Stranger Things season 4’s new villain Vecna has a mysterious obsession with time – and it seems to hint at the depths of his insanity.
This article contains spoilers for stranger things season 4 volume 1.
stranger things season 4 volume 1 introduced a terrifying new villain in Vecna, who has a strange obsession with time. Until season 4, the villains of stranger things had essentially been inhuman monsters—predators like the Demogorgon or the hive-mind of the Mind-Flayer. But stranger things season 4 introduced viewers to Vecna, ultimately revealed to be Dr. Brenner’s Number One stranded in the Upside Down since 1979, when he was defeated in a battle with the young Eleven. Vecna’s origin story was finally revealed in stranger things season 4 episode 7, in which the villain subjected Nancy to an extended monologue while Eleven simultaneously revisited her past via the Nina Project.
His powers differ from those of the other Hawkins kids in that they were natural; he was born with them, and they manifested around puberty. He killed his own mother and sister, but collapsed from overexertion prior to his father being arrested and framed with the seemingly supernatural crime. Vecna lived at Hawkins Lab for years before he was banished into the Upside Down, where he appears to have bonded with the Mind-Flayer’s hive mind. He seems to be using the power of the hive-mind to enhance his own abilities, committing horrific murders to open Gates for an as-yet-unrevealed reason. Curiously, he also seems obsessed with time, projecting strange visions into his victims’ minds—including of the grandfather clock from his home in the Creel House.
Vecna’s obsession with time appears to be linked to his hatred of humanity. He views time as a human imposition on the natural world; an attempt to impose order on nature. Given this is the case, his use of clocks to haunt his victims could potentially be a twisted sense of irony, turning the human desire for order against them. Max rightly deduced that everyone who saw Vecna’s grandfather clock was dead within 24 hours.
It’s interesting to note that Vecna has been living in the Upside Down since 1979, a realm where the flow of time doesn’t necessarily move at the same rate as on Earth. stranger things season 4 revealed the Upside Down was another dimension that had originally been entirely separate from Earth, and it seemed to only come close to Hawkins when Eleven opened the first Gate in 1983—explaining why its twisted Hawkins replica is stuck at that time period. It’s impossible to say how much time he has passed in Vecna’s own experience.
Vecna himself may not care, however. His critical view of time means he probably wasn’t even fully aware of the passage of years; all he cares about is that he’s found a way to tear open Gates from the Upside Down, a way to commit more murders and kill more of the human beings he hates so passionately. It will be thrilling to learn his full plan from him in stranger things season 4 volume 2.
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