Stranger Things' Caleb McLaughlin explains why he thinks Jason is "a better guy" than Billy
12 July 2022, 15:20
"Jason was just misunderstood. Jason took Lucas in, was trying to show him the ropes — maybe he was arrogant, a little obnoxious, but he wasn’t racist."
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Stranger Things' Caleb McLaughlin has opened up about why he thinks season 4 antagonist Jason is "a better guy" than Billy Hargrove.
Jason Carver (played brilliantly by Mason Dye) became one of Stranger Things 4's least favourite characters thanks to his intense Satanic Panic-fuelled manhunt of Eddie Munson following the death of his girlfriend Chrissy. In fact, some people even thought he was worse than Vecna by the time the finale episode rolled around.
Thanks to Jason’s violent behaviour and actions in the season finale, fans ended up drawing comparisons between him and Billy. But while Billy ended up with a somewhat redemptive ending, the fact still remains that Billy was an absolute menace – particularly in season 2, and particularly when it came to Lucas.
Seeing as his character Lucas has had to deal with aggression from both of those characters, Caleb McLaughlin has now shared his thoughts on the matter, discussing Lucas' trauma and explaining why he thinks Jason is "better" than Billy.
In an interview with IndieWire, Caleb opened up about Lucas' journey in season 4, and reflected on the bullying, racist nicknames and microaggressions that Lucas has had to deal in the earlier seasons.
When also reminded of Billy's hatred for Lucas amidst his friendship with Max, seemingly because of his skin colour, Caleb discussed how all of that would have had a very real effect on his character.
"I was reading comments recently and I remember people’s theories on part two of Episode 9," Caleb said. "People were like, 'What trauma has Luke gone through?' And I was looking through everything like, well, his girlfriend’s brother didn’t like him for being Black, also he was being made fun of [for] his skin colour in Season 1. People miss those things."
Caleb went on to discuss Billy's behaviour towards Lucas in more detail, comparing it to his relationship and horrible-to-watch confrontation with Jason in season 4.
"I love Dacre [Montgomery], he’s an amazing actor, his character Billy is amazing, but Billy really isn’t a great guy," Caleb explained. "Jason is actually a better guy; Jason was just misunderstood. Jason took Lucas in, was trying to show him the ropes – maybe he was arrogant, a little obnoxious, but he wasn’t racist."
Caleb continued: "He wasn’t really that bad. His girlfriend died, he thought Eddie killed her, and then he was just trying to be the superhero but ended up getting cut up in half, sadly."
"Lucas’s girlfriend’s brother hated him because he was Black and threw him up against the wall in Season 2, and was like 'Stay away from her.' I think people miss this! I don’t know why," he added.
(Back in season 2, Ross Duffer previously stated that Billy was racist toward Lucas. Dacre Montgomery also confirmed that the script contained "a far worse piece of language" that Billy was meant to call Lucas, but it was cut.)
As the interviewer notes, the reasons behind Billy's aggression towards Lucas are never really discussed or reckoned with in any more detail in the show.
Following season 4, viewers have also commented how jarring and upsetting it was to see Jason and his teammates physically attack both Lucas and Erica in the final episode.
Caleb continues: "It’s definitely an important topic, but it’s a TV show. I love the fact that the Duffers implement those moments. Even though Stranger Things is a fictional world, there’s still discrimination towards people in the world, and they touch on those issues. I love that they brought awareness to it in those moments, maybe even in Season 4."
Read more about Stranger Things 5 here:
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- Stranger Things 5 theory suggests how Eddie could return as Kas and kill Vecna
- Stranger Things 5 will be the last season of the Netflix series
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