11 “Stranger Things” Deaths That Still Bring A Tear (Or Several) To My Eye

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? WARNING: There are major spoilers for Stranger Things — including Season 4 — in this post. ?

The fourth season of Stranger Things has come to an end, and I’m still not over that death.

Based on the Duffer brothers’ interview with Variety — and the fact that they’re not shy about killing off characters — I knew a death was coming, but there was no way to know for sure who it would be, and suffice it to say, even though I thought I was prepared, I was in fact not prepared.

It of course got me thinking back to all the other deaths that have hit me hard throughout the series.

Here’s my ranking of the 11 saddest deaths in Stranger Things (so far):


Dr. Brenner


I debated even putting Brenner on this list, because honestly, screw him. He’s a literal child abuser with a God complex, and, as Eleven said, a monster.

That said, while “sad” isn’t really the right word for how his death in Season 4 made me feel, and as well earned it was, it did make me cry because a) I’m a sucker for “sad emotional music,” and the Stranger Things music department is extremely good at what they do, b) Matthew Modine is also very good at what he does, and c) it was clearly a very conflicting but cathartic moment for Eleven. I get why she wanted to say a final goodbye, and I’m glad she didn’t give him the satisfaction of forgiving him or saying she understood why he did what he did.

(Sidenote: I doubt we’ve actually seen the last of Brenner. I do believe he’s very much dead — two fakeouts is a bit much — but as we know, Vecna likes to use dead folks to screw with his victims. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the “ghost” of Brenner pops up to haunt Eleven.)




OK, I know he was a literal monster, but Dustin loved the little guy (before realizing he was a baby Demogorgon), and Dart obviously had as much of a soft spot for Dustin as he could. He let the kids escape through the tunnels in the Season 2 finale in exchange for a couple of Three Musketeers bars, and it genuinely brought a tear to my eye when he died after Eleven closed the gate.




While I found Mews’ death (at the hands — or mouth — of Dart) more horrifying than anything, I’m a big cat lover, and animal (especially pet) deaths in TV shows and movies often upset me more than human deaths. Plus, I hated seeing Dustin’s mom, Claudia, look so sad while she looked for her beloved cat.




Chrissy was only alive for the first episode, but I felt for her by the time Vecna killed her in the Season 4 premiere. Considering his interest in her in the first place and the hallucinations she had, her life was clearly in some state of alluded-to-but-never-quite-specified shambles, and it really came across in Grace Van Dien’s performance.




Like Chrissy, Benny only appeared (alive) in one episode, but he was obviously a good guy, and looking back on his brief time with Eleven, it feels almost like foreshadowing of her relationship with Hopper. 

Benny’s willingness to help out Eleven without hesitation — and the misplaced guilt she likely felt after he was killed — makes his death in the series premiere truly tragic.




I might get some flak for not ranking Barb’s death higher, but as much as I liked the character and enjoyed Shannon Purser’s performance, we just didn’t see enough of her for me to be all that bummed out when the Demogorgon got her in Season 1. More than anything, I was annoyed that she essentially got fridged.

Still, Barb was a good friend who just wanted to look out for Nancy, and like many Stranger Things deaths, hers is very wrong-place-wrong-time, making it all the more unfortunate.




As with Brenner’s death, I had a lot of trouble with this one. There’s no denying that Max’s stepbrother was a huge asshole — he was a dick to her for no real reason, beat the absolute crap out of Steve, and while it’s never said out loud, seemed to be pretty racist, not wanting Max anywhere near Lucas in particular. 

Of course, Billy was the product of bullying from an even bigger asshole — his dad, and it’s not impossible that he might have grown up to be a better adult than teenager. (Who among us?) He did manage to redeem himself to an extent, when, after spending most of Season 3 possessed by the Mind Flayer, he sacrificed himself to it to save Eleven, Max, and the rest of the kids.

All that said, it’s really a testament to Dacre Montgomery’s acting skills that I was borderline sobbing when such a shithead of a character bit it.




Poor, sweet Alexei. All he wanted to do was drink Slurpees, go to the Fun Fair, and not be murdered by a Russian assassin (all very relatable). He did get his Slurpees and go to the Fun Fair — he even won a giant Woody Woodpecker, one of his favorite cartoons — but was ultimately gunned down by Grigori immediately after in the penultimate episode of Season 3, leaving a devastated Joyce and Murray.


Sara Hopper


We only saw Sara briefly and in flashbacks during the Season 1 finale, but her death is one of the saddest in my opinion. Apart from the fact that anyone — let alone a kid — dying of cancer is depressing as hell, seeing what it did to Hopper is extra heartbreaking, and the Season 4 revelation that Hopper blamed himself for her cancer because of his time spent exposed to agent orange is just the rotten cherry on top of the world’s worst sundae.




In retrospect, I should have known Bob wasn’t going to make it out of Season 2 alive from the word go. He was just too good a guy. He made Joyce too happy, was too nice to her kids, and was too smart. His only real flaw was that he gave Will advice that ultimately led to the Mind Flayer possessing the kid, but how was he to know?

Bob was just all around a guy you want to stick around — so naturally, he had to die. (Plus, plot-wise, he would have gotten in the way of Jopper.)

I guess Sean Astin made Bob so likable that my brain wouldn’t even entertain the idea that he might not survive, because watching him get torn apart by Demodogs shocked the hell out of me and fully left me sobbing. I can’t even think about it without crying — I’m literally tearing up just writing about it.



Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

This is still an incredibly fresh wound, so I might be biased, but oof. Eddie’s death scene is officially on my list of things to watch when I need a good cry.

It was expected — mostly for the same reasons it made sense that Bob was killed off — but expecting it did not soften the blow at all. It didn’t help that there was a moment I genuinely thought it wasn’t going to happen. I thought, Oh, phew, the bats are dying, and we have not seen Eddie die yet, not realizing Eddie was already too far gone.

That Eddie died a hero — to save not only his friends but also a town that had branded him a villain — made his death all the more moving, but what really made it the hardest to watch for me was the heartfelt goodbye between him and Dustin, later followed by Dustin’s talk with Eddie’s uncle. Both Joseph Quinn, Gaten Matarazzo, and Joel Stoffer all really brought it during those scenes, and it was just…gut-wrenching.

  1. Which Stranger Things death do you think was the saddest?

    Which Stranger Things death do you think was the saddest?

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