How did Billy die on Stranger Things?

The trailer for Stranger Things season 4 is here, and it is epic! The next season of Netflix’s paranormal phenomenon launches for the first time ever in two separate parts, with the first batch of episodes arriving on the streaming platform on May 27 and the second on July 1. Though Stranger Things 4 is only nine episodes long, showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have teased that it’s actually the longest season of the show due to their extra long runtime.

There’s an awful lot to unpack in that trailer. What’s Hopper getting up to in Siberia? Who is that creepy tentacle monster man? What horrors await in the Creel House? And, most importantly, how are the characters going to navigate high school alongside all their other adventures?

At one point, Max (Sadie Sink) mourns over the grave of her brother Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). It’s been almost three years since Stranger Things season 3 came out, so a refresher might be in order on the gory details of how Billy met his end.

William Hargrove — how did he die?

William “Billy” Hargrove was an extremely gray character on Stranger Things. While he was often at odds with many of the show’s other heroes, things really took a turn for the worst in season 3 when he was possessed by the Mind Flayer, the big baddie who came out of the Upside Down and wrecked the mall. Over the course of the season, Billy went from a teenager who was dealing with his own issues to a mindless killing machine. Only at the very end, as he tried to help the Mind Flayer kill Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) did he finally snap out of his trance.

As Billy crouched over Eleven, she started reciting things she had seen from his past; memories of his mother, whose kindness was in stark contrast to his abusive father. A single tear slid down Billy’s cheek as these memories broke through the fog of the Mind Flayer’s enslavement. As the huge monster came for Eleven, Billy stood up in front of it and caught its long toothy tongue before it could grab her.

You can guess how the rest went (or watch it above). Billy was stabbed to death by the Mind Flayer, sacrificing himself so that Eleven could get away, all while his sister Max watched on in horror. Though he was a total jerk for much of his run on the show, Billy Hargrove had a heroic end.

Season 4 of Stranger Things will deal with some of the emotional fallout from this traumatic turn of events, particularly how it weights on Max. In a trailer breakdown for IGN, the Duffer Brothers revealed that the scene of Max at Billy’s headstone is from the fourth episode of the season, which is titled “Dear Billy.” They teased that Max is a bigger focus this season, which means that the events with Billy are likely going to cast a pretty big shadow over things.

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