This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 4.First, stranger things may have killed Barb to make a point. This was going to be an intense show where anyone could die at any moment. To keep audiences on their toes, a death for shock value was likely meant to keep everyone’s attention and give Nancy a reason to join the main storyline. But why kill Eddie Munson? The murder of the beloved supporting character happened far too late in the season to be seen as a catalyst for anyone’s actions regarding the final battle with Vecna. His death doesn’t even occur immediately after bringing Dustin to safety, suggesting that he died in a heroic sacrifice.
Eddie Munson’s journey should not have ended in death. Instead, he should have graduated from high school, just like he mentioned he wanted to do soon after his introduction. Unfortunately, Eddie never had the chance, dying in a moment that could be questioned as a sacrifice in general. Instead, it looks like he was killed off for potential shock value or to show that someone who wasn’t the main character didn’t survive the battle against Vecna. That’s not reason enough to kill a character.
Another beloved supporting character
Barb, Bob and Billy were all supporting characters on stranger things who suffered a terrible fate. Each of them was brutally murdered by the season’s villain. But, while Barb’s death was a catalyst and one of the first significant events after Will’s disappearance, Bob and Billy each died at the end of seasons two and three, respectively. Eddie ends with stranger things 4 continues the bad habits of the series. The show is more than willing to send supporting characters to death in order to show that Hawkins and Upside Down are dangerous places. However, stranger things avoided killing all the main characters, removing the stakes element for them. Will’s disappearance in season one and Max’s fate in season four are the closest the show has come to having any real consequences for the main characters.
Allowing Eddie to live would have been a nice change of pace for the show. Not every secondary character in the series needs to suffer a cruel fate to make the case for the dangers of the city. Additionally, having Eddie live-action would have broken the show’s cycle of getting audiences to love a supporting character only to kill him off later.
Heroism does not mean sacrifice
Sometimes shows determine that the equivalent of a redemption arc results in self-sacrifice. For example, Eddie doesn’t need a redemption arc, but part of the reason he refuses to run is because of his previous actions following a tendency to run away. Except, given Eddie’s circumstances, starting with Chrissy’s death, Eddie’s choices to run away make sense rather than suggesting he’s a coward. Eddie is the only witness to Chrissy’s brutal and supernatural death. Having never seen anything like it, Eddie frantically walks away from the scene. Later, people mistakenly assume that Eddie is dangerous or hurt and killed Chrissy. Finally, having the whole town on your back forces Eddie to run and hide, things that don’t require him to make up for it later.
Eddie is a hero because of how he joined the Hawkins group and participated in dealing with Vecna and the Upside Down, even though it terrified him. Eddie took part in what was happening even though he could have fled sooner. However, Eddie didn’t need to do that to prove he was a hero. Although Eddie’s sacrifice is meant to be noble and show character development for not wanting to run away, even the reason for his death would have justified his rush.
It didn’t make sense
Part of Eddie’s job during the confrontation with Vecna was to distract the Bats with Dustin. Eddie does this in part by playing “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. However, they are forced into hiding once the Bats reach him and Dustin. With the many Bats heading their way, Eddie decides Dustin doesn’t need to face a cruel fate and forces him back into Hawkins before fleeing and being chased by the Bats. across the Upside Down. However, part of Eddie’s job is still to distract the bats for as long as possible. So it doesn’t make much sense when he slows down and decides he’s had enough of running away and wants to fight them head-on. Eddie’s job isn’t to fight bats to the death. It’s simply to distract them long enough for Nancy, Steve, and Robin to reach and kill Vecna.
As Eddie dies, he checks with Dustin that he didn’t run away this time. Although it’s meant to be an emotional reminder of Eddie’s actions, it’s far more confusing. Why did Eddie have to die? He could have kept riding his bike for a while and the bats would rush after him. Whether stranger things 4 wanted Eddie’s death to be a sacrifice to save Dustin or someone else, there were other ways to do it where the scene could have shown that Eddie’s quick decision had no d space to save him. But, the way the scene unfolds, it looks like Eddie is directly fighting the Bats for no logical reason.