Warning: This story contains spoilers from Season 4 Stranger Things.
A twisted return. Stranger ThingsSeason 4 found a way to bring Billy Hargrove back (Dacre Montgomery) back — but the reunion between him and sister Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) was very short-lived.
During episode 4, Max goes to visit Billy’s grave thinking she doesn’t have much time left before Vecna’s curse kills her. The trip to the cemetery pushes her to reflect on her stepbrother’s death.
“Dear Billy, I don’t know if you can even hear this. Two years ago, I would have said, ‘That’s ridiculous, impossible.’ But that was before I found out about alternate dimensions and monsters, so I am just going to stop assuming that I know anything,” Max reads from a letter she wrote to Billy. “So much has happened since you left.”
In the scene, Max opens up about the ups and downs in her life since Billy’s passing. “Basically, ever since you left, everything’s been a total disaster. And the worst part is I can’t tell anyone why you’re gone. I can’t tell them that you saved El’s life. That you saved me my life. I play that moment back in my head all the time,” she continues. “And sometimes I imagine myself running to you, pulling you away. I imagine that you would still be here if I had. Everything would be perfect again. I can see us becoming friends. Good friends. Like a real brother and sister.”
Max admits that Max is still pondering the Starcourt Mall battle and wondering if she did enough. “I thought maybe we could try again. But that was not what happened. I just stood there and I watched,” the high school student adds. “For a while I tried to be happy. But maybe that was also the day that a part of my soul died. And I haven’t told anyone this. I just can’t. But I had to tell it. Before it is too late.”
Vecna conjures up a vision of Billy as a taunt for Max, as Max attempts to leave. “I’ve been waiting to hear those words. It took so long. But it wasn’t the full truth, was it Max? I believe there is something deep within you that wants me to go to my grave that day. Maybe even relieved. Happy,” the fake version of Billy tells his younger sister. “That’s what you stood there, isn’t it Max?”
He continues: “It’s OK. You can admit it now. No more lies. No more hiding. This is why you feel so guilty. Why you hide from your friends. Why you hide from others. And why, at night, have you ever wished to follow my path? Follow me into death. That is why I’m here. To end your suffering once and for all.”
The shocking moment comes after Montgomery, 27, previously revealed that he was “happy not to return” to the role following his season 3 departure. “I’ve put Billy to bed in my head,” the actor told Vulture in 2019, adding that he trusted the Duffer brothers to know “that the end is the end.”
At the time, the Australia native also opened up about fighting to have Billy’s backstory introduced. “I really tried to humanize him as much as I could,” he added, noting that he hoped fans remember his character by “what he did in the end” instead of his previous behavior.
Sink, 20 years old, hinted at Max’s struggles on screen after season 3. Elle earlier this month, “Max is grieving the loss of her brother, and the loss of Eleven, who’s moved away. Her whole world has changed. And also, she’s headed into high school. So, she’s in a completely unfamiliar environment.”
Season 4 Stranger ThingsNetflix is streaming it now