Mike & Eleven Reunite On 'Stranger Things' & I'm Not Crying, You're Crying
One of the most heartbreaking moments at the end of Season 1 of Stranger Things was watching Mike lose Eleven to the Demogorgon after the two had begun falling in love with one another. Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 2. That pain and loss characterize Mike throughout the show's second season as well, until the very last episode. After torturing viewers the entire season by keeping Mike and Eleven apart from one another, Stranger Things ended on a heartwarming note by reuniting the two lovesick kids before the big final battle. And if you didn't tear up when Mike and Eleven reunited in the Stranger Things Season 2 finale, then you're just not human.
What made the reunion so emotional was the fact that Mike had been so despondent the entire season leading up to it, much different from the effervescent young kid we saw in Season 1. Believing that Eleven died in her exchange with the Demogorgon, Mike is now more angry and depressed than we've ever seen him. He takes most of his frustrations out on Max, the new girl that both Dustin and Lucas want to bring into their party, but Mike seems to view her as an impossible attempt at replacing Eleven. He also relates to Will over their shared struggles, having both lost something important to them to the Upside Down (Will is suffering from episodes that transport him back into the dimension).
And to make things even more heartbreaking, Eleven could hear all of Mike's desperate calls to her on his walkie talkie using her psychic powers, and she was alive and well only a couple of miles away in Jim Hopper's cabin. But even though she wanted to, she couldn't tell Mike any of this because Hopper made her promise she would remain in hiding for her own safety. Her powers allowed her to hear Mike's calls, but not respond to them. Eventually, Eleven gets fed up with Hopper's restrictive rules and runs to the middle school to see Mike, but of course it's at exactly the wrong time. She sees Mike and Max laughing and bonding with each other in the gym, and assumes that he's moved on from her. Without revealing herself to him, Eleven runs off and instead tracks down her mother and goes on a heart-pounding adventure with her long-lost fellow captor Eight, along with getting a cool new punk makeover in the process.
But, in the end, Eleven realizes she needs to go back an help her friends, and boy does she know how to make an entrance. As a Demodog is about to attack everyone in the Byers house, it instead flies through the window dead. Then, the door opens and in walks the newly punkified Eleven. Mike's face says it all, as he looks on with a tearful smile, and Eleven rushes to hug him. Unfortunately, the reunion has to be cut short since Will is still infected by the shadowy Upside Down monster and Eleven needs to go close the gate to the other dimension, but although it couldn't last long, it was still a hugely moving and a long-awaited moment after this season apart.
Mike and Eleven get a more extended, less stressful reunion after they manage to save the town (and the world?) from what they came to refer to as the Mind Flayer. In an incredibly sweet final scene, we get to see all the kids attend the school's Snow Ball together. Lucas and Max finally make things official, Will is asked to dance by a random girl, and Dustin gains newfound confidence when Nancy asks him for a dance, but this leaves Mike sitting alone. That's when Eleven walks in, and the two begin to dance and even share a kiss. I think these kids are really going to make it.