While Billy Hargrove is killed by the Mind Flayer in the season 3 finale of Stranger Things, some may think Suzie is to blame for Billy’s death.
Should Suzie be blamed for Billy’s death in Stranger Things? While Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) is technically killed by the Mind Flayer when he attempts to stop the monster from attacking Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) during the season 3 finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things, there is a compelling case that Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) is actually to blame for his death. In the wake of the third season, fans uncovered that the brief scene in which Suzie, Dustin’s (Gaten Matarazzo) girlfriend whom he met at science camp, is introduced causes delays to their mission to close the gate to the Upside Down which may have cost Billy his life.
During the episode “The Battle of Starcourt,” Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) attempt to close the gate by shutting off the machine drilling into the Upside Down, but first they must access the safe containing the keys to the portal drill. When Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) provides them with the incorrect code for Planck’s constant (the code to the safe), Dustin contacts Suzie over the radio transmitter to ask her for the number. While Dustin stresses that he needs the number in order to save the world, Suzie understandably doesn’t grasp the true magnitude of the situation, and decides to hold the number hostage until Dustin sings the song “The Never Ending Story.” While Suzie and Dustin’s duet may have held up Hopper and Joyce’s proceedings, effectively forcing Billy’s sacrifice to be necessary to save Eleven, Max (Sadie Sink), and her friends, there are many other extraneous events that occurred during the season that could’ve attributed to Billy’s death.
Since Billy was thoroughly corrupted by the Mind Flayer for the majority of season 3, it’s possible that Billy was already dying before his dramatic death in the Starcourt Mall. All of the citizens of Hawkins who were among the “flayed,” or those who were under the control of the Mind Flayer, caused irreparable damage to their bodies consuming chemicals, including Billy who was seen drinking pool chemicals during the episode “Chapter Two: The Mall Rats.” While Will acted more as a spy for the shadow monster in season 2, the Mind Flayer’s victims in season 3 consumed chemicals to deconstruct their bodies into the goo that the Mind Flayer used to create its own body so it could physically exist in our dimension. With this in mind, Billy’s body was also being prepped for this purpose and, unlike Will, Billy wouldn’t have been able to return to normal once he was freed from the Mind Flayer’s control.
While Suzie’s insistence that Dustin sing their favorite tune together may have caused delays that led to Billy’s death, the same argument can be made for multiple characters based on their actions during the finale. Technically, Suzie’s assistance wouldn’t have been necessary to begin with if Murray had remembered the correct number for Planck’s constant. Based on the finale’s editing, Joyce also could be blamed for wasting valuable time since she delayed closing the gate to share a moment with Hopper before his supposed death, maintaining eye contact with him as if saying goodbye before she disabled the portal drill. If she’d closed the gate sooner, it’s possible that the Mind Flayer wouldn’t have struck the killing blow by plunging its claws into Billy’s heart.
While Suzie, Murray, or Joyce could be blamed for Billy’s death, the people who are truly responsible are, let’s face it, the writers. Replacing Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) as a secondary antagonist within season 2, Billy needed an extreme act of redemption in order to be more likable within season 3. While Steve and Billy have often been compared due to their similar character arcs throughout Stranger Things, starting out as antagonists that were eventually redeemed, Steve’s greatest sin in season 1, however, was simply being jealous of Jonathan’s (Charlie Heaton) connection with Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and placing too much stake in his own popularity. Unlike Steve, Billy was an abusive, controlling, and violent bully, and since his sins were greater than Steve’s, his act of redemption had to be that much greater, giving his life for the people he once terrorized. The delays caused by the other characters were then contrived by the writers to make Billy’s sacrifice necessary.
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