Stranger Things 2 cast: Is Billy racist? Dacre Montgomery says no

Credit: Stranger Things - Tina Rowden - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Tina Rowden - Netflix /

What did you think of new Stranger Things 2 character, Billy, and his behavior toward Lucas?

Before Stranger Things 2 premiered on Oct. 27, I wrote about my suspicions about one of the new characters that joined the cast. Dacre Montgomery joined the cast as Billy, the jean jacket loving older brother of Max who drives a Trans Am and had the look of someone who was up to no good.

After watching the nine episodes, I feel vindicated because I was on the “hate Billy bandwagon” before everyone else. But there is one thing that needs to be clarified and that’s Billy’s behavior and actions toward Lucas.

Billy tells his younger sister Max not to hang out with Lucas after seeing them talking and later puts his hands on him when Lucas doesn’t follow Billy’s orders. Lucas didn’t back down and told him to take his hands off of him. After those exchanges, many viewers were wondering if Billy was a racist and Dacre Montgomery wants to clear things up.

Initially, Montgomery had the same thoughts when reading the script but as more details were revealed about the character he was playing, he changed his perception. Billy isn’t a racist, he’s just threatened.

"“I think he feels threatened,” Montgomery tells the Huffington Post. “These male figures in his life, whether it’s Lucas, Steve, his dad, whoever these different characters that embody his world are… if Max is that one constant, he knows he needs to drop off and look after [her]. If any of these characters object with that person and his relationship with that person, it’s a threatened kind of behavior.”"

It’s not just Lucas that was in Billy’s crosshairs as he had a few run-ins with Steve who he bullied at school, in the showers, and most notably, when he beat the ever-loving snot out of him before Max jammed the syringe in his neck that was leftover from trying to knockout Will so the Mindflayer couldn’t find them all.

So Billy isn’t racist, he’s just a colossal jerk.

"“Lucas, unfortunately, [becomes] a target, and I don’t think it’s about race, Montgomery continued. … I think it’s literally he’s threatened by all these characters in his life.”"

It’s one thing to be an overprotective big brother when your little sister starts talking with boys, but it’s a completely different thing to put your hands on someone for talking to them. There is no justification for it, but viewers began to understand a little bit about why Billy is the way that he is when we meet Billy’s father.

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Billy has an overbearing and abusive father who referred to him by using a homophobic slur and puts his hands on him in an eyebrow-raising scene that almost made viewers feel sorry for him. Billy is a chip off the old block, repeating the behavior of his controlling and abusive father and lashing out at Max and anyone she associated with.

I wonder if we’ll see a different side of Billy in Stranger Things 3 and if he will follow a similar redemption tale that Steve experienced in Stranger Things 2 after being the human antagonist in the first season.