Stranger Things: 5 Times We Felt Bad For Joyce (& 5 Times We Hated Her)
In Stranger Things, Joyce is the epitome of the caring mother, who will do anything to save her son. But she’s not always perfect. Take a look.
Joyce Byers is one of the most well-loved characters in Stranger Things. She gets put through so much throughout the 3 seasons that it’s impossible not to feel bad for her. However, she also makes some rather questionable choices. Played by the iconic and legendary Winona Ryder, Joyce Byers is a strong-willed, caring mother who is placed into some of the worst scenarios imaginable. She suffers a lot on screen, with the loss of many people she loves, but through it all, she remains strong and teams up with people like Hopper and Murray to solve the mystery of her son and his link to the upside-down.
Throughout season 1 to 3, Joyce evolves into a badass mother who would do anything to protect her children. However, throughout this evolution, she makes some rather questionable decisions, often ignoring those who need her since she is so wrapped up in the unfortunate happenings around her. Here’s 5 times where you just feel terrible for her, and 5 times where you just have to hate her.
10 Felt Bad: Losing Will
For a mother to lose her son is an unthinkable thing. Understandably, Joyce is distraught. She holds herself somewhat responsible for not being at home to protect him, even though there was nothing she could do.
What makes everyone feel so bad is the fact that he just disappeared without a trace. She doesn’t know if he ran away, got killed, kidnapped, or just got lost. It is impossible to not feel bad for Joyce in this situation. The heartbreak you see from her is guaranteed to bring up the same feelings in the audience, even if Will has barely been on our screens.
9 Hated Her: Ditching Hopper On Their Date
After all the chaos both of them have been through, they begin to bond, much to fans delight. So when Hopper works up the courage to ask her out on a date and she says yes, everyone is thrilled.
However, Joyce completely ignores it, she is so wrapped up in some magnets falling off a fridge (given, it does actually help them out) that she stands a brokenhearted Hopper up. After finding out his backstory, you learn how hard it would have been for Hopper to try to love again, so Joyce’s actions make anyone despise her for a little while.
8 Felt Bad: Losing Bob
Bob was Joyce’s sense of normality in this weird supernatural town that her family seems to be at the center of. He was an old classmate who adored everything about her and they shared some wonderfully sweet scenes together.
To then watch Bob being rather brutally murdered by the ferocious Demodogs broke the viewers’ hearts, as well as hers. She forces herself to watch the life disappear from his eyes and you see the devastation that she feels. Losing Bob was essentially her being forced to accept that, whilst she lives in Hawkins, everyone she loves will never be safe.
7 Hated Her: Leaving Hawkins
Although understandable, Joyce and her family leaving Hawkins felt like the end of an era. Watching Will, El, Jonathan, and Joyce say goodbye to their loved ones is heartbreaking. After Eleven lost Hopper, she had to lose Mike, and Jonathan loses his first love, Nancy.
For Joyce, she can say goodbye to the horrific memories that are tied to her home and the rest of the town. However, it doesn’t stop fans from feeling devastated that it had to end that way.
6 Felt Bad: Losing Hopper
Hopper and Joyce had the beginning of something special. They were both so alike and cared for each other deeply. So for her to lose him so soon after losing Bob was devastating.
Although you feel worse for El when she finds out that her father figure is dead, Joyce has to deal with his loss and put on a brave face to look after her. What makes anyone feel so bad for Joyce especially is that she was forced to kill Hopper herself, being the person to flick that switch. It was a devastating scene that forces poor Joyce to lose yet another person she loves.
5 Hated Her: Forgetting About Jonathan
There are many instances where Jonathan is at the back of her mind. He is her eldest son and she relies on him financially, as well.
However, he has problems of his own and its pretty selfish of Joyce to not notice that. After all, he loses his brother whilst Joyce loses her son. He was getting bullied at school and seems to really struggle, whilst Joyce strings lights up around the house and puts axes through walls. She’s not the best mother figure for him at that time.
4 Felt Bad: Going Crazy
Everyone saw her going crazy – she strung up fairy lights, put an ax through the wall, and saw all amounts of horrors. It’s hard to watch her struggle with her son’s disappearance, so when he starts communicating with her, she latches onto it and strives to find him.
Although frustrating because her visions are actually true, you can’t help but feel bad for her as she struggles with her mental health and loses her mind a little bit. Everyone around her is so desperate to help her, but she ends up causing a lot of damage to herself, her family, and her home.
3 Hated Her: Not Acting Quick Enough
On multiple occasions, Joyce doesn’t act when she needed to. She stands there in shock and misses her chance to do anything of use. Although the audience never knows if she could have got to Will in time, she watched him try to crawl out of the wall and then she put an ax through it.
Had she acted quicker, she may have got to him. Another instance is during Bob’s demise – she stood there whilst hundreds of Demogorgans swarmed the building. The two decided that now was a good time to stare at each other, understandably, it added to the tension, but it was till particularly frustrating.
2 Felt Bad: Burning Will
Having to tie your son to a bed and burn the Mind Flayer out of him is a horrible thing to do. This poor mother had to watch as her son writhed and screamed in pain, unable to do anything to help.
After going through so much to save her son, it’s understandable that she doesn’t hesitate to do that again, even if it is hard to watch. Thankfully, the attempt to free him from his possession is successful, but poor Joyce looked terrified and traumatized after causing that amount of pain to her son.
1 Hated Her: Getting Back With Lonnie
Joyce is vulnerable and broken after not being able to find her son alive. Lonnie comes in and convinces her that he is dead and gets her to give up the search.
It is extremely frustrating as a viewer to watch her fall into his trap, yet again. The viewers know he is alive and that Lonnie has some kind of plan to get what he wants from his old family. So when Joyce finally figures it out, everyone breathes a sigh of relief that Lonnie won’t get the money he was after. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to get annoyed at her ignorance and misplaced trust.