Robin and Steve on “Stranger Things” Is the Queer-Straight Friendship We Need Right Now

Butin TrumpJuly 12, 2019

Stranger Things season 3 has plenty of things to rave about: Eleven’s upgraded fashion thanks to some style advice from Max, lots of horror compliments of the Mind Flayer’s latest assault on the town of Hawkins, and a huge firework battle that lights up the Starcourt Mall. But the most magical thing about the third season of the mega-popular Netflix series isn’t Eleven’s telekinetic powers or a beast created from melted humans — it’s the charming friendship between Joe Keery’s Steve and new character Robin, portrayed by Maya Hawke.

Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things season 3 below.

That’s largely because at first, it seems like the Scoops Ahoy co-workers are endgame. It’s an age-old trope: Mr. Popular finally realizes that the band geek who’s not like other girls is the one for him. After Dustin taps Steve for help decoding a Russian transmission he intercepted, Robin ends up being the secret weapon for not only translating the message into English, but also cracking the code — which lands her, Steve, Dustin, and Erica trapped inside the secret Russian base miles underneath the mall. While captured by the Russians, Robin reveals that she was obsessed with Joe during high school, in a class that he doesn’t even remember her being in.

Many viewers might have rolled their eyes when the setup is first presented, but Joe and Maya’s crackling chemistry offsets some of that initial opposition. Thanks to Robin’s continual negging and a dose of truth serum that leaves them extremely loopy, you’re eventually rooting for the two of them to finally get together. That is, until you realize that there’s an even better endgame.

After puking their guts out as a side effect of the truth serum, Steve finally admits that he might have some feelings for Robin. “She’s so funny, she’s hilarious,” he says about someone he’s maybe been crushing on. “This summer I’ve laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a really long time. And she’s smart, way smarter than me.” The twist? Yes, Robin was obsessed with Steve back in the day, but that’s not because she liked him. It’s because a girl named Tammy Thompson liked Steve and she was jealous.

It takes a moment for Steve to connect the dots, but Robin’s coming out isn’t met with over-the-top shock from Steve. Instead, he’s a damn supportive friend who lightly teases his Scoops Troop comrade’s crush. It’s a sort of frank conversation and banter about girls that Robin’s likely not had before. The entire scene is both tender and humorous, making you erupt in tears before laughing at the two of them impersonating Tammy’s off-note singing.

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