As Max proceeds to fight against Vecna, her survival depends entirely on Eleven’s access to Max Memories; this concept is explored in Stranger Things Season 4.
PS- Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Spoilers Ahead!
Max memories in the Stranger Things 4 season climax have something different going on in each of them. Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink, becomes the fourth victim of Vecna, the Supervillain responsible for everything wrong around Hawkins.
Max seems to be the prime target of Vecna due to her traumatic memories of Billy’s death and maybe her connection with Eleven. After Max escaped Vecna’s trap in volume 1, Vecna became more focused on killings and wanted to get over his four-killing curse and gain the powers.
As Max understood Vecna’s pattern, she went ahead and made herself present to him as an easy target and made a plan around it to come out alive.
Throughout the final episode, a battle is going on continuously between Vecna and Eleven inside Max’s memories. Her memories were being used as a shield against Vecna’s curse. Although Eleven saved Max from dying, the memories she used to keep herself happy came in handy.
The memories played a significant role in Stranger Things 4; they did not only save her from being killed but might have explained a lot more. Below are some memories from the final episode of volume 2.
What was Max’s Confession for Billy?
While luring Vecna to herself, Max talks to him about how he was correct about Max’s real feelings about Billy’s death. She confesses to him that now and then, she wants something wrong to happen to Billy. Her monologue toward Max showed how much Vecna’s words had affected her.
In the Stranger Things 4, Volume 1 episode “Dear Billy,” Vecna makes it clear that he is using Max memories of her brother Billy dying as the prominent traumatic experience for torturing Max. The Billy, Vecna created in Max’s subconscious, accused her of wishing her brother to die.
As she recalled Billy’s death and Vecna playing back those memories for her as he tortured her, Max opened up to him in anticipation of catching him off guard. She admits that it’s true; some of her wanted something terrible to happen to Billy.
Max’s feelings for her brother and his death might result from him mentally abusing Max every chance he gets. Vecna only targeted Max’s feelings of guilt, but why exactly was she guilty about Billy’s death? It’s not like she stabbed him. But this might be because she blames herself for praying something terrible would happen to Billy.
Vecna was feeding on Max’s human emotion of guilt. But Max would not want Vecna to kill her as his fourth victim due to that guilt, and she knew it would destroy Hawkins.
What were Billy’s rage issues?
Max experienced a flashback of Billy banging on a door while commanding her to let him out. The moment was from Stranger Things Season 3 when Billy was locked in a sauna as a technique to drive out the Mind Flayer. At that moment, he was under Mind Flayer’s influence; nevertheless, he has shown an aggressive attitude towards Max in the past.
Mind Flayer was using tricks and techniques already familiar to Billy in the past. Similarly, Vecna used that memory against Max in the final episode of Season 4. He uses Billy’s banging figuratively to command Max to let him into her subconscious.
Both Vecna and the Mind Flayer dig into their victims’ worst memories to weaken them and later hunt them.
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Why was Young Max Skateboarding shown as the main memory?
When Eleven travels to Max’s memories in the last episode of volume 2, she sees Max skateboarding in Los Angeles. In the memory, while Max is trying to skateboard, she is taunted by a teenager in a sexist way. She replies sternly, “Shouldn’t you bag your face?” and gives him the finger.
Although the memory is insignificant to the viewers, it shows a great deal about Max’s nature and character development since she was little. Max is shown using her wit and sarcasm against the adversities she had to face in her life. Eleven wanted to reach Vecna through Max, and while finding her way to him, she came across these particular Max memories.
From there, Eleven travels into the next crucial memory of Max, where she finds herself in the SnowBall.
Why was The snowball important?
Max used a second idea to defend herself against Vecna, other than listening to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” She planned to use her happiest memory as an armorer, the SnowBall from Stranger Things season 2, where she kissed her ex-boyfriend Lucas played by Caleb McLaughlin, for the first time.
Max planned to use her happy memories while Vecna was busy exploiting her worst memories against her. But things do not exactly go as planned, Vecna invades the SnowBall memory, and there he fights Eleven.
Vecna places blood-filled balloons and plays “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” over the SnowBall memory, where Max is looking for refuge. Although Eleven enters the SnowBall, she fights Vecna to save her friend Max.
Why were the Max and Eleven memories meeting important?
Like Max, Eleven used one of her happy memories in her fight against Vecna; she played the day when she met Max in her head. However, it was not precisely to fight against Vecna but to do some damage control as she entered into Max’s void after Vecna killed her for a whole minute.
Eleven remembers the moment when she met Max in Stranger Things season 2, which brings back many good memories she had with Max, which results in Eleven bringing Max back to life with her newfound superpower.
Some other flashbacks in Max memories that Eleven remembers while she tries to save her friend are- their sleepover where they read comics, when they used to hang out at the mall and try clothes for fun, and their other key bonding moments. Eleven remembers when they had ice cream, and she revealed her few powers to Max.
These memories were not only crucial to Max but also Eleven, and they signified their pure friendship. Max helped build Eleven’s confidence and strength. These memories are only being played for Eleven, and Max does not have access to them.
What were other Season 2 and Season 3 memories that were shown?
When Vecna corrupts Max’s SnowBall memory, Max tries to make a slideshow of all her happy memories as an ultimate defense mechanism. Many scenes from the second and third seasons are played during that montage.
Those scenes included- various moments of Max with her friends, Max and Eleven dancing in her room while they talk about boys, playing spin-the-bottle, watching movies with Lucas, and talking to Eleven about various things.
In the final montage scenes, Max also remembers her escape from Upside Down when she first got there in Volume 1, and it might be the most recent memory that made her feel strong in those weak times and like she had a real shot at winning against Vecna.
Max arms herself against Vecna as she discovers music is the key, with a headset and listening to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” on repeat. Max realized early on that music could only help her so far; something more powerful was needed to survive.
Max decides to use her happy memories against Vecna because he uses her worst memories. Max tries to catch up to Vecna and figures out a plan to survive the curse, but unfortunately, Vecna is an intelligent monster, he too figures out her plans, and instead of using bad Max memories, he enters into her good ones.