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This article or section reveals details from the third season. Read at your own discretion...

Billy Hargrove is a main character and a secondary antagonist in the second season. He was one of the main antagonists of the third season but he redeemed himself by sacrificing his life to protect Eleven.

History

Background

Billy is the son of Neil Hargrove and an unnamed mother in California. His father was physically abusive to him and his mother. Billy had a passion for surfing as a kid, and his mother was very supportive of him. He has fond memories of her standing on the beach watching him surf. Billy's mother abandoned him some time later, due to Neil's behavior. Neil eventually married Susan Mayfield, mother of Max Mayfield, who was introduced to Billy as his "new sister" which he did not like. Neil's abuse towards Billy turned him into a childhood bully, and he is seen in his memories beating up other kids.

In 1984, Billy and his new family moved from California to Hawkins, Indiana, and he began attending Hawkins High School.

1984

Billy arrived at Hawkins High School in his blue Camaro with his stepsister Max. As Max skateboarded towards Hawkins Middle School, Billy got out of his car and was noticed by several students including Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler as well as three other girls who admired his figure.

On October 31st, Billy waited to pick up Max from school. When she arrived, he chastised her for being late and said next time it happened she would have to skateboard home. On the way home, Billy noted that Max seemed to enjoy their new town despite her denial of this. Billy then asked her whose fault it was that they had to move to Hawkins; Max muttered that it was his. Billy was enraged by this comment and began speeding and yelling. Billy then threatened to run over Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair as they were cycling home. Max grabbed the steering wheel and swerved to the other lane to avoid collision with the boys.

That night, Billy attended Tina's Halloween party and impressed many Hawkins teenagers by winning a drinking contest; a contest that Steve Harrington, a very popular student at their school, had up until then claimed the title of. Billy quickly gained Tommy H. as a friend and lackey. Tommy H. then introduced Billy to Steve Harrington. Although the introduction was brief, it ignited a rivalry between Billy and Steve.

Billy joined the school basketball team and played against Steve, demonstrating skill and strength over him. Billy's team won easily against Steve's team. That day, Billy was waiting with a date at his car for Max to come. However, Billy got annoyed waiting for Max and left with his date, being angered further when his date called Max his sister. When Billy next played Steve in basketball, he and Tommy wound him up about his failing relationship with Nancy while in the showers. Billy also made Steve unnerved by giving him questionable advice about girls in general and that "there are always other bitches".

One day, when Billy saw Max leaving her school with Lucas Sinclair, Billy questioned Max if she knew him, and Max denied knowing Lucas. When Max got into his car, Billy told her that there are people in the world who she should avoid and that Lucas was one of them. Max tried to stand up for herself, but Billy tightly gripped her arm and reinstated his command. As they drove home, Max quietly cried. Billy was further angered by Max when he saw her with Lucas a second time at the arcade. Max tried to convince Billy that she wasn't hanging out with Lucas, but she fails to convince him. Billy then reminded Max of what happened when she lied, possibly breaking her skateboard as punishment.

Later that day, Billy was lifting weights and listening to loud music while Max was trying to fix her skateboard.

Max later left with Lucas without Billy knowing. His father and step-mother arrived home later that night as he was preparing to leave on a date. When his father and step-mother found Max gone from the house, his father angrily questioned Billy where his step-sister had gone. Billy replied he didn't really know where she went before stating that he didn't acknowledge Max as his family. Infuriated with Billy for his behavior and for disrespecting his stepmother, his father pushed him against the wall and hit Billy. He then ordered Billy to cancel his date and find his step-sister. After his father and step-mother left, a few tears escape his eyes, showing that Billy wasn't as tough as he seemed when it came to his father.

Billy first went to the Sinclair house to look for Max. Unable to find her there, he then left for the Wheeler residence. Mike's mother, Karen, having just gotten out of the tub because her husband wasn't answering the door, greets him and Billy flirted with her before getting the directions to the Byers residence, the hangout for the boys. Billy drove to the Byers residence, finding Steve and the rest of the kids there. Billy pushed Steve away and threatened Lucas to stay away from Max, and in response Lucas kicked him in the groin. Before Billy could harm him, Steve intervened. Steve then initiated a fist fight with Billy who had the upper hand initially before Billy recovered and started brutally beating Steve to the ground. Max, having had enough, drugged Billy with the syringe taken from the lab and made Billy promise to leave her and her friends alone.[1]

1985

In the summer of 1985, Billy began working as a lifeguard at Hawkins Community Pool. Billy, being in very good shape, gathered much attention from women, most notably from Karen Wheeler. Billy also had a particular interest in Karen as well, and while flirting with her, he invited her to join him for "private swimming lessons" in an attempt to seduce her. Karen initially agreed to meet up with him, however on the night of their "date", as she was leaving, Karen sees her husband Ted Wheeler and daughter Holly in his arms sleeping together on the couch, and changed her mind about having an affair and jeopardizing her family's stability. Billy was unaware of this, and while in the car on his way to go meet her, rehearsed his date with her to himself.

While distracted, he suddenly crashed into something, lost control and slid to a stop in front of Brimborn Steel Works. Getting out of the car, he found it covered in a slimy substance. He heard something moving nearby, and called out to it. Suddenly he was grabbed by the foot and dragged into the steel mill, where the Mind Flayer planted a part of itself inside him. He then ran out of the mill and got back into his car, speeding away in a panic. He stopped at a payphone to call 911, but as soon as the phone picked up, he finds himself in the Upside Down, and a group of people emerging from the fog, slowly walking towards him. He was approached by a copy of himself, and asked what it wanted. It told him to "build what you see", referring to the zombie-like mob behind it, then suddenly he returned to the real world, clueless as to what happened.

The next day, Billy arrived at the pool in a drunk-like state, stumbling, sweating, and physically uncomfortable. He sat atop the lifeguard chair with a shirt on, which is later noted by Max as being very unusual for him. He later covered himself completely with a towel. Karen, thinking that Billy must have been troubled about her standing him up the previous night, approached Billy in the locker room, facing the wall, where she apologized to him and explained that she doesn't want to ruin her family. Billy briefly thought about attacking Karen (to possess her like he later does with Heather), but instead warned her to get away from him, showing that Billy possibly had genuine feelings for her and did not want her to get hurt or killed. While sitting in the sun on the lifeguard chair, Billy gets a severe burn on the part of his arm exposed to direct sunlight. He goes into the shower and begins screaming in agony and curls up onto the floor. Heather comes in to check on him after hearing his screams. Billy then attacks and subdues her, takes her to the steel mill and presents her to the Mind Flayer for possession.

Heather begins working with Billy to possess victims to use in the Mind Flayer's physical body. They first go after Heather's parents (Tom, who also owns Hawkins Post, and Janet Holloway) by having dinner with them and feeding them drugged cookies. They are interrupted by Max and El, who have grown suspicious that Billy has harmed Heather, but after seeing Heather seemingly alive and well, they leave. Janet eats a cookie and passes out. Tom is knocked out by Heather with a champagne bottle, and the two of them drag the Holloways to the steel mill for possession.

After further spying on Billy, knowing now that Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer, the crew (consisting of Max, El, Mike, Will, and Lucas), attempt to burn the Mind Flayer out of Billy similarly to how Joyce did to Will in Season 2. They lure him into the sauna at the Hawkins Pool using a drowning dummy and a walkie-talkie, where El throws him against the wall (shattering part of it) and barricades the door. Billy is furious, pounding on the door and demanding they let him out, and screaming with anger. After luring Max towards the door by pretending to cry, he then uses a piece of the shattered wall to break through the glass window and attempt to stab Max with it, yelling "I'll fucking gut you!". He then breaks through the door with superhuman strength, and has a brief fight with El, which ends with her throwing him outside through a brick wall. He then flees back to the steel mill, where Heather tends to his wounds and acknowledges the small army of "flayed" people that they have accrued.

Later in the season, El visits Billy in the Void again, to "make contact" with him and find out what happened to him. El notes to the group that he is just sitting in his room, doing nothing. El "connects" to him and she is taken to a beach in California, where a young Billy is surfing while his mother watches and cheers him on. He proudly exclaims "that wave was at least 7 feet!". El walks towards the massive shadow storm raging in the distance (the "source"), where she witnesses Billy's memories of his whole childhood being abused by Neil and later taking on the traits of his father by bullying others. Inside the eye of the storm is Brimborn Steel Works. Mike tells her to come back, and when she attempts to return, she finds herself in the room alone, and not in the real dimension. Billy walks into the room, and warns her "You shouldn't have looked for me. Because now we see you. You see, we've been building all of this - for you." Meaning that the Mind Flayer is possessing people to build it's own strength to be able to defeat El. El finally returns to the real world, and tells everyone they need to leave, because the MF knows where they are. At this point, all of the people that were possessed (excluding Billy) are then taken to the bottom of the steel mill where the MF has been waiting, and morph together into the MF, making it bigger and stronger than ever.

Apart from small scenes of Billy tracing the group's steps, we next see Billy during the Battle of Starcourt. Jonathan, Nancy, and the kids attempt to leave in Karen Wheeler's station wagon, but the car won't start. Billy is sitting in his car, revving the engine while watching them, as Jonathan notices the ignition cable has been stolen off the distributor. After stealing the cable off the mall's 1986 model year Chrysler LeBaron Turbo, Billy charges towards them but is T-boned by Steve and Robin in the Cadillac. Jonathan, Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Lucas flee in the station wagon while the MF chases them, while El, Max, and Mike run back into the Mall. Billy (who is after El) follows them. Billy corners them in the utility halls of the mall, knocks Mike and Max out and takes El back to the center of the Mall. The MF stops chasing the others, presumably having been "called" by Billy after having captured El. As the MF returns to take El, the group bombards it with fireworks to distract it while Hopper and Joyce are attempting to close the gate. El mentions "7 feet" to Billy, which stops him, and talks to him of the memory she witnessed when she visited him, his last memory of true happiness. Billy sheds a tear, and then sacrifices himself to the MF in order to prevent it from taking El. This leaves just enough time for Joyce to close the gate and kill the MF. After it dies, Max runs to Billy, who only has the strength to say "I'm sorry" before passing away. Max cries, and mourns his death for months afterwards.

Personality and Traits

Billy is captivating, wicked, suave and edgy with a violent and unpredictable nature revealed only to those closest to him, especially those of a younger age. He acts antagonistic to Steve and sees him as a rival to overcome. He also displays subtle signs of racism, warning his stepsister Max to stay away from Lucas, then later attacking Lucas simply for standing next to Max. He drives a blue Camaro and is a drinking-game pro, immediately becoming keg king in Hawkins. Despite this reckless attitude, Billy struggles with problems at home: namely, his abusive father, who treats him much like he treats his own stepsister.

However, in 1985 when Eleven enters his mind to find out the Location of the Mind Flayer it is seen that, when younger, he was a friendly and happy child when his mother was around and only became violent after his mother left the abusive relationship, becoming more and more like his father.

Powers and Abilities

Billy gained inhuman abilities after becoming one of the Mind Flayer's Flayed.

  • Hive Mind: As one of the Flayed, Billy is connected to a hive mind where he is able to communicate to and share the pain of other Flayed.
  • Enhanced Strength: After being activated by the Mind Flayer, Billy was able to bust out of the sauna room that he was trapped in with pure force. He was also able to temporarily resist Eleven's telekinesis and throw a heavy weighted barbell at her with ease.
  • Enhanced Durability: Another ability he had gained after becoming one of the Flayed was that he was able to take hits and blows that a normal human would not be able to. He was able to recover from getting hit in the head with a metal barbell in seconds and was able to escape Eleven even after being thrown through a brick wall with considerable force.

Relationships

Familial

Neil is Billy’s father. Neil is shown to be abusive towards Billy, both physically and verbally threatening him. His father’s abuse is visibly distressing for him, and is likely the source of his violent behavior as he abused him and his mother. After Billy's mother's departure, Neil was free to abuse Billy even more, giving him a violent, abusive nature as well.

Unlike his father, Billy seemed to have a good relationship with his biological mother when he was young. She always supported and encouraged Billy's dreams to be a surfer. Billy loved his mother dearly as he tried to protect her from his father's abuse. However, after his mother finally had enough of the abuse and left, Billy was heartbroken and tried to get his mother to come back, but to no avail. When his father remarried, Billy took all of his anger out on his stepsister, Max as he couldn't do it his stepmother as Neil was always by her side. After being reminded of his mother and her beauty by Eleven, Billy cried, showing deep down he still loved his mother. This memory and love for his mother, made Billy to sacrifice himself to the Mind Flayer and apologize to Max for abusing her as he died.

Susan is Billy's stepmother. Billy’s exact feelings towards Susan are currently unclear. However, it is later revealed Billy blames Susan for marrying his dad and causing his biological mother to leave. He couldn't take his anger out on Susan for his mother's departure so he took it out on her daughter, Max.

Max and Billy are stepsiblings, sharing a complicated history and difficult relationship. Billy would often treat Max in a controlling, domineering fashion. Billy also does not like when people refer to Max as his sister, which amplifies his contempt for her. It was later revealed that Billy despises Max because he blames her and her mother for his own mother's departure after she and his dad divorced. After sacrificing himself to save Eleven from the Mind Flayer, Billy apologized to Max for abusing her as his stepsister sat by his side as he died.

Non-Familial

Shortly after his arrival, Billy started a rivalry with Steve, surpassing him and claiming his title as “King” of the high school. In "The Gate" their rivalry turned violent when Billy discovered that Steve was trying to prevent him from seeing Max. He brutally beat Steve, injuring him considerably, and was only stopped by being sedated by Max.

When Billy began to outperform Steve, Tommy gladly became Billy’s lackey. It remains to be seen if Billy cares about Tommy in any capacity.

Billy developed a hatred for Lucas Sinclair for being dark-skinned and being near his stepsister. Billy ordered Max to stay away from Lucas and Lucas would learn of Billy's abuse towards Max. When confronted by Billy at the Byers House, Billy attacked Lucas for being with Max, but Lucas fought back by kicking him in the groin. It angered Billy, but he was stopped from attacking Lucas even more by Steve Harrington. Lucas was even surprised when Max sedated Billy and threatened him to leave her and her friends alone; Lucas included.

A year later, in 1985, Lucas helped his friends confirm whether Billy was possessed by the Mind Flayer by trapping him in a sauna. When Billy tried to attack Max, Lucas saved her by flinging a rock at him with his sling shot. After Billy was confirmed to be possessed, Lucas wanted to find him and burn the Mind Flayer out of Billy, but was reprimanded by Mike who said they'd also need to stop the Mind Flayer. While trying to escape Starcourt Mall, Lucas and his friends were nearly run over by a possessed Billy until Steve and Robin Buckley managed to save them. Then, as Lucas fought the Mind Flayer with fireworks, Billy felt the Mind Flayer's pain. It is unknown how Lucas felt when Billy sacrificed himself to protect him, Eleven, Max, and the rest of his friends from the Mind Flayer.

Heather was Billy's co-worker at the Hawkins Community Pool. Under the Mind Flayer's influence, Billy kidnapped her and forced her to become one of the Flayed.

Appearances

Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt

Family tree

Template:Familytree/Sam Mayfield
 
 
 
Susan Hargrove
Susan Hargrove
 
 
Neil Hargrove Family Tree icon 001
Neil Hargrove
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Billy's mother
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Max port 01
Max Mayfield
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Billy Hargrove Family Tree icon 001
Billy Hargrove

Memorable Quotes

Billy to Steve:

  • "I've been waiting to meet this "King Steve", everybody's talking so much about!"
  • "Am I dreaming or is that you, Harrington?"

Billy to Lucas:

  • "You're so dead, Sinclair."

Billy to His Victims:

  • "Don't be afraid. It'll all be over soon. Just try to hold still..."

Billy after breaking the sauna window:

  • "I'll fucking gut you!"

Billy to Max before his death:

  • "I'm sorry."

Behind the scenes

Character development

The Duffer Brothers wanted to introduce Billy into the series because "it was important to [them] to have a human villain in there that could disrupt the lives of our characters."[2]

The character draws inspiration from Stephen King's human villains who are often as bad or worse than the supernatural evil.[3] The Duffers encouraged actor Dacre Montgomery to look to Jack Nicholson's work for inspiration for the role, in particular, his portrayal of Jack Torrance in the 1980 film The Shining.[4]

Montgomery's mullet is a wig. [5]

Casting

The character's identity was first revealed to the public via a casting call obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.[6] On October 14, 2016, it was revealed that the role had gone to Australian actor Dacre Montgomery.[7]

Montgomery submitted an audition tape after being informed by his manager that Stranger Things was casting two regulars. In the tape, which was made in the style of a short film, Montgomery danced to ‘80s music wearing only a g-string, leather jacket, and "crazy glasses." He was offered the role of Billy after a Skype call with the Duffer Brothers.[8]

Trivia

  • On October 25, 2017, streaming music service Spotify created playlists based on main characters, coinciding with the premiere of Season 2. Billy's playlist is Billy's Pedal to the Metal, described as "80s hair metal and aggro rock paired best with after-school beatdowns, road rage, and mullets."
  • Another possible inspiration for Billy is Ace Merrill from Stand By Me because of his treatment towards Lucas and Max.
  • Billy's car has a Californian license plate that says "PCE 235."
  • Billy is the second antagonist to be redeemed; as he died protecting the Party from the Mind Flayer during the Season 3 finale.

Gallery

View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see Billy Hargrove/Gallery.


References

  1. "The Gate"
  2. "Meet Stranger Things Season 2 Villain, Billy" TV Guide. June 10, 2017.
  3. "Stranger Things season 2: Who's in danger? Who's new? The plot revealed!" Entertainment Weekly. February 10, 2017.
  4. "Meet New 'Stranger Things' Star Dacre Montgomery | IMDb EXCLUSIVE" IMDb on YouTube. July 22, 2017.
  5. http://www.eonline.com/news/889828/stranger-things-season-2-it-s-time-to-talk-about-those-mullets-eleven-s-hair
  6. "'Stranger Things': Meet the 3 New Characters Joining Season 2" The Hollywood Reporter. September 1, 2016.
  7. "Stranger Things adds new cast members for season 2Entertainment Weekly. October 14, 2016.
  8. "'Power Rangers': Dacre Montgomery on "Potential" Sequel and His Naked Audition for 'Stranger Things'" The Hollywood Reporter. March 22, 2017.
Hargrove
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