From the Russians to the Mind Flayer, Stranger Things 3 saw the gang facing more threats than ever — and it got us thinking, how are they all (okay, most of them) still alive? We decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and discover how the show’s heroes all stack up.
While some characters are victims more than saviors (we’re looking at you, Will) others know how to rise to the top and save their friends and family again and again.
Quick shout-out to the honorable mentions including Mike, who is always emotionally supportive and Lucas, who is along for the ride. Will, maybe you’re not the strongest fighter, but you’ve endured a lot, and for that, we applaud you.
Let’s head back to Hawkins to find out who would make the best survivalist.
10 Erica Sinclair
Don’t underestimate the power of the youngest. Not only was she brave enough to climb through air ducts and sneak her way into an underground Russian fort, but she was smart enough to work her way out. Sure, she had some help along the way. But don’t be fooled by her sass; She knows what she’s doing.
Dustin teases Erica for being a nerd, but as it turns out, this is one of her many superpowers. The knowledge she has now could be handy to her in the years to come.
9 Steve Harrington
Season 3 Steve honestly didn’t do a lot. Of course, he acted as Dustin’s sidekick, and okay, we’ll hand it to him — he did sneak into a top-secret Russian fort. But then he got himself caught and managed to knock both him and Robin to the ground while making an attempt to rescue them both.
His confidence is his downfall and his strength. It helped him in early seasons, but in the latest, it didn’t do quite as much. He is durable, though. He got beat up a ton after being abducted by the Russians yet still made it out.
8 Nancy Wheeler
Nancy has intuition going for her. In Season 3, she knows something is wrong with the rat the elderly Doris Driscoll finds in her house, so she takes it upon herself to investigate.
Nancy is smart and can hold her own, but on the downside, she doesn’t have many physical survival skills. That being said, she knows how to use a gun when she needs to. Shooting is just one of the things that comes naturally to her, though.
7 Joyce Byers
Joyce has a whole lot of determination and will do what she needs to save her family. Like Nancy, she knows when something is up and acts on it. Example: the falling magnets in Season 3.
She fights her way through every dangerous situation she faces and ranks a little higher because of her experience. Her undying courage — and ability to help bring Hopper back to health after his early Season 3 fight — makes up for her lack of formal training.
6 Max Mayfield
When Eleven first injures her leg, Nancy tries to immediately clean the wound without first clotting it. Max corrects her, referencing what she’s learned about injuries through skateboarding.
In addition to knowing how to treat a wound, Max is good at controlling her emotions in tense situations. While characters like Joyce let emotions drive their decisions, Max is able to put her feelings aside in order to do what is necessary in the moment. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t get scared; It just means that she thinks before she feels.
Robin is both street-smart and academically bright. When Steve and Dustin find themselves unable to crack the secret Russin code, she steps in and solves it. Being that she’s fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish, this comes as no surprise.
When Robin ends up tied up in the Russian’s underground fort, she doesn’t stress. She stays brave and tries (emphasis on the word tries) to reach some scissors with Steve that will cut them out. Both these skills come in handy when your life is on the line.
4 Jim Hopper
If you haven’t finished Season 3 of Stranger Things yet, you should completely skip over this entry. And now that that’s covered, it’s time to talk about this man’s survival skills. Yes, (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) Hopper doesn’t actually survive, but that doesn’t discount how well he could. His death in Season 3 was a sacrifice. It was a choice. He knew what he was getting himself into and didn’t end up carelessly dying. (END OF SPOILER) So pushing that aside, Hopper has a lot going for him. As the sheriff of the town, he has formal training other Stranger Things characters don’t have.
He did get knocked out early in Season 3, which left Joyce to drag him out of the situation, and his temper gets in the way sometimes. Otherwise, he has the makings of a survivalist.
3 Jonathan Byers
Although Jonathan can sometimes come off as timid, he’s grown into himself as the series has progressed. In fact, he has a lot of the confident, quick-thinking skills needed to survive a town haunted by The Upside Down’s monsters.
The greatest example of this comes during the climax at the Starcourt Mall, during the point at which Elven’s leg has been infected by the Mind Flayer. Rather than sitting by complacently, Jonathan runs away to grab a wooden spoon El can bite down on and a knife he can use to cut the monster out. He makes sure to disinfect his makeshift medical tool and then keeps calm as he works on her leg even though it is absolutely disgusting. Without him, her leg might have faced a very different ending.
2 Dustin Henderson
What Dustin lacks in strength he makes up with smarts. I mean, seriously. A child outsmarted Russians with years of training and preparation.
Let’s also not forget how brave Dustin is, as he chose to journey deeper into the Russian fort to rescue Steve and Robin when they were all tied up. He planned his attack, got them free, and dragged their drugged-up selves around as he considered his next move. Successfully babysitting a couple of useless teenagers older than you has to be a necessary survival skill.
Eleven comes out on top because she has awesome telepathic powers. How can you beat that? She can use them to throw objects, fight people, and even snoop on others’ thoughts.
El also happens to be mentally strong. She’s survived all sorts of mental and physical trauma, so she knows how to face new challenges that come her way. As aforementioned, Jonathan tried to cut the monster out of Eleven’s leg in the Starcourt Mall during a tense moment. Eleven is so determined though, that she takes the knife from Jonathan midway through his attempt to gouge out the monster herself. That has got to take some strong willpower.
NEXT: Stranger Things: 10 Hilarious Season 3 Memes That Are Perfect