This post contains major spoilers for Weird stuff†
Of course, Peter was never quite what he seemed. In the closing seconds of season 4 of Weird stuff, it is revealed in bloody, violent fashion that the kindly orderly with a supernatural interest in Eleven is not only Dr. Brenner’s (aka One). He’s also Vecna, the upside-down villain who’s been killing teens left and right all season.
The finale offers revelation after revelation about Peter (played by a transfixing Jamie Campbell Bower), whose presence in the series was a mystery. It may be natural that viewers clocked in early that he could be One, as his presence in Hawkins Laboratory and his insistence on taking Eleven under his wing — and helping her escape — made it clear that he was more than just another. Authorizing Officer in the Rainbow Room. The Plum Casting – Bower is a Twilight saga and Harry Potter franchise alum – also hinted that the character had more important things to do in the story than wear starchy whites and raise his eyebrows at a bunch of kids.
Peter is not just One and Vecna does. He also turns out to be the son of Victor Creel, the man who is incarcerated at the Pennhurst Mental Hospital after Peter kills his mother and sister and nearly dies himself after overusing his powers, leading his father to be blamed for the dead. in the process. Victor never discovers the truth because Dr. Brenner picks him up, trying to revive him and understand his powers so he can create other children like him. The reveal comes from left field, a surprising twist that must be explained by Peter in the final 10 minutes of the finale via an awkward monologue. It’s a pretty streamlined reveal, the way endings like this go, thanks in large part to Bower’s performance. He’s an agile villain, who easily switches from Peter’s intellectual big brother vibes to a more menacing mode, alternately purring and growling through his dense, evil blocks of dialogue.
The Creel twist also talks about how close to secrets each episode has to be to stay ahead of viewers. Weird stuff has cultivated such an obsessive fan base that each episode is extensively dissected for clues, likely causing headache after headache for the Duffer brothers as they try to raise the bar each season. It’s not enough for Peter to be One of Vecna - he has to have at least one extra layer to keep viewers off the scent for as long as possible. But even if it’s confusing at times to keep up with the show’s growing Upside Down logic (how exactly does Eleven’s memory tank work?), Vecna’s reveal retains a sense of narrative coherence.
After Peter kills all the other kids in the lab and reveals his truths to Eleven, she finally regains her powers. †Finally– it’s just more fun when she’s her old self again.) In her attempt to destroy Peter, she rips open a portal to the Upside Down and crashes him into it. Thanks to some swooshy dark magic (as it’s officially called), Peter is transformed into Vecna, the trauma-snorting, teen-killing henchman of the Mind Flayer, ruler of the Upside Down.
What does that mean for Hawkins? Well, the cursed city will face even more destruction in the second part of the season now that Vecna has grown stronger. As Dustin realized earlier in the episode, Vecna has strategically preyed on traumatized teenagers in Hawkins and built psychic connections with them, which is the way to open more gates to the normal world. With Nancy (who now knows the truth about Peter) trapped in the Upside Down, he has another important connection to Hawkins – and to the only kids in the world who know how to stop him.