Matthew Modine’s Dr. Martin Brenner seemed to be one of the definitive deaths in “Stranger Things 4,” but the actor is refusing to believe his character is gone for good. Brenner, commonly referred to as “Papa” by Mille Bobby Brown’s Eleven, was shot several times in the fourth season’s penultimate episode. No character outright proclaimed Papa dead, but he was last seen bleeding out on the desert ground with seemingly no one around to save him.
Recently asked by Vulture if he would consider Papa dead, Modine answered, “No, I wouldn’t. Because I wouldn’t want him to be dead. Three things are curious to me: How did he survive the Demogorgon? How did he survive One? And when Eleven tries to use her power against Dr. Brenner after blowing three guards in the air, he unflinchingly thwarts her and says, ‘You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?’ She couldn’t get it to work on him. Is there something more to Brenner than meets the eye?”
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Perhaps Papa has some kind of supernatural ability that allowed him to survive the gunshot wounds, or perhaps not. Either way, Modine said he doesn’t “want to believe” his time on “Stranger Things” is over because “I can’t wait to work with Millie again. I say Millie, because I don’t really have anything to do with the other cast members — except for Paul Reiser.”
“I love the power of redemption. I love the what it represents,” Modine continued, noting that he wants Eleven to forgive Papa in the show’s fifth and final season. “Obviously, the only children he tortured who are alive, that we know of, are Eleven and Kali. I guess Vecna, if there’s any saving One. It would be that moment of them forgiving Brenner and giving him their grace.”
Modine added, “The horror of what Brenner did is accepting and understanding his culpability in the death of all those children because of what One did. So if Eleven and Kali, or just Eleven, forgave him and sent him off, he would spend the remaining days of his life knowing he had been forgiven but having to accept responsibility for what he did.”
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