Warning for you stragglers: The following contains spoilers for the first episode of Strangers Things Season 4, Part 1.
We didn’t see it coming, but we’ll be damned: After they’d had just a single scene together, we’d started shipping Stranger Things’ “Eddie the Freak” and “Chrissy the Cheerleader” as an adorable couple to be. So when she was brutally murdered by Vecna at the end of “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club,” we were devastated — as, it turns out, were the series’ creators, the Duffer Brothers.
“We always have those moments [of ‘What have we done?’],” Matt Duffer tells TVLine. “We shot the quote-unquote drug-deal scene in the woods pretty late, actually, into shooting.” In fact, adds Ross Duffer, “we had already killed Chrissy when we shot that.”
So the queen of Hawkins High’s fate was sealed by the time the EPs saw the sparks that flew when Joseph Quinn and Grace Van Dien acted opposite one another. “The scene came alive in a way that was just so beautiful,” marvels Matt. “And so much of that was Joe and Grace.
“It was just one of those fortunate scenes where we were able to have two cameras rolling capturing them simultaneously,” he continues. “Joe was doing a lot of stuff kinda spontaneously, and we were getting these amazing reactions from Grace.”
We were as charmed by their interplay as Chrissy wound up being by Eddie. So it broke our hearts when she was so viciously pretzeled before his (and our!) eyes. “It’s pretty impressive what Grace was able to do with very, very few scenes,” says Matt, “to get people to care like she did.”
Though this was the end of that character, it’s not necessarily the end of the Duffers’ collaboration with Van Dien. They’ve been down this road before, “when we killed Bob in Season 2,” says Matt. “I didn’t want to do that. We had fallen in love with both the character and Sean Astin. And Sean didn’t want to die. Winona Ryder didn’t want him to die.
“But,” he adds, “we’ll find something else to do with Grace, something else to do with Sean.”
Part 2 of Stranger Things’ penultimate season drops Friday, July 1.