Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things season 4, volume 2!
Stranger Things season 4's final shot teased the four biggest storylines to come in season 5. The upcoming fifth installment will be the last for the Netflix series, so the Duffer Brothers have one more season to wrap up the story that all started back in 2016. While the final Stranger Things final season will feature many surprises, season 4 hinted at where the show is heading, especially in the last sequence.
Despite the Hawkins group's best efforts, Vecna emerged victorious in the battle depicted in Stranger Things season 4's "The Piggyback." Eddie died during the Vecna fight, and Max was left in horrible shape, leaving the others unsure of what could come next. Flashing forward two days, multiple reunions were shown, including one involving Hopper and Joyce returning to their kids at Hopper's cabin. The pair arrived while Eleven, Mike, Will, Jonathan, Nancy, and Argyle were fixing up Hopper's cabin shortly before Will sensed Vecna was still out there. The group–minus Argyle–was then led to a nearby field where they discovered the Upside Down was invading Hawkins.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Why Eleven Wasn't Powerful Enough To Kill Vecna In Season 4
As the Upside Down killed the field of wildflowers, ash-like spores fell from the sky. The final shot of Stranger Things season 4 then showed the group looking at the town of Hawkins from atop the hill. Aside from the storm with red lightning, red cracks from the Upside Down splitting the town could be seen as multiple areas billow thick smoke. The Duffer Brothers shared that Stranger Things season 5 highlights Hawkins' original group, and those storylines were teased in season 4's final shot.
Nancy & Jonathan's Relationship
After being kept apart for most of Stranger Things season 4, Nancy and Jonathan reunited at the end of "The Piggyback." During the "two days later" sequence, the Surfer Boy Pizza van pulled up to the Wheeler house. Though Nancy instantly ran to Jonathan in excitement, Steve wasn't too pleased, considering there were hints of a rekindling romance with his ex-girlfriend across season 4. Still, the road ahead for Nancy and Jonathan will be an interesting one as some bumps in their relationship could be on the horizon for their Stranger Things season 5 story.
Nancy revealed that issues were emerging in their relationship due to long distance, insinuating that the pair weren't always on the same page. When Jonathan asked Nancy if the two were okay while at Hopper's cabin, Nancy coyly said yes, but there was obvious uncertainty in her voice. Jonathan, on the other hand, held back the fact that he had no plans to go to Emerson with her, continuing to keep his future plans from her. All signs indicate that Nancy and Jonathan's days as a couple could be numbered, and their fate will be a major aspect of Stranger Things season 5, especially if lingering romantic feelings for Steve are still in play. It's also possible that Nancy will decide that being single is the next logical step if she does make it out of Hawkins to welcome the next stage of her life as an Emerson student.
Mike & Will's Complicated Friendship
Following much speculation, Stranger Things season 4 confirmed that Will is gay, even though it hasn't been explicitly stated just yet. Still, it was a step in the right direction after the show had been accused of queerbaiting. When Mike traveled to Lenora, California, for Spring Break, Will was just as happy to see him as Eleven. Granted, Mike's attention zeroed in on Eleven from the moment he arrived, much to the dismay of his long-time best friend. Throughout Will and Mike's scenes together in Stranger Things season 4, it became increasingly clear that the former harbors romantic feelings for the latter. Rather than reveal the truth, Will used his painting to disguise his feelings with a speech to cheer up Mike by reassuring him that his connection to Eleven is still strong.
Related: Stranger Things Season 4's Plot Holes & Headscratchers
Mike and Will seemed to repair any uncertainty regarding their friendship, but there are still some complicated aspects stemming from Will guarding his full feelings leading into the duo's upcoming storyline. At the moment, there don't seem to be any reciprocated romantic feelings coming from Mike as he's all in with Eleven. But with Will seemingly coming back into focus for Stranger Things season 5, there's a question about how Mike will factor into the equation. There's no doubt Will wants to remain friends with Mike, but it's still anyone's guess if Will decides to reveal his true feelings for Mike. Hopefully, Netflix will do more with Will's gay story, giving the character a chance to tell his friends and family who he truly is when he's fully ready.
Hopper & Joyce Keeping Their Kids Safe
Hopper and Joyce were another key pair highlighted in Stranger Things season 4's final scene in the field, hinting at their big season 5 storyline. Their reunion in Russia quickly transformed into an intense mission when the pair attempted to clear out the Demogorgons as a way to weaken Vecna and the Upside Down. Returning to the prison was a risk, but they did it for the kids, who they knew were stuck in the center of the conflict. They succeeded in their part of the mission alongside Murray before Dmitri and Yuri rescued them from a helicopter. The pair, who are now embarking on a romantic relationship, came back to Hawkins, allowing the group to learn of Hopper's survival.
Hopper was already filling the parental role in Eleven's life before his presumed death, allowing Joyce to step in as her primary caregiver. Stranger Things season 5 will likely see Hopper and Joyce join forces in serving as the adult caregivers. Joyce didn't have much screen time with her own sons, Will and Jonathan, but that will likely change in the show's next season as everyone is back together in Hawkins. Rather than help the group from Russia, Hopper and Joyce will have the chance to be more directly involved in the next fight against Vecna while attempting to protect the kids and their friends.
Eleven Against Vecna & The Upside Down
At the center of Stranger Things season 4's final shot was Eleven, who watched on as the Upside Down spread through Hawkins. Eleven may have resurrected Max, but she failed in fully defeating Vecna, allowing him to carry out his plan. Max's death, albeit brief, fulfilled the curse and allowed the four Gates to expand through Hawkins. Though thought to be an earthquake from unsuspecting citizens, the destruction in town allowed from the Upside Down to fully spill into the real world. The look on Eleven's face implied that she was fully aware of the consequences that stemmed from not killing Vecna and that fallout will be a core storyline in Stranger Things' last season.
Related: Why Can Vecna Open Portals Now? 1 Stranger Things Detail You Missed
If the core group is to survive, Eleven must evolve her powers and find a way to kill Vecna. The Upside Down invading Hawkins will complicate matters since it results in various questions surrounding the town's living conditions and whether Demogorgons and other creatures will now be free to roam in the primary dimension. Either way, Eleven will be leading the charge in Stranger Things' final showdown against Vecna and other surprises the Upside Down has in store.