Granted, it may not have been the biggest and most gripping of Stranger Things Season 4, but fans have definitely been wondering: what is the painting that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) has been carrying around? The painting was clearly something important to Will, as the first episodes of Stranger Things 4 saw him holding it like a cherished relic, before excitedly taking it with him to the airport to meet Mike (Finn Wolfhard). The significance of the painting has only become more and more clear with every misfire Will suffered trying to give it to Mike. In Stranger Things 4 Episode 8, we finally get to see it!
Will makes the decision to finally unveil his masterwork painting to Mike while in Argyle's (Eduardo Franco) pizza delivery van en route to find Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Mike is having a crisis of confidence in himself, as he is realizing that Eleven is a level of special that will eventually leave him behind, as he's only the first boy she ever befriended after escaping the lab. Will sees Mike drowning in doubt and tries to bring his friend comfort, by showing him the painting.
What is Will's Painting in Stranger Things 4?
It turns out Will's painting is an ode to his "Party," aka the nickname of his friends group (Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max, Eleven) since the beginning of Stranger Things. The painting imagines the "Party" as actual Dungeons & Dragons warriors, fighting a big, red, three-headed dragon.
The key detail of Will's painting is that it features Mike out front-in-center of the Party, leading them into battle. Will gives a heartbreaking monologue about how Mike is the heart of the Party, and the brave spirit that's always leading them forward. Will argues that that spirit and heart are qualities that Eleven will always value, because when people are special (i.e., different), they need those types of people around them.
As Jonathan notices while watching through the rearview window (and we the audience do too), Will isn't really talking to Mike about his relationship with Eleven: he's actually confessing his own secret feelings of love for Mike, and explaining why he's always had them.
As for the final fate of this love triangle? You'll have to watch Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 to find out! It's now on Netflix.