Mike Wheeler is the boy who makes Eleven feel safe and welcome when she’s on the run from seemingly everyone. Everyone in the party trusts Mike, and everything has to get approval from him before moving forward. He’s a natural leader, especially in the first season. But he’s also just a kid.
He gets annoyed easily, and nobody annoys him more than Hopper – which makes for some pretty funny scenes. Mike has a great balance of both funny and inspiring quotes as a result of his interactions with other characters.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4.
Updated on June 13th, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Mike finds himself in a new position in Season 4 of Stranger Things. Separated from most of his friends, and in a new environment in California, Mike has to adjust to a whole new crisis without his usual Party for backup. That doesn’t result in a ton of screen time for him in Season 4, but it does result in a handful of memorable lines from him to add to his gems from the previous seasons.
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Mike Likes To Remind People Eleven Is Special
“You do realize El saved the world twice, right?”
As the fourth season begins, Mike is anticipating heading out to California to see Eleven and Will. Before he does, however, he listens to Dustin constantly talk about Suzie’s best traits. Dustin thinks she’s the best girlfriend ever because she changed one of his grades for him, but Mike sees that as a pretty small thing compared to Eleven literally saving the world.
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Mike says as much to Dustin, but it doesn’t even phase him. It’s a line that really serves as a precursor to Mike reminding Eleven that she’s a real-life superhero when he’s in California, something she doesn’t think is true anymore. Mike knows just how special she is though.
Mike Just Wants A Little Privacy
“MOM! JUST GET – OFF – THE – PHONE! HOW MANY TIMES?”
Most scenes involving Mike and his mom include him yelling at her. Usually, he’s down in his basement with his friends, or more often, Eleven. When he first allows Eleven to sleep in the basement, he’s trying to calm her down quietly, but his mom keeps calling for him to come upstairs. He turns and savagely yells, “COMING!”, then calmly resumes his conversation with Eleven. He has a great ability to switch his tone at the drop of a hat.
In season 3, he’s on the phone with her after Hopper threatens him, trying to come up with an excuse as to why he can’t see her. Karen’s listening in, shocked when Mike tells Eleven his grandmother might die. Cue the frustrated yelling. He goes on to say, uncertainly, that he needs “to be alone with [his] … feelings?”
Mike Is Willing To Stand Up To Bullies
“I Saw You Guys Laughing Over There And I Think That’s A Real Messed-Up Thing To Do.”
After Will goes missing, Hawkins assumes that he’s dead. The school holds an assembly to acknowledge the tragedy, but Mike catches Troy making fun of the whole affair.
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After the assembly, Mike bravely confronts Troy. He tells the truth, even though he’s so nervous that he struggles to get the words out at first. Even though Mike knows that Will isn’t really dead, he’s still willing to stand up for his best friend – and lead the Party by example. Eleven, Dustin, and Lucas stand by him, and Eleven helps out by making Troy wet himself.
Mike Cannot Seem To Get The Word Out
“Blank Makes You Crazy.”
The iconic supermarket sequence from season 3 gave the audience many memorable scenes, one of which involves a sheepish Mike trying to win Eleven back. He tries to act cool and skirt the subject at hand. “You know, they do say it makes you crazy,” he says. The audience knows that the it Mike is referring to is love, but Eleven doesnt seem to understand – or maybe she’s just messing with him since she says it back in the season 3 finale.
He stutters his way through an awkward explanation that doesn’t make any sense to anyone. “You never – you’ve never heard that term? You know, like the phrase, like “blank makes you crazy”, like the word.” He makes Eleven guess, and even brings up “old people,” further confusing her.
Mike Places A Lot Of Value On His Friendships
“It Was The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done.”
When everyone joins in on exorcising the Mind Flayer from Will’s hosting body, Joyce, Jonathan, and Mike stay with him in the Byers’ shed to try to reach the real Will by talking to him. They’re actually trying to distract the Mind Flayer from their real plan – to look for a code from Will and communicate it back to everyone at the house.
Mike reminds Will of how they first met, how they were both alone, and Mike decided to ask him to be his friend. Will said yes, of course, and Mike says it’s the best thing he’s ever done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help overcome the Mind Flayer, but it’s still an inspiring thing for the real Will to hear – to know that they’re not giving up on him, no matter what.
Mike Gets Cheeky With Nancy
“What Was Your Test On, Again? Human Anatomy?”
Before things get too dangerous for the Wheeler family, Mike and Nancy are always teasing each other. Mike knows that she’s been sneaking about with Steve, but she doesn’t want their mom to know.
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At breakfast the next morning, she lies and tells Karen that she was studying with Barb when really she was with Steve. Mike, his mouth full of food, says, “What was your test on, again? Human anatomy?” Nancy kicks him under the table. How sweet.
Mike Performs When Leading D&D Games
“Something Is Coming … Something Hungry For Blood.”
The series opens with an endearing scene of the boys playing in the basement that instantly wins viewers over. Mike is a clear leader, and evidently Will, Lucas, and Dustin all look up to him. As he narrates the campaign that took two weeks to plan, the boys listen to him, enraptured.
He has an aura of certainty and control about him, a precociousness that makes the other boys take him seriously. They hang onto his every word, and this continues for the rest of the season. Viewers are captivated by his skillful storytelling – which is really Stranger Things’ skillful storytelling, as the scene foreshadows what’s about to happen.
Mike Tries To Tell Eleven How Important She Is To Him
“You Know What I Think Of You. You’re The Most Incredible Person In The World.”
The Wheeler siblings really seem to have difficulty telling the people they care about that they love them, even though they might say it to other people. That’s true for Nancy when it comes to Steve early in the show, and it’s true for Mike when it comes to Eleven in Season 4.
When she calls him out for not signing his letters with the word “love,” and he still doesn’t say it, Mike tries to explain just how important she is to him, and just how highly he thinks of her. It doesn’t go as well as he wants it to, and he doesn’t understand why she can’t see how he feels. If only the phone line wasn’t cut, Mike could have tried to talk to Nancy for advice.
Mike Goes For The Dramatic Antics
“If Anyone Asks Where I Am, I’ve Left The Country.”
Speaking of Mike’s precociousness, it’s pretty funny to hear a kid telling his mom that he’s going into hiding from the authorities. The Hawkins Lab people have discovered Eleven’s hiding place, and Mike fears for her life. The boys whisk her away, but Mike’s still a kid, so he has to let his mom know he’s going somewhere.
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He hurriedly passes on the above information to her, then rushes back downstairs, leaving Karen to exclaim, “What?” She probably thinks the boys have all lost their minds, considering their behavior at dinner the other night.
Mike Sees Eleven As A Hero
“No, El, You’re Not The Monster. You Saved Me. Do You Understand? You Saved Me.”
Mike has a way of making his friends feel safe, protected, and wanted. Even though Lucas doubts Eleven’s abilities, Mike decides to give her a second chance. He’s done so much for Eleven that she continues protecting him even when he’s decided to side with Dustin and Lucas and separate from her.
Mike is about to step off a cliff when Eleven saves the day. The bullies won’t be bothering the party again, but Eleven feels ashamed for using her powers now that she thinks the boys don’t trust her – and also because she knows she opened the Upside Down. But Mike doesn’t know this, so he mistakes her worry about something else. He reassures her that they do want her and that he’s grateful for her, making her feel wanted and loved and welcome in the Party again.
There Are Limits To Mike’s Gestures
“I Only Have, Like, $3.50, So It’s Hard.”
This is Mike’s first failed attempt to win Eleven back after lying to her. Lucas and Will accompany him to Starcourt Mall to search for an apologetic present, as per Lucas’s advice. Will doesn’t really care, though – he just wants to play D&D.
When Max spots the boys leaving the mall, she and Eleven confront them, catching them right in the middle of Mike’s lie. He sputters that they were looking for something to get his allegedly sick and dying grandmother, but also that he was looking for something to get her. The only thing that caught his eye was a $300 teddy, but he only has $3.50 (ah, the struggles of a fourteen-year-old).
Mike Never Leaves A Friend Behind
“If We’re Both Going Crazy, Then We’ll Go Crazy Together, Right?”
Sweeter words have never been spoken. Once again, Mike succeeds in comforting one of his friends when everything seems to be spiraling out of control. Will sees the Mind Flayer when the party is trick-or-treating on Halloween. Mike takes him home and listens to the whole story, then tells him about Eleven.
He doesn’t treat Will like he’s crazy because he understands him. He tries to help Will, as he always does. But in the end, all he can say is, “If we’re both going crazy, then we’ll both go crazy together, right?” Will has always felt like he doesn’t fit in, or that he’s different, so this is exactly what he needs to hear right now – to know that he has his best friend with him no matter what happens and that being “crazy” (or even different) is okay.
NEXT: 5 Times In Stranger Things We Felt Bad For Will (& 5 Times We Hated Him)
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About The Author
(257 Articles Published)
After years of relocation, Svetlana Sterlin (she/her) was raised by her Russian parents in Brisbane, Australia, where she completed a BFA and contributes to ScreenRant and Our Culture Magazine. An avid cinephile and bookworm, Svetlana also writes creatively across multiple forms and genres. Her fiction and poetry appear in several printed and digital publications. Find more from Svetlana here: https://linktr.ee/svetlanasterlin.
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