Stranger Things Theory Reveals Eleven Will Make Season 5's Villain Stronger

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things season 4 volume 2.

Eleven's feeling of defeat at the end of Stranger Things season 4 will likely make Vecna even more powerful in season 5. Although the season 4 finale left its heroes with much to celebrate, it was far from a wholly victorious ending for the show’s fourth outing. Season 4 concluded with Hopper and Eleven finally reunited, but this came at the cost of Eddie’s heroic self-sacrifice and Max falling into a coma after temporarily dying.

Unlike earlier Stranger Things installments, the season 4 finale left the distinct impression that its story wasn’t over yet. Despite its many messy plot holes, Stranger Things season 3 ended on a definitive note that could have actually acted as a finale for the series as a whole if it weren’t for the stinger’s revelation that Hopper was still alive. In contrast, Stranger Things season 4 ended on a cliffhanger with the gang preparing to face down Vecna once again as the Upside Down seeped out and started to take over the town of Hawkins.

Related: How Will Stranger Things End? The Biggest Season 5 Theories

To set up season 5’s final showdown between Vecna and Eleven, the Stranger Things season 4 finale made it clear that Eleven failed to beat the villain despite temporarily managing to overpower him. In classic slasher movie fashion, the Stranger Things season 4 villain's body was nowhere to be found when Steve, Robin, and Nancy exited Creel House to search for Vecna's remains. Not only that, but the house’s clock chiming four times, the catastrophic gate opening across Hawkins, and Max’s technical, if temporary, death meant that Vecna was stronger than ever, leading to the Upside Down merging with the town in the finale’s closing moments. This left Eleven feeling defeated, and Vecna’s ability to use the darkest memories of his victims against them will likely be turned on the heroine due to her frustration over her first major loss.

Since the Mind Flayer possessed Will Byers in Stranger Things season 2, it has been clear that the monster takes over his new host by plunging them into hopeless, despairing depression. This might have been why the Demogorgon never killed Will since the creature was part of Vecna’s hive mind and its master may have needed a new human host more than sustenance. Vecna/the Mind Flayer took this approach further in season 4 as the villain forced Chrissy, Patrick, Fred, and Max to see their worst memories as part of a trick to lure them into a trance before killing them.

In Stranger Things season 5, Vecna will most likely take advantage of Eleven's anger, despondency, and depression to disempower her further. The fact that Eleven could resurrect Max in the Stranger Things season 4 finale proves her powers are still present and may even be stronger than ever before. However, this means her loss to Vecna was more a question of confidence and self-certainty than brute strength. Eleven didn’t feel she could beat Vecna when she faced down the villain, and this perception was not helped by Dr. Brenner repeatedly telling her that she wasn’t ready yet during her training.

Vecna can sense this sort of negative emotion and will be able to use it against Eleven in Stranger Things season 5, further disempowering her by convincing her that she can’t beat him and should not even try as a result. The extent of Eleven’s powers doesn’t matter if she can’t access them, meaning that Vecna’s main mission won’t be to overpower her, which he has failed to do twice now, but instead to convince her that resistance is futile.

Related: Stranger Things 4 Deaths Mean Kali Must Finally Return In Season 5

After Stranger Things season 3 introduced too many villains, the show made up for this issue by revealing in season 4 that all of its supernatural monsters were secretly facets of one powerful being. Henry Creel/One/Vecna used the Demogorgons, the Demodogs, the Mind Flayer, the Spider Monster, and the monstrous bats of the Upside Down as his foot soldiers, but he was ultimately the architect of the Upside Down and therefore the center of the paranormal evils depicted throughout Stranger Things seasons 1–3.

As such, while Eleven’s inability to cope with losing to Vecna makes her despondent — in turn, making Vecna stronger — her final showdown with the character will actually be easier than earlier battles since the character now knows that she needs to defeat one major villain for the entire Upside Down to come crumbling down. While Eleven may not be ready to rejoice at this news, another underused Stranger Things character is.

Will the Wise, with his Dungeons & Dragons knowledge, is the only one who appears to realize that outsmarting Vecna is the key to the destruction of the Upside Down. It is easy to see why this is the case, between Will being a sensitive character and him having an existing psychic connection with Vecna due to his season 2 possession. Not only that, Will’s status as the first character seen in the Stranger Things pilot makes his promotion to main character status in season 5 all the more fitting. Ever since the more modest, subdued story of Stranger Things season 1, Will Byers has been central to the story of the series, and the character’s ultimate purpose became clear in the closing scenes of the season 4 finale.

Whether he was reminding Mike that he was the heart of the Stranger Things gang or arguing that Eleven feeling dejected after her loss was dangerously misguided, Will is the only one who appears to know that morale will literally make a life-or-death difference in season 5. In Stranger Things season 5, Eleven’s hopelessness is Vecna’s most powerful weapon. Presumably, the villain will use her defeat to convince her that she can’t beat him, prompting Will — the only other character with a psychic link with Vecna — to help her call his bluff and find her strength again. This approach would finally re-connect Eleven and Will, the two Stranger Things heroes with whom the show’s story began four seasons ago.

More: Why Will Is Connected To Vecna (It Could Be Key To Season 5)

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