In Weird Stuff, it’s hard to deny that David Harbor’s Chief Hopper is a brute powerhouse. He showed it off in Hawkins, Indiana against a large number of government agents, trying to help Eleven and the others stay away from the MKUltra program. Events turned even more dangerous in Season 4 when Hop was taken to Russia, but he persevered and showed new dimensions as a warrior.
It’s most evident in his use of weapons to fight a Demogorgon in a metal coliseum, which reminded fans just how gladiating he could be. However, Season 4 also disproved Hop’s ranking as the best fighter on the show thanks to the Kamchatka rescue mission. In the process, Brett Gelman’s Murray Bauman outshone Hop in a big way, showing himself to be the true alpha in the Duffer brothers’ series.
Murray from Stranger Things was a punchline
Murray’s role on the series was quite comedic before Kamchatka, as a geeky reporter from Chicago who began investigating the missing Barb. In time, he would become a conspiracy theorist, believing that there was a government plot, also known as the Dr. Brenner program, to break down the barriers of physics in the real world. He eventually teamed up with Joyce Byers, trying to use her journalism and her speculative skills to solve the case.
The funny thing was how he claimed to be a martial arts expert known as the bald eagle when he wasn’t that skilled in battle. However, a big change was triggered when he lost his friend, Alexei, while trying to expose the city’s Russian dealings with the Upside Down. Little did fans know that Murray would eventually hone his craft and rise through the ranks to become a kung-fu master.
Stranger Things turns Murray into a lethal weapon
In Season 4, Murray and Joyce hatched a plan to fly to Russia to get Hop out, but when the pilot, Yuri, turned on them, Murray turned into a real badass. A brutal fight breaks out in which Murray actually punches Yuri as the plane plummets. Like a true martial arts master, he warned: “My fingers are like arrows, my arms like iron… my feet like spears!” him as he knocks out the sinister Yuri, showing himself as a true Bruce Lee fan against a seasoned military mind who fought back with guns.
Eventually, Yuri would be inspired and try to help Murray after being taken hostage, encouraged by Murray’s antics when they infiltrate the prison and overall mission to save the world. In the process, Murray was a human wrecking ball, beating up soldiers and taking their weapons, and doing it with attitude, panache and flair, a true testament to 1980s action heroes like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It left Joyce and Hop in awe, marveling at how Murray did most of the heavy lifting. That’s not to diminish the contributions of him, as well as Hop’s ally Dmitri. But while Hop always had help, Murray cut a path for him like a man on fire. Ultimately, that’s why when they fled Russia and headed home for a happy ending, Hop was glad his friend was in their lives. He respected Murray as a one-man army that no one saw coming and that people hope to see more of in Strange things‘ Final season.
Stranger Things season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.