Maxine Mayfield is played by Sadie Sink on Stranger Things and has become one of the stars of the series.
Max Mayfield has become of one of the integral pieces of one of the best shows on television. Beginning in the summer of 2016, showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have presented the science fiction drama Stranger Things on Netflix, bringing along some of the small screen’s best characters. In the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, there is seemingly no shortage of unusual occurrences backed by peculiar characters that make the midwestern town more unique with every season.
Season two introduced audiences to California step-siblings Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) and Max Mayfield, the latter of which has become the most interesting character in the series to date.
SADIE SINK IS MAXINE “MAX” MAYFIELD
Portrayed on Stranger Things by young actor Sadie Sink, Maxine Mayfield was initially depicted as a tomboy when she entered the scene in season 2 of the hit television show. Max’s relationships have differed throughout the seasons, sparking romantic interests in Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and a kinship with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
Her character has evolved since her debut and will likely play a significant role in the series’ upcoming fifth and final season.
Sadie Sink’s casting on Stranger Things as Max Mayfield was first revealed by Deadline shortly after Season 1 debuted on the streaming platform. Since then, the actor has enjoyed success in starring in the short film All Too Well by singer Taylor Swift and a supporting part in The Whale with Brendan Fraser.
CBR.com has argued that Max Mayfield is a character that tends to steal the show from others in Stranger Things, particularly in her climatic scenes in Season 4.
Max Mayfield came to the attention of the Party members Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Lucas Sinclair, Dustin Henderson, and Eleven in 1984, one year after Will’s disappearance and recovery. Moving to Indiana with her family and joining Hawkins Middle School with the rest of the gang, Max quickly becomes the object of Lucas’ affection.
Partly because she is a skateboarder with a different attitude than the other girls in Lucas’ grade, combined with the fact that Max had the highest score in the arcade game Dig Dug, Lucas finds her to be alluring and admirable.
As the younger stepsister of Billy Hargrove, the abusive rebel figure who challenges the other kids in Hawkins with his macho demeanor, Max Mayfield tries her best to fade into the background while having her own distinctive personality.
She often battles Billy every chance she gets, but the two have a slight connection in attempting to differentiate themselves from the other kids in town. Even though they are polar opposites, Billy and Max learn to live with one another to survive their teenage years.
Max Mayfield becomes friends with Eleven, which helps both of them to establish a sisterly bond that has carried both characters through later seasons of Stranger Things. Lucas and Max start to get involved on a romantic level with one another, but it remains innocent until Lucas confides in her the truth about Will’s disappearance. Max then gets attached to the group and protects them from Billy whenever her stepbrother gets violent.
In Season 2, Max Mayfield is part of the pack of kids that help Eleven and Jim Hopper when they are in danger. She sees first-hand the supernatural problems plaguing the town of Hawkins, realizing along with her new friends how much the Mind Flayer has a stranglehold on their reality.
Through many of these experiences, Max gains the strength to stand up to Billy, even sedating him at one point in order for the group to enact their plan to stop the Mind Flayer and for Eleven to close the portal to the Upside Down.
When the town of Hawkins is saved by its resident children, life proceeds to go on without many adults understanding the peril they have been in for the last couple of years. Max faces that danger head-on with her new friends, but life seems to hit its peak when the gang of kids attends the Snow Ball dance at their school. It is here that Max and Lucas share a kiss as they dance the night away, unaware that the Mind Flayer still presents a problem for them.
SEASON 3 SAW MAXINE MAYFIELD AS A BIGGER PART OF THE STORY
By Season 3, Max Mayfield and Lucas Sinclair are depicted as boyfriend and girlfriend, even though it is implied that the two have gone through a series of breakups. The Starcourt Mall has become the place to see movies and to be seen, and it is revealed that Billy might be possessed by the Mind Flayer, which is still alive. While Eleven senses Billy’s change, she continues to bond with Max, and the two become inseparable while Eleven is still adjusting to life in the outside world.
Stranger Things Season 3 brings about many psychological developments for Max Mayfield as the Mind Flayer fully possesses her stepbrother. Billy’s troubled childhood is revealed through Eleven’s telekinesis abilities, and Max begins to feel things for her previously abusive brother.
When his attitude changes, Max’s view of Billy changes as well, and the end of the season sees Billy sacrificing himself to save Max and her friends from the Mind Flayer’s grip.
STRANGER THINGS SEASON 4 MADE SADIE SINK A STAR
Billy’s death marks a stark adjustment period for Max Mayfield going into Season 4 of Stranger Things, as she has to cope with family drama and flashbacks to his stunning demise. Max’s parents separate, and she becomes despondent, not wanting to hang out with her friends or Lucas. Suffering from PTSD and moving into a trailer park with her mom, Max evolves into the most complex character in a slew of complicated people living in Hawkins.
With Eleven, Will, and Jonathan moving to California because of the events in Hawkins, Max Mayfield feels alone compared to her remaining friends in Indiana. She soon witnesses a strange occurrence in the trailer park when Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) visits Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) next door, and Eddie is seen fleeing what soon becomes known as the scene of a gruesome murder. She helps Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) track Eddie down, and they soon discover that Chrissy was killed by a creature they call Vecna.
Sadie Sink, as Max Mayfield, is arguably the star of Stranger Things Season 4, with her connection to the PTSD symptoms taking over her state of mind similar to those embodying Vecna’s victims. Understanding that she, too, would be an eventual target of Vecna’s, Max does what she can to speed up her grief over Billy’s death to stave off Vecna’s wrath.
Unfortunately, Vecna gets the better of Max, and she is transported into a trance by the creature, needing to rely on her old friends to help save her.
In a climatic moment of Stranger Things that has since become a popular social media sensation by fans of the series in 2022, Lucas, Steve, Dustin, Nancy, and Robin all figure out that music could be the key to helping Max Mayfield escape from Vecna’s grip.
Playing Max’s favorite song, “Running Up That Hill” by singer Kate Bush, Max’s trance is seemingly broken, and she breaks free of Vecna. From here on out, Max takes control of her connection to Vecna, but the overall danger has not subsided entirely.
Max Mayfield may have started her days in Hawkins as an outsider who needed a bit of guidance, but by Season 4 of Stranger Things, Max’s insider knowledge of Vecna’s abilities and state of mind helped to save her town from utter destruction. Nancy (Natalia Dyer) discovers Vecna’s ultimate plans to destroy Hawkins, so the gang hatches their own plan to finally kill Vecna once and for all.
As an integral member of the gang, Max decides she might be the only one who can fool Vecna, so she volunteers as bait to distract Vecna from carrying out its scheme.
In yet another climatic scene that caps off Stranger Things Season 4, Max Mayfield sacrifices her own safety in order to save her friends and the town she has grown to appreciate, much like her stepbrother Billy did in Season 3.
Drawing that comparison between siblings, Max becomes possessed by Vecna, which gives her friends a chance to get to the creature while it is distracted again by Max. At this point, Max chooses to go to her happy place in the safety of a fond memory, which happens to be the Snow Ball dance, where she and Lucas shared a fateful kiss.
Nostalgia comes into complete focus for Max Mayfield, as she alone is fundamentally stopping Vecna from total annihilation. Her memory fades a bit, and Vecna becomes aware of Max’s trickery, so Eleven uses her powers to get inside Max’s mind just as Vecna begins killing her friend. Feeling overpowered by Vecna’s strength, Eleven finds a way to save Max, but unfortunately, Max is injured in the process. Max dies in Lucas’ arms due to the injuries she’s sustained while tricking Vecna.
Max Mayfield has suddenly suffered a similar fate to that of her stepbrother Billy, mirroring a trend in Stranger Things that has lasted for several seasons. Eleven steps in and resurrects Max, but not before Vecna rips through Hawkins.
Stranger Things Season 4 ends by showing Max in a hospital bed with Lucas by her side, continuing to be in a coma as the town of Hawkins grapples with what they believe is an earthquake, and the gang knows Vecna remains a danger.
The trajectory of Max Mayfield’s time on Stranger Things signifies a proper growth standard for the series as a whole, depicting a character that was once aloof and ending with a young woman at the height of control over her surroundings.
Despite her trauma from Billy’s abuse and subsequent death, Max feels a kinship to Billy’s spirit and Eleven’s powers that only a few others could understand.
Going into the final season of the Netflix show, Max will more than likely continue to be a central figure in Vecna’s hopefully ultimate demise, as Max’s friends do what they can to save the town from the creatures of the Upside Down.
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