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Why Stranger Things Season 4's Escape From The Upside Down Created A Plot Hole

Season 4 of "Stranger Things" puts the Hawkins gang through the wringer as the ever-expanding cast is forced to confront new villain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), with Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) finding herself on the receiving end of his torment. Reeling from the death of her stepbrother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery), in Season 3, Max's grief and guilt provide the perfect doorway for Vecna, who continues to pursue her throughout the season. She dodges him for a while thanks to the help of Kate Bush's 1985 hit "Running Up That Hill," but eventually, Max has no choice but to confront the villain.

Luckily, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) comes to the rescue after regaining her iconic psionic powers, reviving Max and reuniting with her friends in time for a tense stare-down as the Upside Down crashes into Hawkins, foreshadowing the final season. But their reunion, as well as the Hawkins gang's subsequent escape from the Upside Down, creates a crater-sized plot hole.

Does Eleven seal the Hawkins teens inside the Upside Down?

As Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), and Robin (Maya Hawke) help Max evade Vecna, they eventually discover that each of his kills creates a gate to the Upside Down and that Max's death would cause the final gate he needs to crash the Upside Down into the real world to open. And although Eleven manages to overpower Vecna, restarting Max's heart following his attack, the damage is done: The fourth gate opens when Max dies, and Hawkins is suddenly plunged into an apocalypse.

However, the giant rifts close as Eleven resuscitates Max, seemingly trapping Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Dustin in the Upside Down. Two days later, though, the teens are back in Hawkins, ready to stare down the Upside Down once more as the rifts reopen. This has puzzled fans, with Redditor u/zunrt writing, "IIRC the portal crack went through at Eddie's trailer, so it was obliterated ... We see Steve, Robin, and Nancy back in Hawkins at the end. If they do jump at the crack, where do they go? Since there's kinda nowhere to land at, it just opens up to the air in Hawkins."

The Upside Down will be unleashed on the world in Season 5

The Season 4 finale of "Stranger Things" concludes with darkness coming to Hawkins, as the Upside Down begins to leak into the real world via a gigantic rift running through the town. Finally reunited, the characters look on together at their last, greatest battle, staring into the approaching darkness that threatens to destroy the world.

During an interview with Collider, director and producer Shawn Levy promised, "This last season will be both epic and very emotional." Meanwhile Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of "Stranger Things," have stated that Season 5 will combine elements from the previous four seasons but also closely resemble Season 1 in certain ways (via Deadline). "I think that what we're trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of [Season] 1," said Ross Duffer. "But also scale-wise, it's more aligned with what [Season] 4 is. So, hopefully, it's got a little bit of everything."