There’s a lot of splitting up for the main characters in the Stranger Things Universe (STU), and Season 4 of the Netflix original series was no exception. For some reason, you can’t battle a monster in Hawkins, Indiana in a group larger than five people.
In Season 4, with half the Stranger Things characters moved across the country to California and a few stuck in Soviet Russia, there were even more teams and pairs to root for. Are you Team Van, Team Winnebago, or Team Katinka? Personally, I’m Team Winnebago, but then again I’m partial to the driver. (Steve’s still alive!)
Some of the best Stranger Things moments happen when the characters pair off in groups of two. Here is our list of the best Stranger Things duos.
Major spoiler warning for Stranger Things Season 4, Volumes 1 and 2!
Steve And Nancy
I was a “Stancy” stan from day one, but after seeing Volume 2 of Stranger Things Season 4, I’m even more convinced that they’re meant to be.
Steve shared with Nancy in Episode 8 that he wants a big family who he can travel around with in an RV, joking “if only I’d had any practice.” When he revealed later in the episode that Nancy was a key part of that dream, my heart completely melted.
Season 4 ended with Nancy and Jonathan still together, but with the end of the world being imminent (AGAIN!) that might change. Now that Nancy and Steve have parted ways, I’m rooting more than ever for them to get back together in the upcoming Stranger Things Season 5.
Mike And Eleven
I was almost tempted to replace Mike and Eleven’s spot on this list with Eleven and Papa, since they had more screen time this season. But, when Eleven sees Mike in the desert, it all makes sense. They have not only grown up together, but gone through the unimaginable together. They’re more than boyfriend and girlfriend, they’re best friends.
Mike was the one who was there for Eleven first, and she’ll never forget that.
Eleven And Hopper
When we first meet Jim Hopper, he’s a depressed, barely functioning alcoholic who can’t move on from the loss of his daughter. Enter Eleven, a girl with no family who might be just what he needs to learn how to love again.
After stepping up to the role of El’s caretaker, Hopper realizes that he and Eleven butt heads a lot, but isn’t that just what having a kid is all about?
When asked in Russia if Eleven is his daughter, Hopper doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Then, even though they’re oceans apart, they go into battle together as father and daughter — Eleven fighting Vecna and Hopper defeating the Demogorgon.
I loved the relief on El’s face when she was finally reunited with Hopper. Much like Will and Jonathan’s bond, the bond between Hopper and El is something that can only be described as family.
Steve And Dustin
These two have been through more than most Stranger Things duos. Frequently being paired together, Steve and Dustin have developed a friendship that some people don’t understand, given that Steve is old enough to be Dustin’s babysitter.
The growth of their friendship has been really fun to watch. Steve is even jealous of Dustin’s new friendship with Eddie.
Despite Steve feeling a little neglected once Dustin made a new, older guy friend, he’s still able to figure out how to communicate with Dustin through the Upside Down when he hears his voice. Their friendship literally transcends alternate realities!
Max And Lucas
Max and Lucas are the reason for the teardrops on my guitar. The two started out as a young couple in Stranger Things Season 2, but appear distant at the start of Season 4 due to everything that went on with Billy in Stranger Things Season 3.
While Max is really the group’s only hope of defeating Vecna without El, Lucas wants to find a way to win without using her, saying:
Also, their notepad convo in the “murder house” is very “You Belong With Me,” which makes sense, since Sink is the star of Taylor Swift’s ten-minute short film, All Too Well.
When Max does start to lift, Lucas fights for his life to save her — and when he’s too late, he holds her in his arms. I can’t talk about it anymore. I’m starting to cry again.
Dustin And Eddie
Fans of Stranger Things were quick to take a liking to stand-out Season 4 character Eddie Munson, a three-time senior and the leader of the Hellfire Dungeons and Dragons club at Hawkins High. While I’m a huge fan of Dustin’s quirky relationship with Suzie, Eddie and Dustin’s relationship stole my heart this season.
Dustin idolizes Eddie, whom he sees as an unapologetic “freak” who isn’t afraid of what others think. Eddie kind of replaces Steve as Dustin’s babysitter at school, but their relationship progresses past the high school cafeteria when they’re paired to pose as decoys during the gang’s plan to defeat Vecna in the Upside Down.
In the midst of the most metal guitar solo of all time, Dustin and Eddie proved that they’re not just sidekicks or decoys. They can be heroes, too. Come on, Dustin looked like such a noble knight in his hoodie/ghillie suit combo!
Will And Mike
These two were always the closest friends in the group, but it’s hard to figure out how a friendship changes in response to relationships, cross-country moves, and near-death experiences. Will and Mike definitely had a bump to cross in their friendship, but they got real with each other in the van in Episode 8.
Will reassures Mike that Eleven will always need him, but by the time he’s finished talking he’s broken down into tears. It seems like more than one person will always need Mike.
Was that the most earnest confession of love of all time, or am I being queerbaited?
Jonathan And Will
The power of a brotherly bond was shown in Stranger Things Season 1, where Will used music he learned from Jonathan to keep safe in the Upside Down—and as we now know (again, thanks to Kate Bush), Vecna.
In Jonathan and Will’s conversation in the kitchen at the pizza shop in Season 4, Volume 2, there is an understanding between them that only siblings can have. Will didn’t quite bear his deepest secrets to his older brother, but he knew in that moment that if he did, Jonathan would still love him.
Steve And Robin
PLATONIC, with a capital P. You know those friendships you have with your coworkers that are just different from your friendships outside of work? That’s what Steve and Robin have.
First at Scoops Ahoy and then at Family Video, Steve and Robin have been coworkers for two seasons now. Since Steve is one of the only people in his graduating class who didn’t go away to college, Robin is kind of all he has.
They keep each other in check, but still support each other. Everyone needs a friendship like that.
Joyce And Murray
The unlikeliest of pairs had to travel to Soviet Russia in Season 4 to save Hopper, and the plucky little team actually pulled it off. Like Joyce said:
Both adults have their fair share of quirks, but they’re able to cooperate and trust each other to get the job done.
My favorite honorable mention goes to Joyce and Eleven, two characters with an unspoken connection. Joyce is always patient, kind, and understanding towards Eleven, who desperately needed that motherly protector after being stolen from her own mom. Plus, Joyce saying “That was quite the experience” to El after breaking out of a Soviet prison, breaking back in, and battling the Demogorgon is the most mom thing ever.
And, while they didn’t quite make the cut, shout out to Joyce and Hopper for finally kissing this season. It’s been a will they/won’t they since high school with them.
The final episodes of Stranger Things Season 4 are available to stream on Netflix (opens in new tab).