When the first season of Stranger Things rolled out, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) was presented as the show’s anchor. His character came off as the hero around which the story evolves. After all, he was the one to help Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) when things looked desperate for her. Things evolved very nicely for the first three seasons as the story progressed. But in the latest edition of the ongoing series, the Duffer brothers, the show’s creators, have given a spin-off to the teenage boy’s whole sweet, caring, and understanding nature. Mike’s character in season four was a hard pill to swallow. All the character attributes seen in the first three stories were absent. Mike’s personality came across as constantly complaining, making it only challenging to sit through the series in one go.
One of the main reasons for such a big character change could be the long-distance relationship/friendship. Both his best friend and girlfriend moved away while Mike had to stay in Hawkins. Their reunion was much awaited, but Mike was visibly distant.
However, such a significant change in his behavior is very confusing. Some fans even argue that he is just not a good friend, which is how his character was always meant to evolve.
1. He was Emotionally Unavailable
For someone who has waited so long to meet his girlfriend and best friend, it is acceptable to go a little over the board with displaying emotions. But Mike Wheeler was the total opposite of what was expected. For instance, he did not step in to defend the love of his life when she was severely bullied at the ice rink in front of him.
2. Mike had A Rude Behavior
He was emotionally distant from his girlfriend, but it was a different story with his best friend, Will. Throughout the starting episodes, Will (Nicholas Polley) is seen trying to tell something to Mike. But Mike did not listen to him once. Every time he would either cut him off or not pay attention. Even when Will could not take it anymore and decided to cry out his heart, Mike was not listening and acted very insensitive.
3. He Was Stereotypical
In season 4, Mike was seen as a stereotypical teenage boy who only cared about his opinion and feelings. He was oblivious of how Eleven felt like she did not belong at the new school and how Will discovered new things regarding his sexuality and liking. Such a big character change is still unexplainable. No one can find the reasons which made Mike behave this particular way.
4. Mike Wheeler Had Attitude Problems
Now that we look at it, Mike has always had attitude problems, but they were not this severe. In season one, his friends were reluctant when he found Eleven and wanted to help her. He did not consider his friends’ feelings and decided to help Eleven.
In the second season, When Max is introduced as the new girl, all his friends take an instant liking to her. Except for Mike, who took offense to Max for no reason. Maybe he did not want to replace Eleven, but that does not justify his behavior with Max.
5. He Was Careless
Mike had an inattentive father, which made him very close with his friends. He was so caring that he was ready to sacrifice his life for his friend Dustin in the first season. Whereas Mike in seasons 3 and 4, was not even aware of their whereabouts of Dustin. He just did not seem to care enough. When he was with Eleven, he was so worried about whether Eleven loved him or not that he forgot to live the moment. And when Eleven was missing, all he could do was think about how he did not get the chance to talk to her. He was more concerned about that than her safety.
He did not even notice his best friend crying beside him.
That said, maybe in season five, Mike’s character will gain some depth like his other friends on the show.