What Happens in the Upside Down?
The Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 finale goes where all Stranger Things finales, midseason or otherwise, must inevitably go: The Upside Down. This time, however, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) notices that something is a little different about the sideways universe. Steve (Joe Keery) is the first to fully enter the Upside Down this season, and he is quickly followed by Nancy, Robin (Maya Hawke), and Eddie (Joseph Quinn). After the gang fights off some demobats, they realize they won’t be able to make it back through the watergate and decide to make it to the relative safe haven of the Wheeler household (albeit the Upside Down version of it) to find some weapons to deal with the threats.
It’s here that Nancy makes an interesting discovery. The weapons cache she hid in her room for just such an occasion is not there. And that’s because in the Upside Down she hasn’t hid them yet. Nancy’s room in the Upside Down features old wallpaper, old chemistry notes, an old mirror, and an old stuffed animal that she gave away. By checking through her diary, she discovers that in the Upside Down it is actually Nov. 6, 1983. Now why exactly might that be the case?
It’s possible that time in the Upside Down runs more slowly than time in the real world. But the date in the Upside Down being so specifically targeted as Nov. 6, 1983 is significant. The events of Stranger Things season 1 take place during November 1983. It is likely that Eleven and the Hawkins lab making first contact with the shadowy realm in 1983 effectively froze it in time. It’s also possible that The Mind Flayer and his five-star general Vecna have isolated the Wheeler household in its 1983 version just so the gang doesn’t have any weapons to use.
In any case, Nancy and company are able to make contact with Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and company out in the real world. Dustin works out that Vecna’s kills in the real world open gates to the Upside Down. Sure enough, they make it to Eddie’s trailer, the site of Vecna’s first kill of the season, and a makeshift rope allows Robin and Eddie to make it back to the real world. Steve and Nancy aren’t so lucky though…
What Happens to Nancy?
For a moment it really seems like The Upside Down journey is over and the whole crew is about to make it out. Nancy even climbs (or descends…the Upside Down is confusing) the rope and crosses the threshold of the two worlds. Unfortunately when she does, she discovers she’s not in the real world but in Vecna’s mind palace.
Vecna has sent Nancy’s mind to a very particular location: an emptied out pool. Why? Well, it turns out Vecna is as much a #JusticeforBarb bro as the rest of us. Vecna is able to prey upon his victim’s guilt. And of the four individuals in the Upside Down, Nancy has the most of it. That’s because she still blames herself for heading off to make out with Steve while Barb was left alone by a swimming pool to be dragged to the Upside Down by the Demogorgon in season 1.