Will Byers has felt sidelined for a while now. After returning from the Upside Down, things haven’t been the same for the younger Byers. Despite a fresh start in California, life hasn’t gotten much easier for Will. In episode 2 of Stranger Things season 4, Mike comes to visit Eleven for spring break. Right away, Will gets pushed to the side. But of all days, this is a time Will should have been front and center.
Will, Eleven, and Mike go to the local roller rink, and Will calls out Eleven for lying to Mike about her friends in California. When they get on the rink, Mike and Eleven hold hands. Will is left to skate all alone.
The night takes a shocking turn when Angela sets her sights on humiliating Eleven for ratting her out at school. Angela circles Eleven on the rink, and Angela’s posse begins to film what Angela has planned for poor El. The date on the camcorder says March 22, 1986.
This isn’t just any date. It is actually Will’s birthday. This means that everyone in his life — Eleven, Mike, Joyce, and Jonathan — has forgotten his birthday. No wonder he is so sullen.
However, Will doesn’t mention everyone forgetting his birthday to Mike when they talk about El. Mike tells Will that he’s been “moping” and “barely talking” ever since he got there. Well, maybe that’s because you forgot his birthday. “I’ve been a total third wheel all day. It’s been miserable. So sorry if I wasn’t smiling,” Will says to Mike.
Will asks, “Well, what about us?” Mike doesn’t know what Will wants him to say. Will tells Mike that he’s only called a couple of times over the last year, whereas he’s sent Eleven countless letters. “We’re friends,” Mike says, to which Will replies, “Well, we used to be best friends.” Mike deflects and says that Will should have reached out more. It can’t be all on him to maintain their friendship.
Will’s forgotten birthday continues to be cast aside when Eleven hits Angela in the face with a roller skate. Eleven gets arrested for what she did to Angela, but she’s taken by Owens to a secret lab and reunites with Brenner as she tries to get her powers back. Joyce and Murray leave for Russia to find Hopper. Meanwhile, Will and the rest of the California crew go on the run when the feds swarm the Byers house. They’re on a quest to find Eleven, so there’s no time to bring up Will’s birthday.
If the California crew makes it to Hawkins before the end of season 4, maybe someone will remember Will’s birthday. Volume 1 of Stranger Things season 4 is out now. Volume 2 will be released on July 1.