Max Mayfield made her debut in Season 2 of Stranger Things. At first, she seems rude, standoffish, and completely uninhibited. Nevertheless, Lucas and Dustin take a liking to her and explain to her the secrets of the Upside Down. Mike isn’t too happy with the way everyone thinks she’s taking Eleven’s place, but he eventually befriends her, too. Thanks to her interesting relationships with the Party members, Max became a quick fan favorite.
As the audience gets to know Max, and more about her is revealed, most of it is completely unexpected. Max proves to be useful in the adventures, and also becomes a valued friend to the boys and Eleven. Max has a very different relationship with each member of the Party, highlighting her different personality traits with each of her different friends.
Updated on August 1st, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Because Max Mayfield became such a fan favorite in Season 2 and Season 3 of Stranger Things, watching her relive all of her trauma in Season 4 was hard for a lot of the audience. Sadie Sink turned out a masterful performance, praised by fans and critics alike. Placing Max at the center of the big Hawkins story in the fourth season allowed for the fans to see just how Max’s different personality traits informed her decisions on the show, and which ones worked in her favor within the narrative.
Max Mayfield’s Best Traits
Max Is Observant
It’s possible that Max being more observant than most of her friends is a result of her frequently being the new kid in school, or of living in an abusive household where she frequently had to pay attention to behavioral cues. Either way, Max notices things that others don’t.
It’s Max who notices that something is going on with Chrissy when Season 4 begins, though she doesn’t really get the chance to help her, or even have more than a day to sit with her observations. Max is the only person that notices something is wrong with Chrissy before Chrissy reaches out to Eddie for help finding a substance to help get rid of what she thinks are hallucinations.
Max Holds A Lot Of Empathy
Fans might not have thought that Max would be a particularly empathetic character when first introduced, but she proves that wrong in Season 3. Despite how much Billy hurts her, repeatedly, Max has a lot of empathy for him.
She understands that he was a victim himself, that he experienced losses just like she did, and that he was lashing out in pain. Even though she admits to wishing him gone in Season 4, Max also feels for him and everything he went through. She understands his pain and his guilt, and that helps the audience to understand him more as well.
Max Is Assertive
One of the first things anyone notices about Max is how assertive she is. She doesn’t need anybody to take care of her, though it certainly couldn’t help, given her family situation. In any case, Max stands up for herself and her friends without fear.
Still, one of Max’s most impressive moments is when she threatens Billy and scares him away from the Byers’ household at the end of Season 2. Typically, Max uses her sarcasm and sharp wit to frighten others, but with Billy, she overcomes her fear of him to protect her friends.
Max Has A Lot Of Courage
If Max is anything, she’s courageous. She’s never one to back down from a fight – in fact, she’s often the one to initiate it. She’s also never shy to bring up awkward topics, like who Eleven is or why Mike should stop controlling Eleven.
Max is also very courageous to try to befriend four rather odd boys who seem to either fear her or want nothing to do with her. There’s also the instance of her driving a car for the first time in the hope that they’ll be able to help their friends in the Upside Down.
Max Is Compassionate
Even though Max is a little rash sometimes, she can be very compassionate once people get to know her. She takes Eleven under her wing and shows her the ropes of being a girl in middle school, especially one who only hangs out with boys.
At first, Max and Eleven don’t get along, but Max is quick to put aside her past misgivings. She understands that Eleven has suffered trauma and forgives her for their rocky first impression.
Max Holds Genuine Curiosity
The reason Max gets into the group at all is that she’s so curious about what it is they’re hiding from her. She pesters the boys incessantly until Lucas finally gives in and reveals everything he knows about Eleven and the Upside Down.
Max doesn’t believe him at first, but when she joins them on a few quests, she’s immediately invested. She tries to help them on the science side of things and is always wanting to learn more about this alternate world.
Max Is Daring
One of Max’s most admirable traits is how daring she is. Unlike many of the other characters, Max doesn’t need to think every detail through before deciding to go through with something, even something dangerous.
She knows that she wants to fight for something, like protecting her friends, and she does it. When she threatens Billy, she only uses her innate natural reserves of courage and tenacity to make herself heard.
Max Mayfield’s Worst Traits
Max Is Argumentative
While Max asserting her independence and standing up for herself is admirable, there are times it seems she argues just for the sake of creating an argument. She picks fights with Lucas often in the relationship based on what the fans see in Season 3.
That argumentative nature of hers is part of the reason she and Lucas bitt heads so frequently; it’s also why they break up repeatedly.
Max Is Selfish
While Max is incredibly selfless with her time and her emotional investment in the members of the Party, she does prove herself capable of some selfish behaviors when it comes to her relationship with Lucas.
She essentially admits to Eleven that sometimes, she breaks up with him to prove a point, and so that he’ll bring her a gift to win her back. Lucas sees the gifts as a way to win Max back over and over again. Neither of them realize how immature they’re being, and their behavior rubs off on Mike and Eleven.
Max Can Be Standoffish
At first, Max finds it hard to make friends in Hawkins. She comes across as cold, rude, and disinterested. But when she learns that the boys are involved in things more exciting than the arcade, Max decides she has to find out what they know.
Before she tries to befriend the boys, they try to get her attention, but to no avail. In fact, she even scares Dustin a little bit. People might not realize how kind and caring Max really is based on their first impression of her.
Max Is Judgmental
Max may be courageous, but sometimes she is a little too forward. She is quick to form opinions on other people, especially the four boys that make up the Party.
She’s so headstrong and passionate about voicing her own thoughts, and making her own voice heard, that she doesn’t take the time to read a situation and understand other people.
Max Can Be Prejudice
Not only is Max quick to form opinions, but she’s often hard to sway from them. For instance, she harbors a lot of hatred for Billy, which may well be warranted, but also dismisses the Party on principle. She thinks they’re nerds, and so automatically doesn’t believe a word they tell her about the Upside Down.
Max’s fiery temper is known to get the better of her, as she’s one of the only characters in the show to ever raise her voice. She’s a great addition to Stranger Things, which consists of so many quiet, more introverted characters.
Max Can Be Inconsiderate
Max’s character can be empowering at times, as is her friendship with Eleven. However, her independence and free-spiritedness don’t always come across as quite right.
Max often acts and speaks out of turn, not caring how her words affect others. For example, she shows little sympathy for Dustin and Lucas when she insults them, doesn’t seem to notice how Mike is hurting in Season 2, and enjoys watching him suffer when Eleven breaks up with him.
Max Is Brash
Max isn’t exactly the kind of person others would expect to have a reasonable conversation with. Instead of hearing others out, she rushes to be heard and wants her voice to matter more than anyone else’s.
She’s assertive, which is great, but she can often come across as rude. For example, when she lets the boys know she wants to hang out with them, she bursts in on their fun, interrupting their evening, and continues talking noisily all night. She can go so far as to seem overbearing at times.
NEXT: 10 Reasons Why Eleven & Max Of Stranger Things Aren’t Real Friends
Eddie’s Death In Stranger Things Was Actually Better Than The Alternative
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