Stranger Things Season 3 (also known as just Stranger Things 3) has been captivating Netflix viewers since it was released on July 4. It what is the most high-stakes season yet, not everyone makes it out alive. This includes a fan-favorite supporting character that bites the dust in the season finale.
Spoilers for Stranger Things 3's finale, "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt," ahead.
As the core Stranger Things characters battle the Mind Flayer in a final standoff, one character undisputedly meets his end: Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), the stepbrother of Maxine "Max" Mayfield (Sadie Sink).
Billy spends most of Season 3 "flayed" by the Mind Flayer, the main monster from Seasons 2 and 3. This means he's been brainwashed into doing the Upside Down being's bidding.
Billy's main goal while flayed is to hunt down Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and turn her over the ot Mind Flayer so it can kill her. He's almost successful and the crucial moment comes during the season's climax, known as "The Battle of Starcourt," which takes place at the local shopping mall.
As the Stranger Things teens clash with the Mind Flayer, Billy assists the creature and pins down Eleven. However, Eleven uses her telepathic powers to look into Billy's mind and finds a happy memory from Billy's childhood, specifically a happy memory of his biological mother on the beach. This reminder of his humanity from Eleven is enough to snap Billy out of his trance.
As this happens, the Mind Flayer lashes one of his appendages out at Eleven to kill her. Billy then blocks the monster's clawed limb, which strikes a fatal blow to Billy's chest.
His sacrifice buys just enough time for Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) to close the gate to the Upside Down, killing the Mind Flayer. Max then rushes over to her stepbrother, who tells her he's sorry, presumably for all the terrible things he's done while brainwashed and not.
In an interview with The New York Times, Montgomery reveals he knew Billy's death was coming and was grateful that he got to do so much in his final season as the character.
"We constructed it this way from the beginning," he said. "I knew coming in that this was going to be the outcome. And I don’t think I would have been given the season that Billy had if I wasn’t dying — I think because I was on my way out, I was given an amazing opportunity to do a wide array of things. I’m very grateful."
He also opened up about his big death scene and praised Brown for her "emotional maturity" while capturing the climactic moment.
"We filmed that over three days, and both Millie and I lost our voices every day because right up until the camera would roll, we would run through the mall and land on our mark and scream at each other until we both cried and cried. She has such an emotional maturity," he said. "I like to give 150 percent every time I’m on set, and she’s the same way. We just scream at each other and cry and talk about things. It was warm and collaborative, and I was lucky that I had an actor who could provide all that emotion. When she’s talking about my mother, it’s painful, and we had to keep having our eyes wiped down, for continuity, because of crying."
Photo Credit: Netflix