A Defense of Johnathan Byers in Stranger Things Season 4
Note: I will only be talking about his actions in Season 4. I still think it was gross for him to take pictures of Nancy in Season 1, and it is terrible that he never apologized for it. That being said, I think that the writers were terrible to him in Season 4 and I like his character overall.
In Season 4, Jonathan starts smoking weed and hanging out with his friend Argyle. He and Nancy are still together, but they are not visiting each other during Spring Break. I’m not sure if anyone has said this is out of character for Johnathan, but it is a disappointing storyline for many, especially people who like Johnathan and Nancy as a couple. I personally liked them as a couple, but I didn’t mind if they broke up either.
When it comes to fictional relationships, I like to see good writing, chemistry, and compatibility between characters. If characters have all three, sometimes I can enjoy couples who weren’t as good together in past seasons, but have since shown improvement in those areas. Character development can be a huge game-changer.
Jonathan and Nancy have several of these developments, so I liked them in general. Nancy and Steve… I don’t know. I like them both individually, but when they broke up in Season 2, they just weren’t in a good place. Nancy didn’t love him. It made sense. character development was good.
But in Season 3, the writers just made changes without really developing the characters. From then on, the writers of Stranger Things started doing this a lot.
One example would be Hopper and Joyce. In Season 3, I didn’t ship them at all. Hopper often yelled at Joyce, ignored her, and acted spiteful for no reason. His anger toward Mike and El was overblown, and he acted entitled to a date with Joyce. His anger alone was a red flag.
I remember feeling so uncomfortable just watching Hopper in Season 4, but I didn’t exactly have the words to say why. Especially after his final scene with El. He seems so genuine, but (almost) dying doesn’t automatically make you a better person. Nor does writing a heartfelt note (where you don’t actually apologize) redeem you for your wrongs.
I found a YouTube video that talks about this if you’re interested in learning more.
Basically, they were still supposed to be a couple. We were supposed to think they yelled—mostly Hopper yelled at her—because he liked her.
In Season 4, Hopper is a better. He doesn’t get angry or act the way he did in S3. He is much closer to the S2 Hopper that I loved. He and Joyce reunite, and I feel like I want to ship them now. They have chemistry.
Because Hopper changed and became a better person in Russia apparently. That’s good I guess, but the character development was weak.
But Jonathan becomes a joke character in the fourth season. But his relationship with Nancy—and their falling out—at least feels realistic.
It is a bit sad, watching them go in different directions.
I feel like Jonathan is one of those characters who people either like or don’t. He’s not charming and funny like Steve, and he doesn’t have a strong arc. He was never a jerk, and he wasn’t perfect. He had to step in and help his mom after his father left. He always has been there for his family, and the kind of love he has for them is often under appreciated. He does what he’s supposed to do. Jonathan doesn’t expect a thank you.
He doesn’t want to go far away for college because he doesn’t want to leave his mom and brother behind.
His girlfriend is the exact opposite. She loves her parents and she and her mom are sometimes close, but she doesn’t want their life. Nancy wants to be a journalist and to travel; she doesn’t want to let life happen to her. She wants to fall in love and stay in love and she won’t settle like her parents did. She wants to go to her dream school, Berkeley and succeed there.
Jonathan is different. He has a family that needs him—he feels, and he doesn’t have the financial ability to just go to college wherever he wants. He has to think about life differently. Jonathan has other things to consider. He realizes that he has to be practical when it comes to college.
He also doesn’t want to hold Nancy back. He knows she has big dreams and hopes for her future.
Johnathan knows their choices are tearing them apart, but he knows there is little either of them can do about it. He has no idea what the future holds for himself and he can’t imagine life after she heads off to college. He likes photography, but he doesn’t feel like he can pursue it as a career like Nancy can. But it hurts too much to think about, and he doesn’t have many people to talk about it with.
Will is going through his own stuff and so is his mom. He loves his family and he wants to help them and be there for them in any way he can.
And he’s lost, and I can’t blame him. I hope Season 5 remembers this Jonathan, the guy who is trying his best.
Steve used to be the same guy in Season 2. He is lost and confused about his place in the world. He has few friends, and he just lost his girlfriend. But now we know he’s going to be all right. He is happy.
And if Hopper—after all his behavior in Seadon 3— can be be happy with Joyce, why can’t any hero on this show get a happy ending?
What do you think? Do you have any predictions for Season 5. Let me know in the comments below