Jim Hopper has stepped up and helped save the day in every season of Stranger Things so far. When fans first met him, he was an apathetic police chief, but he grew into a hero unafraid to take charge and save his loved ones. The backstory with his daughter Sara has allowed him to be a more empathetic and complex character, especially in the context of his relationship with Eleven.
Hopper has undergone some strong character development, but at certain times in past seasons, he's still proven to be a problematic character who lets his temper and insecurities get the best of him.
10 Felt Bad: Remembering Sara
Hopper's daughter Sara died of cancer when she was only seven years old. All the flashbacks featuring Hopper and Sara have been heartbreaking.
No parent should have to lose their child, let alone a child so young. These flashbacks and any mentions of Sara are doled out infrequently, which means that when they happen, they are always devastating to experience.
9 Hated Him: Dismissing Joyce's Fears
After Will first went missing, Joyce went to the police and spoke with Hopper. During this meeting, he was dismissive of her fears.
He made a joke about how the worst thing to happen in Hawkins during the last four years was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie's head because it thought her hair was a nest. Hopper was overconfident that the situation wasn't a big deal and he didn't even try to comfort Joyce.
8 Felt Bad: Trapped In The Upside Down
Hopper began investigating the pumpkin rot at the beginning of season 2, which eventually led him once again to the Upside Down. The Upside Down sealed itself before Hopper could escape and trapped him there.
It was horrifying to see Hopper alone and trapped in the dank, dark, and nefarious realm. Every inch of the Upside Down seemed to come alive and try to ensnare him before help arrived and saved him from a grisly end.
7 Hated Him: Yelling At Eleven
In order to protect Eleven from the scientists at Hawkins Lab and others who wished to manipulate her, Hopper took it upon himself to raise and protect her. One of his conditions was that Eleven never leaves their cabin in the woods. On Halloween, Hopper promised he'd come home with candy so they could celebrate together, but when he got sidetracked with work and didn't come home until much later than intended, Eleven broke the rule and left the cabin for a short time.
When she returned, Hopper was back and it was only a matter of seconds before he began yelling at her. It was understandable for Hopper to feel anxious and frustrated when he returned home and saw Eleven wasn't there. That still didn't give him the right to let his temper explode in the way it did. Eleven made a mistake, but reacting with pure rage didn't make the situation any better.
6 Felt Bad: Blaming Himself
Eleven eventually ran away and set out on a quest to find her biological mother, which then led her to find Kali in Chicago. It was important for Eleven to come to terms with her past, meet someone else who'd been experimented on at Hawkins Lab, and to ultimately realize that her real family were Hopper and her friends back in Hawkins.
When Eleven told Hopper about this, he blamed himself. He talked about how he was like a black hole that destroyed everything around it. It showed growth that Hopper recognized that he'd made mistakes by giving Eleven false hope by lying to her about when she could leave. That didn't make it any less sad to hear how Hopper viewed himself as a destructive force, even for situations outside of his control.
5 Hated Him: Threatening Mike
It's natural for a parent to feel overprotective, especially when their child is in a romantic relationship for the first time. What Hopper did was overkill, though. He lured Mike away by pretending there was something wrong with Mike's grandmother. Then he locked Mike in the car and intimidated him until Mike agreed not to be around Eleven any longer.
Mike was forced to lie to Eleven about why he couldn't see her. She knew he was lying and dumped him because of how he was treating her. Hopper got carried away and unfairly took out his anger on Mike.
4 Felt Bad: He Sacrificed Himself
Hopper sacrificed himself in order to close the gate to the Upside Down in season 3. The moment was heroic, but also heartbreaking. He gave everything he had to protect Eleven, Joyce, and everyone else that he loved.
A season 4 teased showed that Hopper is somehow still alive and in Russia, but that doesn't lessen the emotions behind his noble sacrifice.
3 Hated Him: Gaslighting Joyce
Some fans -- and even Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood -- called out Hopper for his toxic masculinity in the third season, particularly when it came to his relationship with Joyce. He pressured her into saying yes to a date she wasn't ready to go on. While Joyce obsessed over what was going on with her magnets, she didn't show up for the date.
When Hopper saw her the next day, he took out his frustrations on her. He was dismissive toward Joyce's concerns about the magnets and kept talking about the audacity of her not showing up for the date. His own feelings aside, Hopper should've known at this point that when Joyce thinks something is amiss, she's usually right, no matter how crazy she sounds. Instead, he kept trying to gaslight her.
2 Felt Bad: His Letter To Eleven
Before his sacrifice, Hopper left behind a letter for Eleven. The letter was beautifully written and captured the deep love he felt for her. It contained all the heartfelt emotions that Hopper was never able to fully articulate in person. Seeing Eleven read the letter as Hopper's voice narrated it was an emotional rollercoaster, one where fans felt bad for Eleven and Hopper.
The letter was so powerful and provided such a sense of closure that it could've served as a fitting end for Hopper's journey, though it's clear he'll return for the show's fourth season.
1 Hated Him: Mistreating Alexei
Most fans feel Alexei deserved better than the cruel way in which he was killed, but he also deserved better when it came to how Hopper treated him. Hopper physically assaulted him on several occasions and mockingly called him "Smirnoff."
Being a police chief didn't give Hopper the right to manhandle Alexei in the way he did. Alexei had a childlike personality and was too pure for this world. He deserved better than the harsh treatment he received from Hopper.
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