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Is [SPOILER] Blind in Stranger Things Season 4?

Stranger Things 4 planning session

***SPOILER ALERT: This post spoils the events of chapter nine, season 4 “The Piggyback” of Stranger Things.***

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The final two chapters of Stranger Things season 4 have arrived, and they didn’t disappoint. Both episodes, which were feature film length, were jampacked with action, plot, heartbreak, and emotional reunions, while setting the stage for the fifth and final season of Netflix’s flagship series. Chapter nine was nearly non-stop action and tension, with the disparate friends and parents battling Vecna from Hawkins, Nevada, and Russia. And while the gang was able to beat back and wound Vecna, the vined Big bad survived to fight another day, setting up a climactic showdown for season 5.

Season 4 saw a handful of casualties, as most season finales do. Fans said goodbye to Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), and Jason Carver (Mason Dye). But the most heartbreaking death was that of Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), who was marked by Vecna’s curse earlier in the season. While she survived a near-death experience with Vecna in Chapter Four, she was saved by her friends and the power of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”.

Max volunteers to be the bait to lure out Vecna in the Hawkins gang’s plan, setting up camp in the Creel house with Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) watching over her, cassette at the ready. But of course, basketball captain and vigilante Jason interrupts them, pulling a gun on Lucas and leading to bruising fight in the attic. The fight distracts Lucas from holding onto Max, who levitates under Vecna’s thrall. And then it happens: her bones break, her eyes bleed, and she collapses, dead.

Max is dead for a minute, but Eleven (who has been psychically piggybacking onto her from Nevada) uses her powers to restart Max’s heart. In the aftermath, Max is alive, but in a deep coma. When Eleven enters her mind, she finds herself alone in the darkness of Max’s mind. Does this mean Max’s soul is with Vecna? Will Max wake up? We’ll have to wait until season 5 to see what happens.

As for Max’s eye sight, it looks like she was blinded by Vecna, and she tells Lucas that she can’t see in the attic. But there’s no official confirmation yet, and we’ll find out next season when/if Max wakes up. And let’s be real, she’s most likely going to wake up: I can’t imagine that the series would keep one of its most popular characters in a coma sans resolution (this isn’t Angel). The series may use Max’s near-death experience as a mental connection to Vecna (much like Will’s), but I worry that they may walk into the “Disability as a Superpower” trope that the genre often leans into. We’ll have to wait until season 5 to see how everything plays out.

Stranger Things Season Four is currently streaming on Netflix.

(feature image: Netflix)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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