Stranger Things Proved Eleven Is Just As Important To Max As Lucas Is – Screen Rant

Though Eleven and Max’s friendship is missing in Stranger Things season 4, the show proves that Eleven is still an important person in Max’s life.
Stranger Things showed how much Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) means to Max (Sadie Sink), but it also proved that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is just as important to her. The Netflix series may be a sci-fi horror drama, but it also places importance on relationships, both romantic and platonic. Though the dynamic got off to a rocky start, the two girls were able to forge an endearing friendship in Stranger Things season 3. The friendship between Eleven and Max becomes a significant and meaningful one, even though the duo is separated for the majority of Stranger Things season 4.
Stranger Things season 4, episode 4 sees Max possessed by Vecna after visiting Billy's (Dacre Montgomery) grave. Playing Max's favorite song, Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" seems to allow her to escape Vecna's grasp, but it's the happy memories it conjures up that end up saving her life. Later, in the Stranger Things season 4 finale, Max uses herself as bait to lure Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) into possessing her so the team can attack his physical body. Eleven uses an isolation tank to enter Max's mind and fight Vecna, but he overpowers her and briefly kills Max so he can open the fourth and final gate to the Upside Down. After witnessing a devastated Lucas begging Max to live in the real world, Eleven unleashes a new power, recalling positive memories of their friendship in order to help herself resurrect Max. Though Max ends up blind and in a coma, Eleven is able to restart Max's heart and bring her friend back to life.
Related: How Max Really Escaped Vecna (It Wasn't Just The Music)
Stranger Things shows that Eleven is important to Max due to her presence in many of Max's positive memories – while Max's happy memories include her former boyfriend, Lucas, Eleven plays an equally important role. It's because of these happy moments that Max is saved from Vecna twice. Since he was her boyfriend, it's understandable that Lucas would show up frequently in Max's recollections, including her happiest memory of their first kiss at the Snow Ball in Stranger Things season 2. However, the fact that Eleven also appears in many of Max's memories in Stranger Things season 4 is evidence of how much Max values her friendship, which is a very heartfelt detail.
Sadie Sink has explained (via Variety) why she thinks Max and Eleven's friendship is so special:
"I think what was so wonderful about Max and Eleven’s relationship from Season 3 is that Eleven is obviously unlike most girls that you see. Max is also unlike lot of girls that you see, so they kind of found each other and they just worked really well together. I like to think it was one of the first female friendships that Max has ever really had."
Though Eleven also has a good relationship with Mike, Lucas, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Will (Noah Schnapp), her relationship with Max is important because she finally has a female friend to confide in. In Stranger Things season 3, Eleven and Max are able to bond during a trip to the mall, where Max encourages Eleven to find her own personal style. Max lets Eleven know that she's her own person and more than Mike (Finn Wolfhard) or Hopper (David Harbour) allow her to be. On the flip side, Max can relate to Eleven's status as an outcast and also enjoys having a female friend to joke around and bond with throughout Stranger Things season 3. Stranger Things season 4 shows how the absence of this relationship affects the girls: Eleven could've used Max's support when dealing with bullies at her new school in California, and Max needed someone like Eleven to confide in about her grief and survivor's guilt over Billy's sacrifice.
Max and Eleven's friendship was a fun development of Stranger Things season 3, but the two of them are more than just an enjoyable dynamic. It's clear that Eleven is someone who means a lot to Max, even though they weren't in each other's lives during Stranger Things season 4. Max held on to her memories with Eleven, proving that Lucas isn't the only character who's very important to her. Thankfully, Eleven was able to look past her initial jealousy of Max so the two of them could form a great Stranger Things friendship.
Tiffany Beverley is a Movie/TV Feature Writer for Screen Rant. She graduated in 2017 from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Spanish. Taking media studies and film history classes at GSU only increased her passion for movies, TV, and all things pop culture. Tiffany is based outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and is thrilled that her home has become “the Hollywood of the South.” She has run her own pop culture blog and has previous experience writing, proofreading, and doing social media marketing for various non-profits but at Screen Rant she finally has opportunities to write about two of her passions for a wide audience. She was raised on a diet of classic sitcoms and teen dramas, and when she isn’t writing, she enjoys constantly adding to her growing movie watchlist, watching plenty of comedic shows, and indulging in the glorious drama that is the UK version of Love Island.

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