Everyone has the capacity to be a hero. These Stranger Things characters were able to stand up and do the right thing when the time called for it.
Chief Hopper insists that "the worst thing that's ever happened [in Hawkins] was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie's head." In his defense, nobody could have imagined their sleepy little midwestern town turning into a Hellmouth. The first season of Stranger Things shattered the illusion of safety by introducing the terrifying Upside Down, a dimension that continues to spread its dark tendrils around Hawkins.
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Facing down an assortment of macabre monsters isn't everyone's cup of tea; on the contrary, very few people have the courage and grit required to fight back. On the other hand, heroism doesn't always mean being a hero — there are a few characters who look their greatest fears in the eye and refuse to back down.
Given his penchant for conspiracy theories, Murray Bauman finds it very difficult to trust other people. He sets up a complex security network around his home and only allows pre-approved guests into his home. Despite his seemingly hostile exterior, Murray is genuinely compassionate and supportive.
He openly agrees to help Jonathan and Nancy with Barb's disappearance, and later bonds with Joyce and Hopper. While Murray's reliance on common sense and logic prevents him from taking any rash decisions, his borderline reckless actions in Russia can only be described as valiant.
Teresa Ives participates in the MKUltra program as a test subject, completely unaware of Martin Brenner's true intentions. Unable to tolerate the kidnapping of her newborn daughter, Terry returns to Hawking Lab and tries to retrieve Eleven.
The very idea that a civilian would willingly storm a government agency swarming with armed guards redefines the meaning of heroism. Unfortunately, Brenner decides to incapacitate Terry using electroshock therapy, a horrific punishment from which she never truly recovers.
As a scientist working for the Soviets, Alexei doesn't have a shred of autonomy. He demands various treats from Joyce, Hopper, and Murray simply because he's never had the opportunity to satisfy his deepest cravings: cherry Slurpees, Woody Woodpecker, and Fun Fairs.
Alexei refuses to cooperate with the Americans, as he'd be tortured and murdered by his government if he revealed anything about the so-called Key. He eventually begins picturing himself as an American citizen, implying that he intends to defect from the Soviet Union, an extremely risky and equally courageous notion. His death in Stranger Things Season 3 is unbearably sad.
Bob Newby is a refreshing change of pace for Joyce Byers — she is more than delighted to date the exact opposite of her spiteful, shameless ex-husband. Bob cherishes Joyce, encourages Jonathan, and offers Will some much-needed moral support, quickly becoming a beloved Stranger Things side-character.
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When the Mind Flayer releases a snarling squadron of Demodogs into Hawkins Lab, Bob bravely offers to reset the building's power circuit. Although his daring venture succeeds, Bob is ultimately mauled to death by the monsters. Will honors his sacrifice with a drawing titled "Bob Newby Superhero."
Eddie Munson enters Stranger Things in the Season 4 premiere and exits during the finale. In between, however, he establishes himself as one of the boldest characters ever seen on the show. Eddie temporarily replaces Steve as Dustin's informal mentor, and his various quirks automatically endear him to the audience.
Chrissy's death has a major impact on Eddie's personal philosophy, triggering a cascade of character changes that results in his death. And yet, Eddie's last-second heroism ends up saving both his friends and Hawkins.
Despite her occasionally overbearing habits, Karen Wheeler is consistently present in her children's lives, unlike their clueless father, Ted. She restores Nancy's flagging morale, calling her "a fighter" with nerves of steel, and consoles Mike after Eleven and Will leave Hawkins for California.
Stranger Things doesn't delve too deep into Karen's character arc, but it's clear that she used to be like her daughter until society "beat [her] up again and again," ultimately forcing her to "just stop trying." Karen keeps Holly safe from the "earthquake" in the Season 4 finale, further displaying her indomitable willpower.
Introduced in Stranger Things Season 4, Yuri Ismaylov reveals his obnoxious nature when he double-crosses Murray, Joyce, Hopper, as well as his friend Dmitri. His desire for money is eclipsed only by his hatred for Americans, and wonders why Dmitri agrees to risk his neck for them.
Yuri spends an entire episode playing "a silent role," during which he is gagged and disguised as Murray. He tries to prevent the Americans' escape by pretending to tinker with Katinka, his rundown helicopter. Dmitri manages to talk some sense into Yuri, who finally decides to help.
Before Dustin adopts and raises D'Artagnan, Demogorgons were considered to be innately evil beings. Dart, however, proves that even monsters aren't necessarily villainous, that they can also display love and loyalty. Dustin keeps his new pet hidden from his friends, at least until the Demodog devours the Henderson family cat and flees the premises.
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Dart reenters the picture in the Season 2 finale, choosing to defy a direct command from the Mind Flayer and saving the Party from a gruesome death. Unfortunately, Dart perishes after Eleven seals the Gate and disconnects him from the Upside Down.
Billy Hargrove's malicious attitude stems from his father's incessant mistreatment — he lashes out because it's the only way he can gain some semblance of control over his own life. Although his personal pain doesn't absolve his atrocious behavior, he breaks the cycle of abuse by sacrificing his life to save Max and Eleven.
Stranger Things paints Billy as a deeply flawed yet moral character, escaping the Mind Flayer's control through sheer willpower. Billy's death leaves a void in Max's heart, one that Vecna takes advantage of in Season 4.
Martin Brenner is easily one of the most hateable characters in Stranger Things. He commits children to a lifetime of suffering, trapping them in a sunless prison and exposing them to barbaric forms of discipline. Brenner returns in Season 4, subjecting Eleven to further torture under the excuse of unlocking her powers.
His vulnerable test subjects experience untold emotional and psychological damage as a result of his apathetic experiments. That said, Brenner actually saves Eleven's life in Nevada. While this final act might not have absolved him of his past atrocities, it has made him the story's unlikeliest hero.
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Ajay's natural habitat is his bedroom, which means that his time is spent staring at his TV screen in a hypnotic coma. He tends to rant about the lack of quality programming in his life, but the amount of content he consumes would make even Galactus gassy. You can contact him on Twitter — @stain_dprinc_ss.
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