Since breaking out of Stranger Things’ first season so hard that he dominated the internet and became Hellboy, David Harbour has kept evolving the character that launched him and his dad bod into the pop cultural limelight. Jim Hopper went from curmudgeonly cop to hot father to somewhere in between — and the third season of Stranger Things still caused fans to discuss every aspect of the flawed (yet still definitely thirst-inducing) character.
** This highly classified article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3! Turn back now if you haven't watched it yet. **
Yes, yes, everyone loves Hopper’s Hawaiian Magnum, P.I. look as much as they loved him breaking it down oh-so-smooth last season:
But aside from the good shirts, the ‘80s references, and the general teddy bearishness on display, there was also plenty going on with Hopper’s character this season — not all good. In fact, there have been sharp criticisms of the relationship between Hopper and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). With a gruffer disposition, angrier attitude, and plenty of jealous red flags, Hopper set alarms off for many viewers, including actress Evan Rachel Wood:
While Hopper’s apparent turn was off-putting to many viewers, others found it to be a complex and understandable step for a trauma-stricken character who doesn’t handle everything perfectly:
While Hopper started out as a beloved combination of unexpected attraction and fun anti-hero, it seems that these two traits are still what causes him to be a viral sensation. And that holds true even if the latter element is now up for debate. So has Hopper gone too far to the dark side? Or is the chief simply just an imperfect character?
Fans can watch Stranger Things 3 now and decide for themselves.