All of Max’s memories in Stranger Things 4 Finale explained

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for the Weird stuff season 4 finale “The Piggyback.”

All the memories of Max in the Weird stuff season 4 finale “The Piggyback” have their own meaning and purpose to them. Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) becomes one of Vecna’s (Jamie Campbell Bower) primary targets due to her trauma related to her brother’s death in Season 3. After Max escapes Vecna’s clutches in Weird stuff Season 4 Episode 4 “Dear Billy”, Vecna ​​becomes even more relentless in his pursuit. Likewise, with Max better understanding Vecna’s killing methods, she develops her own tactics to protect herself.


Max arms himself from “Dear Billy” with a headset playing Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” after discovering the power of music against Vecna. Of course Max realizes that music alone doesn’t deter Weird stuff’ Vecna, because it is not the song, but the happy memories that the song evokes that save her. Using Max as bait for the Vecna ​​attack, Max knows she has to put away “Running Up That Hill” at some point. In turn, she takes herself to her happiest memory as an unerring defense mechanism. Unfortunately, Vecna ​​catches this plan and uses it against her by manipulating her memories.

Related: Explaining Vecna’s Entire Plan and Its Huge Impact on Stranger Things

Throughout “The Piggyback,” a psychic memory battle takes place involving Max, Vecna, and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Max’s memories not only allow for character development, as flashbacks often do, but they are also used as weapons and defense shields. With Max undermining a Weird stuff Season 4 dead as a result of her and Elf’s teamwork against Vecna, these memories become not only insightful, but life-saving – albeit barely. Go on, Max’s Weird stuff season 4 finale memories deserve further explanation due to their heightened importance. This is where all Max’s memories of “The Piggyback” are explained.

Letter to Billy

Stranger Things - Max Talks To Vecna ​​By The Lamp About Billy Flashback Letter

While this memory doesn’t get a visual flashback in the finale, Max lures Vecna ​​to her by recalling her visit to Billy’s grave. This final moment seems like a direct confession from Max about how Vecna’s words affected her there, but there are hidden layers to her monologue. Here Max reveals some of her true feelings, which she has always struggled to be open about, and also manipulates Vecna ​​to come to her.

In Weird stuff’ “Dear Billy,” Vecna ​​manifests Billy (Dacre Montgomery) as an apparition who emotionally terrorizes Max. Vecna’s Billy accuses Max of wanting her brother to die, insinuating that her love for Billy and the resulting trauma of seeing him die has a complicated underbelly that exposes Max’s true nature. When remembering this moment in Weird stuff’ “The Piggyback,” Max seemingly gets honest with Vecna ​​and tells him that part of her wanted Billy to die. She uses this confession to trick Vecna ​​into believing that she herself wants to die as a result of these negative feelings about Billy’s death. Max’s conflicting feelings about her brother may be true – Billy was abusive to her after all. The fear Max feels for herself because of Billy’s death may also be partially true, but she really wouldn’t want Vecna ​​to kill her, knowing that making her would destroy his fourth victim, Hawkins.

Young Max Skateboarding

Stranger Things - young Max skateboarding flashback

Eleven sees a young Max Weird stuff’ Skateboarding “The Piggyback” in Los Angeles. The memory shows Max being confronted by a teenager who challenges her to skateboard, while young Max replies with: “Aren’t you supposed to wrap your face?” and give him her signature middle finger. The memory in itself is relatively insignificant in regards to Max’s character development, as it provides information already known about her character. Max has tomboy-like interests, she uses contempt and brutality as emotional defenses, and she has faced adversity all her life. Eleven was making his way through Max’s mind and found himself alone in one of Max’s childhood memories. However, the skateboard memory does become a starting point for Elf in Max’s important Snow Ball memory.

Related: Stranger Things 4 Vol 2 repeats a season 3 Billy Trick (but with Max)

the snowball

Stranger Things Season 4 Max Snow Ball

Max’s primary defense mechanism outside Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is her happiest memory, the snowball from the Weird stuff season 2 finale where she and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) kiss for the first time. During Weird stuff season 4, episode 8, “Daddy”, Max explains that Vecna ​​only uses her”darkest memoriesagainst her, and therefore would not be able to use her happiest memories. Therefore, she plans to take refuge with Vecna ​​while in the memory of the Snowball after luring him inside.

The Snowball’s memory eventually becomes a battleground between Max, Vecna, and Eleven. Vecna ​​realizes Max’s plan to retreat to the Snowball’s memory and manipulates it by introducing blood-filled balloons and singing his anthem “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” about the Snowball’s memory “Every breath that you take”. However, Elf is eventually able to save Max by entering the Snow Ball flashback via Max’s skateboard memory.

Billy’s Rage

Billy Angry in Stranger Things Season 4 Finale "piggyback"

During Eddie’s (Joseph Quinn) Weird stuff guitar solo, Max experiences a flashback of Billy knocking aggressively on a sauna door while demanding her to let him out. This moment is taken from the Weird stuff season 3 episode “The Sauna Test” where Billy is locked in a boiling sauna as a way to expel the Mind Flayer, who is possessing him at the time. Although Billy was under the influence of the Mind Flayer at the time, he still showed a history of aggression towards Max beforehand. When Billy raged at Max during “The Sauna Test”, the Mind Flayer used aspects already innate in Billy as a survival weapon. Also during Weird stuff’ “The Piggyback”, Vecna ​​uses a Billy flashback to figuratively force Max to “open the door” in her subconscious and attack her.

Both Vecna ​​and the Mind Flayer have a way of delving into their victims’ worst fears and darkest memories as a way to psychologically excite them. Since Vecna ​​carries out his assassinations remotely from the Upside Down, he must psychically infiltrate the minds of his victims. Weakening them with dark memories, he breaks down any defenses they can mentally muster.

Related: Stranger Things 4 Continued Its Biggest Death Trend (with a Twist)

Various S2 and S3 flashbacks

Sadie Sink as Max in Stranger Things Season 4

When Vecna ​​finally infiltrates Max’s Snow Ball memory, Max resorts to mentally flashing through her past of all remotely happy memories as an emergency defense. The moment is a quick montage of scenes from both seasons 2 and 3 of Weird stuff† Max not only remembers several general moments of her being with her friends, but also remembers dancing with Elf in her room, playing spin-the-bottle, watching a movie with Lucas, and talking to Elf about Mike being a good kisser. . As important as Max’s favorite Kate Bush song is, she envisioned a similar flashback montage as she escaped Vecna. Weird stuff’ “Dear Billy.” Remembering her happy memories, even those that were only minutely powerful against Vecna, eventually helped her escape. In the finale, she uses the same tactics, only without “Running Up That Hill” to save her.

Elf’s Flashback Meeting Max

Flashback of Eleven Meeting Max in Stranger Things Season 4 Finale "piggyback"

Just as Max uses happy memories to fight Vecna, so does Eleven. However, the context in the case of Eleven is slightly different in the Weird stuff season 4 finale. When Max dies, Eleven uses a Max memory to save her and therefore Hawkins. She remembers the moment she and Max first met Weird stuff season 2, making Eleven to remember other happy Max memories and finally a new one Weird stuff elf superpower in which she brings Max back to life.

Other key Weird stuff Max flashbacks Elf remembers at that moment include their sleepover where they read comics, their meeting place at the mall where they try on clothes, and their little sing-along party in the bedroom. Eleven also remembers revealing her telepathic powers to Max, drinking ice cream with her, and talking to her about making their own rules in life. The memories represent what Max means to Eleven. She is Eleven’s first great friend and she helps Eleven build confidence and personal strength. While this flashback sequence is not remembered by Max, the scene where Elf goes through her Max-related memories as she brings her back to life is a crucial scene shared. Weird stuff moment between the two characters.

Next: Everyone Who Dies in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 (including the finale)

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