Stranger Things — the Netflix phenomenon paying homage to sci-fi flicks of yesteryear — revels in its nostalgia-aimed scenes, as kids on bicycles take to the streets to save the day. Though boasting quite high critical and audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the show’s reception has been met with increasing condemnation each passing season.
Stranger Things, though still considered a successful show in areas deemed relevant to filmic success, faced some backlash this past season. Critics and audience alike felt that, in an attempt to remain nostalgiac, the series grew mimetic of 80s films (instead of emulative), and sacrificed its ingenuity and flair as a result.
As Stranger Things faced a few adjustments, one of the characters underwent a narrative makeover, taking on a personality many fans feel paled in comparison to the character’s original shtick. Many fans argue that those behind Stranger Things ruined Detective Hopper in season three.
Why ‘Stranger Things’ fans were not happy with Detective Hopper in season three
Throughout seasons one and two of Stranger Things, Detective Hopper was a broken man who, mostly emotionally reserved and cynical, found himself with a drink in his hand to help with his grief. However, he was easy to sympathize with and functioned as a character fans could relate to. This time around, one Stranger Things fan argued:
“Gone is the homage to Harrison Ford, the likeability and the charm he possessed during those first two seasons. Here is a genuinely abusive, controlling, and nasty man who cares for nobody but himself and his personal needs, and I don’t care that he maybe died in the end, it still doesn’t excuse his behaviour. His supposed protectiveness of El just turns into the most cold possessive jealousy…”Reddit User
Other fans go onto explain that Hopper and Mike’s relationship was a source of aggravation, as Hopper’s consistent yelling felt unfounded and proved annoying. One fan stated:
“I absolutely despised the way Hopper dealt with Mike, and his later reaction to seeing him and El separated – but Mike did cross a line and needed to be called out, too. It was a complicated dynamic that needed proper fixing. Unfortunately, it was never fixed and Hopper preferred to lose the moral high ground to a literal child, rather than face talking to him (acting against Joyce’s specific advise).”Reddit User
Sarcastically commenting on Detective Hopper’s new disposition in season three, one fan chimed in stating, “What? Hopper screaming every line at every character all season while turning into dad bod Chuck Norris didn’t work for you?”
When it comes to Hopper, many fans felt that his behavior was often childish, and starkly contrasted the persona the show had worked diligently to forge in the previous two seasons.
Fans go onto explain that his death did not excuse or validate any of his actions, as the writers may have hoped. One Stranger Things viewer explained that, though liking season three, Hopper was a major drawback. The fan explained:
“…While I liked Season 3 on the whole far more than Season 2, Hopper’s portrayal this season was abysmal. He went from one of my favorite characters to my least favorite. His behavior was abusive, jarring, and completely at odds with his representation earlier in the series.”Reddit User
For some reason, the writers behind Stranger Things decided to transform Hopper from a character you could sympathize with into a character you were expected to feel sorry for. However, the writers missed the mark and, to many, transformed one of the best characters into a despisable and “abusive” protector right before his ultimate death.