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Henry Creel / One (001) / Vecna
"Your suffering is almost at an end."
Click here to see Henry Creel / One 

Played By: Jamie Campbell Bower, Raphael Luce (child)

Debut: "Chapter One: The Hellfire Club" (4x01)

"They can't help you Max. There's a reason you hide from them. You belong here, with me."

The psychopathic, deeply misanthropic son of Victor Creel. When Henry discovered his psychic powers, he used them to torment and murder his family. He was soon discovered by Dr Brenner and became the first in a series of psychic children gathered by Hawkins National Lab, being designated 001. Decades later, Henry/One massacred nearly everyone at the lab before being overpowered and banished to the Upside Down by Eleven. As a result, his body was hideously disfigured and mutated thereby turning him into the creature ultimately dubbed "Vecna" by the Party. Now, years after his banishment to the Upside Down, Vecna has begun killing teenagers seemingly at random, with Max being his latest target.

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  • The Ace: All but stated to have been this among the children under Dr. Brenner's tutelage. Henry taught himself how to control his powers and is apparently the most powerful psychic, with the possible exception of Eleven. While Eleven is Unskilled, but Strong, Henry has perfect control of his powers. This means that when she catches him off guard, she is able to overpower him (which she has done twice), but in a direct fight, his greater precision allows him to easily dominate Eleven. Henry is also extremely manipulative, and was intelligent and resourceful enough to survive in the Upside Down in its primordial state. It's telling that Dr. Brenner has to make an electronic chip to suppress his abilities, and relegate him to being an orderly within Hawkins Laboratory just to keep the man under his control.
  • Achilles' Heel: Nancy and Robin discover that Vecna's deadly psychic grip on his targets can be broken by playing the target's favorite song thus activating their mind's positive emotions and returning them to reality. It is also revealed that Vecna's physical form, during this phase, is in an idle position leaving him vulnerable to attacks.
  • Allegorical Character: Vecna embodies the deepest traumas and regrets of his victims, reminding them of their guilt and shame while embellishing on the details as he hunts them down. Max and Eleven are the only one who have escaped his clutches, as the sound of Kate Bush, the memories of happier times with their friends and Mike's declaration of love gave them the strength to break free and escape the Upside Down.
  • All There in the Manual: Billing information calls him "Peter Ballard", despite that name never being used in the show. This was done likely to avoid spoilers. In an interview, Campbell even stated that he had no idea where the name "Peter Ballard" came from.
  • All Your Powers Combined: He demonstrates a mix of both Eleven and Kali's abilities including Eleven's telekinesis, ability to contact people across dimensions, and ability to create portals as well as Kali's power to induce hallucinations.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The full nature of the relationship between the Mind Flayer and Vecna/One. One is shown discovering the Mind Flayer as an amorphous cloud in the upside down and then forming it into the spider-shaped being seen in earlier seasons, establishing that One controls it and implying that it, along with all the other monsters from the Upside Down, are ultimately One's minions and even extensions of himself. This leaves quite a few questions remaining, though. Does the Mind Flayer have any awareness or will of its own? Why did One act through it in earlier seasons, but then seem to cast it aside in Season 4? What role did it play in completing One's transformation from human to monster, as when he first finds it, he is still shown in to be in the sort of half-human state that he was when he first arrived in the Upside Down?
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: The end of Volume 1 in Season 4 leans heavily into this trope. Henry tells Eleven about the child designated 001 that Brenner has kept secret, only to reveal that he himself was that child. After killing everyone else he tells El about the ill-fated Creel family, revealing himself to be the son of Victor. And just in case it wasn't clear by the end of the episode, the last shot reveals that he became Vecna upon his banishment to the Upside Down.
  • Animal Motif: Spiders. Henry developed an obsession with spiders as a child, believing them to be natural predators who prey on the weak, finding a kinship in them.
    • He utilizes spiders in the visions he casts into people's minds as one of his more general, less personal acts of fear, and the way he's raised up by the tendrils of his lair when hunting and killing is reminiscent of a spider at the center of its web. When someone enters his mental space, they even find the husks of his past victims stuck in a cocoon of vines, similar to how a spider will leave its past prey. Ironically his active hunting style is quite different from that of the spiders he makes appears, who make webs and wait for prey to come to them, unless one considers all of Hawkins his 'web.'
    • As Vecna later revealed to Eleven, he created the Mind Flayer himself. Given that it is a spider-like monster that — much like Vecna — is a vindictive misanthrope that seeks to destroy humanity, it makes sense in hindsight.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To Eleven. While the rest of the cast oppose him to protect Hawkins, the enmity between him and Eleven is much more personal. He's not only her Evil Counterpart, but also shares a violent history with her. He initially befriends her at Hawkins Lab in order to corrupt her, which fails and results in Eleven using her powers to banish him to the Upside Down, in turn transforming him into a Humanoid Abomination. From then on, he's pretty much equally invested in tormenting Eleven and the people she cares about as he is in his grander scheme to destroy Hawkins and the world.
    • To Dr. Brenner. Having endured so much torture at Brenner's hands, and being forced to work for him as an orderly for the Hawkins Lab for decades, Henry hates Brenner even more than Eleven does, with one of his goals post-Vecna transformation being to specifically terrorize him out of revenge for what the man has done to him. In turn, Brenner considers Henry to be to be his greatest failure after losing all his test subjects at his hands, and wants nothing more than to find him in the Upside Down and kill him.
    • To a lesser extent, he also serves as this to Nancy as of the climax of Season 4. In Episode 7, he chooses to communicate with her specifically, and reveals that he was the one responsible for murdering Barbara back in Season 1. Furthermore, he takes particular pleasure in taunting her when he has her, Robin, and Steve at his mercy in the Upside Down. Nancy returns the sentiments after their talk, decides that Vecna needs to die brutally, and is the leader of the Hawkins front to do just that.
    • To the rest of the party in general, as he has done something to negatively affect all of them. As creator of the Mind Flayer, he was responsible for all of the trauma it caused Will. As soon as Will arrives back in Hawkins, he senses Vecna and fearfully tells Mike what he plans to do the world. He torments Max all throughout Season 4 with horrible visions, culminating in him briefly murdering her in the finale. Lucas undoubtedly hates him, because of trying to kill Max, and the fact that she died painfully in his arms begging not to die. Dustin despises him because in the finale his Demobat legion fatally wounded Eddie who was his hero. While he hasn't done anything to harm Mike personally, considering all of the pain and suffering that he's caused his friends, Mike probably hates his guts as well.
  • Arc Symbol: Grandfather clocks. His victims always see one right when he's decided to kill them. This is because there was one in his house back when he was a human boy in Hawkins (and is present in the Upside Down mirror version), and he creates a mind-link with his victims when he attacks them. They're either seeing them because of his memory of the one he owned, or because of the one in his home in the Upside Down. His obsession with that particular clock stems from it being the first time he consciously used his psychic powers to affect the world around him, winding the clock's hands backwards as a symbolic defiance of the 'unnatural' laws that mankind force upon the world around them, as his 'Orderly' self explains to the younger Eleven that he considers units of measurement for time as one of the biggest examples of said laws that were 'restraining' his true self. The ritual he enacts to tear open a massive gate between Hawkins and the Upside Down and begin merging both worlds together seems to incorporate the clock in some respect, as its chiming is what signals the activation of the gate after Max temporarily dies.
  • Ax-Crazy: An incredibly brutal and bloodthirsty sociopath with a level of sadism that matches the Mind Flayer which is appropriate considering he created the Mind Flayer. His proclivity for torture and murder has not faded over the years since he was sent to the Upside Down, and has instead spent it planning the eradication of humanity when not committing gruesome murders in Hawkins for fun.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: He gets what he wants by the end of Stranger Things 4. He successfully killed all four of his targets (Max was dead just long enough for it to "count"), causing the largest gate to the Upside Down to open, devastating Hawkins and killing dozens. And despite the thrashing he received from El, Nancy, Robin, and Steve, he is still alive and the Upside Down is beginning to leak into our world.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: A flashback to his younger self shows him torturing a rabbit with his Psychic Powers.
  • Bald of Evil: Once he assumes his final form as Vecna, Henry's vibrant blonde hair eventually falls out, leaving his new monstrous form completely bald.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Ken doll variant; although he presumably was anatomically whole when he was still human, his banishment to the Upside Down and subsequent transformation into Vecna seems to have eliminated his genitalia.
  • The Beastmaster: When trapped in the Upside Down, Henry manages to assume control over the lifeforms that exist there, and direct them into being hostile against humans. He also is responsible for creating new creatures to inhabit the Upside Down, including the Mind Flayer.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One wished to unburden the world of its unnatural order. Eleven banished him to the Upside Down, a parallel world where order is non-existent. He's horribly disfigured within moments. Though he spends quite a bit of time in agonizing pain as he's struck by supernatural lightning and falls for a very long time, Henry doesn't really seem to mind this fate in the present day.
  • Big Bad: Of Stranger Things 4 and Stranger Things 5, and as Mind Flayer was his creation, he's also the Big Bad of the entire series.
  • Bishōnen Line: From a visual aesthetic, Vecna — compared to the other residents of the Upside Down that are vaguely monsters with sectioned flower mouths and the Mind Flayer being a multi-limbed, colossal monstrosity that only communicate coherently through a host — looks like a skeletal-faced, humanoid corpse with Icy Blue Eyes that is able to converse with its victims fluently and his methods of hunting are much more refined — focusing on Mind Rape and demoralizing speeches. Justified as he used to be human -- specifically a former test subject like Eleven, called One.
  • Body Horror:
    • His clash with Eleven drove him into the Upside Down, where his flesh was ruined by being pelted by lightning bolts as he was flung through the formless void the Upside Down used to be. Curiously, he survived with heavy scarring, but a still noticeably human appearance in the aftermath, and over the years in the alien environment seems to have mutated into a partial Meat Moss construct, with his body now apparently being partially constructed from the fleshy vines that cover the Upside Down Hawkins, and his left hand elongating into an animalistic claw. Though his appearance is horrific, it's shown his new body is much more durable than his formally human one, to the point of being able to survive being set on fire and blasted with shotgun rounds until he falls out a window.
    • Also describes the way he executes his victims: Burning the eyeballs to blind them, then snapping their limbs into obscene shapes, and detaching the jaw from the skull before caving it in. And the victim can feel everything.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He vehemently hates humanity despite the fact that — although he has psychic powers — he himself is still a human.
  • Break Them by Talking: Part of his M.O. is to appear as someone his victims know and bring up traumatic experiences, twisting things like they are the victims fault. When appearing to Max as Billy, he hits her with an especially cruel monologue after she reads her letter, even insinuating that a small part of her wanted Billy to die.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Vecna refers to his father as "old, blind, dumb Victor" while revealing himself to Nancy.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: His affinity with spiders and his transformation in the Upside Down lead him to describe himself as finally becoming "the predator I was always meant to be".
  • Cold Ham: As Vecna, he speaks in a low, raspy voice, even while giving nihilistic speeches, telling his victims all about how he's going to "end their suffering", and showing Nancy his apocalyptic plans for Hawkins.
  • Combat Tentacles: Vecna has a series of detachable tentacle which he uses these to restrain his quarry. Apparently they can't be resisted through raw strength, as any individual that's been restrained has required a rush of positive emotions to be able to break free.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • Unlike the animalistic Demogorgon or the intelligent but deeply alien Mind Flayer, Vecna is human-like in both appearance and mindset, and his understanding of the human mind is a key part of how he attacks. This is because, unlike previous villains, he isn't a native inhabitant of the Upside Down.
    • To Billy Hargrove. Billy was a delinquent who treated his stepsister like a chore, but his issues stemmed from having an abusive father who drove his mother away. Eleven was able to tap into his childhood memories and in the end he redeemed himself at the cost of his own life. Henry on the other hand had the facade of being well-behaved while being far worse than Billy ever was, acts kind to his "sister" Eleven, didn't suffer any kind of childhood trauma as his father was a good man, and murdered his own mother. He willingly shares his childhood with Eleven, which reveals he was always predisposed towards misanthropy and tried to kill Eleven when she stood up to him, which he survived but turned him into a literal monster from.
  • The Corruption: All the evil within the Upside Down, right down to the dimension's appearance as a reflection of Hawkins and the Mind Flayer's spider form, comes from Henry's psychic powers and his sheer hatred for humanity.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Henry has naturally-blue eyes that look much more unsettling after they go bloodshot from his massacre of Hawkins' Lab. He retains them even as the monstrous Vecna, which stand out against his horrific visage.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: One has a non-threatening voice that Eleven initially trusts. Then once he goes on his rampage and has his monologue it goes from sounding reassuring to unsettling due to One's belief that he's the hero in this scenario.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Has long talons which can be seen best during his showdown with Max.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • Henry didn't kill his father like he did to his mother and sister, and instead let him live, knowing he'll be broken both from the emotional shock and for being implicated in those crimes. It was probably the worst fate among all his victims. After Nancy spoke with Victor, Vecna casually mentioned that he's been planning to inflict even more torment on his father.
    • It's implied he intended a similar fate for his other father figure Dr. Brenner, as he noticeably spared him alone out of all the other psychics and staff members in the Hawkins lab despite having him at his mercy, and seems genuinely displeased at the news of his passing. That said, he still refers him with derogatory contempt and implies he intended to let him live only long enough to see everything he'd been hoping to achieve with his experiments come to naught.
    • After meeting Eleven since his banishment, Vecna decides to restrain her... only to tell her he wants her to watch him killing Max and the carnage he unleashes on the world as punishment for rejecting his offer several years back.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Downplayed. He claims he was rejected by other children, and the fact that he understands sadness implies that something bad happened to him, but we're given few details. While being a prisoner of Dr. Brenner that bonds with Eleven and is later revealed to be Victor's son all seem like they'd provide a sympathetic backstory, it soon becomes clear they had nothing to do with his turn to villainy, as One had a loving family and his acts of cruelty were done simply because he hates humanity and enjoys carnage, regardless of his rather flimsy justifications.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: The tendrils that fuse into him make it look like he is dependent on a life support system. As the Party and their allies deduce, this is actually Vecna entering a trance state every time he ensnares a victim, which makes him a sitting duck during such a period.
  • Darkseid Duplicate: Let's see: He has pale white skin and a bald head, is the most powerful and dreaded antagonist in the story to date, sees himself a superior being meant to rule over the weak and he lives in an alternate dimension that closely resembles Hell.
  • Demon of Human Origin: Vecna was once a man known as Henry Creel, who was institutionalized after Dr. Brenner discovered his psychic powers and wanted to keep him under his control. After being banished into the Upside Down by Eleven, Henry is blasted by lightning and forced to survive in a dimension that clearly was not meant for humans to explore, where he gradually devolved into being a burnt, inhuman creature who further increases his powers tenfold by taking control of and/or creating new life forms while in there. Bonus points in that the Upside Down literally looks like hell when Henry is first sent there.
  • Destination Defenestration: Is blasted out of a boarded-up attic window of the Upside Down Creel house by Nancy with a shotgun while on fire, though he survives.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Henry's interactions with El can bring to mind sexual grooming, as his modus operandi involves speaking to her in a gentle tone of voice while taking advantage of her for his own benefit. He all but states that he wanted El to be his queen in their new world order. When he becomes Vecna, he convinces his prey they are unloved and that what he's about to do is for their own good. He even developed a habit of getting uncomfortably close to his victims.
    • Vecna relies on preying on his victims' previous traumas to target them before inducing dread and anxiety, which manifest initially as intrusive thoughts. As his stalking progresses, the victims also experience physical pain such as headaches and psychological difficulty such as nightmares among other symptoms of depression. When he finally closes in on his victims, they re-experience deeply traumatic life events. From the outside looking in, Vecna's victims appear to be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, making him an allegory for it and the worst possible result: suicide. This is reinforced by Vecna claiming he is ending the suffering of his victims, and the way the Party carefully watches over Max after her ordeal with Vecna, similar to how someone's loved ones may act around them after a suicide attempt.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: His banishment to the Upside Down plays out this way. He is sent tumbling through the hellish dimension while red lightning destroys his body, transforming him into a visceral monster. Of course in the present time, he seems to have accepted it as his home.
  • The Dragon: This is Dustin's theory of what Vecna's role is in the Upside Down, being the Mind Flayer's "five star general". The fact that he is opening multiple gates to the Upside Down implies that he is at least helping the Mind Flayer advance its plans. However, Dustin's theory is proven to be wrong — Vecna is the Mind Flayer, subverting the trope altogether.
  • The Dreaded: There isn’t a single person that has encountered Vecna that isn’t terrified of him, not just because of the brutal murders he commits in Season 4 and his menacing appearance, but also because of every horrific tragedy that was previously unknown to be the result of his actions. This includes the Creel family massacre, and anything the Mind Flayer has been responsible for.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: Same as with the Demogorgon, flickering lights herald his presence in the real world.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: He likes to make his entrances like this, making his first appearance in Chrissy's nightmare by emerging from the shadows.
  • Enfante Terrible: Henry began torturing small animals as a child before tormenting his family with disturbing hallucinations. He eventually murdered his mother and sister while framing his father for the crime.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Downplayed. Vecna chides Max for wishing for Billy's death and decides to kill her for it, but it's more than likely he's just adding on her guilt so that she won't fight him.
  • Evil All Along: "The Orderly" is first introduced as an ally to Eleven who mentors her and tries to help her escape. Not only is he revealed to be the real killer of the lab children, it's also revealed that he's been terrorizing Hawkins in the past few years.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The only emotions he knows how to channel into his psionics are sadness and anger; he knows nothing about love. Even though Eleven had only one very brief and faint memory of love, that was enough to empower her to defeat him. Similarly, the tentacles he binds and crushes his victims with cannot be physically overpowered no matter how hard they struggle, but when both Max and Eleven are reminded of more positive emotions and use those to fight back against Vecna, the tentacles weaken and fall off them, as Vecna is literally binding them with their more negative doubts and emotions. He has no defenses against emotions he cannot comprehend, nor the power they give others, leading to him getting physically attacked twice when he seems to have won.
  • Evil Counterpart: He is essentially what Eleven could've been if she had zero moral boundaries: an unstoppable, superpowered killer driven only by pure rage. Like Eleven, One was born with telekinetic abilities that were sharpened through Brenner's experiments. However, unlike Eleven who has killed only in self-defense or to defend her friends, Vecna kills because he likes it. Their tattoos even contrast each other's; El's is 011 while Henry's is 001 (when the two are shown side by side, their arms are positioned so that the ones correspond with the other's zeros.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He's generally a Cold Ham, but he occasionally dips into outright over-the-top territory. His Motive Rant is the perfect example:
    "Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades! Each life a faded, lesser copy of the one before! WAKE UP, EAT, WORK, SLEEP, REPRODUCE, AND DIE!"
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: He's the foulest, most wicked character in the whole series and Doctor Brenner seriously believed that — not only could he control him — but he could restrain him and use him to train more psychics. This backfired massively.
  • Evil Is Visceral: He's as gory as the Mind Flayer's avatar.
  • Evil Luddite: His motive rant has shades of this, seeing civilisation and social routines as unnatural. His wonder at how the Upside Down was "unspoiled by humanity" and worship of spiders implies he's pro-nature to some degree, but he's evidently not above killing animals like rabbits and rats.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: He was already evil as a human, and twenty years after he murdered his mother and sister he was still as human as ever, albeit with special powers like Eleven. It wasn't until Eleven banished him into the Upside Down, after he killed all the other gifted children at the Hawkins Lab, that he became a Humanoid Abomination. In short, twenty years of being a murderer didn't make him nearly as monstrous as seven years trapped in the Upside Down.
  • Evil Mentor: Although he clearly benefitted by manipulating her to remove his Restraining Bolt, he seems to have had a genuine interest in tutoring Eleven. Given who Brenner is, it's hard to blame her for trusting his advice.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Befitting of his demonic appearance, he speaks with a chillingly deep voice. This contrasts his higher, more soft-spoken tone as Henry.
  • Expy: Vecna's gory flesh, long talon on his left hand, obsession with murdering teens and paranormal abilities involving putting his victims inside nightmares bring to mind Freddy Krueger. His voice sounds similar to the 2010 version of Freddy, and like Freddy, he also Was Once a Man. His father is even played by Robert Englund.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Prior to transforming into Vecna, Henry had the boyishly handsome face of Jamie Campbell Bower, disguising the misanthropic psychopath lurking beneath.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Soft-spoken, polite, and friendly to Eleven. Even while slaughtering his way through the lab, he maintained a level of calm and politeness in his tone. As Vecna he keeps up this facade, speaking to his prey in a soft and reassuring voice, almost as if he's comforting them before they die.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When One tells Eleven and Nancy about his childhood, he mentions being put in hospital and having several tubes hooked up to him. Just like the tendrils that fuse into Vecna.
    • Even further, as more details come out about his backstory so does his interest in spiders, which are also frequently seen in the visions of his victims. Which hints towards his role in literally shaping the Mind Flayer.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When he teaches Eleven how to use her emotions to empower her psionic gifts, he specifically tells her to channel her sadness and anger, foreshadowing that those are the only emotions he feels and/or understands.
    • Vecna's name alone actually gives away much of his backstory (see Meaningful Name). It also hints, ironically, at his role and position in the "pantheon" of the Upside Down, as Vecna in D&D is a much bigger threat than a Mind Flayer.
    • Before his attacks begin, we're treated to a flashback to a traumatic moment in Eleven's childhood where the staff and the children were brutally murdered, something we see a few times after. Blink-and-you-miss-it, but the method of their deaths appear to be similar to how Vecna's kills look, with broken bones, snapped necks, lots of blood, and missing eyes.
    • Dustin and Steve debate how Vecna could have been linked to Victor Creel and his family's murder given that contact to the Upside Down didn't happen until the experiments on Eleven, and thus those murders couldn't have anything to do with the Upside Down. Turns out they're right, because Vecna himself wouldn't be cast into the Upside Down until Eleven started opening portals to it, the first being used to trap him.
    • His "base" in the Upside Down is the old, abandoned house of Victor Creel which was Vecna's childhood home back when he was Henry Creel. It was first assumed to be due to Victor's assumption that there was a demon hiding within the shadows, but the fact that Henry was never shown being tormented by any hallucinations turned out to be a major hint that the real terror was hiding in plain sight.
    • Really, the way Vecna tortures and kills is quite different from anything else seen in the Upside Down. In fact, it more closely resembles the powers of Eleven/Jane and Eight/Kali.
    • Victor Creel, in both the news-clips as well as his interview with both Nancy and Robin, specifically stated that it was caused by a demon inhabiting the house who tortured them with visions. Eight's powers is a small-scale version of what the "demon" was letting them see, as well as cluing it's actually a new member of the family currently inhabiting the house who did everything. Victor Creel will also unintentionally foreshadow his son eventually becoming the demonic Vecna.
    • When Creel starts talking about the curse in his family, he first makes note of the fact he kept finding mutilated animals on or near his property. Killing and torturing animals is one of the most well-known early traits of a budding serial killer, which is more-or-less what Vecna started as. Related, during his exposition, he notably doesn't put much detail into describing his son, other than to say he was "sensitive", and thus doesn't give away the fact his son was clearly demonstrating early signs of psychopathy.
    • Also, when Creel describes how his wife and daughter were murdered, he states that Henry fell into a coma and died a week later. It doesn't make sense that the "demon" responsible for the murders would attack Henry in a different manner than the other two, or with less force - in reality, Henry had passed out from overusing his psychic powers to murder his mother and sister, just like how Eleven had sometimes passed out from overusing her powers.
    • His humanoid appearance, when nothing else in the Upside Down has a humanoid appearance, foreshadows the reveal that he Was Once a Man.
    • Vecna's gruesome flesh complete with tendrils looks similar to the Mind Flayer's avatar. He was the one who created the original Mind Flayer.
  • For the Evulz: He ultimately had no real reason to do the awful things he's done outside of blind misanthropy.
  • Four Is Death: Vecna's clocks all chime four times. His plan to bring about the end of the world also involves opening four gateways in Hawkins by murdering four people and he makes his first appearance in season 4, the 4th episode of which dives into his origins as a human and his first murders with his psychic powers (though this isn't actually clarified until episode 7, due to his traumatized father's lack of understanding of psychic abilities).
  • Freudian Excuse Denial: Eleven tries to reason with him, saying that Brenner made him into what he is. But Vecna himself doesn't really agree, instead doubling down on having been above humanity always.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Henry was already an irredeemable terror, but at the very least he was subdued by Dr Brenner. After Eleven set him free, he went on a murderous rampage that was never completely sated. Stranger Things 4 ends with Hawkins being torn open so that the Upside Down can leak through and Will states that One is still alive, so he's ultimately claimed victory despite everything. Oh, and it's revealed Vecna is the creator (if not direct ally) of the Mind Flayer, thus responsible for every single tragedy in the show since Season 1.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Justified. Henry's prolonged exposure to the Upside Down destroys his once-vibrant lab jumpsuit and leaves it in tatters. His gradual transformation into Vecna causes those tatters to wear away until he becomes the completely naked monster as seen in the present.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He was the first evil to target Hawkins, having committed his first murders here in the 50s. It was his existence that led to Martin Brenner starting the Hawkins Lab experiments in order to recreate his psychic powers, and it was banishing him that created the first portal to the Upside Down. Eventually, Vecna reveals to Eleven that he also gave the Mind Flayer a proper form based on a drawing of his, making him indirectly responsible for every paranormal terror that's been unleashed in Hawkins. It's also implied that he personally kidnapped Will and murdered Barb in Season 1, considering whatever did both those things had psychic powers, which the Demogorgons don't have.

  • Hannibal Lecture:
    • All the way along he's been pretty quiet, only telling Eleven exactly what she needs to know and no more, but in the climactic scene he talks, and talks, and talks, spelling out his life story and moral philosophy long after the audience has already put it together on their own.
    • And when One reunites with Eleven, he tells her what he's been up to in the years since they last fought.
  • Hate Sink: Possibly the ultimate example of it, which is a lot in series that has its own entry on this trope. If his backstory is of any indication, Creel was already a complete and utter monster before gaining his powers and being sent to the Upside Down. After both happened, he only became more creative on how to enact his cruelty.
  • Hated by All: Everybody either hates or fears Vecna because nearly everything bad and tragic that has happened in the series can be traced right back to him. Even when he showed promise as a psychic back in his days as Henry, Brenner decided on keeping him monitored and restrained, aware that he was too dangerous to be given free rein. That said, the feeling is mutual for Vecna and he makes it clear that he will repay that in kind.
  • Healing Factor: Zigzagged. When Max rips off one of his neck vines to distract him long enough to escape his mindspace, he's shown to regrow it easily to repair the damage in seconds, but that is his mental avatar, and not his actual body, thus it's unclear if, despite his altered and inhuman fleshy appearance, Vecna's physical body possesses the same regenerative powers. When Nancy, Robin and Steven attack him in the Upside Down and set him aflame, he's apparently tough enough to seemingly ignore being immolated at first, pretending their efforts are for naught as he pulls an Unflinching Walk towards them, but their follow-up attacks successfully stagger him and eventually blow him out the attic window. Whilst he survives and flees before they can finish him off, it's left unshown if their attacks did any lasting damage to his body, leaving it uncertain if his Meat Moss body can recover as easily as he could in the mental world.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The first hint of Vecna's curse is the distorted chiming of a grandfather clock. In fact, there is a distorted chiming of a clock in the soundtrack of several pivotal scenes involving the Upside Down in prior seasons, note  which gets louder and clearer throughout the seasons as a sign that Vecna has always been the overarching threat directing the Upside Down.
  • Hero Killer: Being the one in control of the Upside Down Hive Mind, he's responsible for every major character death in the series, including Barb, Bob, Eddie, Billy, Max (temporarily) and Jason. Alexei is the only character who didn't die as a direct result of his influence, and even then, the circumstances of his death are indirectly related to the Upside-Down and the Russians' desire to manipulate it.
  • Hidden Depths: He seems bitter when telling Eleven he didn't fit in with other kids, which implies that he did want to have friends once.
  • Hive Mind: One is connected to all forms of life in the Upside Down either through tendrils or the Mind Flayer's particles. This turns out to be a weakness to him as he was puppeteering the Demogorgon in Russia which Hopper was fighting. Once Hopper chops its head off, Vecna experiences all the pain the Demogorgon would have felt if it had survived, leaving him wide open for a further assault from Nancy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Downplayed. Teaching Eleven how to use her emotions to fuel her psychic powers for greater effect and control ultimately becomes his downfall, but he was actually winning initially in their duel because he was vastly more experienced in channeling sadness and rage into his powers than she was. It was only the faint memory of the brief moment of parental love Eleven experienced as a baby that gave her the strength to defeat him, a power that it's all but outright stated Henry cannot comprehend or defend himself against.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Vecna is a tall being made of horrifically burnt flesh with alien-like vines that can move around and connect to the Upside Down's Hive Mind. That said, he's much more humanoid than the Demogorgons or the Mind Flayer, in spite of his horrific appearance and powers. It turns out there's a reason for that.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • His Start of Darkness began with his disdain for humanity's need to create order out of chaos rather than embracing it like he did. Not to mention that he himself is human, and he's one of the most evil creatures in the Upside Down. In fact, the Upside Down only because as monstrous, hostile and dangerous to humanity as it did because of him, as it's revealed that he shaped and controls the Mind Flayer as his avatar for his goals, giving him control over its original predatory inhabitants through their Hive Mind. Every action and death caused or related to the Upside Down stems from the fact that the first human to enter it was a total monster who had the ability to shape the realm in his own twisted image.
    • Vecna himself actually sees this as too much praise for humanity. He believes Dr Brenner was nothing more than a mediocre man who kept people like One and Eleven because he envied their power.
  • Hypocrite:
  • Iconic Sequel Character: He's one of, if not the most important and dangerous of the Upside Down inhabitants, and the Big Bad of the entire series, but his existence is not even mentioned in the first three seasons.
  • I Fell for Hours: After being sent to the Upside Down by Eleven, Henry spends much of his time falling through the formless void the realm initially was, having his body horrifically scarred and burnt in the process. He does eventually land on the rocky, barren surface, which eventually results in him creating the Mind Flayer.
  • I Have Many Names: Once Nancy relays Vecna's true identity to the other teens, they're briefly confused over which name they should be using from now on, even floating around the idea of calling him Henry-slash-Vecna-slash-One. Towards the end of Season 4, Mike refers to him simply as One, while El calls him Henry. In the run-up to the season, his character was officially named "Peter Ballard".
  • In Name Only: Downplayed compared to the other Upside Down threats, as "Vecna" in the show is actually not that unlike "Vecna" from D&D, albeit the latter uses necromancy and spellcasting whereas the show's Vecna utilises Psychic Powers and weaponising the Upside Down's Bizarre Alien Biology. In both cases though, they're corpse-looking beings with powerful abilities who were previously defeated, but is now a looming threat. Adding to matters, they have a Red Right Hand and one blind eye, mirroring the Hand and Eye of Vecna (powerful items within D&D lore).
  • Insane Troll Logic: The original reason for his misanthropy is this. After finding out that his father accidentally killed a baby in World War II (and was racked with guilt for years afterwards), Henry jumps to the conclusion that humans are inherently evil and deserve to be wiped out. It's all but stated that this justification for his actions was little more than a paper-thin excuse for him to indulge in his sadism and psychotic traits with his abilities because he wanted to.
  • It's Personal: By the final stretch of Season 4, Vecna has become a personal foe for just about every one of the main characters.
    • Eleven hates him for causing her unnecessary trauma and guilt ever since her childhood, and for trying to destroy everyone she holds dear. It's only fitting that with his mutual hatred of her that she's considered his Arch-Enemy.
    • Vecna becomes a horrific force in Eddie's life, due to his brutal of Chrissy and framing him for the murder, resulting in Eddie spending the rest of his life on the run from a group of jocks attempting to inflict Vigilante Justice to him. His death at the hands of the Demobats also makes Vecna a personal enemy of Dustin's, as Eddie was his best friend.
    • Max has a very deep resentfulness of Vecna, as he was responsible for Billy's death through the Mind Flayer, and for mentally (and eventually physically) trying to torture her to death by holding her guilt of his death over her. By extension, he earns Lucas's hatred for traumatizing and nearly killing the girl he loves, and indirectly causing a witch hunt that implicated his sister and closest friends.
    • Even Dr. Brenner, despite trying to rescue him out of guilt, holds him in contempt for manipulating Eleven and massacring his test subjects.
    • And everyone else hates Vecna for the deeds he committed through the Demogorgons and the Mind Flayer. For his part, his Motive Rant to Eleven makes it clear that he Hates Everyone Equally, and considers them all beneath him.
  • I Want Them Alive!:
    • Downplayed, but it's hinted that despite holding him in utter contempt, as well as resenting him for attempting to control him and keeping him imprisoned and experimented on scene he was a child, Henry doesn't actually want Dr.Brenner dead. He had him unconscious and at his mercy during his rampage through the Hawkins lab, but instead merely killed the test subject in the room with him and spared Brenner himself. Brenner's perplexing survival from being attacked by the Demogorgon in a frenzy could be explained by Henry using the Hive Mind to direct the beast away from Brenner and after Eleven, and Vecna himself actually pauses when preparing to finish off Max when Eleven tells him that Brenner's dead, apparently genuinely displeased by the news. Rather than any care or such towards him however, it's hinted to be more so Henry could force Brenner to observe his life's work with controlling psychics come to naught as a means of taunting or 'punishing' him, akin to how Henry also spared his biological father figure, but left him tormented and trapped in an insane asylum.
    • Relatedly, he also has a similar focus on Eleven, due to their contrasting yet similar natures, as well as her being the person who 'freed' him from his restraints, firstly by removing his implant, secondly by trapping him in the Upside Down, which mutated him into his monstrous appearance. When he defeats her in a psychic duel inside max's mindscape, he pointedly restrains her instead of killing her and softly tells her that wants to make sure she watches what he's about to do, both to Max, and then her friends in Hawkins, before he kills her, as punishment for her refusing his offer of We Could Rule Together, his tone filled with icy hatred.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Prior to transforming into Vecna, Henry Creel was a conventionally handsome young man. Being banished into a hellish dimension and getting several lightning bolts to the face along the journey is not good for one's complexion.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Brutally murdered Two, a nasty bully who tormented Eleven her whole life inside Hawkins National Laboratory.
    • Killed Tom, Bruce and Billy, all who were horrible people, although Billy redeemed himself and sacrificed himself to save Eleven.
    • By getting a new gate to the Upside Down open, he indirectly kills Jason, a violent Jerk Jock who swore revenge upon the innocent Eddie, whom Jason wrongly held responsible for Chrissy's death. Although slightly downplayed, as Vecna directly contributed to Jason's Sanity Slippage leading to his above-mentioned crimes.
    • Was on the receiving end from Dr. Brenner in an earlier episode, who electrocuted him for stepping out of line.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: The murders Victor got in an asylum for? Those were his doing, killing Virginia due to calling Martin Brenner, and killing Alice just because. He would have killed Victor too, until his Power-Strain Blackout kicked in, and settled for framing his father for his crimes.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The show was already grim before, but Crissy's brutal murder at his hands during the season 4 premiere not only cements him as the most horrfying villain, but also marks the beginning of what is arguably the darkest entry of the story so far.
  • Knight Templar: During his Motive Rant, he insists that Humans Are the Real Monsters and that by wiping them out and taking over the world, he'd be doing everyone a favor. Eleven doesn't buy it.
  • Lack of Empathy: Interdimensional creature aside, when Eleven tries to reach to Vecna's human self by telling him how Brenner is dead and he doesn't need to do this, Vecna makes it clear he does and that he has always been this way, even before he became Vecna, which fits considering Henry's lack of understanding or care of humanity and seeing them as pathetic.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: Both attempts to curb One have been failures.
    • Dr Brenner tried suppressing his powers with an implant, so One befriended Eleven and she relieved him of it.
    • Eleven used her powers to banish One to the Upside Down. By that point, his mental restraints had been removed so he was able to continue his killing spree even outside his native dimension.
  • Light Is Not Good: Back when he was an orderly at the lab, One was a fair-looking young man with blonde hair, blue eyes and a white suit, who gives off a creepy vibe and slaughters people for next to no reason once his restraints were removed.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Especially if it's supernatural lightning. While trapped in the Upside Down, Henry is blasted with several bolts of the stuff to the point where his clothes have been destroyed and his skin is all deformed, which ultimately is where his transformation into Vecna begins.
  • Logical Weakness: Vecna being at the center of a Hive Mind connecting the creatures of the Upside Down. While this means he can control or at least direct all of them, at the same time anyone who manages to hurt them also hurts Vecna, even if it is a faded echo of the pain. Conversely, hurting Vecna himself will ripple through other creatures. Managing to attack on both fronts at the same time will lead to a cycle of weakening all of them.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Vecna manages to walk away from being hit with several molotovs and three shotgun blasts to the chest.
    • When Eleven banished him to the Upside Down, he tanked multiple lightning strikes and fell hundreds of feet for what appears to be a very long time.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: Vecna appeared to be a servant of the Mind Flayer, but was actually the one who created the Mind Flayer as an extension of himself and by extension turned the Demogorgons into his own personal army. It's also apparent that he shaped the Upside Down itself, as its appearance when he was first cast into it is pretty different from how it looks "now". Quite appropriate, as Vecna is named after the Neutral Evil god of hidden knowledge and destructive secrets in Dungeons & Dragons.invoked
  • Manipulative Bastard: One exploited Eleven's vulnerability and loneliness for his own ends by coming to her aid and showing kindness only to use her in his plan to murder everyone in the lab.
  • Man on Fire: Nancy, Steve and Robin track down Vecna's physical body while he's in a trance and pelt him with molotov cocktails. When Vecna awakens and goes on the offensive, apparently ignoring the flames outright, Nancy keeps him at bay by shooting him repeatedly, but the fires do apparently distract him enough he cannot utilise his psychic abilities to kill them with a thought, despite his immense power otherwise.
  • Meaningful Name: In multiple ways;
    • "Vecna" is just the name Dustin gave him due to being a "dark wizard", but also because Eddie had used Vecna as the Big Bad of their recent D&D campaign (much like how the Demogorgon had been named). However it's a surprisingly fitting name beyond that. Vecna, in D&D lore, was an evil lich, an undead spellcaster, who was previously a dark wizard that became the Neutral Evil god of hidden knowledge and destructive secrets, which is more or less exactly what this Vecna is. He's "undead" in the sense he was cast out of reality into the Upside Down when Eleven banished him, during which he was horribly scarred and became a corpse-looking being. Before this, he was another powerful psychic, like Eleven, which is certainly wizard-like. Liches are also almost by definition necromancers, one of the most commonly-attributed necromantic powers is to siphon the souls of those the necromancer has slain to increase their power, and One claims that each time he kills, he gets more powerful as he absorbs some of the essence of his victims.invoked
    • Additionally, much like the arch-lich that is his namesake, they both have odd left hands; the D&D character is missing his (which he usually replaces with a permanent Mage Hand spell), while this Vecna's left hand ends in long, razor-sharp talons that he uses to channel his killing power into his victims. This also comes into play in the finale as, due to his hive mind abilities, should other creatures like the Demogorgons take damage, he takes it in turn, weakening him and leaving him vulnerable.
    • His true relationship with the Mind Flayer as its master is also evidenced by the monikers the party gave to them; Mind Flayers, while powerful psionic monsters with frightening intelligence, are an entire species of creatures that are killable by a determined adventurer. Vecna, on the other hand, is an arch-lich with reality-bending magical abilities and Functional Immortality due to his undead nature that often serves as the Final Boss of many D&D campaigns (as he was at the start of the season). Thus, the show's Vecna being the Greater-Scope Villain behind the actions of every monster and nightmare that came from the Upside Down becomes much more understandable.
    • Both the D&D and Stranger Things Vecnas suffered fatal defeats at the hands of one they had trusted. As Lampshaded by the Hellfire Club, Vecna was slain by his lieutenant Kas, which Foreshadows The Reveal of One's defeat at the hands of Eleven, who he had allied with.
  • The Mentor: Taught Eleven how to unlock the true extent of her abilities by channeling her emotions.
  • Mercy Kill: Perversely, this is how he frames all his murders (though his victims would certainly beg to differ). After days of mental torment, Vecna brutally murders his victims to "end their suffering," even mock-comforting them at many times. He hates humanity so much that he seems to think he's doing his victims a favour by removing them from the board. As Vecna is a metaphorical personification of suicidal depression, this quality of his might reflect the temptation and "peace" of death, the rationalization that there's no other choice but release.
    "Don't cry, Chrissy. It's time for your suffering to end..."
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The awakening of Henry's telepathic powers led him to discover terrible things about his parents, such as the fact that his father had accidentally killed a baby while fighting in World War II. While he preyed on the darkest secrets of his peers, he convinced himself that Humans Are the Real Monsters and they deserved to be punished in his own special way.
  • Mind Rape: His MO. He attacks people with taunting visions, often forcing them to re-experience traumas in order to torture them before he kills them. As he used to Mind Flayer to possess Will and force him to incubate and release demodogs, he can also be considered a literal rapist by proxy.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Henry started his career of evil because he saw humans as inherently evil, therefore he sees no problem in killing them. The only human he ever showed any kind of empathy towards is Eleven and even then he was willing to kill her for showing defiance. Ironically, his misanthropy started when he himself was still a human.
  • Moral Myopia: One considers society to be a counterproductive construct that upsets the natural order. He himself has used the Mind Flayer to turn humans and Demogorgons into his puppets, suppressing their own nature solely for his ambitions. By the end of the season, he's successfully unleashed the Upside Down into Hawkins, which not only endangers plenty of locals but causes something akin to a nuclear winter that kills off a field of wildflowers, showing that his master plan is no better.
  • Motive Rant: He delivers one:
    "You see, humans… are a unique type of pest; multiplying and poisoning our world, all while enforcing a structure of their own. A deeply unnatural structure. Where others saw order, I saw a straitjacket. A cruel, oppressive world dictated by made-up rules. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades! Each life a faded, lesser copy of the one before! WAKE UP, EAT, WORK, SLEEP, REPRODUCE, AND DIE! Everyone… is just waiting… waiting… for it all to be over, all while performing in a silly, terrible play, day after day. I could not do that. I could not close off my mind and join in the madness; I could not… pretend. And then I realized… I didn’t have to."
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Subverted. Eleven thought she'd destroyed One in their first confrontation and given he was shown disintegrating into a bright light it seemed like she had, but it turns out he was just banished to another dimension. And then not only does One turn out to be Vecna, and the intelligence behind the Mind Flayer, but he managed to survive the latest battle and bring about Armageddon.
  • Never Found the Body: Despite having his underlings slain and losing power, and subsequently taking multiple molotov cocktails and shotgun blasts before falling out of an attic, Vecna manages to muster the strength to run off and hide. Will outright confirms that he's still alive.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Him teaching Eleven to use her emotions to channel her powers backfires on him in his two defeats by her hands.
  • The Noseless: Lost it at some point in the Upside Down.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Throughout season 4 he's depicted as a terrifying and unstoppable force that his victims can only submit towards without any way to meaningfully avert their fate, and Dr. Brenner outright says to Eleven that she's not ready to face him in a psychic duel despite her strength and having recovered her powers, which he proved handily when she faces him anyway. However, Vecna's abilities are rooted in and fueled by the negative emotions of rage and sadness, and thus he is powerless against actions fueled by positive emotions. Max is able to physically attack him when her restraints weaken as she embraces the positive emotions brought about by her favorite song and realising the Party want her to live, ripping out one of Vecna's neck-vines to distract him enough to escape, and Eleven overpowers him twice when she's reminded of the love she has with those who care for her. When Nancy, Steven and Robin face Vecna's physical body in the Upside Down and set him ablaze whilst he's distracted and open, he attempts to shrug off the flames and pull and Unflinching Walk straight at them, only to stagger when their follow-up molotov and shotgun blasts further weaken him, with his inability to use his psychic abilities implying that he simply wasn't used to being hurt at all, and unable to comprehend it.
  • Not Quite Dead: Will tell Mike that he can sense Vecna's still out there, due to having once been possessed by Vecna's weapon the Mind Flayer.
  • Older Than They Look: Henry in 1979 looked much younger than a 32-year-old man would have looked in that decade.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Vecna plans to destroy Hawkins by merging his world with theirs, and wants to kill off all of humanity, viewing them as unworthy of life.
  • Only Friend: Henry was the only one in the lab who treated Eleven with anything even remotely resembling kindness and respect, and never bullied or experimented on her. Then Eleven discovered the kind of monster he was.
  • Orderlies are Creeps: Double-subverted. Henry Creel was forced to be the Orderly of Hawkins Laboratory, where he essentially is forced to take care of the children (Eleven in particular) while being kept under Brenner's watchful eye. While he seems like a pretty friendly guy to Eleven at first, he immediately turns murderous and visionary the second his chip is removed by her, resulting in Eleven banishing him to the Upside Down.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • Subverted with his father. Victor did accidentally kill innocents in wartime, but it was a complete accident that haunted him for decades, and Henry using the memory to Mind Rape him and additionally killing his innocent mother and sister just because he had the power and the strength to and framing Victor for their deaths comes off as Disproportionate Retribution at best. It's all but stated that Henry was simply looking for a justification to indulge in his sadistic traits and psychopathy against his family.
    • Among his victims is Two, a test subject who was nothing short of an arrogant, mean-spirited bully towards Eleven.
  • Pitiful Worms:
    • Refers to humanity as a "pest".
    • He also views Dr. Brenner as a "mediocre man" who collects and manipulates psychic children so he can feel powerful. He's not wrong.
  • Power Echoes: He has a subtle vibrato to his deep, stentorian voice whenever he speaks, and is powerful enough that he can track people, psychologically torment them, and then turn them into an eyeless, twisted mass of limbs and meat from the Upside Down.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: He relies mostly on his telekinesis to ensnare his victims. When one of them escapes, he doesn't even bother engaging in a pursuit, instead dropping rocks from the sky.
  • Power Floats: Inverted. He makes his victims levitate before killing them.
  • Power Parasite:
    • According to Dr. Brenner, Henry doesn't just kill a person, but absorbs their essence into himself, thus growing increasingly powerful with each murder he commits.
    • Vecna reveals this was the purpose of the Mind Flayer's construct biting Eleven at the end of Season 3: to steal a portion of her power to open portals between Earth and the Upside Down.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: The horrific mutations inflicted by his banishment to the Upside Down and subsequent formation of his bond with the Mind Flayer seems to have greatly augmented Henry's Psychic Powers. He can conjure extremely lifelike illusions (while 008 only appeared able to add to an already existing environment) and project his telekinesis hundreds of miles away.
  • Prophet Eyes: His eyes completely cloud over when he possesses a victim.
  • Psychological Horror: Tortures his victims by confronting them with their worst fears or traumatic experiences before killing them.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Inflicts this onto the heroes. While he is defeated, he’s still able to accomplish his goal of opening the last gate in Hawkins, leading to the erosion of the barriers between Hawkins and the Upside Down and beginning to transform the former into the latter.
  • The Quiet One: As a child, he was this, not really interacting with his family. Foreshadowing his nature as The Sociopath.

  • Rasputinian Death: Subverted Trope; after Nancy, Steve, and Robin track his physical body down Robin and Steve ignite him with two Molotov cocktails followed by Nancy shooting him in the torso with a sawed-off shotgun no less than five times before the final shot blows him out the attic window of the Creel house in the Upside Down. Despite this, he manages to survive by either barely living and escaping on foot, or by dissipating his body to reform somewhere else as there is nothing left behind in front of the house save for a smoldering impact mark. Either way, Will confirms in the season finale that Vecna is still very much alive and now has a massive gate into Hawkins prepped for his armies to use.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Henry massacres the other experiments his eyes are left bloodshot, which contrasts strongly against his pale skin and blue eyes. It proves to be an effective foreshadowing of his eventual fate.
  • Red Right Hand: Or Massive Left Hand with claws, used for his kills, bigger than their faces.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He was a very important person in Eleven's past, but he was never in Eleven's flashbacks until Dr. Brenner forced her to remember him. Justified, as it's heavily implied that she repressed those memories, and Matt Duffer implies here that the coma she fell into after sending him to the Upside Down messed with her ability to remember.
  • Restraining Bolt: Dr. Brenner put a chip in his neck to keep him under control. It turns out to be the only thing stopping him from slaughtering nearly everyone in Hawkins Lab...which he does after he manipulates Eleven into destroying the said chip.
  • Sadist: Vecna seems to literally feed off the fear and suffering of his victims.
  • Satanic Archetype: Let's see... Henry Creel, a man known by multiple aliases, was a conventionally-attractive, intelligent fellow dressed in white with supernatural gifts who showed opposition against authority and staging a rebellion that left many dead before being cast out into an infernal dimension. As a child, Henry tormented his family, eventually culminating in him gruesomely murdering his own mother and sister and sending his father to A Fate Worse Than Death, which his father blamed on the Devil. As an adult, he manipulated Eleven with fake niceties and temptations. Afterward, Henry becomes Vecna, a hideously scarred monstrosity representing pure evil, and spent years using his underlings to bring harm to the people of Hawkins and plotting to make a return to his home world to create a Hell on Earth that he wants to rule over. When Jason sees Patrick die by Vecna's hands, he, and eventually Hawkins, becomes convinced the Devil was responsible. When he succeeds, the ground splits open as eldritch fire bursts out, with the Upside Down causing the landscape around Hawkins to die and killing over 20 people. After the earthquake, people are shown attending church en masse to find some form of relief. Yeah. Definitely Satan.
  • Scars are Forever: Vecna's whole body was deformed and mutated upon his arrival into the Upside Down. The only part of him that wasn't changed was a patch of skin on his wrist that bears that tattoo 001.
  • Self-Made Orphan: He killed his mother and as good as killed his father by framing him for the murder.
  • Serial Killer: Described as a serial killer by Robin and fits the profile: Stalking, a specific type of victim (those with deep, repressed trauma), and the same style of murder each time.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • The massacre at the start of the season that everyone assumed was Eleven's doing? Turns out he did it with his own telekinetic powers.
    • When he targets Max, he assumes the form of Billy and plays up his worst traits. As he's Eleven's "brother", the similarities were clearly foreshadowing.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: He loves shapeshifting into his victim's deceased loved ones to torment them, appearing as Chrissy's mother, Fred's father, and Max's stepbrother Billy as well as Lucas.
  • A Sinister Clue: His monstrous talon is his left hand; his right one is relatively normal.
  • Smug Super: He considers humans to be basically vermin, including his own family. The only person he treats with respect is Eleven, because she is the only psychic powerful enough to compare to him.
  • The Social Darwinist: Invisions himself as a "predator" culling the weak. He in fact reveres spiders, which to him embody the concept of the strong purging the inferior.
  • The Sociopath: One checks all the boxes. He has absolutely zero empathy for anyone, is extremely manipulative to the point of being able to feign emotions, and is dangerously violent and sadistic. He seemingly has a fondness for Eleven, but that doesn't stop him from trying to kill her when she defies him.
    • It's worth noting that when he first discovered his powers, he started out by torturing small animals to death before moving onto his family. Killing animals is an early warning sign for psychopathy in children.
  • Squishy Wizard: A powerful psychic with the ability to manipulate others via the mind, but in the flesh he's just as vulnerable as anyone. It's why his lair is guarded by Demobats constantly, and once Nancy's team breaches it, he goes down with simple molotov cocktail and a good ol' fashioned shotgun. Subverted in that, while the injuries do cause him to retreat, they don't kill him, and they definitely would have been fatal to an ordinary human.
  • Straw Nihilist: Henry says that he is "freeing" his victims by killing them. His Motive Rant towards Eleven before being cast into the Upside Down reveals that he believes the society humanity has created makes life utterly pointless, so in his twisted mind, he is "freeing" everyone he kills from their meaningless existence.
  • Strong and Skilled: Henry and Eleven are easily the two most powerful psychics in the series, with Henry easily massacring the other psychics at Hawkins Lab and absorbing their potential. However, while it's implied that Eleven has greater power and potential, Henry is a self-taught prodigy with far more experience and finesse than Eleven.
  • Super Supremacist: One assumes that he has the right to control the world simply because he's more powerful than anyone else. He also expressed care for Eleven for this reason, believing she would readily join his goals due to having immense psychic potential, and is enraged when she rejects his offer.
  • Take Over the World: He wants to create a world that abides by his own rules, instead of humanity's.
  • Tentacle Rope: He ties Max to a pillar with his tentacles while she's mentally trapped in his realm. He also does this particular move to Nancy (twice), Steve, Robin and Eleven.
  • Thin Chin of Sin: Henry has had a sharp jawline ever since he was a child.
  • Traitor Shot: When Eleven removes the chip from his neck. The ominous line he delivers marks his transition from the Friendly Orderly to One.
    One: Who knew something so small could cause so much trouble.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: Three—or even four, if you include the name "Peter Ballard" that was only used in promotional material. In-universe, he began as Henry Creel, the kid supposedly murdered by his father Victor. Later, he was a nameless (to Eleven at any rate) orderly at Hawkins National Laboratory who occasionally gave Eleven pointers on how to hone her powers. He later revealed himself as 001, Eleven's older "sibling" in the lab, with extensive powers of his own. And finally, he is Vecna, the villain haunting Hawkins in the present day. The teens lampshade the fact that Vecna has three names, and can't decide on what to call him now.
    Robin: We were wrong about Vecna… Henry… One. Sorry, what are we calling him now?
    Dustin: One.
    Erica: Vecna.
    Lucas: One!
    Nancy: Henry.
    Robin: Right. We've learned something new about Henry/Vecna/One.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Played with, in that his goal was most certainly to instigate doom, but making Eleven mad and scared enough to cast him into the Upside Down creates the first portal there. This certainly wasn't part of his plans, but it allowed other evil creatures to make their way into the human world and wreak havoc.
  • The Usurper: Possibly. When Henry arrived in the Upside Down, it was a formless, chaotic Eldritch Location ruled by a shadowy Hive Mind. Henry then used his powers to hijack the shadow and morphed it into the Mind Flayer, taking over the rest of the Upside Down in the process and turning it into a twisted version of Hawkins. However, it's still unclear if Henry is fully in control or if the Mind Flayer still has agency of its own.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • He is correct that his father did something that deserved punishment, and the first visions could be explained as Karma Houdini Warranty. The rest, however, is pure Disproportionate Retribution, and despite his excuses it's clear he did it all out of sadism more than anything.
    • His assessment of Brenner as a "mediocre man" who collects psychic children to feel special likely isn't far off.
  • Villain No Longer Idle: After the Mind Flayer fails to carry out his will in the first three seasons, Vecna finally makes his debut in Season 4 to carry out his Evil Plan himself.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: His human appearance before being cast to the Upside Down has notably high cheekbones. Being deformed upon his banishment made them extra prominent.
  • Villainous Rescue: He inadvertently saves Eddie's butt by murdering one of the basketball players, Patrick, just as they're about to catch him.
  • Vocal Evolution: Henry's time spent in the Upside Down causes him to lose his creepy, but nonetheless regular nasally voice in favor of a deeper, more monstrous one.
  • Walking Spoiler: One's mere existence and identity spoils the entire mystery behind Vecna (and the show itself). In fact, when new characters were revealed for the season, the orderly that befriends Eleven is called "Peter Ballard", a name never once spoken (or written) in the actual show.
  • Was Once a Man: His true identity is the son of Victor Creel, later known as One. His time spent in the Upside Down gradually transformed him into a burnt, writhing mass of flesh and tentacles with a very humanlike shape.
  • We Can Rule Together: One gives this pitch to Eleven after he massacres the other test subjects. Needless to say, she rejects his offer, leading to his current status. Years later, he muses over the fact that he once considered allowing Eleven a place at his side, but instead decides that she should watch him destroy everything she's grown to care about.
  • White Shirt of Death: His white orderly uniform gets splattered with blood after he massacres the children.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He ruthlessly murdered all of Brenner's child subjects, as well as killing his own sister during his Bloodbath Villain Origin. Due to being Mind Flayer's will, he is also behind the Mind Flayer killing children in Season 3.
  • You Are What You Hate: One wishes to exterminate humanity for imposing a flawed order upon the world. He himself is a human that tried to manipulate Eleven into being his pawn. And then he nearly destroys Hawkins along with its encompassing environment, not to say about hijacking the mostly-benign Upside Down when he arrived in 1979, transforming it into the hellish landscape and the inhabitants into berserkers attacking any human they can lay their hands on, thus corrupting its own natural order for selfish purposes.
  • Younger Than He Looks: His undead, skeletal visage creates the impression that he's an ageless, ancient evil much like the Evil Sorcerer he's named for. In fact, he's barely 40; his original human form also had very delicate, boyish features.
  • Zerg Rush: He is capable of doing this by controlling the Mind Flayer, which in turn allows him to order the Demogorgons, Demodogs and Demobats to kill anyone just with sheer numbers. Bob and Eddie are killed this way.

"You and your friends believe you have won... don't you? But this is only the beginning: the beginning... of the end. You have already lost."