There Wasn't Much Acting Going On In Eleven And Papa's Stranger Things Scenes

If you're not caught up with "Stranger Things 4 Vol. 2," yet, do yourself a favor and go watch that before you read this, because we are about to delve into major spoilers.

"Stranger Things 4" features the return of Matthew Modine as Dr. Matthew Brenner, otherwise known as Papa, from the show's first season. In the penultimate episode, the white-haired scientist shares an emotional scene with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), his test subject and surrogate daughter. And it turns out that the dialogue Modine spoke while in character as Brenner mirrored the actor's real feelings toward his costar.

Brown and Modine recently appeared on "Stranger Things 4 Vol. 2: Unlocked," the official Netflix Geeked aftershow, to discuss their final scene together. Brenner had been presumed dead once before, but this time he met his fate for real at the business end of a sniper rifle, wielded by a soldier in a helicopter. His final act is to release the shock collar from around Eleven's neck, telling her he's proud of her and that she's his family. "I've only ever wanted to help you, to protect you," he says. "Everything I did, I did for you."

In the video below, Brown reveals that shooting the scene was a "very sad day" for them both and that they "went on a 45-minute walk" in the desert. Modine says:

"I honestly love Millie Bobby Brown. I feel paternal toward her. And, I know that what I said in the scene, Matthew Modine, is the same thing that Dr. Brenner said, that everything I've done with Millie was the best I could for her, for her good, for your life. And so that's truthful. It's a truthful emotion. And I think [series creators] the Duffer brothers know that and knew that."

Finding Eleven's autonomy

Of course, while Brenner's dying words may profess fatherly love, he's also the guy who used Eleven as a human guinea pig and kept her with that collar around her neck like a dog on a leash. He does help reactivate her powers at the Nina Project facility in Nevada, but they share a complicated history, and as Eleven leaves him there to die, there's a feeling that she's finally self-sufficient, free of him and able to stand on her own two feet. As Brown observes above:

"We talk about father and daughter, and finding [Eleven's] autonomy. And I obviously didn't want to necessarily leave Papa. And you don't ever really want to leave your dad, but you have to, to find that autonomy within your life, and not listen to men, and really strive to be a woman finally. ...

... Everything that she knew was Papa. He taught her everything. In order, you know, how to channel her emotions, channel her anger, channel her powers, how to control them, how to provoke them, how to keep them suppressed. Everything that she knows is from him. I think that when you say goodbye to that huge majority of your life, because a new one has to start, it's a huge transition. I think she was just kind of thinking about her childhood in, what, a 30-second scene. And how does she walk away from this, feeling empowered?"

Although it exists in a realm of heightened drama, the relationship between Eleven and Brenner might ring truthful for anyone who's ever had a difficult relationship with their own parent or child. Eventually, like Eleven, one has to strike out on their own and be their own individual apart from their family.

"Stranger Things 4" is now streaming on Netflix.