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The Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 Finale Moment That Has Fans Pausing

Contains spoilers for "Stranger Things 4" Volume 1, Episode 7, "Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab"

"Stranger Things 4" Volume 1 starts with little in the way of extra-dimensional threats. Split into two groups, the unlikely allies of Hawkins are continuing with their lives, albeit in a somewhat uneasy fashion. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Joyce (Winona Ryder), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Will (Noah Schnapp) relocate to California to escape the trauma of the battle at Starcourt Mall in Season 3 while at the same time protecting Eleven from prying government agencies. Still playing Dungeons and Dragons, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) join a D&D club at high school named "The Hellfire Club," which is led by the highly animated and often misunderstood Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), the hard-rocking, long-haired super senior who relishes his outsider status.

By the end of the first episode, a new threat emerges that sees Eddie forced to flee, while the town is caught in a panic following the murder of a Hawkins teen. While the town blames Eddie for this gruesome death, the protagonists of "Stranger Things" know better. After another student is killed in the same manner, the group of friends seeks to uncover this new mysterious threat while at the same time absolving Eddie of the crimes.

Across the country, Eleven struggles to fit in, and her powers lay dormant. She is soon reunited with a figure from her past who claims to want to help Eleven regain her powers. Unfortunately, his plan means steeping the young hero in her repressed memories and trauma. During these flashbacks, fans noted one particular scene that serves as a pivotal moment in the show's final act of Volume 1 because it is laden with subtext and foreshadowing.

Eleven and One's face-off at Hawkins Lab seems to tease the Upside Down

On Reddit, u/emlewin posted a screenshot from "Stranger Things" of One (Jamie Campbell Bower), pointing out how this particular image seems to foreshadow the Upside Down. The moment in the image occurs just before the Hawkins Laboratory turns into the site of a massacre, which Eleven believes she is responsible for doing. It turns out that Number One-Henry Creel-Peter (Jamie Campbell Bower), the first child brought to Hawkins Lab for observation, is the person most responsible for killing Eleven's ersatz brothers, sisters, and teachers.

When Eleven rejects One's offer to ally with him, the two face off in the rainbow playroom, where Eleven disintegrates One into another dimension. U/emlewin's screenshot draws attention to the fact that the rainbow behind Eleven is right-side up, but behind One it's, well, upside-down. This framing represents the very first breach of reality, teasing One's banishment to the Upside Down, which occurs as Eleven blasts him through the very first gate into the Upside Down.

U/batedkestrel took note of the aforementioned scene, saying, "He's got light hair and dark shoes, while she has dark hair and light shoes. Her floor rainbow is encroaching into his area, which possibly suggests that she has the upper hand/higher ground, so to speak?" Redditor u/DuckAbuse also noticed the moment, and added, "So, one thing we've learned after four seasons of 'ST' is that nothing is a coincidence, so yes — I do believe this is a clear reference to the upside-down." Reddit user u/zero_eternal pointed out the layout of the rainbows: "Also, from Eleven's perspective, the rainbow on the floor is the right way up, but from his perspective, the rainbow on the floor is upside down." 

Eleven's actions against One create the portal into the Upside Down

Season 4 of "Stranger Things" certainly ramps up the stakes via the threat the Upside Down poses to our heroes. A nightmarish reflection of the world we know, the Upside Down is populated by strange organic creatures, toxic dust, flashes of red lightning, and all manner of fearsome enemies. In the first season of "Stranger Things," the beloved group of young friends from Hawkins battle against a faceless, plant-like creature referred to as "The Demogorgon," which is a name inspired by a famous demon prince in Dungeons and Dragons.

In Season 2 and Season 3 (and continuing with the Dungeons and Dragons references), the main characters of "Stranger Things" must contend with a monstrous entity they name "The Mind Flayer." This horrible extra-planar creature manipulates, absorbs, and corrupts all those that come into contact with it. But, due to the awesome power of Eleven, this monster is eventually defeated — yet the Upside Down remains.

Now that Season 4 of "Stranger Things" is out, fans have been given a view into the origin of Eleven, and the Upside Down itself. One's defeat at the hands of Eleven in 1979 is the inciting incident behind the breaking of the barrier between the Upside Down and Hawkins. Although we always knew Eleven was responsible for breaking that barrier, we now know precisely how it occurred. Additionally, One is the mastermind behind the string of deaths in Volume 1. Nicknamed "Vecna" after the famous Dungeons and Dragons lich, it seems as if One may be instrumental in this parallel dimension, considering his need to create a new world free of the supposed banality of human existence.