Caution: This post contains spoilers for season two of Stranger Things, so read on at your own risk.
It was hard to expect much of Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) when we first met him in Stranger Things season one.
He was a hot jock with cool hair and cool friends, who had a thing for Nancy (Natalia Dyer) but had that vibe of a guy who only wanted to sleep with her and then move on to someone else—a typical 80s high school villain. But then Steve surprised us all by actually caring for Nancy, and by defending her in front of his not-so-cool friends, and by showing up at the end with a baseball bat to help out in the face of the demogorgon, even if he didn't actually do much good.
Then season two of the Netflix hit gave us what many are calling the redemption of Steve Harrington. He continued to care for Nancy, even when she wouldn't let him, and let her go when it was clear she had eyes for someone else (for some reason). And then, when Joyce (Winona Ryder) put him in charge of the kids, he became Steve Harrington: Babysitter.
Yes, OK, Steve got knocked out by Billy (Dacre Montgomery) while trying to defend Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and then woke up to find himself in a car surrounded by 12 year-olds, driven by a 12 year-old, heading towards danger to set the danger on fire, but Steve must be given credit for how well he then took care of those kids on their journey to set the danger on fire.
And yes, sure, his advice to Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) about dating ("act like you don't care until you feel it") was a tad questionable, but he had only the best intentions, and could really only speak from experience. They formed a beautiful and unlikely friendship as they searched for demo-dog Dart, and Steve found his own place in this monster-fighting crew, regardless of his relationship status with Nancy.
He's still the hot jock with cool hair and cool friends, but now he's also the hot jock with a baseball bat filled with nails who will take care of the kids, listen to their problems, and help them fight off monsters of all kinds, which is an invaluable kind of hero to have.
So here's to you, Steve Harrington, our favorite subversion of a classic 80s movie stereotype. May your luck in love improve in season three.
Click play on the video above to hear Keery and Matarazzo talk bromance, hair, and Steve the Babysitter in season two.
Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.