|“||Don't take too hard man, pretty boy like you doesn't have anything to worry about. Plenty of bitches in the sea.||„|
|~ Billy Hargrove|
William "Billy" Hargrove is a major antagonist in the Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things. He serves as the secondary antagonist of the second season and as the central antagonist of the third season upon being possessed by the Mind Flayer. He is the stepbrother of Max Mayfield and archenemy of Steve Harrington.
He was portrayed by Dacre Montgomery.
35 years ago in 1984, Billy and his new family moved from California to Hawkins, Indiana, and he began attending Hawkins High School.
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 31, 1984, 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, Lucas Sinclair, and Will Byers as they were cycling home. Max said it was her fault that they had to move, and Billy swerved to avoid collision with the boys.
Antagonizing Lucas Sinclair and Steve Harrington
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. Billy also attempted to wind Steve up by talking to him about his relationship with Nancy in the school shower.
Billy eventually did leave Max to skateboard home one day when she was late. He left with a date.
One day, when Billy saw Max leaving her school with Lucas Sinclair. Billy watched Max and Lucas argue with each other. When Max got into his car, Billy told her that there are people in the world who she should avoid and that Lucas is 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.
Seeing that his sister was missing this did not seem to matter much until the arrival of his stepfather and mother who asked him where he was and what was his responsibility, he was forced to look for her until finally he arrived at the house he was with the Other guys, Steve Harrington came out to distract him and this asked him about what he did there but the achievement to see his sister Max with the other guys including Lucas.
This makes him hit Steve in the lower parts making him fall, and enter the house , when seeing his sister next to Lucas this one attacks against him but Steve appears and begins a fight against him, after some blows this furiously gives him a blow and throws to the ground beginning to hit him in such a way to leave him immobilized. His sister Max, upon seeing this, takes courage and uses a syringe with tranquilizer injected into the neck leaving it insensitive, finally at some point it returns to the house without knowing if it still has remorse.
Billy makes his appearance again in the third season, having a job as a lifeguard at a public pool during the summer. While working, he very much enjoys the attention of the female pool-goers and even manages to secure a date with one of them. However, when he is driving to the motel he wants to meet his date late at night, he has an accident near an abandoned factory. While Billy survives, he is suddenly grabbed by a fragmented Mind Flayer who drags Billy into the factory's basement and infuses him with its essence. Billy thus becomes the first of the "Flayed" - humans infused with part of the Mind Flayer's essence. While he retains his psyche, the Mind Flayer can take over his mind and his body, making Billy a puppet.
The Mind Flayer now uses Billy to lure more people to the factory in order to add them to his army of the Flayed. The first person Billy brings is his colleague Heather and together, they kidnap Heather's parents and bring them to the factory where they become Flayed as well. Although Max and her friend Eleven become suspicious, they are unable to notice what exactly is wrong, thus allowing Billy and Heather to go through with their evil deed and surrender Heather's parents to the Mind Flayer. Over the course of the next days, the army of the Flayed grows and grows, with several dozens of citizens falling under the influence of the Mind Flayer.
However, eventually the Party suspect Billy of being the Mind Flayer's new host. In order to find out, they lure him into the sauna of the pool he works at and lock him up. By raising the heat - something the Mind Flayer cannot stand - they manage to prove their suspicions, but Billy manages to break free and attack the group. While Eleven manages to fend him off with her supernatural powers and forces him to retreat, the group also realizes that Billy is not at fault for his actions since he is controlled by the Mind Flayer.
Eventually, the Mind Flayer rounds up all his Flayed except Billy. It melts their bodies to mold a body for itself out of their flesh. While he heads out to confront and kill the Party, it sends Billy to Starcourt Mall, where the Party is hiding out. Billy sabotages the group's car and waits inside his car on the parking lot to prevent anybody from fleeing from the mall. Eventually, he heads inside after locating Max, Mike and Eleven. He knocks out all of them and kidnaps Eleven, bringing her back into the mall to surrender her to the Mind Flayer. However, while doing so, Eleven manages to break through the Mind Flayer's psychic barriers and reaches Billy directly by reminding him of one of his few happy memories of his childhood. This allows Billy to get back control over his own body and he attacks the Mind Flayer just as it is about to kill Eleven. However, the Mind Flayer then focuses its wrath on Billy, impaling him on several of its spiked tentacles before ramming another tentacle directly through his heart. While Billy dies, his sacrifice bought the group enough time to defeat the Mind Flayer once more. After the chaos has settled, Max takes time to mourn her brother.
Billy is captivating 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 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 step-sister.
Billy was shown to be homicidal as well. Billy was perfectly willing to try to run over the boys simply because Max wouldn't say it was her fault they moved. Billy also beat Steve brutally and most likely was going to kill him before Max stopped him. He also as revealed in Runaway Max brutally and sadistically broke Max's friend's arm. He even shoved Lucas against a wall and about to beat him before Steve stopped him and emotionally abused Max.
Before his teenage years, Billy was actually a kind young boy who loved spending time with his mother. Unfortunately, his father's abusive behavior forced his mother to leave. The abuse from his father throughout the years led Billy to become a bully.
In spite of his aggressive nature it is implied that he cares deeply for his family. In Runaway Max he was shown to sometimes get along with Max who pitied him for getting beaten by his dad. When he warned Max to stay away from Lucas it was after he saw Max and Lucas arguing implying he was simply being overprotective and not racist. Even when possessed by the Mind Flayer, while he gathers more victims, he noticeably spares his own family members, who would have been easiest for him to attack. The day after his possession, when Karen Wheeler approached him, the Mind Flayer seemed to urge Billy to attack and subdue her on the spot. Billy resisted the urge, and instead warned Karen to stay away from him, sparing her what he knew others would suffer from him. Billy even sacrificed himself to save the Party and admitted to Max he was sorry for what he did to her.
- He is the third antagonist in the series to be redeemed.
- There are four common beliefs as to why Billy didn't want Max with Lucas, and if he was racist or not: Evidence suggesting he was racist is his "certain type of people to stay away from and Lucas being one of them" comment, the fact he continues to get made every time he sees Max with Lucas, the Duffers Brothers stated they think (repeat THINK) he is racist, the fact Billy only attacked Lucas at the Byers house and that the original script included a "far worse piece of language for Billy to call Lucas.".
- Evidence suggesting he isn't is that he never called Lucas a racial slur nor did he make an explict comment about Lucas's race (whereas Troy called Lucas "midnight" in season one), that Billy saw Max and Lucas arguing and asked Max was Lucas causing her trouble and why was she upset implying he thought Lucas was like his dad (which is what Billy may have meant by "certain type of people" as in horrible people not black people) and was being overprotective which season 3 implies. Billy also may have only targeted Lucas because he only saw Max with Lucas until he got to the Byers house. Darce Montgeremy even said, "It had nothing to do with race and Billy loved his sister and felt threatened.". He explained this is why the language Billy was supposed to call Lucas was removed because he wasn't racist and it altered his motivation to where it wasn't racist. Billy also mentions having met Mrs. Sinclair who told him to check the Wheeler house implying they had a friendly conversation and he had no problem with black people in general.
- Runaway Max takes a third option and implies Billy wasn't racist or overprotective but just didn't want Max to have any friends at all. This is further supported by Billy breaking Max's friend Nate's arm simply for being with Max. He also attempts to run over all the kids not only Lucas and Caleb McLaughlin even denied Billy being racist as well stating Billy just hated everyone and Lucas happened to be the target and implied that he would have had the same reaction if it was Mike or Dustin.
- However, in the novel Max states, "Neil, and I guess Billy too, had a low opinion on anyone who wasn't white.". The fact Max says "I guess" for Billy implies that she hasn't seen anything that indicates he's racist unlike Neil who she's confident is racist. This may imply Billy didn't want Max with Lucas not out of racism but out of fear that Neil would blame him and beat him if he saw Max with a black kid.
- He has a similar personality and appearance to Henry Bowers (2017 adaptation).