The Duffer brothers spent the weeks between Volume 1 and Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2 gearing us up for deaths and yet, somehow, we still weren't quite ready. Some demises were slow and emotional, while others were more blink-and-you'll-miss 'em. Other characters' fates, well, were left kind of up in the air – and that's partly where this article comes in. Whether you're after an explanation on who dies in Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2, or if you simply want to know who doesn't make it out of the battle of Hawkins alive without actually tuning in to the new chapter, we've got you covered.
This season was always going to be bloody, so if you find yourself sobbing after watching (or reading), we won't be surprised. Matt and Ross Duffer, the show's creators, were previously asked whether we could expect a "body count" in the new batch of episodes. Their response? "For sure, for sure." And they weren't kidding. But saying any more would be telling. Don't read any further if you don't want to know who dies in Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2. There are major spoilers ahead. If you do, then read on, nerds...
Who dies in Strangers Things season 4, Volume 2? *spoilers ahead*
Does Max die in Stranger Things?
Max almost succumbed to Vecna's dark dimension in the fourth episode of the season. Fortunately, her friends (and Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill') helped her consciousness fight the veiny villain and find its way back to her body in the real world. In Volume 2, Max persuades the gang to use her as bait for Vecna's spirit, while the others fry his physical form in the Upside Down – but it doesn't take long for things to go sideways.
First, Vecna infiltrates the happy memory Max is using to keep him at arm's length – her time at the Hawkins' Middle School Snow Ball – and then, during his attack on Lucas at the Creel House, Jason crushes her cassette player. Without music to snap her out of the Mind Layer, Vecna manages to overpower Max, and she starts levitating back in Hawkins.
As her limbs bend and break, blood starts seeping from her whited-out eyes, and it looks like she's a goner, but Eleven intervenes in the nick of time and blasts Vecna's consciousness away from her bestie. Back in the real world, Lucas orders Erica to call for an ambulance, as he cradles a badly injured Max, who says she can't see or feel anything. A few minutes later, Max dies – her heart stops for one whole minute.
However, Eleven decides she's seen enough death and... kind of... resurrects Max using her powers. Only not completely, because when we see Max next, she's in a coma in the hospital. Eleven enters her mind and there's no one there, only darkness. Let's pray that, by the time Stranger Things season 5 rolls around, Max is conscious again.
This one hurts. Eddie Munson may have only joined Stranger Things at the beginning of season 4, but he quickly became one of the best characters on the show. The Dungeons & Dragons loving, heavy-metal stan wormed his way into our hearts from his first introduction in the school canteen. He didn't have a very easy time of it, though, as he got swept up in the Satanic Panic of '80s Hawkins after he was the last person to be seen with Chrissy. Witnessing her brutal death, he went into hiding as the cops came after him. Dustin, Steve, and the Hawkins gang saved him and brought him into their plans to take down Vecna.
In the final battle, he and Dustin are given the job to lure the Demobats away from Steve, Nancy, and Robin so they have time to destroy Vecna's body in the Upside Down. They're warned not to be heroes – but unfortunately, it seems Eddie is not listening. At first, everything seems to be going well but then the bats start getting into the trailer through the vents. Dustin and Eddie decide to abandon ship. But at the last moment, Eddie changes his mind, leaving Dustin back in Hawkins to buy some more time.
It's not long before the bats converge on him, leaving him with some very serious injuries. By the time Dustin gets back through the gate, Eddie is dying. As he lies in his arms, Eddie tells Dustin: "I didn't run away this time, right?" as he makes him promise to look after the others. His final words are all about how he might finally graduate this year, on his third and final attempt. "I think it's my year Henderson," he tells him, "I think it's finally my year." '86, baby. Excuse me, I think I might have something in my eye… You can read our in memoriam for Eddie Munson through that link.
Dr. Martin Brenner
It was a given that an episode titled 'Papa' would feature Brenner in a big way – and the eighth episode certainly did not disappoint. After her confrontation with Henry Creel (Jamie Campbell Bower) in his pre-Vecna phase, Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) and Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) reveal to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) the truth about Vecna/Henry/One.
After telling the youngster that Henry is now killing kids in Hawkins, Eleven vows to travel back to Indiana to help her pals who have been caught up in the storm, but Brenner insists Eleven isn't yet powerful enough to face the big bad. Owens reminds Brenner that they agreed their facility wouldn't be a prison and that Eleven should be allowed to make her own choices. Control freak Brenner doesn't listen, though, leading him to secure Owens and sedate Eleven.
Later, The Nina Project's base is ambushed by Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan, and in his attempt to get Eleven to safety, Brenner is fatally shot down by Sullivan's men. As he bleeds out, he uses a remote to unlock the shock collar he had placed around Eleven's neck, and he tells her that he's always regarded her as his family. Murky 'til the very end.
Jason Carver has been causing all kinds of issues throughout Stranger Things season 4. This only intensified in the finale when he tried to get Lucas to wake Max up from her "trance". Not only did he destroy her Kate Bush tape, he almost choked Lucas to death while fighting with him. Therefore, you'll forgive us if we're not too sad to see the Hawkins High jock die.
His death came in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. After Lucas gets the upper hand beating him up, Jason is lying on the floor of Henry Creel's house. It turns out to be the worst spot he could be in as Vecna's plan succeeds and the gates to the Upside Down open across town. Jason is caught between two halves as his body is torn in half and disintegrates. Yikes. It's a pretty grisly end for the basketball player. But given how he almost succeeded in ruining the whole plan to destroy Vecna, it seems he might have had it coming.
Is Vecna still alive?
Unfortunately for Eleven, Max, and the others, Vecna survived. Despite the villain being flambéd in the Upside Down by Steve, Robin, and Nancy, Will confirms that he can still sense Vecna in Hawkins. Indeed, when Steve and co. left the house where they fried Vecna, the creature's body was not outside...
In episode 8, the gang recalls how Vecna's spooky grandfather clock always chimes four times, and they take that to mean that he must have to kill four victims in order to enact his grand plan of unleashing Demogorgons and the like in the real world. Turns out, while she may have only crossed over for sixty seconds, Max's "death" counted, and it resulted in a devastating earthquake that saw 22 locals lose their lives and glowing, wound-like gateways popping up all over town. It seemingly revived Vecna, too.
"Now that I'm here, in Hawkins, I can feel him," Will tells Mike, referencing his somewhat dormant connection to the Upside Down. "And he's hurt, he's hurting, but he's still alive. It's strange knowing now who it was this whole time, but I can still remember what he thinks, and how he thinks, and he's not going to stop... ever... not until he's taken everything and everyone. We have to kill him."
What happened to Dr. Sam Owens?
Unlike the other characters' mentioned here, Dr. Sam Owens' fate is unclear. He last appeared in episode 8, after Brenner handcuffed him to a pipe in The Nina Project bunker, and Sullivan threatened him before setting his sights on Eleven.
While Eleven managed to take down the army's helicopter before it could dispatch her, and it exploded right on top of one of the silo's entrances, he was underground, so it's not likely he would've been caught up in the blast. Might he show up again in season 5? Only time will tell. Hopefully someone remembers he's down there...
For more on Stranger Things, check out our explainer on the Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2 ending, and our rundown of the biggest Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2 Easter eggs and references. If you've binge-watched the whole chapter and are stuck on what to watch next, check out the best Netflix shows and the best Netflix movies available right now.