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Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 Ending Recap: Who Is Vecna?

Here's what happened to every character by the end of the first volume of Stranger Things 4

Kat Moon

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Episode 7 of Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1. Read at your own risk!]

More than in any other season, the characters of Stranger Things 4 are separated. Across the seven episodes of the Netflix drama's fourth installment, we follow Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) and the Byers in Lenora Hill, California, the imprisoned Hopper (David Harbour) in Russia, and a series of gruesome deaths in Hawkins, Indiana. Tracking the events unfolding in each of these locations is not easy, and that's why we're recapping what our main characters are up to by the end of Season 4 Part 1. 

During the finale of Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1, we also learn the origin story of the horrific antagonist in the Upside Down, Vecna. This recap will include details from that reveal, to help you remember how this monster became who he is by the time Season 4 Part 2 premieres on July 1.

Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Eddie (Hawkins)

The last episode of Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 begins with Steve (Joe Keery) in the Upside Down — where he was dragged after discovering a new gate at the end of Episode 6. He's about to be strangled by a demonic bat, but thankfully Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) arrive in time to save him. The problem then was that they were all stuck in the Upside Down. The portal they entered from was surrounded by more demonic bats, so they decided to find guns from Nancy's house. At Nancy's house, the crew was stunned by the discovery that time is frozen in the Upside Down on November 6, 1983 — the same day that Will (Noah Schnapp) went missing in Season 1.

Joe Keery, Joseph Quinn, Natalia Dyer, Maya Hawke, Stranger Things

Joe Keery, Joseph Quinn, Natalia Dyer, Maya Hawke, Stranger Things


Dustin, Lucas, Max, Erica (Hawkins)

In the human world, (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Max (Sadie Sink) were questioned by the police at the Wheelers' after being found at Lovers' Lake. Dustin and Lucas — along with Lucas' sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) — communicated with Steve, Robin, Nancy, and Eddie using lights after realizing that they were stuck in the alternate dimension. Dustin also informed them of his latest realization: Vecna opened gates to the Upside Down at every site where he murdered someone. Knowing this, the two groups made their way to Eddie's trailer — the location of Chrissy's (Grace Van Dien) death. Sure enough, there was a portal in the exact spot where Chrissy was killed. Using a makeshift rope, Robin and Eddie safely got across to the human world. But when it was Nancy's turn, she was transported to what appears to be another corner of the Upside Down. 

Vecna and Eleven (Hawkins Lab/Nina Project Lab in Nevada)

Nancy ended up Vecna's headquarters, and it's there that we learned of the creature's backstory. Nancy was transported to the past, to the moment when Victor Creel and his family moved into their new home in Hawkins. It turned out that Vecna is Victor's son Henry, who said he never fit in with the other kids. Young Henry had telekinesis powers, and used them to mutilate animals before eventually killing his mom and sister. In short, while Victor — still imprisoned because he was arrested for these murders — believes a demon destroyed his family, it was actually the work of his son.

But the reveal doesn't end there. The person sharing this information is Henry (Jamie Campbell Bower) himself, who, as an adult, works at Hawkins Lab. Remember how Eleven had been revisiting her memories at the lab because Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) believed it's the only way for her to regain her powers? Eleven interacts with Henry in multiple of these memories, and in the last episode Henry revealed via Eleven's unrepressed memory that he is also One, the first of the telekinetic children at the lab. That's right, Vecna is both Henry and One. 

One is the person who killed nearly everyone at Hawkins Lab after Eleven removed a tracking device from him. She refused to join him in escaping after seeing what he did and the two battle it out with their powers. The fight ended with Eleven sending One to the Upside Down. As he fell, One is struck by lightning in the alternate dimension and transformed into the monstrous creature that is Vecna. In the present day, revisiting this memory appeared to have had a strong effect on Eleven. Dr. Brenner looks at a beeping chart of her brain waves and said, "It's happening." Are her powers finally back?

Hopper, Joyce, Murray (Russia)

Elsewhere in Russia, Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray (Brett Gelman) successfully sneaked into the prison where Hopper was held. Murray posed as Yuri (Nikola Djuricko), and pretended to turn in Joyce and Yuri (disguised as Murray). At the prison, Joyce and Murray saw a group of prisoners, including Hopper, prepare to fight a Demogorgon. Most of the prisoners were instantly killed, but Hopper and the disgraced prison guard Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha) escaped thanks to Joyce and Murray's help. Joyce and Hopper reunited for the first time since the battle at Starcourt Mall. 

Mike, Will, Jonathan, Argyle (California/Utah)

Believe it or not, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Argyle (Eduardo Franco) don't appear in Episode 7 of this season. The last time we saw this group, they were in Salt Lake City asking Dustin's girlfriend Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) for help. Suzie uses her hacker skills to find the location of the Nina Project: Eleven is in Nevada.

All 7 episodes of Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 are available to stream.