Does Max die in Stranger Things 4? Her ending explained

8 January 2024, 16:02

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Does Max die in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2? Is she dead? Here's what happens to everyone's fave Zoomer and how it affects season 5. [Major spoilers ahead!]

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When they said Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 was going to be "absolute carnage", they really meant it. Death, destruction, cliffhangers, danger... Particularly for everyone in Hawkins, including our beloved Kate Bush stan Max Mayfield.

As teased in the trailers, Max plays a pivotal part in Volume 2. She spends the majority of the final two episodes inside the Creel House with Lucas and Erica, as the rest of the Hawkins gang head to the Upside Down to kill Vecna.

Given what she went through in Volume 1 when she almost died at the hands of the villain, fans were terrified about what might happen to Max going into the final two episodes.

Now we finally have an answer as to what happens to Max in the season 4 finale episode – and it's a huge shocker that has pretty big implications for what's to come in Stranger Things 5.

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Max's storyline and the finale of Stranger Things 4. Don't read ahead if you have not finished episode 9.

What happens to Max in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2?

Is Max dead in Stranger Things 4? Her Volume 2 ending explained
Is Max dead in Stranger Things 4? Her Volume 2 ending explained. Picture: Netflix


WARNING: Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead!
WARNING: Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead! Picture: Netflix

Here's what happens to Max at the end of Stranger Things 4

In episode 8, Max hatches a plan with Lucas and the rest of the Hawkins gang to finally kill Vecna once and for all. In order to capture Vecna in his own trance and kill him from within the Upside Down, Max puts herself forward as bait.

She goes to the Creel House, along with Lucas and Erica, and waits around for Vecna to take her again. Max provokes Vecna by speaking about her darkest thoughts and feelings. It works, and Max is immediately placed under Vecna's trance again.

Max manages to hide from Vecna within her happy memories. She ends up at the Snow Ball where she shared her first kiss with Lucas back in 1984, and manages to stay there until Vecna eventually finds her.

At the same time, however, Eleven has found a way to piggyback into Max's mind from within The Void. When Vecna shows up in Max's Snow Ball memory and catches her, El suddenly appears and uses her powers to throw him across the room.

Stranger Things 4: Does Max die in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2?
Stranger Things 4: Does Max die in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2? Picture: Netflix

Max and El's reunion is short-lived, as Vecna strolls back in and overpowers Eleven. He throws Max across the room before dragging Eleven and Max to his Mind Lair.

Max ends up being held by the vines in Vecna's lair as Vecna reveals his masterplan to Eleven. Vecna then finally goes over to Max and starts to kill her. Eleven uses Mike's voice and declaration of love to free herself of Vecna's grasps, but she doesn't manage it in time.

Max begins to levitate in the real world, with a horrified Lucas looking on as her arms and legs break one by one, and blood begins to stream down from her eyes.

El finally breaks free, sending Vecna flying with force. At the same time, Nancy, Steve and Jonathan attack Vecna from within the Upside Down and his grasp on Max falters.

Max falls to the ground, alive, but she can't see or feel anything.

Stranger Things 4: Does Vecna kill Max?
Stranger Things 4: Does Vecna kill Max? Picture: Netflix

Does Max die in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2? Is Max actually dead?

Max attempts to hold on, telling Lucas that she's "not ready to die" but she succumbs to her injuries and ends up dying in Lucas's arms. Max's death allows Vecna to open the fourth gate, and rip a huge hole in the middle of Hawkins.

However, Eleven is still watching all of this unfold from The Void. Refusing to believe that Max is dead, El places a hand on Max's body and appears to transfer their happiest memories to her.

The scene cuts away before we can see what kind of effect El's move made on Max, but all becomes clear(ish) in the 'Two Days' later epilogue.

What happens to Max in Stranger Things 4?
What happens to Max in Stranger Things 4? Picture: Netflix

Did Eleven save Max's life?

Two days later, it's revealed that Max is still alive, but she's in a coma and it's unclear if she will ever wake up. Lucas tells El, Mike, Will, Nancy and Jonathan that Max was clinically dead "for over a minute," but she then came back. Lucas notes that the doctors don't know how it happened.

It's left unexplained, but it seems as though Eleven somehow revived her when she shared/transferred/showed those happy memories to her while in The Void.

However, while Max is still physically alive in the real world, Eleven cannot appear to locate her when she tries to find her using The Void. Season 4 ends before we get an explanation as to why that is, but given what we now know about Vecna, and how he consumes the thoughts, memories and feelings of those he kills, could Max's consciousness now be trapped somewhere within him, hidden from Eleven?

Will Max be in Stranger Things 5?

Despite her season 4 ending, it's now been confirmed that Sadie Sink will return as Max in Stranger Things 5. The Duffer Brothers have also confirmed that Max is "braindead and blind".

Initially, Max was meant to actually die in season 4, but the Duffers decided that her being in a coma would be key to what happens in season 5. "I can't really get into the details but it is important that she is [in a coma]," Ross Duffer told Netflix. "And that is going to have a major effect on 5. It's not a 'cheat', it's incredibly relevant to 5."

Sadie has previously teased her return, and the good news was finally confirmed when the official Stranger Things 5 cast picture dropped on January 8th. Max is officially back... she's braindead, but she's back! We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out in season 5.

Read more about Stranger Things 5 here:

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