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That Jaw-Dropping Eleven Reveal In Stranger Things Season 4, Episode 7 Explained

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

After the jaw-dropping cliffhanger of "Stranger Things" Season 3, fans have been waiting patiently to find out what's next for Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Chief Hopper (David Harbour), and the rest of the Hawkins gang. Thankfully the show has finally returned to Netflix for its fourth season as it reaches new levels of terror thanks to its latest mystery surrounding a horrifying new villain.

But the heroes are scattered when the season first kicks off, with Eleven, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), his brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) still living in California after Hopper's "death" at the end of Season 3. But the rest of the kids in Hawkins realize that something is preying on the troubled teens in town, which leads them back to the Upside Down.

The series has already been met with a great reception from critics, who've praised the deeper horror tone of the series, though many complained about the long runtime of the episodes. They all clock in at over one hour each, while Episode 7, "The Massacre at Hawkins Lab," pushes that to one hour and 38 minutes. But considering the new season introduces its latest villain, Vecna, it's understandable why the Duffer brothers needed more time to establish everything that's going on.

Many fans might be wondering why Eleven gets sidelined for most of the season while she gets her powers back with Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) and Sam Owens (Paul Reiser). The bulk of Eleven's arc is told through flashback sequences and they're vital to the season. Not only do they reveal what she went through in the Hawkins lab before Season 1, but it all builds to a shocking revelation in Episode 7 about one of the other children that Brenner experimented on.

Jamie Campbell Bower is Number One

The younger version of Eleven in the flashbacks is a very lonely girl who's shunned and bullied by the other children in the lab — and the season's opening heavily implies that she kills them all in a bloody rampage. It's revealed that her only friend was a quiet orderly called Peter Ballard, played by "Harry Potter" and "The Mortal Instruments" alum Jamie Campbell Bower. Although he helps Eleven cope with the trauma of being trapped in the lab — and how to deal with the other kids — it's hard not to be suspicious about his intentions.

Eventually, the abuse Eleven suffers, alongside Brenner's manipulation of the lab, overwhelms Ballard, and he reveals his true identity as the son of Victor Creel (Robert Englund). Peter explains his abilities had started to emerge when he was a child, and he discovered his parents' past sins by looking into their minds. Although Victor previously thought it was a "demon" who was causing chaos in the Creel house, it was actually his own son — who resented his parents for the way they treated him.

It's true that Peter actually forced his family to live through haunting visions of their worst nightmares before he slaughtered his own mother and his sister. That's a horrifying thought. Unfortunately, after Victor was wrongly convicted for the gruesome killings, the young boy was acquired by Dr. Brenner — and he became the first candidate in his experimental program. Yes, Peter is number One.

The massacre at Hawkins lab? Well, Peter was responsible for that, too, as he breaks down after years of being beaten and downtrodden by Brenner and his goons. But it gets worse. Peter's whole backstory is a way of making audiences understand the big bad of the season: Vecna.

Eleven accidentally created Vecna

On one hand, it's relieving to know that Eleven isn't actually a mass murderer this entire time, but on the other hand, it proves just how dangerous Peter/One really is. When Eleven discovers that Peter has slaughtered the entire lab, it quickly turns into a telekinetic battle between the two, and it ends with Eleven pinning him to a wall and blasting him repeatedly until he slowly disintegrates before being thrown into a gate to the Upside Down. You can see where this is going ...

As the twisted villain falls through a cosmic hellscape, he gets hit several times by the eerie red lightning that constantly lights up the Upside Down, and the painful shocks transform him into a gray fleshy version of himself. Although it's not quite clear why his nose fell off or how he started plugging himself into the Upside Down using tentacles ... gross. Basically, Eleven is responsible for Peter (aka One) becoming Vecna. That's going to leave her with a lot of guilt.

Since then, Vecna has amassed more power by absorbing the trauma of the troubled teens in Hawkins. It seems likely that he wants to get revenge on Eleven and Brenner before he makes his claim on the rest of the world. Remember, when Peter/One delivers the typical "Join me!" villain speech, he tempts Eleven by saying they could reshape the world how they see fit because of their powers. He probably hasn't given up on that goal.

It's a brilliant cliffhanger to end "Stranger Things" Season 4, Vol. 1 with. Will Victor Creel learn the truth? How is Eleven going to defeat Peter, aka One, aka Vecna? It's going to be a long wait until Vol. 2 arrives on July 1.