Justice for Billy: Why Billy Hargrove Deserved Better on Stranger Things Season 3

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This post contains spoilers. If you have not watched Stranger Things Season 3, do not continue reading.

Billy Hargrove made a splash on Stranger Things Season 2 as the resident bad boy, but it wasn't until the third season where he became fully integrated and essential to the core storyline. 

Billy rose from being a supporting character to carrying much of the series, yet he never got the recognition he deserved. 

Bad Boy Billy  - Stranger Things

There have been a handful of characters who deserve justice in the Stranger Things realm from Barb to Bob to Alexei. Trust me, they all deserve it, but Billy's storyline especially triggered me because he got cheated from the very beginning. 

Related: Stranger Things Season 3 Review: Bigger, Better, and More Heartbreaking Than Ever

He was never set up to win, and when he finally did achieve his redemption arc, it was glossed over because of a bigger death, albeit one that admittedly carried more weight. 

I'm obviously referring to Hopper's death. 

Billy the Villain? - Stranger Things

The emotional stock of Billy's decision to fight the evil coursing through his body to save Eleven didn't have time to sink in or resonate before our hearts got ripped in half by killing the hot-headed-who-always-meant-well police chief and Eleven's dad. 

But here's why Hopper's death shouldn't have overshadowed Billy: there's a huge probability that Hopper isn't dead. 

The scene following the credits showed the Russian's referring to an "American" prisoner. 

Let Me Out - Stranger Things

The Russians referred to Hopper as the American multiple times throughout the season, so it's likely that Stranger Things Season 4 will be a rescue mission to save Eleven's beloved papa. 

But Billy is gone for good and died a secondary death. 

Related: Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Chapter 1: Suzie, Do You Copy?

In his final moments, the only person who mourned him was Max, who for most of the season was forced to turn against her brother because he became the Mind Flayer's host. 

At no point did any of Max's friends show concern over Billy nor did they try to save him from the Mind Flayer's control. From the getgo, they wrote him off as the "bad guy" because he wasn't liked around town and accepted his fate. 

Billy may have been deemed the "classic bully" and boy, he did a good job at it, but Billy wasn't a bad guy who deserved his death.  

Billy was broken and tormented.

Billy as a Lifeguard - Stranger Things

As we saw when El tapped into his subconscious; his father was abusive, and his mother abandoned him.

Instead of dealing with the trauma, Billy acted out and became a womanizer. 

Related: Stranger Things Review: Deliver Them to Evil

Stranger Things allowed us to sympathize with him and provided us with a better understanding of his actions. 

But becoming the Mind Flayer's victim was above his control, as was everything he did while being flayed including building an army full of possessed people to kill El.  

Something Bad Has Happened - Stranger Things

Ultimately, Billy fought through the evil grip on his soul and sacrificed himself for the greater good. 

He didn't deserve for his redemption arc to get cut short. 

Related: Stranger Things Review: Mayhem in the Mall

He didn't deserve to die the moment he finally gave into the light. 

He carried the series as the humanized version of the antagonist, yet he didn't get to say anything more than "I'm sorry" before succumbing to his death. 

The End of the Road - Stranger Things

Billy, unlike Hopper, likely won't get a do-over. 

And we, unfortunately, won't see Dacre Montgomery pour his soul and channel all the angst into one of the most effective villains on television ever again. 

The flash-forward didn't even account for Billy's selfless sacrifice. 

Hop deserved to be hailed as a hero, sure, but Billy was lumped in with the other 30 residents; he became a footnote when in reality, if it hadn't been for his decision to fight the Mind Flayer, Eleven wouldn't have survived.

Who knows what that would have meant for the Mind Flayer's powers. 

Billy & the Mind Flayer

As painful as it was, death was necessary this season. 

This group has had too many brushes with death and the Upside Down to keep coming out unscathed. 

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There had to be repercussions, both emotional and physical. 

In retrospect, death was even inevitable for Billy who survived till the last episode while we watched countless Hawkins residents explode into bloody goo after becoming flayed. 

This Won't Hurt - Stranger Things

The death was justified, but there was a better way to go about it. 

Billy redefined the characteristics of a "high school bully in a small town," and by the end of Stranger Things Season 3, he was nuanced and layered, yet he still got jipped of a proper ending. 

No one deserved that, not even the most hated teen in Hawkins. 

And now, a photo that portrays me after finishing Stranger Things Season 3:

Billy in the Sauna  - Stranger Things

So tell me. Do you agree with my assessment of Billy's story?

Did Billy get the story he deserved?

Did Billy get the death he deserved?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts on Billy Hargrove. 

Long live Billy Hargrove!

Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..

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Stranger Things Quotes

Nancy: What the hell are you doing?
Mike: I'll pay you back!

Dusty: Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch! Another stupid penny.
Mother: Dusty! Watch it, you almost hit Mews.