Although Stranger Things is an entertaining show, it sometimes falls into the trope of villain-of-the-week, making it difficult to discern where the true villain lies. But after rewatching the last two seasons, it’s clear that Billy Hargrove, Max’s (Finn Wolfhard) older stepbrother, is truly the true villain of Stranger Things — and here’s why. This article will explore Billy’s character through how he interacts with his friends and family in both seasons two and three, and we’ll see just how much of a villain he really was.
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What makes him scary
He’s abusive, emotionally manipulative, and incredibly sociopathic. There’s nothing redeeming about his character (despite numerous attempts to make us feel sorry for him), and we end up feeling far more sympathy for Steve than we do for Billy. Billy has no qualms about using Nancy or threatening Will in order to get what he wants, and we hate him all the more because of it. Billy proves that our empathy can easily be manipulated by a well-written villain, and even though he isn’t alive in present day Hawkins anymore, his presence still looms large throughout season three.
What makes him evil
Billy has been a very controversial character since day one on Stranger Things. Many fans were turned off by his depiction as an antagonist to Steve and Max in season two. But what makes him evil? How did we get to where we are today? This three-part analysis will look at each part of Billy’s life and examine how he became our favorite punching bag. In part one, we’ll cover his younger years. Let’s begin with a little backstory…
What makes him human
Like many other characters in Stranger Things, Billy’s storyline has a duality. On one hand, he’s a multi-dimensional villainous figure, who terrorizes his family and friends on a regular basis. But then again, Billy also does nice things for his step-sister Max when she needs it most—which makes it difficult to hate him as a character. In many ways, Billy represents how dark humanity can be, but also how we sometimes try to come through with good intentions (even if they don’t always pan out). When all’s said and done, we still see why he makes our list as one of Netflix’s best villains to date.
A bloody introduction
The first time we see Billy, he’s covered in his father’s blood. His aggressive tendencies are evident from an early age—in both words and actions. In one scene, he calls Max a snitch bitch after she ratted him out for stealing fireworks; in another, he slams her head against a locker before school. He tries to punch Steve when they meet, only to back off when Steve says something that impresses him (all while wearing a smile that comes across as sinister). All things considered, it seems like there was more than enough evidence to deem Billy as guilty of any number of crimes by season 3—yet no charges were ever brought up. Was that fair? Let us know in the comments below!
5 Reasons Why We Love to Hate Billy Hargrove
Billy Hargrove was Max’s older stepbrother, who was introduced in Season 2 of Stranger Things, and returned in Season 3 to kidnap Eleven after escaping from Hawkins Laboratory. The character of Billy Hargrove was portrayed by Australian actor Dacre Montgomery, who previously starred in the 2016 reboot of Power Rangers as Jason Lee Scott / Red Ranger and the lead role of Billy in the 2017 film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time . Here are five reasons why we love to hate Billy Hargrove!
The role of an antagonist
The antagonist is defined as the opposition or enemy against whom or against which a struggle is carried on, but in fiction, they are far more complex than that. If a story only has one main character who always gets what they want and never has any trouble achieving their goals, then there’s little reason for a reader to keep turning pages, so it’s up to other characters to create obstacles and conflicts. The purpose of an antagonist is not just to make things more difficult for your hero; rather, it’s about creating depth and layers for your narrative. You want readers to be conflicted about how they feel about your character—some scenes you’ll hate them and some scenes you’ll sympathize with them, depending on what their goal is at that moment.
Likability does not equal likeability
I think most people can agree that there is a difference between liking and likeability. While you may like a person, you may not like them as a character. It’s easy to dislike characters who are jerks or pushy, but it takes more work for an audience to hate someone and really want them to fail. I think there is something in all of us that just wants to see nice characters win, even if they seem bland or boring at first glance.
Pushed too far
Dacre Montgomery’s memorable character on Stranger Things is full of both charm and antagonism. Watching him beat up Steve Harrington was one of our favorite parts of season 2. Montgomery’s terrifying portrayal of Billy is brilliantly written, but we can’t help but think that there are a few other reasons why we love to hate him so much.
Like father, like son?
Billy is Max’s abusive step-brother. The tension between them makes for some of Stranger Things’ most compelling scenes, but it goes beyond that: when we look at their relationship as a reflection of Steve and his father, they make sense—and they add even more dimension to these characters. Take a look at these similarities in order to appreciate where these characters are coming from.
A young man in turmoil
Dacre Montgomery’s performance as Billy Hargrove was a highlight of Stranger Things 2. The more screen time he got, the more we hated him! What we can take away from his performance is that Billy didn’t turn out that way on purpose. He was a broken young man in turmoil and struggling with problems he couldn’t face alone. This gave us a better sense of why he was so violent and unpredictable.
Loyalty to his father or his girlfriend?
When an argument between Max and Billy over Steve results in a violent incident, Max decides to move out. Unbeknownst to her, Billy is plotting revenge against Steve. What starts as a petty act of vandalism soon escalates into something much more dangerous. After luring him into an abandoned building, Billy beats Steve unconscious and imprisons him in his car with no food or water.
Risking all to become a hero?
I don’t really think anyone will disagree with me when I say that we love to hate Dacre Montgomery in Stranger Things. His character, Billy Hargrove, is a perfect example of an antagonist and gives us great reason to feel hatred for him as well as reasons for us to feel sympathy.