At the end of Part 1 of Season 4, Vecna reveals his backstory as Murray and Joyce hope they’ll be able to save Hopper and not arrive in time to see him die.


Aired (Netflix) 5/27/2022
Director(s) The Duffer Brothers
Writer(s) The Duffer Brothers
Introduced This Episode
Young Henry Raphael Luce

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Summary

Despite being the length of a movie, Argyle, Mike, Will, and Jonathan are omitted, and honestly, you won’t miss them. For in Russia, Joyce and Murray, with a well-wrapped Yuri, get into the right prison, threaten the guards, and save Hopper! It’s a bit of a shock it worked so well, and Enzo lived to see it, but it happened.

The same goes for finding a way to get Eddie, Robin, Nancy, and Steve out of the Upside Down. After using a Lite-Bright to communicate with them, they are pushed to Eddie’s house and use the portal there to get back to their world. Eddie and Steve become friends throughout this journey, and Eddie even pushes Steve to reconsider him and Nancy, considering how she led the pack to save him. But, there is no time to think of what could be as regrouping is the top priority.

Now, at first, things go well. Robin makes the leap, Eddie, and next was supposed to be Nancy, with Steve, being the gentleman he is, going last. However, Vecna gets a hold of her, and she seems to be a goner with no music to break her trance. That is until Vecna shows himself as not desiring to make this quick. Rather, he decides to have a James Bond villain type of monologue to reveal his origins to Nancy.

This leads to El being brought in for the Orderly who has been so nice? He is 001, aka Vecna, aka Henry Creel. He tells Nancy his whole story as El relives it within the Nina Project. He talks about his parents being liars and how he was made to feel broken. Vecna talks about how he started on small animals, like any psycho would, to see what he was capable of, and then he started to torture his parents. His dad thought it was demons, but his mom knew. She knew who was forcing them to face their darkest memories, and she tried to do something, so Vecna killed her.

He followed that with his sister, for reasons unknown, beyond to make sure his father would go away for a long time. But, despite it seeming music allowed Victor to escape, it seemingly was more so Henry overestimating his abilities. With taking out his mom and sister before his dad, he was overextended, fainted, and was in a coma. One in which, when he woke up, he’d be in Dr. Brenner’s care.

Which, with not being as malleable as the others, led to Vecna having an inhibitor placed and Dr. Brenner using more than a dozen kids as test subjects to replicate Vecna. However, El was the closest one, and Vecna took to her because of that. But, unlike him, El wasn’t able to be so heartless or see herself as a hero cleansing the Earth. So, she didn’t agree to go along with Vecna once she knew who he really was. Thus they went to battle, and while she lost their first fight, she won the war. She banished Vecna to the Upside Down and made him all he is today. Thus explaining why El is the constant focus of anything which comes from the Upside Down.

Things To Note

Young Henry (Raphael Luce) judging his family
Young Henry (Raphael Luce)
  • Sam Owens’ agent, kept alive by Sullivan, breaks, and now the US Government knows where El is.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. I get why Vecna killed El’s bullies, but why the other kids? Just to make themselves stronger?
  2. Will things end for Vecna with all the people who they absorbed fighting back? Between Nightmare on Elm Street, maybe another movie, I feel like we saw how this ends before.
  3. Were there incidents from the Upside Down before Henry became Vecna? Is his existence there what is causing all the disturbances?

What Could Happen Next

  1. El defeating Vecna/One/Henry once and for all, and the Mind Flayer being the final boss in season 5
  2. Brenner dying because of the US Government
  3. Maybe getting some sense of normalcy in the last episode, with a lot of happy moments, but at least one person dying. All things considered, I think Jonathan is going to die since the investment with him is minimal, but he is an OG, so his death would still have an impact

Review

Highlights

Vecna’s Backstory Wasn’t Terrible

Vecna’s reveal that he was Henry wasn’t a jaw-dropping surprise. Neither was him being 001. If anything, it helped explain a lot and began the wrap-up process when it comes to Stranger Things. Why has El been a consistent target? Why has Hawkins been the main place that was hit and nowhere else? Heck, it makes sense even when it comes to the people Vecna targeted.

What Vecna doesn’t like is people who don’t own who they are and stand up for themselves. I’d even say, with each person he killed or tried to, he gave them the same push he gave El. He told her to hone in on a dark memory to tap into her power, and with her doing so, he grew fond of her. So, once could say, if Max opened up about what she felt, if Chrissy confronted her mom, if Fred owned what he did, maybe Vecna would have backed off?

After all, Vecna’s whole story is about people not seeing themselves as broken and hating the parts of himself which felt like that. So it is only natural that, just as much as he felt it was his job to make people see themselves in the mirror, he avoided his own reflection and hated what he saw of himself in others.

Dropping Argyle, Mike, Will, and Jonathan

Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle are the weakest link in part 1. The best thing to come from them is seeing Suzie’s life beyond her room. Outside of that? Their existence was an obligation. It was like dragging out Hopper’s escape so that it can build to something. The only question is, what can be the payoff here beyond Mike and El reuniting? Especially when Steve and Nancy are being put on a train back to being together, Will having no life outside of whoever he is latched onto and Argyle? Again, if he ended up getting killed by Vecna, that would be perfectly fine. He’s cool and all, but only in small doses.

Hopper and Joyce Reunited

It’s a nice moment. Shows like this tend to like to end on nice moments. You’ve just witnessed so much death, loss, people facing themselves, and being forced to open up in ways they weren’t comfortable or ready for, so you get someone simple and nice. Also, well deserved considering all Hopper went through and Joyce’s whole life up till now.

On The Fence

How Things Will End For Vecna

My biggest worry right now is that Vecna, who has had a decent build, will have an end that doesn’t match what was done so far. He has raised the stakes when it comes to those who exist in the Upside Down and is the best villain we’ve seen. Also, while he has only flirted with the opportunity to take out lead characters, he has gotten farther than most and has went after characters who you recognize matter throughout the series, and not just when they want to pull them off the bench (Will).

So with that in mind, I can imagine an epic battle to finish him off, but can an epic battle between El and Vecna really be enough? A lot of villains are taken out that way through a notable fight. Could “Stranger Things” find something different?

Stranger Things Directory

Network(s) Netflix
Created or Developed By The Duffer Brothers
First Aired 7/15/2016

Character Guide

Not Created

Season Reviews

Not Created

Title Card - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 7 “Chapter Seven The Massacre At Hawkins Labs”
Stranger Things: Season 4/ Episode 7 “Chapter Seven: The Massacre At Hawkins Labs” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
From Vecna’s backstory to Hopper’s rescue, volume one of season 4 ends on a high note. However, with leaving out multiple characters, so comes the question if there is a recognition that they are the weakest link, or there are major plans for them, but to do them justice, they needed more time than this episode could give?
Vecna’s Backstory Wasn’t Terrible
84
Dropping Argyle, Mike, Will, and Jonathan
86
Hopper and Joyce Reunited
83
How Things Will End For Vecna
76
Community Rating1 Vote
94
Highlights
Hopper and Joyce Reunited
Dropping Argyle, Mike, Will, and Jonathan
Vecna’s Backstory Wasn’t Terrible
Disputable
How Things Will End For Vecna
82


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of zume

    Can’t figure out why Mike, Will, and Jonathan were sidelined through most of the season and particularly this episode. Mike is ostensibly the main male lead, and Will is a great character and his actor’s clearly got the chops–it’s disappointing that they all didn’t have more to do! I can only imagine that they’ll have a central role in Part II…

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