'Stranger Things' Season 3: Jim Hopper's transformation from drunken cop to adorable dad will truly warm your heart
He came in like a half-mad, mostly drunk guy who had nothing together but soon he became a man who everyone would adore.
David Harbor's Jim Hopper has quickly become one of the most beloved characters on Netflix's 'Stranger Things', and with the end of the final episode of Season 2, it seems that Hopper finally has someone who he can call family. Hopper was not introduced as a morally content Sheriff, instead, he was a man who lived a rather carefree life with a past haunting him at every move he makes. Losing his daughter at a young age, and later on, being left behind by his wife, Hopper was a cop who did not care about the cases that came along his way until it involved the missing case of Will Byers, the youngest son of Joyce Byers who is one of Hopper's old friends from school.
This point onward Hopper was a changed man. As a sheriff, he is a fearless man who literally has nothing more to lose. When he learns about Will's missing case and finds out the strange phenomena happening at the government-run Hawkins Laboratory, Hopper strangely finds himself being involved with people he never thought he would meet. Over the course of Season 1, Hopper mostly played the role of a protector but there was always an impending gloom about his character that carried on to a large portion of Season 2. Hopper's loneliness finally found an escape in Season 2, when he began to help Eleven hide from the rest of the world.
This is where his transformation begins. Let's just say Hopper is one of the rare characters on the show who truly underwent a massive transformation in their character from the first to the second season- the other character being Joe Keery's Steve Harrington. The one thing similar in the transformation of these two characters is how each has reacted to the needs of the kids around them. Steve, who is much younger than Hopper, took up the responsibility of looking after the gang of kids and he did a pretty great job there. Steve attended to them when no one was around, and helped them kick the asses of some demo dogs making him the kids' favorite nanny.
While Steve's relationship with the children did not confine to just one of them- as he would pay attention to both Lucas and Dustin's love for Max, and advise them accordingly- Hopper was more focused on Eleven's welfare. As the two began to build a hide-and-seek kind of a relation by exchanging waffles in the forest, soon Hopper began to develop a certain kind of adoration for the girl. His intimacy with her probably came from that vacant place which was left unattended after the death of his daughter. Hopper did not look for a stable relationship after his own family fell apart. He would sleep around with random women, but never truly commit himself to anyone. However, it was different with Eleven.
Throughout the first half of Season 2, Hopper kept Eleven confined in his cabin fearing that if the mad scientist finds her, he might try to take her away. However, he couldn't keep her in for long, and when Eleven finally demanded her freedom Hopper made the worst choice of yelling at her. For the first time, we actually see Hopper being concerned about someone else other himself, he sincerely was worried about Eleven. Even when he was apologizing to her, the sheer guilt of his act was prominent on his face, and let's just pat Harbor for that wonderful acting.
Watch the powerful scene here:
Hopper's transformation from being a lazy, indifferent cop to a father-like figure who would sacrifice everything for his child gained prominence when he proposed Eleven to be his lawful daughter. By giving Eleven a home, Hopper established himself as a man who is anything but selfish. Even when he was helping Joyce with Will's case, not for once do we see Hopper trying to be uncomfortably intimate with Joyce. He never uses her vulnerability against her, instead chooses to help her in ways that no one else could have. The two finally get to spend some time together towards the last scene of Season 2, where they finally sneak out to the parking lot and smoke a joint.
So can we hope for a Joyce-Hopper romance in Season 3? Maybe, since they are both pretty alone to handle all the hustle involving their kids, and considering the situation, Will can surely do with a protective father at this point. 'Stranger Things' Season 3 returns to Netflix on July 4, and let's hope Hopper finally gets to lead a better life.