Portrayed by Dacre Montgomery, William “Billy” Hargrove is an important character in the second and third seasons of ‘Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things.’ He is the stepbrother of Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink). Billy is introduced as a rival to Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). Initially, he seems like a quintessential bad boy in season 2, but as the narrative progresses, the darker aspects of his personality become evident. His father emotionally and physically abuses Billy, and the latter has decided to make the rest of the world, especially Max’s friends, pay for it. Besides Steve, Billy develops a personal enmity with Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), after he grows close to Max. In season 3, Billy becomes the host of the Mind Flayer, the extremely powerful and malevolent entity from the Upside Down. Through him, the Mind Flayer possesses Heather Holloway and her parents, turning them into the Flayed. Ultimately, Billy sacrifices himself to protect Max and her friends from the Mind Flayer.
Although Billy is an antagonist in ‘Stranger Things,’ he is quite popular among fans. If you are wondering whether Billy appears in season 4 of the series, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Billy Alive?
No, Billy is not alive in the fourth season of ‘Stranger Things.’ In the season 3 finale, titled ‘The Battle of Starcourt,’ after the link between the Mind Flayer and his human-world manifestation is severed, a fatally-injured Billy tells Max that he is sorry before dying. But that doesn’t mean that the character doesn’t appear in season 4. In the aftermath of his death, Max has become guilt-ridden and withdrawn. She has broken up with Lucas and doesn’t spend much time with her other friends. If Eleven, her closest friend in the group, were there, things probably would have been easier for Max. But as the former is in California, Max shuts the rest of the world out.
And this is what draws Vecna to her. Max realizes that what is happening to her in recent days fits the pattern of Vecna’s previous victims and tells Lucas and the rest of her friends the truth. Although they do their best to help her, Max feels an inevitable sense of doom. She writes letters to her friends and family and urges them to read those letters only after she died. In episode 4, titled ‘Dear Billy,’ Max visits her stepbrother’s grave and says that she is sorry. Suddenly, her mind is transported to the Upside Down, while her body remains in the human world. Billy, just as he was at the moment of his death, approaches her, claiming that he has waited for so very long for her to say this.
This Billy then speculates that a part of Max wanted him to die, and that’s why she feels so guilty and wishes that she would have followed him. As Max tries to step away from Billy, she falls and discovers that it was Vecna and not Billy that she was talking to all this while. Max tries to run away and ends up in what looks like the Upside Down version of the Creel Household. Meanwhile, her friends in the human world realize what has happened and use her favorite song, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” to pull her out of Vecna’s clutches.
In a 2019 interview with Vulture, Montgomery said he was fine with putting Billy Hargrove behind him. “I’m happy not to return,” he said. “It’s been an amazing journey for me and this character, and I trust the Duffers know that the end is the end. This season for me was a young actor’s dream. To be honest, I’ve put Billy to bed in my head. I’m excited for the future, and couldn’t be more excited to move on and show people what else I can do.”