HomeTelevisionStranger Things Season 4 Episode 9 Review: The Piggyback

Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9 Review: The Piggyback

How do you process a finale like that?

Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9 — the season finale — gave us a deadly battle with Vecna, and Demogorgons, pivotal moments between the characters, deaths, and a killer hook for the fifth and final season.

What more could we possibly ask for?

Back to the Upside Down

It’s daunting thinking about what’s next for everyone, especially considering how physically and emotionally exhausting everything that happened to them is.

We’ve witnessed everyone carry these emotional scars. Still, Vecna’s reign of terror is far from over, and that can only mean that we’ll get some more horrifying developments ahead on Stranger Things Season 5.

The New Normal - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

That final visual was striking because it was the beginning of what Nancy’s words foreshadowed in Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 8.

The residents of Hawkins face an uphill battle if they think they’ll make it out of this fight alive, and I hope they don’t continue to blame the Hellfire Club for what might look like Hellfire in the town.

No, no. Like I said, I… I’ve tried everyone. Yeah, TWA, Pan Am, Eastern. No, it doesn’t have to be a one-way. I’ll take one seat, if you have it. I mean, please, there has to be something that you can do. One of our family members is really, really sick, and I don’t know if she’s gonna make it through the night. Is there any way that you could just…


That is one storyline the Duffer Brothers should ret-con because the entire town turning on the kids, claiming they were killing people as satanic rituals is a bit much, even for Stranger Things.

The best part about the final scene is that everyone was together for the first time in a long time. Whatever’s ahead, they’ll have each other’s backs, and friendship has always been at the core of the series.

Doomed Hawkins - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

Eleven showing up to fight Vecna has got to be one of the most touching scenes in the history of the series. There was so much at stake, and for her to show up at that point, it successfully threw Vecna off his game.

He’s been an excellent villain, and his promise to take Max out has been tiring because she kept escaping with moments to spare.

Argyle: Hey, dudes? Ask ’em if we can ride in the baggage compartment.
Jonathan: The baggage compartment? We’d suffocate.
Argyle: Dogs ride in there all the time, man. They don’t suffocate.
Jonathan: Jesus Christ.

Her short-term death was a harrowing watch, made even worse by the fact that Eleven was powerless against the man who had murdered everyone but her in the laboratory.

We don’t fully know the extent of Eleven’s powers, but she’s going to need everyone by her side if she’s going to make it out of this fight alive.

Leave Max Alone - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

It’s hard to be excited about Eleven restarting Max’s heart. If anything, it looks like it brought her body back to life, but not her mind.

This may turn into a lesson for Eleven that she can’t save everyone. Max’s soul was nowhere to be found.

Eleven: I have a way. A way to protect Max. From here. This is Max. When One attacks, he’ll be in her mind. But I can do that too. I went into Mama’s mind, into Billy’s. I can go into Max’s. She can carry me to Vecna. I can piggyback. I can protect her. From One. Fight him from here.
Argyle: Mind fight. Righteous.

There’s a slim chance Vecna has her soul somewhere, but something tells me Max isn’t in for happiness. To bring her back to life and allow her a happy ending would make the show completely devoid of stakes.

Lucas fighting to the death to keep Max safe was nail-biting, and I let out an audible gasp when the scuffle destroyed the walkman.

Reasoning With Vecna - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

At that point, it was the only way to secure Max’s safety.

As short-term as it was, Max’s death triggering the end of the world-like scenario was an excellent way to up the stakes and show that the series means business as it heads into these final episodes.

Will being back in Hawkins and realizing that the person he was feeling all along was Vecna was a great way to tether the previous three seasons together.

The series started with Will going missing, and surely, he’ll play a pivotal part in the final seasons.

Eddie's Sacrifice - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

I hope Vecna doesn’t try to sway Will over to his side, but maybe he’ll be able to control him somehow.

Eddie’s death was unfortunate but expected. Stranger Things wants to be a show about big stakes and deaths, but too many people survive these seemingly perilous encounters to remain invested for too long.

Mike: Let’s hope One is dead and rotting.
Will: He’s not. Now that I’m here, in Hawkins, I can feel him. And he’s hurt. He’s hurting. But he’s still alive. It’s strange, knowing now who it was this whole time, but… I can still remember what he thinks, and how he thinks. And he’s not going to stop. Ever. Not until he’s taken everything. And everyone. We have to kill him.
Will: And we will. We will.

I believe we’ll get significant deaths in the final season, but it was a shame the writers claimed there would be a big body count by the end of the season.

Eddie was an excellent character, who had much more story to tell, but nothing was shocking about his death. He went out like a hero.

Peaceful Max - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

Jason was too much of a non-entity to care about. I respect that he wanted to get an answer about Chrissy’s death that would make sense in his mind, but the writers didn’t do a good enough job of making his machinations resonate with viewers.

The reunion between Hopper and Eleven was another strong point. Hopper is her father, and he spent so much time helping her get acclimated to this world, and now, he knows her powers are what will be needed to win this battle.

It’s unclear whether we’re in for a time jump or if we’ll pick up with the characters joining forces to start a battle with Vecna and whatever else has come from the Upside Down.

The broader problem will be whether any of the monsters escape Hawkins. The military won’t want that, so it will probably be cordoned off somehow.

Max Dies - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9

As for the relationships, is anyone else wanting Nancy and Steve to reunite?

Nancy and Jonathan were great together, but Nancy and Steve seem drawn to one another, and while I hated Steve initially, he’s blossomed into one of the best characters.

“The Piggyback” was excellent, but there were some minor niggles that overshadowed the excitement of it all.

All we can do is ponder what comes next for everyone.

Nancy Runs - Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 8

What are your theories?

Hit the comments.

Stream all four seasons of Stranger Things on Netflix now.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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