Max Mayfield: The Most Tragic Character in Stranger Things
Out of all the characters in Stranger Things, Max Mayfield probably gets the worst deal. Maybe you think Will had it worse, since he was stuck in the Upside Down for basically the entire first season, and then yeah I guess he was kind of tortured for like season 2 and 3 as well.
But I’m here to tell you Max had it rough.
Rougher than even young Will Byers ever did.
Will Byers’ Family
I can hear you moaning already: “Will had it so bad! He got sucked into the Upside Down first, before anyone had ever heard of such a thing! And to top it off, he was just a wee little boy!”
Look, unlike Max, Will had a really good family life. If it wasn’t for Joyce, Will’s mom, being obsessed with finding a way to communicate with her son, Will may never have gotten home. And if it wasn’t for Will’s big brother Jonathan, they wouldn’t have made the same kind of connection over music.
Remember, that connection helped Joyce find Will in the Upside-Down.
Max’s Mayfield’s Family
You probably already know where this is going. Max had a horrible family life.
First of all, she’s a child of divorce. That’s hard enough on a normal kid, but it just got worse from there. Turns out her new family members were a couple of lunatics.
Her new stepfather, Neil Hargrove, called her Maxine instead of Max, and he was just overall a total dick. For example, when Max starts dating Lucas, she hints that her dad wouldn’t approve of her dating someone who didn’t have white skin.
What’s more, we can infer that Max saw a fair amount of violence at home, between Neil’s emotional abuse of Billy or the domineering way that he controlled his family.
If the simple fact of just having a father figure like that isn’t enough to mess with Max’s mind, well, then there’s her older step-brother, Billy.
What a complicated relationship that was. Billy always acted like he hated Max, and he treated her like shit in almost every interaction they had, and would get mad whenever someone referred to Max as Billy’s sister, step-sister though she was.
So that’s what we start off with — a kid who lives with an abusive step-father and evil step-brother who make her life a living hell. But, of course, it gets worse. I’m telling you, this kid goes through a lot of shit. With Max, it’s just not that black and white.
Max Mayfield Season 3
Will’s life was black and white. The Mindflayer was evil, and the Byers family was good. Things should always be so simple. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Max Mayfield.
It gets complicated when Billy sacrifices himself to save Max and everyone else from the Mindflayer. How is she supposed to hate someone who acts so selflessly? How can a little girl make sense of that? Life is easy when we know who the bad guys are.
And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as Max forgives Billy, he dies.
He apologizes for being horrible for as long as they’ve known each other. THow difficult must that have been?hat’s enough to send you to therapy, as we saw in Stranger Things Season 4.
Max Mayfield Season 4
Look, I get that Will was a little scared while he was hiding out from the Demogorgon in his cute little shed in The Upside Down. He may have even peed his pants a little. But The Upside Down was much worse for Max.
First of all, Max is plagued throughout the entirety of Season 4, so don’t give me any of this “Will was tortured for an entire season” crap, okay?
Vecna was terrifying Max with his curse. Luckily, her friends gave her her favorite audio cassette.
Stranger Things is a very musical show, isn’t it?
Then she has to act as bait, of all things. That’s like the worst job of the whole Vecna operation, except maybe tied with that of Eddie Munson, who had the same exact job.
What a tragic way. Just go out like a piece of meat.
Then, to top it all off, she basically dies. At the end of Season 4, Max is in a coma, and we don’t even know whether she’ll live or die.
Stranger Things: Max Mayfield had it Worst
So yeah. Of all the major Stranger Things characters, I really think Max Mayfield definitely had it the worst, with Will Byers coming in second place. What do you think? Leave a comment below.