We’re undoubtedly within the endgame now, of us. The 2-episode season finale of Stranger Issues Season 4 is right here, and the Duffer Brothers are usually not messing round — we have not been this pressured for the reason that sequence finale of Recreation of Thrones. Hopefully, you’ve got recovered from that large Vecna/Henry/One (Jamie Campbell Bower) reveal on the finish of Episode 7 as a result of Episode 8, “Papa,” doesn’t waste any time in gearing us up for the large two-and-a-half-hour finale forward.
“Papa” opens proper the place the earlier episode left off, after Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) sends One hurtling by the Upside Down. After Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) seems behind her and asks what she has finished, Eleven turns round and appears at him with fierce resolve earlier than dropping consciousness. Again within the current time, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) remains to be below Vecna’s trance, watching Dr. Brenner tattoo Henry’s wrist as a baby. When Nancy tries to run, Vecna binds her to the chair with slithering vines and reveals her the longer term: a fiery Hawkins is being break up in half because the Upside Down pours into their properties. Vecna releases Nancy again to the true world, the place she fills in the remainder of the crew on the horrors she noticed in his imaginative and prescient: A darkish cloud was unfold over Hawkins and downtown was in flames. She noticed an enormous creature with a gaping mouth, nevertheless it wasn’t alone: there was a military of monsters invading Hawkins, their Hawkins, not the Upside Down model.
Nancy says Vecna confirmed her 4 gates, and the group realizes that he has been exhibiting them his plan all alongside. Vecna’s clock all the time chimes precisely 4 instances. He has taken three victims to date, opening three gates. He solely wants yet another to ensure that the fourth gate to open and for his harmful imaginative and prescient of Hawkins to return to fruition. Nancy says that they haven’t any different selection however to return to the Upside Down and kill him earlier than he can open the final gate. In fact, the others are usually not precisely tremendous jazzed with this plan. As Robin (Maya Hawke) says, “He is a quantity like Eleven, solely a sick, evil, male, child-murdering model of her with actually unhealthy pores and skin.” In no universe wouldn’t it ever be a good battle. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) argues, nonetheless, that perhaps they’ll use this to their benefit. They know that he has El’s powers, they usually know El has a weak point: when she remote-travels, she goes right into a trance-like state, identical to Vecna. When Vecna assaults his subsequent sufferer, they’ll attempt to discover a well beyond his military of Demo-Bats and kill his bodily physique, which will likely be defenseless within the attic of the Creel Home.
It sounds good in idea, Robin says, however they do not know who Vecna goes to assault subsequent. That is the place Max (Sadie Sink) steps in and volunteers herself as bait: she remains to be marked — if she ditches her Walkman, she will lure him in and distract him lengthy sufficient for the remainder of the crew to enter the Upside Down and kill him. Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) begs her to rethink, however she is resolute. She is aware of what she is up in opposition to, and she or he has survived earlier than. Vecna makes use of her darkest recollections in opposition to her, so she simply wants to search out her happiest reminiscence and run in the direction of it and into the sunshine. Lucas fastidiously asks if he occurs to be in that reminiscence, and she or he laughs (we miss seeing Max giggle!) and tells him he is likely to be. Lucas begrudgingly agrees with the plan however tells her that the minute she begins to carry, he’s calling in our lord and savior Kate Bush.
Let’s take a quick breather right here and transfer over to Russia, the place Hopper (David Harbour), Joyce (Winona Ryder), Murray (Brett Gelman), and Antonov a.ok.a. “Enzo” (Tom Wlaschiha) are planning their subsequent transfer as they fight to determine tips on how to escape the jail. Hop and Joyce share a candy second when Joyce tells him that he is the hero of Hawkins. He laughs and says with that basic Hopper cynicism we now have missed, “Yeah, I all the time felt I would be simpler to love after I was useless.” He asks about El, and Joyce tells him that she misses her dad – all of them do.
There’s not a lot time for sentimentality, nonetheless. The Demogorgon remains to be on the unfastened within the jail, tearing some Soviets into shreds. When Hop and the crew hear a really acquainted screeching behind a closed door, Hop cautiously throws open the door and finds a demodog, shrieking with its chest sliced open, strapped on an working desk. Hopper shoots it, placing it out of its distress. Behind one other curtain, they discover what appears to be like like an experimentation lab with a bunch of demodogs floating docile in tanks. Lastly, they see a huge chamber of shadow particles swirling round menacingly. That…would not look good.
They escape the jail by the sewage pipes and make it to Yuri’s (Nikola Djuricko) stash home the place Yuri reveals his grand plan to get them again to America: a helicopter he named “Katinka” after his first lover, who had “very spherical, very stunning buttocks.” Not like the true Katinka, nonetheless, this helicopter remains to be very a lot a virgin: she has by no means been flown. Joyce and the remainder of the crew are collectively screwed except they’ll consider another manner out that does not contain dying inside Katinka, so that they try and get a name out to Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser). However they’ve to talk strictly in code, Antonov says, as a result of the KGB will likely be listening. Oh, they usually would possibly get a name again in 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days, who is aware of? Welcome to the Soviet Union.
Again in Hawkins, Staff Kill Vecna/Henry/One clearly goes to wish one thing just a little extra deadly than Steve’s (Joe Keery) bat or Lucas’s slingshot if they need their mission to succeed. Eddie (Joseph Quinn) is aware of of a retailer known as “Battle Zone” simply outdoors Hawkins. In fact, biking there and again will take manner too lengthy, so Eddie has a unique plan, which entails him donning a Michael Myers masks and breaking into an RV within the trailer park, hot-wiring it, and dashing off whereas the remainder of the crew holds on for expensive life. Steve drives, and on the way in which, he tells Nancy about his very cute dream of getting an enormous household, “a full brood of Harringtons… six little nuggets.” Nancy appears to be like over at him from the passenger seat with barely disguised heart-eyes, however listening to Steve speak about his future when he’s on the prime of the anticipated demise checklist is making us panic just a little.
The crew will get to Battle Zone the place they replenish on cans of kerosene and weapons. A heartbroken Robin is stunned to see her crush Vickie (Amybeth McNulty) there, kissing a man. On the gun counter, Nancy runs into the one particular person on this present I hate greater than Vecna, Jason (Mason Dye), who appears to be like like he hasn’t slept in weeks. After a tense alternate, the remainder of the group manages to get what they want and get the hell out of there with out Jason and his inconvenient goons seeing them.
In the meantime, Eleven has simply realized what her associates are as much as. After waking up from her newest horrible enterprise to the previous and lifting a ten,000-pound NINA tank within the air (our lady’s powers are undoubtedly again, it appears), she remote-traveled to Max’s home and watched from her “darkness world” as her associates got here up with their plan to kill Vecna. Petrified for them, Eleven insists that Dr. Owens ship her to Hawkins to avoid wasting them. Papa, after all, has different plans. He tells her that she is just not prepared. With every sufferer Henry takes, Dr. Brenner says, Henry turns into stronger. When he assaults, he consumes. Each reminiscence and each means of his victims turns into his. Dr. Owens says it is a threat they’re going to should take and in addition reminds Dr. Brenner that they agreed that Challenge Nina would not be a jail for El.
As Dr. Owens calls his folks to make preparations to ship El again to Hawkins, the decision cuts off and Dr. Brenner’s guards are available in, grabbing Dr. Owens and handcuffing him to a pipe. Eleven, in the meantime, is wanting on the NINA tank one final time earlier than the door slams shut behind her and Dr. Brenner steps out from behind the tank. Huge shocker: Papa doesn’t all the time inform the reality, so he is not going to let Eleven depart. Dr. Brenner tells her that they’re going to end their work collectively and return to Hawkins as Papa and daughter as a result of it is the “proper” selection. Eleven steps near him and asks if he made the “proper” selection with Mama, or with Henry. Dr. Brenner says that liked Henry, even after what he did, as a result of he knew he failed him. Eleven abruptly realizes that every one this time that Papa had her wanting into the darkness, it wasn’t simply due to the Soviets: he had her wanting within the darkness as a result of he was trying to find Henry, whom he all the time believed would possibly nonetheless be alive. Dr. Brenner denies that that is true and tells her that Henry has manipulated her, and now she is utilizing her anger to threat every part.
El steps near him once more, wanting him useless within the eyes, and says, “No, you. You have risked every part. You have lied. You made me search for him! The gate. The thoughts flayer. So many useless and all due to you. Since you couldn’t cease. You may not let him go. I got here right here to attempt to perceive who I used to be. To see if I…if I used to be the monster. And now I do know the reality. It’s not me. It’s you. You’re the monster.” Dr. Brenner appears to be like away, a tear rolling down his cheek — maybe the one true act of contrition or humanity we have seen from Papa to date. El turns round and makes use of her energy to tear down the door, however he stabs her within the neck with a needle. She throws him backward, nevertheless it’s too late — the drug has taken impact. She passes out and wakes up with a shock collar round her neck.
In the meantime, the Lenora group is nearer than El realizes. Following Suzie’s (Gabriella Pizzolo) coordinates, the California crew is hightailing it in Argyle’s (Eduardo Franco) Surfer Boy Pizza van to search out “Challenge Nina.” At the back of the van, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) confides in Will (Noah Schnapp) that he’s afraid El will notice she would not want him anymore. She was born particular, and he was simply the primary fortunate particular person to understand that. At some point she’ll notice he is simply “some random nerd that acquired fortunate that Superman landed on his doorstep.”
Will responds by giving Mike his portray (lastly!), which is of the occasion combating a three-headed dragon with Mike on the lead. Within the portray, Mike has a coronary heart on his coat of arms as a result of, as Will tells him, Mike is the guts of the occasion – guiding the occasion and galvanizing them. Will claims El informed him what to color, however we aren’t completely shopping for it, particularly when he continues: “That is what holds this occasion collectively. Coronary heart. As a result of, I imply, with out coronary heart, we might all collapse. Even El. Particularly El. These previous few months, she’s been so misplaced with out you. It is simply, she’s so completely different from different folks, and…while you’re…while you’re completely different, generally…you are feeling like a mistake. However you make her really feel like she’s not a mistake in any respect. Like she’s higher for being completely different. And that offers her the braveness to battle on. If she was imply to you, or she appeared like she was pushing you away it is as a result of she’s terrified of dropping you, such as you’re terrified of dropping her. And if she was going to lose you, I…I believe she’d reasonably simply get it over with fast. Like ripping off a Band-Assist. So yeah, El wants you Mike, and she or he all the time will.”
Within the phrases of Eddie Munson, that is as unambiguous an indication of real love as these cynical eyes have ever seen. Will appears to be like out the window, stifling his sobs whereas a apprehensive Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) appears to be like at him by the rearview mirror. (Get up, Mike! Your finest good friend all however ripped out his coronary heart and gave it to you!) Quickly, the group decides to cease as a result of Jonathan is satisfied that Suzie’s coordinates have to be improper (as if). Argyle proves but once more to be value greater than a scrumptious slice of pizza and factors out some very massive tire tracks within the sand as a result of, yep, you guessed it: the navy has discovered Challenge Nina.
It seems that the navy swarming the compound is (type of) a great factor: it offers El the chance to get out. Dr. Brenner lifts El (nonetheless barely delirious from the injection he gave her) and manages to flee along with her outdoors. He and El are shot at from a navy helicopter, and Dr. Brenner finally will get hit within the arm, leg, and again as he stumbles to the bottom. Earlier than they’ll take the ultimate shot at El, she stands up and stretches her arm out, and you already know what which means: shit is about to go down. El takes down the helicopter, bringing it down in an enormous explosion simply in time for the Surfer Boy Pizza van to return dashing down the highway, reuniting El with Mike and Will.
As El is embracing Will, her shock collar unclasps. She turns round and sees Papa, simply barely alive, who has launched her. He reaches for her and utters his dying phrases, “Eleven, I need you to know, I am happy with you. So very proud. You’re my household. My youngster. I’ve solely ever needed that will help you. To guard you. Every little thing I did, I did for you. I want you to grasp. Please inform me you perceive. Please.” He begs her, and she or he continues to look down at him, tears rolling down her face. However her face is hardened with resolve: she says nothing. She lets go of his hand and says, “Goodbye, Papa.” El will get into the van and tells the boys they should get again to Hawkins, ASAP.
Episode 8 ends with our Hawkins crew, armed with firepower, driving their RV to the Creel home, Journey’s “Separate Methods (Worlds Aside)” crooning within the background. Max and the Sinclair siblings get out of the van, their faces grim as they stroll into the Creel Home. Prepare, gang: the battle is about to start.