Yo this is not an informational post. This is an emotional rant based on things Ive heard and not confirmed. Just a psa
So I love stranger things two and the more I think about it the more I love Billy Hargrove and want to see his character broken down and put through some interesting development in future. Trouble is, this simple desire is apparently highly controversial on the tungl dot come because of the demand for ideological purity and teenagers with no dissociation between fiction and reality being given an anonymous internet megaphone to broadcast their frustration with the world. I’m no stranger to such anti fandom discourse, I tend to like dark characters and ship dark ships (where dark = problematic) so Im used to the whole “ew gross these people are horrible bigoted nazi pedo[hile abusive dog shit lumps because arbitrary fiction opinion” thing though I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me at all. I’m a pretty sensitive person so yea sometimes it hurts but whatever that’s my problem rationally I know that none of this matters. love isn’t real. death is certain. embrace the void.
So anyway Billy. Oh Billy. My dear sweet sweet self destructive asshole trainwreck of a baby boy. Important to note is that I did not love him immediately. At first I hated him. He seemed really obnoxious and pointless. Then the last episode happened. We’ll talk more about that later.
I started to get into the Billy and harringrove fandom subset a bit and let myself hope for character development. Then I heard that apparently the creators of the show have confirmed that they’re not going anywhere with Billy’s character because he’s just the new villain. um….ok….what
(i haven’t actually been able to find the source for this but hey im a pessimist so lets just assume it’s true while staying open to it being false. wow what a concept. mental flexibility.)
And I know there are a lot of fans who would like this as well, for Billy to just be the one dimensional villain and hopefully be brutally killed off as soon as possible.
And I gotta tell you guys…that is just terrible writing.
Like I said I hated him at first. He was mean and obnoxious and had a stupid mullet and did nothing of value and why was he even here? Apart from obviously being meant to contrast with Steve to prove how much better he is now which…cmon…did we really need that? Do we not have eyeballs? It felt stupid and condescending and I was truly annoyed everytime he came on screen. Gradually I became intrigued by just how fixated on Steve billy seemed to be. That was weird. Didn’t know what to make of it. Then episode 9 happened.
so hey any writers out there, if you want me to all out hate and not care about a character who you only meant to be a one dimensional villain, here’s what you dont do; you dont contextualize his behavior in a relatable and sympathetic way. Revealing his father’s abuse made soooo many things about Billy suddenly make sense. It even painted some in a new light as I looked back and realized just how self destructive most of his actions are. A lot of people also began reading him as gay, which Im not so sure of since tv loooves to queerbait, but I do agree it’s a perfectly logical interpretation of what we’ve seen. The whole scene was a giant “ooooooohhhhh” moment. With that little piece of context as to Billy’s perspective on his family (that he fears his father, that he is responsible for Max under threat of violence and thus resents her, etc) his character suddenly became…an actual character. An interesting character, that I want to see more of.
I cant for the life of me think why they decided to add this scene if they intended Billy to be a flat villain that we’re not supposed to care about. It utterly baffles me. Why? Why would you do that? This show is full of amazing, complex characters whose entire appeal is that they feel real and have flaws. So why would you add another one, but tell us that he’s not supposed to be complex or real and we’re just supposed to hate him and accept him as the dull bully villain?
I hope to god that these things Ive heard aren’t true because if they are I have a sinking feeling that the writing in this show is about to take a nosedive.