Why Eleven & Will Are The Most Compelling ‘Stranger Things’ Relationship

As season 4 returned home with the gang spread across Hawkins, California, and Russia, there’s nothing stranger things likes more than just grouping its characters into different teams – well, besides pairing them together. From Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink), stranger things does the romance extremely well. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joyce and Hopper, whose final kiss is worth shouting about from the rooftops.) The show plays up those relationships perfectly, milking the ensemble’s natural chemistry for all its worth in the season. 4 – which certainly contributed to her Emmy nod for Outstanding Dramaeven if its actors were snubbed.

The chemistry, however, doesn’t just shine with the show’s couples: if there’s one thing stranger things does better than romance, it’s platonic love. (Or, as Robin would say, “Platonic with a capital P”) Steve (Joe Keery) and Robin (Maya Hawk), the ride-or-die besties who became inseparable in Season 3, are a fan-favorite duo for good reason. After being held hostage by Russians and their bathroom at heart over Robin’s sexuality, their unbreakable bond is one of the show’s bright lights. The same goes for Steve and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). But as iconic as those friendships are, Season 4 introduced another seriously underrated duo who proved even more compelling: Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).

Ever since Will disappeared at the start of the series and Eleven oddly recognized him in a photo despite never having met him, the two have shared an interesting connection that fueled the plot but didn’t end. not really had much time to develop on a personal level. The first two seasons gave them virtually no interaction – okay, Will was trapped in an alternate dimension for most of them – and in the third, despite having closer ties with the friend group, El was mainly concerned about her relationship with Mike. However, things finally got better in season 4: El became an honorary Byers at the end of season 3, moving with the family to California for a fresh start.

Season 4 kicked off with the pair as sort of siblings with a dynamic that, while fueled by deep platonic love, was complicated by one-sided jealousy that is sure to continue into Season 5 – and, with Will’s unsettling declaration that he can smell the villainous Vecna ​​(Jamie Campbell Bower) and Eleven’s longtime connection to the dimension, the duo, who are two sides of the same coin, will likely be instrumental in saving Hawkins. Read on for the four reasons why Will and El’s friendship should be the focus of the final season.

Will accepted El into his family

Will and the rest of the Byers welcomed El into the family with no questions asked after he thought Hopper (David Harbour) was dead in the Season 3 finale, and the two became the only friends of each other. another at school when they struggled to fit in. When El had to present a school project, they shared a cute moment where she turned to him for reassurance, and he mostly showed sisterly tendencies when El got bullied and tried to comfort her. Even though he’s not the most confrontational of teenagers, he did his best to support her and offered to help her with her plan when bully Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin) tripped her up. and that it was ruined. And after El is taken to the police station for hitting Angela, and Will and Jonathan aren’t allowed to see her, Will boldly says, “We’re his brothers and we’re family.” Literal sibling goals.

I only wish that stranger things reportedly delved into what their relationship was like in California, and what it was like to come to this; after all, they were hardly friends until Season 3, and even then they barely spoke. Now, it’s obvious that Will would do anything for El, including putting his feelings first (but more on that later), and El would probably do the same. I wonder, with Will’s connection to Vecna, if El will have to save him from his clutches and sacrifice herself for him. I can only hope they both make it out of Season 5 alive and at least get some cute sibling moments in the process.

Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp in Stranger Things

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Their connection upside down

The pair share a common language with their experiences with Upside Down. The dimension was a big unknown for the first three seasons, but the fourth answered many questions about Hawkins’ odd parallel and expanded on the show’s mythology — until season 5 at least, that the Duffers confirmed will provide much-needed insight into the origins of the Upside Down. Of course, in Season 4, while some answers were given, just as many questions were raised. As El regained the memory of her traumatic childhood at Hawkins Lab, it was revealed that El was the one who opened the initial rift to the Upside Down, banishing Vecna ​​(aka Number One) there. Did she just open it or create it? Brown say it’s the last. But why her? Also, why is it frozen in time – specifically, the day Will got trapped there?

The finale saw Upside Down merge with the real Hawkins, and the final season revealed that when Will was possessed by the Mind Flayer in season 2, he was actually influenced by Vecna. There is much more to discover there, with even Schnapp hoping that the Duffer brothers will address the question of why “Will was the first victim and the first captured”. And Will will likely be crucial in the gang’s strategy to kill Vecna; he confided to Mike that he knows how Vecna ​​thinks, after all. The Duffers teased that the final season will come full circle with season 1, with Will “a big part and a concentration.” Naturally, Eleven is also key to everything Upside Down – they’re both drawn there for a reason, though we don’t know why – so the foster siblings will surely take center stage, as they should!

Their shared interest in Mike won’t get in the way

Schnapps recently confirmed that Will is in love with his best friend Mike, an apparent but unspoken fact in season 4. If Will’s jealousy watching El and Mike wrap themselves in each other at the rink was unclear, his speech passionate to Mike in Episode 8 surely did. El, blind to his fate, thought Will’s painting was for a girl, but it was kind of a confessional painting for Mike. However, that still didn’t inform her of Will’s feelings. In the speech, Will told Mike that the painting shows him as the “heart” of the Hawkins team – and he made it feel better by saying that Eleven “will always need [him]and Mike makes her feel “she’s better because she’s different”. Come onMike: We all know that Will really talks about himself, not about El.

But it’s clear that Will, despite his jealousy, will prioritize his kind of sister’s feelings over his own. The schnapps gave additional insight in what was going through Will’s head in season 4: Besides being afraid to go out for fear of being rejected by his friends, who didn’t really acknowledge his trauma from previous seasons, El “is like his sister, but he doesn’t want to hurt her because if he says he loves Mike, it’s going to hurt her. I have a feeling Will’s interest in Mike will be revealed in Season 5 – Schnapp too hope there will be a coming out scene – but regardless, I don’t really see Mike and El staying together anyway. The bond between Will and El is so strong that I can’t see anything putting cracks in it — even a shared love interest.

They both know what it’s like to be a stranger

Until now, Will and Eleven have felt like strangers most of the time, even with their friends in Hawkins, so it makes sense that they’ve become close. (Honestly, I found it odd that it took until Season 4 for them to realize they would make good friends.) In Hawkins in Season 3, Eleven at least had her newfound friendship. with Max to make her feel less out of place. , but in California, El was isolated to the extreme, unable to make new friends. Will felt separated longer. In season 3, Will tried to bring his friends back to D&D, as he had before he was kidnapped and possessed, but his friends left him behind. “We’re not kids anymore,” Mike told a frustrated Will. (Funny how they started playing D&D again in Season 4, though, once Will left Hawkins. Seriously, Mike?)

But from the start, Will and El haven’t fully fit in with anyone but each other – Will’s trauma and experiences in the Upside Down have separated him from his friends, and El’s powers and his devastating childhood growing up in a laboratory set them apart but I’m sure also brought them together. They’ll likely continue to be each other’s lifeline in the quest to kill Vecna ​​and close the Upside Down, and that’s what I’m here for.

The best part about Will and El’s relationship — and all of the cast’s interactions on the show — is that it seems genuinely authentic. It’s not too heavy or too light; you can tell these actors really have a connection and don’t force it. It really would be a crime if we didn’t see more of Will and El’s friendship on screen in Season 5, but I don’t think we have too much to worry about, with Will once again becoming the focal point and just how important his sibling relationship with El is. Wileven supremacy!

stranger thingsSeasons 1-4, Streaming Now, Netflix

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