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Let Eleven Be a Kid in Stranger Things 3

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Max (Sadie Sink) bond over ice cream in Stranger Things 3.

I love Netflix’s Stranger Things. I love it a lot. What I don’t love is that Eleven has had storyline after storyline where centered around men instead of her. That’s not to say she’s not a strong character all on her own—she did save Hawkins, Indiana twice now—but it’s a glaring fault of the show.

Eleven, portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown, deserves more than to just be used for her powers. On Stranger Things, she’s constantly been shrouded in mystery, everyone trying to figure out where this girl came from and why she can barely speak. Now though, she’s begun living her own life outside of her Papa, Hopper, and even Mike. So what do I want out of Stranger Things 3? Eleven just being a kid.

Now going by “Jane,” she seems to be involved in school and part of the community of Hawkins, something that hadn’t ever been a part of the show previously, since she was being hidden in Mike’s basement and then locked away in Hopper’s cabin, which is maybe a part of my problem. Eleven is a teenage girl, and all we know about her is that she went from one man to another and the only way she could “find” herself was through running away from Hopper to be with her sister, who didn’t have Eleven’s best interests at heart, either.

She’s just a kid—not the savior of the universe, a kid who was thrown into a terrible situation by bad people and, instead of trying to help her out of it, she’s been used for her abilities more often than not. So what should Stranger Things 3 do while still trying to stop the Upside Down from consuming our world? Let Eleven be just that. She can still have her powers, but let her have some kind of story that isn’t centered completely around Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will. Let her life not be whatever Jim Hopper dictates it to be. Papa is gone, and he doesn’t have to have a hold on her anymore.

It’s just disheartening that this character, who is arguably one of the most interesting we’ve had on television for quite some time, is surrounded by men telling her how to live and what to do. Sure, with Papa, she speaks out against it, but Hopper still yelled at her and kept her hidden for her “own good.” Again, she’s a teenager. Her own good is living some kind of normal life, no matter what powers she possesses.

Eleven has taken on the Demogorgon, fought the demodogs in Stranger Things 2, and closed the Upside Down for what we thought was the last time. (We’re very clearly always wrong when it comes to this show.) But maybe, with season 3, we can see Eleven hang out with Max. Be a kid. Have fun that isn’t tied to just Mike and his friends.

She deserves that much, doesn’t she? Again, she did save Hawkins over and over again.

(image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.