Vecna, formerly known as Number One and before that as Henry Creel, proudly announces to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in the season 4 finale that he is the author of all her suffering. Upon arrival in the Upside Down, Vecna surveyed the landscape and saw that it was to his liking. He even met The Mind Flayer and borrowed some of its power. From that moment on, Vecna sought Eleven as a sort of key to the “real world,” which he in turn could turn into The Upside Down.
The series big bad has been Vecna this whole time and according to Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), he still has yet to be defeated. Will, thanks to his earlier connection with the Mind Flayer (who was operating as part of Vecna), can still feel Vecna’s presence. He knows that, despite the seemingly fatal burn wounds, that Vecna will recuperate to fight another day. And fight he shall in season 5.
What’s Happening to Hawkins?
As previously stated, Vecna’s ultimate goal is to unleash the hellish chaos of The Upside Down upon our unsuspecting world. The neat thing about the season 4 finale is that he kind of succeeds in that mission. By successfully killing Max (more on that in a moment), Vecna was able to open a fourth gate and in the process break the “dam” connecting the two realities.
This breaking of the dam has immediate destructive repercussions as the force of the break creates a 7.6 magnitude earthquake throughout Hawkins that kills at least 22 people. Unfortunately that earthquake was just the beginning of the bad news to come. Based on the final shot of the season it seems as though a significant chunk of The Upside Down has leaked out into our world. There’s a huge portion of the natural landscape outside of Hopper’s cabin that is effectively in black and white. Not only that but there are ominous black clouds tinged with red lightning in the sky … and they’re advancing.
The “normal” citizenry of Hawkins, like Mike’s dad Ted (Joe Christ), scoff at the notion that the town is cursed. When the apocalyptic black clouds roll in in season 5, however, they may have no choice but to believe.
Where is Max?
Perhaps the biggest mystery that Stranger Things season 5 will have to confront is the whereabouts of Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink). To be clear, we know where Max’s body is. Her mortal form currently lies in a hospital bed in Hawkins, buried deep in a coma. We don’t, however, know where her consciousness is.