Sheriff Jim Hopper actor David Harbour is basically the coolest cat in Tinsel Town. Steve Harrington actor Joe Keery is equally as popular, constantly showcasing his undying love and support for his castmates. And then there are the kids. The young cast of Netflix’s Stranger Things is talented, well-adjusted, and downright hilarious. It’s obvious that the cast of this nostalgic horror series is well-loved … but it’s high time there were some real consequences to the Upside Down.

It may seem as though each season of Netflix’s outstandingly popular streaming series has presented us with surprising, meaningful deaths, but that simply isn’t the case. When we stop and take the time to really examine the deaths of Stranger Things, we realize the writers have actually been doing all they can to keep their cast intact. While this is an understandable strategy, it is also one that will weaken the story in the long run.

Read More: Stranger Things: Biggest Questions After Season 2, Answered

He may not be the most popular character compared to Steve or Eleven, but the death of Jonathan Byers could impact the series more than any other character. Let’s explore the possibilities.

Stranger Things Needs a Meaningful Death

Shannon Purser as Barb and Sean Astin as Bob in Stranger Things Stranger Things 3 Should Kill Off Jonathan

We’re past the point of needing someone important to die in this show. The show has been progressively upping the stakes, causing the story to grow scarier as the children grow older. There seems to be a massive spider monster looking to bust through the Upside Down and into Hawkins. The sleepy little town has already gone from being hunted by a Demogorgon to being terrorized by a Demogorgon and Demodogs. And now we know there are others with powers out there, and they aren’t all likely to be friendly like Eleven. Since season 3 seems to be upping the stakes once again, a meaningful death will be practically unavoidable.

However popular as they may be, Barbara Holland and Bob Newbie don’t actually count … they are sort of the exceptions that prove the rule. Barb, bless her, was a plot device. Her character was meant to get Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan out looking for the Demogorgon. She was an excuse to show off the town’s indifference and the shady government agency’s cruel manipulation. Her death does propel the story forward, but not because Barb was ever meant to be a main character or protagonist. She’s Nancy’s “Girl in the Fridge.” Perhaps true justice for Barb would have been to make her a fully fledged character with actual purpose.

Read More: Stranger Things Season 2 Takes #JusticeForBarb Seriously

Despite his popularity, Bob Newbie is possibly a bigger offender than Barb. While being sweet and universally beloved by fans, the fledgling superhero was still a total manipulation. The writers introduced the viewers to a friendly new character that was meant to tug at the heartstrings. The audience was meant to root for this guy just so the showrunners could kill someone who would devastate the viewers without having to sacrifice any of the main cast. Remember, Bob was always meant to die, he was never supposed to be Joyce Byers’ happy ending. He was a brand new character written with the sole intention of being season 2’s only somewhat major death. Other than Dustin Henderson’s unfortunate pets, no other season 2 victims even have names. At this point, if one of the main cast members doesn’t die in season 3, viewers will lose all interest in the series. It will become all too obvious that the Upside Down is just an empty threat. Enter, Jonathan…

Page 2: Why Jonathan and How His Death Would Affect the show

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