If you were conflicted about your feelings for Billy (Dacre Montgomery) during season 2 of Stranger Things, that's understandable. This brand new bae was problematic from the start, and his character said a lot of things that suggested he was also racist, specifically towards Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin).
"There are certain type of people in this world that you stay away from, and that kid, Max, that kid is one of them," Billy says in Chapter 4 after he sees Max (Sadie Sink) talking to Lucas. "You stay away from him, you hear me? Stay away."
Off the bat, that seems pretty cut and dry, seeing as Lucas is the only Black kid in his friend group, and Montgomery felt similarly. That is, until he got to know his character a little better.
"I think he feels threatened," he told the Huffington Post. "These male figures in his life, whether it’s Lucas, Steve (Joe Keery), his dad (Will Chase), 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]...It’s that animalistic side of like, ‘You’re threatening my sibling, my world. What are you doing? Who is this boy who’s trying to weave his way into my life through my sister?'"
Honestly, this is a tough explanation to swallow. Particularly since Billy was nothing but horrible to Max for the entirety of the season, but McLaughlin believes his theory ties together a number of aspects about Billy's behaviour.
"Lucas, unfortunately, is a target. I think ... he becomes a target, and I don’t think it’s about race. Just like I don’t think Steve — somebody touched on that the other day. ‘Now is Billy attracted to Steve?’ And I was like, ‘No, I don’t think he is.’ I don’t think it’s like this confused, homoerotic kind of thing," he continued. "I think it’s literally he’s threatened by all these characters in his life."
In addition to that, McLaughlin hinted that there's a "far more sinister" side to Billy, but that we won't learn about it just yet. "We’ll see how that unfolds," he said.