a world of possibility for the Duffers to play with.

What the heck is going on with Russia?

David Harbour in Stranger Things season 4

The Soviet Russia storyline made sense in the beginning, with the Soviets serving as the Cold War boogiemen in 1980s America. Going by what we learned about Henry Creel/One/Vecna and how the Upside Down presumably came about (or was discovered), it is far murkier now. Did the Soviets take advantage of something they detected? Why did they have all of those Demogorgons and Demodogs on display in their lab? What were they planning on doing with that swirling evil mist they had contained?

Since the series spent a lot of time with Dmitri and Yuri, it’s possible that they could be connected to this storyline if we do see it play out. It’s always seemed like a part of the narrative that didn’t make as much sense as the rest, so here’s hoping that they manage to weave this into the finale in a satisfying way.

Odds and ends

Maya Hawke and AmyBeth McNulty in Stranger Things season 4

Those are the biggest questions that need answering, but there are a few small ones floating around, too. First, will Hawkins continue to think the destruction was from an earthquake and maybe even a Satanic cult? Will Eddie ever have his name cleared? Will Vickie and Robin get together? That final awkward flirting scene between them was adorable. What about Susie? Will she break away from her family for an in-person meet-up with Dustin? Will the Hellfire Club survive? Could we see a final scene of the kids playing D&D at the end of the show? Where did Dmitri and Yuri end up? Is the school psychiatrist connected to Vecna in any way since she was treating most of his victims? What happens if you breathe in those spores that killed all the flowers? Will the Eggos come back? Hopefully, these and more questions get answered.

"Stranger Things" season 5 can’t get here fast enough!