What would Stranger Things be without Eleven? Well, considering she essentially serves as the central catalyst for the events of the series, chances are it wouldn't even be a show. Portrayed by the absurdly talented Millie Bobby Brown, Eleven's character serves as the basis for some of the series' most memorable scenes and moments.
A lot of those moments revolve around the fish out of water trope, and understandably so. But relegating her character to that alone is a ridiculous oversimplification. It makes for a great many cute moments, but her lack of experience with society at large is compounded exponentially by the fact that even she doesn't grasp the true extent of her psychic powers, resulting in just as many frightening situations. To showcase this, here are five of Eleven's most adorable moments in the series, contrasted against five that put fans on edge.
10 ADORABLE: Stocking Up On Eggo Waffles
The prospect of getting between Eleven and her frozen waffles might be a scary one, but it also makes for one of her most endearing attributes. The scene in which she decides to go "shopping" to procure a few boxes of Eggos is definitely one that tickled viewers to no end.
Everything in this scene hits the right note. After calling the store manager a "mouth breather" as he attempts to intervene, she calmly walks out of the store, carelessly flinging shopping carts around and slamming the automatic doors shut behind her.
9 SCARY: Tossing Lucas Across The Junkyard
In an attempt to protect the boys, Eleven utilizes her powers to cause their compasses to malfunction, essentially leading them in a circle as they're trying to find Will. Lucas, ever the incredulous one, figures out what she's doing, and aggressively confronts her over it.
Mike rushes to her defense, and as the altercation begins to heat up between he and Lucas, Eleven loses control of her powers and throws Lucas across the lot to protect Mike, slamming him into a bus. Although he suffers no lasting injuries, it shakes up the boys, and by extension, the audience.
8 ADORABLE: The Snow Ball
Season two's epilogue at the Snow Ball is full of incredibly funny and heartfelt moments, but Eleven's arrival and ensuing dance with Mike really do tug at the heartstrings. Moments that develop Mike and Eleven's budding romance are few and far between but are always worth the wait.
Mike's absolutely stricken with how beautiful she looks from the moment she shows up, and her sheepishly admitting that she doesn't know how to dance is too cute. But most importantly, these two lovebirds finally getting a moment of respite together is perfectly adorable.
7 SCARY: Dispatching The School Bullies
Granted, this is sort of a feel-good heroic moment for Eleven, but the ease with which she engages in violence is remarkably jarring when fully processed. The fact that it's targeted against kids her own age serves to exacerbate that realization.
Of course, they certainly had it coming. The school bullies certainly weren't holding back as they tortured Dustin and forced Mike to jump from a cliff. But the fact that Eleven can and will break a kid's arm with no more than a nod is more than a bit frightening.
6 ADORABLE: Dinner Before Dessert
The second season's first episode closes with the big revelation of Eleven hiding out in Hopper's cabin, and it's absolutely perfect in execution. Having finally come home after the long day, Hopper notices that a half-eaten Eggo has been left out on the table.
After Eleven expresses her disappointment over him being late, Hopper retorts with a light scolding over her snacking before dinner. The scene establishes Hopper having taken up the mantle of Eleven's foster father, which is easily one of the most wholesome character dynamics in the entire series.
5 SCARY: Breaking Hawkins Lab Workers' Necks
During a disturbing scene in which Dr. Brenner attempts to weaponize Eleven's powers in an experiment, she refuses to participate, and several lab workers drag her away to confinement. Her struggling and screaming as they haul her off is difficult to watch, but what comes next is harrowing.
After they get her into isolation, they begin to shut the door behind them as Eleven turns her powers against them. She flings one against the wall so hard that it crumbles beneath the force, and the other has his neck broken in a violently quick display.
4 ADORABLE: Learning A New Word
After linking up with her long lost sister and her crew of miscreants in season two, they give Eleven a makeover that results in an edgy new aesthetic she really seems to enjoy. Incidentally, she also expands her vocabulary a bit over the course of this little interlude.
A kid learning to swear might not seem like the most adorable thing in the world at first, but when she and Hopper are sharing a moment together on their way to shut down the gate at Hawkins Lab for good, Hopper admits that her new look is pretty "cool." She promptly corrects his choice of terminology with a single word, "B**chin'." An initially stunned Hopper can't help but smile as he parrots the term back to her.
3 SCARY: Her Psychic Temper Tantrum
Although the relationship between Eleven and Hopper serves to provide the series with a multitude of adorable and heartfelt moments, as with any paternal relationship, things aren't all sunshine and roses. Kids often get angry and throw fits when they're disciplined, and when that kid has telekinetic powers, those fits can get dangerous.
After Hopper lays into Eleven when she puts herself at risk by venturing out of the cabin, he attempts to ground her to show that her actions have consequences. Eleven doesn't take too kindly to this and lets her powers loose as she uses them to chuck several objects at Hopper, knocking over shelves and slamming doors in the process.
2 ADORABLE: Trick Or Treat
Being stuck in Hopper's cabin drives Eleven just a little bit stir crazy. It'd do the same to anyone else, really, but she doesn't truly understand the gravity of her situation and how badly things would go for the both of them if she were spotted in public. But at least we get this cute situation out of her predicament.
While Hopper's preparing breakfast for them on Halloween morning, Eleven spooks him with her adorable ghost costume. He understandably can't allow her to take the risk, but her excitement and homemade costume are almost too cute for words.
1 SCARY: Crushing Brains With Her Mind
Although Eleven has had plenty of violent outbursts in relation to her powers, this one is arguably the most gruesome display she's ever made. When she and the boys find themselves cornered by Hawkins agents, it doesn't look like they're going to make it out unscathed. Not until Eleven reaches her breaking point, at least.
As the agents hold them at gunpoint and prepare to capture Eleven, she focuses her powers in such a way that causes several agents' brains to actually explode inside of their skulls. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but no one watching was prepared for this.