Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) was one of season 4’s strongest introductions. If nothing else, “Stranger Things” isn’t just adept at introducing new characters (see: Robin or Sadie Sink’s Max), but incorporating them so organically into the world that they feel like mainstays rather than newcomers.
As the leader of Hawkins High’s “Hellfire Club,” a Dungeons & Dragons group at the school, Eddie is at first quasi-antagonistic, an odd guy with a burning passion for all things fantasy. In the season 4 premiere, however, Eddie is implicated in the death of a classmate, sparking innumerable memes in the process, and for the rest of the season, the plot became simultaneously about exonerating Eddie and stopping chief baddie Vecna. As the season closes, only half the plan is successful. Vecna is temporarily quelled, but Eddie is killed and remains a suspect in several deaths. It’s a heartbreaking epilogue, all the more so when Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin finds himself in tears talking to Eddie’s uncle.
While Eddie’s death certainly grounded the stakes, it was perhaps too soon. Joseph Quinn was so strong in the role that it begs the question — why kill him off? While the series will likely have more bodies to drop in its final season, this one just felt cruel. Justice for Barb might be inexplicable, but Justice for Eddie is a necessity.