After what happened to Eddie in Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2, you’d think more people would care besides his uncle and Dustin.
Warning: contains SPOILERS for stranger things season 4, volume 2.
After what happened to Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) in the stranger things season 4 finale, the fact that the other characters don’t mourn him almost seems like they’ve completely forgotten about him. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case given the active role he played in Vecna’s plan of attack. In stranger things season 4, episode 9, “Piggyback”, Eddie and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are tasked with luring the Demobats away from the Creel House into the Upside Down so that Robin (Maya Hawke), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), and Steve (Joe Keery) enter . When the Demobats pass Eddie’s caravan in the Upside Down, he sacrifices himself by distracting them. Dustin is the only character present when he dies, and he is later shown telling Eddie’s uncle, Wayne (Joel Stoffer), how brave Eddie had been in his final moments.
As heartbreaking as it was, many stranger things clues pointed to the death of Eddie Munson before the finale. On the one hand, it would have been nearly impossible to clear Eddie’s name after Hawkins became almost unwaveringly convinced that he was the one behind the Vecna murders. Second, Eddie’s character arc prepared him for an inevitable sacrifice – or, at the very least, a heroic act. He begins as a character who shamelessly declares that “there’s no shame in running” which ultimately leads him to do just that after the death of Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien). Speak stranger things season 4 finale, Eddie consciously decides to stop running from the Demobats and fight them. Eddie’s death is poetic, so predictable.
Of all the stranger things Season 4 deaths, Eddie’s death carries the most weight. Even compared to the death of Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), who was an important figure in Eleven’s life and whose death served as the end of season 4, episode 8, “Dad”, Eddie’s death had a more tragic element of completion. Dr. Brenner was actually a villain whose death ended Eleven, so it makes sense no one mourns him. However, it’s odd that no one other than Dustin and Wayne is shown mourning Eddie, as his death was a heroic sacrifice. Even considering the fact that Dustin knew Eddie better than Nancy, Robin and Steve, the Hawkins crew still formed a strong bond. Steve’s Upside Down rescue mission in stranger things season 4, episode 7 which Eddie participated in, and the Hawkins crew meeting in Eddie’s trailer while planning the attack on Vecna.
Despite Eddie’s importance stranger things death, and therefore its emotional consequences, it’s still possible that the other characters mourned him off-screen. Nancy, Robin, and Steve would surely have known that Eddie died simply because he didn’t return from the Upside Down, even though Dustin kept Eddie’s death to himself, which is unlikely. Stranger Things’ “Piggyback” already had a runtime of almost two and a half hours, and showing the closure of all the characters involved in Eddie’s life by mourning him would lengthen the episode even further. However, considering moments that provide an equal sense of closure are granted on screen, such as Robin’s sandwich reunion with Vicki or Jonathan and Nancy’s conversation, the argument that stranger things didn’t have time to show people that Eddie’s grief is overdone.
That being said, stranger things book about expressing the emotional impact of Eddie’s death on the two characters closest to him. Especially since Eddie’s death is still tied to Stranger Things’ Satanic Panic’s clumsy subplot, having Dustin tell Wayne that Eddie died a hero lends some sense of justice to Eddie’s death. However, Eddie, mistakenly considered evil due to his status as a forgotten outcast, is central to his character arc. Therefore, because other stranger things the characters seem relatively ambivalent and even oblivious to his death, the end of Eddie’s arc retains a sense of emptiness.
Next: Of course, Eddie’s backwards song was perfect!
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