Warning: Spoilers for the "Stranger Things 4" finale ahead!
With a stirring rendition of Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" and the town of Hawkins now suffering from the Upside Down finally breaking free through into … well, the "right-side up," Season 4 of "Stranger Things" ended on a wild note, and those final moments promise a great deal of intense material for the upcoming final season of the immensely popular show.
Having faced off against a being menacingly referred to as Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), the characters in "Stranger Things" have shown a resilience that belays their generally young age. Most people in high school worry about making friends or their reputation, not having to be concerned about extraplanar threats that can transform people into Cronenberg-style monstrosities, but these kids have more than proven their worth. That particularly goes for Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), who first joined the cast of "Stranger Things" in Season 2, and quickly integrated herself in the tight group of friends, going so far to invent her own class for "Dungeons & Dragons," much to the chagrin of Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard).
Having been marked by Vecna as the final death needed to shatter the boundaries between this reality and the Upside Down, Max comes under attack, only surviving thanks to the majestic stylings of Kate Bush. Nonetheless, in the last episode, she sacrifices herself in an effort to stop Vecna, only saved from a full decimation by the interference of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). The young superhero is able to revive her in the seconds after she dies, but at a cost — as Max remains in a coma at the end of Season 4.
Fans have already begun to wildly speculate on her fate, and to ponder if her biggest role is yet to come.
Fans think Eleven will need to get Max’s soul back from Vecna
On Reddit, several fans have discussed what the future may hold for the character of Max. One viewer, u/chilicheesedogo, put out a theory that involves Eleven going into Vecna’s mind in order to retrieve Max’s soul. Others agree with this belief, with u/goodgreatfineokay adding the reminder that Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) already clarified Vecna’s powers in the previous episode, saying that he consumes the very essence of his victims. Somehow, even though Eleven saved Max, Vecna still has the power to start the apocalypse, and Max’s soul may be the reason.
In agreement, u/Ezra88 added, "Henry himself said so too. When he killed all the kids at the lab, he literally said ‘They aren’t gone, Eleven, they are right here, with me’ or something like that, as he tapped his head. So my guess is that yes, El will have to go there and grab Max."
It does seem likely that Eleven will have to once again engage in a psychic battle with Vecna in order to fully revive Max, and to awaken her from her coma in Season 5 of "Stranger Things." It has been established by the show that Vecna is able to peer into the minds of people and see the darkness in their souls, and by killing them, he (in his own warped perspective) gives their lives meaning. Although Max has tenuously survived Vecna’s attacks, her current medical status indicates that, perhaps, while her body is alive, her consciousness is still trapped within Vecna’s domain. This explains why Eleven was able to stall, but not prevent, the breakthrough of the Upside Down into the regular world.