Stranger Things season 4 episode 9 recap: The Piggyback

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler and Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler and Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

This article contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things season 4 episode 9.

Eleven leads the charge to help everyone work together to stop Vecna and his army from getting into Hawkins in the Stranger Things season 4 finale.

Catch up here on everything from the last episode!

The ninth and final episode of Stranger Things season 4 begins in the Soviet Union. Yuri is getting his puddle jumper ready while Hopper and Joyce get out of the clothes they wore in the sewage tunnel.

The two then share some romantic dialogue about their future date before kissing each other. Their kiss is interrupted by the phone ringing, meaning they could get help stateside.

After dropping off Lucas, Erica, and Max at the Creel house, the rest of the group goes over their plan one last time. Then, Steve, Nancy, Eddie, Robin, and Dustin travel through the gate at the Munson home and enter the Upside Down.

Steve gives Dustin and Eddie some advice, don’t try to be a hero, as they wait for the killer bats. After Eddie tells them to make Vecna pay, the others journey to the Creel house.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Preparing for a final stand

At a Nevada gas station, Jonathan finds out they aren’t getting to Hawkins tonight. Eleven creates a plan to go into Max’s mind to get to Vecna. With the help of Argyle’s knowledge of pizza places, he knows a place with a big enough tub and enough salt for El’s sensory deprivation chamber.

When he gets off the phone audiences find out Hopper was talking with his US contact, the same woman Owens was talking to when Brenner cut the phone lines. They are caught up with everything in regards to Eleven and make the plan to break back into the prison they just escaped to kill the beasts from the Upside Down and weaken the hive mind.

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Tom Wlaschiha as Dmitrti, Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman, Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, and David Harbour as Jim Hopper in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Tom Wlaschiha as Dmitrti, Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman, Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, and David Harbour as Jim Hopper in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

Argyle takes his friends to the local Surfer Boy Pizza shop. With the help of some magical weed, they are able to bribe Argyle’s doppelganger to gain access to their necessary supplies.

Before they distract the bats, Eddie and Dustin barricade the Munson home to prevent anyone or anything from passing through. Once this is complete, Eddie prepares his guitar for the most metal concert of all time.

While walking to the Creel house, Robin is doing her sporadic thing when Steve thanks Nancy for waking him up from his old, self-centered life. Steve concludes when he states his dream of having a family also includes Nancy there. Robin cuts this moment short when she notices the Creel house.

Driving up to the Russian no guards are waiting for them. While getting into the sewage tunnel, Hopper hears gunfire going on over in the prison. Back at the hideout, Antonov makes one last national and emotional plea to Yuri to try and convince the smuggler to help.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Most metal concert of all time

Waiting in the Creel house, Max and Lucas share notes with their notepads like they are in Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” music video. They make a plan to see a movie this Friday after they are done here. This is when Erica signals it is time for phase two.

At the pizza shop, Will flirts with Eleven like old times before they try this crazy pizza Argyle made that has pineapple on it. In the kitchen, Jonathan and Will share a bonding moment where they reconnect because Jonathan has noticed things are getting complicated in Will’s life.

The chamber is now ready for Eleven so she goes in. El finds Max and watches as Max’s plan struggles to get going.

In response to this, Max sits down and talks with Vecna. She admits that what Vecna said before was right, Max did want Billy to get hurt and die. Because Billy died, and she did not know if he deserved to be saved, she now wants something bad to happen to her.

This is what allows Vecna inside Max’s mind and the plan to finally start. Eleven uses this to infiltrate Max’s mind. El has to maneuver through Max’s memories to find her.

Outside of Max’s mind, Lucas sends the signal to initiate phase three. This means Dustin plugs in the extension cord, turns up the amp, and Eddie plays “Master of Puppets” by Metallica in this demonic world.

As Eddie plays and distracts the bats, the attack on Vecna hits some snags. Other than Max trying to run to a happy memory, something she knew was going to be a challenge, the basketball players arrive at the Creel house and incapacitate Erica.

Max, however, finds her memory of her and Lucas at the Snow Ball dance from the season 2 finale. This breakthrough on Max’s end coincides with Eddie and Dustin securing themselves in the Munson home after the most metal concert ever.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Hopper’s plan to help Eleven

Over in the Soviet Union, the eclectic trio of Hopper, Joyce, and Murray complete their task of breaking back into the prison. They notice all of the encased demodogs have been freed from their containers so the concrete building is filled with these monsters.

They come across a slashed-up guard and hear about how the beasts escaped. They also learn about the sharp particles they had flown into these four-legged beasts, making them connected to the hive mind and stronger because of that.

Hopper devises a plan where Murray will be the grillmaster with the flamethrower up above, Joyce will be the jailor turning the electric gate on once all the demodogs arrive, and he made himself the bait to bring them all to this arena.

Eleven continues her search through Max’s memories but finds her too young. That is when a DJ table is seen so El goes to that. As this goes on, Max’s winter dance memory begins decaying with the dust-like particles falling.

While Max’s body is vulnerable in the Creel house’s attic, Jason breaks in and assumes Lucas is performing a satanic ritual on her. He demands Lucas wakes her up and threatens to kill him with his revolver if he does not.

Down in the Upside Down, the defenses around the Munson home become weaker as the bats break through a little hole. At the Creel house, tentacles and vines of the hive mind trap Robin, Steve, and Nancy as it holds them by their neck and limbs.

Dustin and Eddie plug the vent the bats broke through, but not before the other vent is broken through as well. This leads to Dustin escaping through the gate, but Eddie does not run away this time and is a hero.

STRANGER THINGS. Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Tina Rowden/Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Tina Rowden/Netflix © 2022 /

Eddie cuts the ladder so Dustin is stuck in the real trailer and rides his bike away to distract the bats.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Eddie does not run away

Max has time to prepare for Vecna’s arrival so she tries barricading the gym doors. When she goes to bring one more chair, the door has turned to the front door of the Creel house. She begins to hear the beast telling her how her friends are dying as visions of them dying play.

Outside of Max’s mind, Lucas tries to reason with Jason but his mind is set. Because he realizes this, Lucas fights Jason to stop him as Erica fights Jason’s teammate outside. As this goes on, Max refuses to follow his plan, so Vecna breaks into her memory to torment her.

Before he can fully instill Vecna’s Curse, the beast formerly known as Henry Creel flies back and is held in midair. Eleven has found Max in her mind and throws Vecna into the bleachers. El goes to check on her friend before Vecna begins stirring again.

Eleven and One then get into position for a duel, just like Brenner had his children. Vecna is clearly the stronger being so it is one-sided early on.

Eddie is eventually knocked off his bike as he is riding away. He initially thinks to run before deciding to be a hero, plant his feet firmly, and fight the bats. Dustin jumps through the gate, injuring his leg in the process, before trying to help his oddball friend.

Vecna continues his onslaught and is not even phased when Max tries to help Eleven. Then, Vecna is able to hold Eleven up and tells her that before he kills her, he wants Eleven to watch as he carries out his plan.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Vecna’s true power is revealed

El brings up Papa and how he is dead to try and stop Henry. But Henry explains how Papa did not make him who he was, it was Eleven who did that by sending him through the gate. Henry explains his journey through exploring this world untouched by humans.

This exploring he did led Henry to find the Mind Flayer before he found a way to use it. This reveals that Henry has been the mastermind of the Upside Down and controlled the hive mind ever since Eleven sent him there. The monster finishes by saying her friends have lost and Hawkins will fall.

Vecna has everyone held down and is choking El through one of his appendages. Mike has everyone take her out of the water because of her choking. Will has his best friend talk to Eleven since he is the heart so Mike gives a speech to tell El she has to fight.

Mike’s words are getting through to Eleven because Vecna’s appendages are weakening their grip around her. While this occurs, Lucas knocks Jason down, Dustin is trying to crutch along to save Eddie, and Max floats as her limbs begin breaking under Vecna’s curse.

Eleven finally breaks free and knocks Vecna on his back. This frees Max, who is caught by Lucas t soften her fall.

After Eleven staggers Vecna, Murray over in Russia does the same thing when he lights up the Demogorgon and all the demodogs that Hopper baited into the attack zone. There is only the weakened Demogorgon left, so Hopper picks up a sword and duels with it. First, its arm but then can be cut off by the former chief of Hawkins police.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Stopping Vecna on all fronts

Both of the attacks from Hopper and Eleven weaken the hive mind so the vines in the Creel house that free Steve, Nancy, and Robin.

Because they are now free, phase four can commence and that is throwing some Molotov cocktails at the tranced Vecna. Those bombs, along with some shotgun shells from Nancy knock Vecna out of the house, but the beast escapes before the three of them can kill him.

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington and Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington and Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

The bats disperse now that Vecna is on the defensive so Dustin gets to Eddie but his friend is too hurt to move. Eddie, who knows what is coming, has Dustin promise to look over the young ones because it is his year. The leader of Hellfire then dies in Dustin’s arms but dies as a hero.

Erica runs up to the attic to find Lucas screaming for medical help. Max can’t see or feel anything and exclaims she is too scared to die. Eleven is still there watching as Max dies in Lucas’ arms.

As Max dies, the Creel grandfather clock chimes four times since Vecna has claimed his fourth and final victim. This creates the fourth gate to the Upside Down that makes the visions Nancy saw at the start of episode 8 come true. Hawkins has now been ripped up causing chaos around town.

Eleven refuses to leave her trance state because she refuses to let Max die. By focusing on all of the happiest memories the two of them have had together, Eleven tries using her powers to revive Max and save her friend.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Two days later

Jonathan, Argyle, Eleven, Mike, and Will all return to Hawkins two days later only to see all of the destruction around their town. The news report passes this disaster off as a big earthquake.

The pizza delivery van pulls up to the Wheeler house and the two groups of people are finally reunited. Nancy and Jonathan catch up, Mike’s mom is relieved to have Mike back, and Dustin informs Eleven and Will that Lucas is at the hospital.

Lucas is not hurt, but rather Eleven’s attempt to save Max was successful. After being revived following being dead for over a minute, Max is now in a coma that the doctors think she might awake from. Eleven sits by her side and holds her hand and focuses.

Robin, Steve, and Dustin bring donations to the disaster relief center to help out before volunteering their time. As Steve separates clothes, Robin is on PB&J duty. Also working there is Vickie who rambles about how she broke up with her boyfriend, bringing light to Robin’s eye.

At the missing person’s bulletin, Mr. Munson is there so Dustin walks up to him. Dustin explains how he was with him when the earthquake hit and explains Eddie died a hero protecting Hawkins.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 9: Rebuilding Hopper’s Cabin

Since Eleven needs to be off the grid, the group goes to Hopper’s cabin in the woods to rebuild it and make it habitable. Jonathan and Nancy share a private moment where they reflect on how them being apart this past week worked out.

Mike and Will talk about how they are both keeping eyes on Eleven since she lost against One. Will explains how since he is back in Hawkins, he can now sense One. He goes on to explain how he can sense One is hurting but will not stop until his plan is complete.

In her old bedroom, Eleven tries to find Max to bring her out of the coma, just as El tried to do at the hospital. She is once again unsuccessful but this coincides with a government car pulling up to the cabin. Some rumbling is heard before Eleven’s door opens and it is Hopper.

After eight months of being separated, Eleven and Hopper are reunited and the two hold each other tightly. The two go outside where El can thank Joyce for going to her “conference” in Alaska since her father is back home.

During all these joyful reunions, Will gets goosebumps on the back of his neck. He looks behind him to see the sky getting angrier and those dusty particles flurry down. The group goes to investigate to find the grass and foliage decaying with the gates around Hawkins opening.

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How did you like Stranger Things season 4? What are your theories about how this show will conclude when season 5 is said and done with? 

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