Stranger Things and a Redeemable Baddie

Yes, I indulged in all things Stranger Things and binged season 3.  And by "binged", I mean, it took me a couple of weeks.  I'm getting to the point where I can't keep my eyes open past a certain hour of night, so its not really in the cards for me to do the marathon binging that some of you crazy kids do.
Anyway, this post is not really a review, but alas, it will contain spoilers.  I will say that I did not enjoy season 3 as much as I did the first two.  I think some of the Spielbergean (if that's a word) flavor was lost, the 80s nostalgia is getting overplayed, the kitchy charm is gone, and the kids are full-blown bratty teenagers.  Plus, the foul language was a bit much.  That may seem a bit nitpicky, but I also thought the writing was a little lazy, the character development lacked, and the musical score (not the cool retro soundtrack that popped up from time to time) didn't always fit the scenes well.  The worst is in episode one.  Dustin returns home from summer camp and finds his robotic toys moving around mysteriously.  The audience finds out quickly that it is Eleven and the gang messing with him.  However, the music is neither comical or intense.  It sounds like a cheesy riff in a bad Hallmark Christmas movie.
Now that all of that is out of the way, I will say that I did like season 3.  The last episode almost makes up for the flat, first seven episodes.  Its extremely entertaining and well done!  However, I loved the redemption of Billy, the mullet wearing bully that fit the 80s teenage jerk persona perfectly.  He also terrorized the kids and most of Hawkins.
Billy becomes one of the primary antagonists in season 3.  In a nutshell, he becomes possessed by the Mind Flayer to do its bidding.  Billy kidnaps people around Hawkins and offers them up to the Mind Flayer to be controlled and absorbed.  The more people Billy offers up, the more powerful the Mind Flayer becomes.  The mission is to eventually become powerful enough to kill Eleven and her friends.
I love movies and fiction that contain a story arc in which the bad guy is redeemed and becomes a hero.  This is what we saw with Billy.  Major spoiler.....Billy dies.  After Eleven helps Billy snap out of his trance, he sacrifices himself.  He is killed by the Mind Flayer, saving El in the process.  When Billy's sister Max runs to his dying body, Billy whispers the words, "I'm sorry", with his last dying breath.  I thought it was the most powerful moment of season 3, maybe of the entire series.  It had a very similar feel to Darth Vader dying on the ground as his son Luke consoled him.  As we all know, Vader turned from the dark side and killed the Emperor, rescuing Luke.
Why do I like seeing the baddies redeemed?
I don't know.  I guess its because we don't always get to see these types of stories.  Many movies focus on the revenge of the hero and the ultimate demise of the villain.  Life often echoes the same story.  Human nature likes to see people get what they deserve.  Forgiveness is difficult. 
Obviously, I love the redemption found in Christ.  I'm a fellow beneficiary of his sacrifice.  Jesus was never the villain, but Jesus forgave the villians.  In scripture, we read of Jesus forgiving the thief on the cross (Luke 23).  Jesus redeemed evil tax collectors and killers like Saul (who became Paul).
In life's story, I am the villain.  We all are, whether you like to admit it or not.  However, God loves us so much that he offers us redemption.  Seeing a powerful redemption story reminds me of the ultimate redemption story.  I guess that's why I like seeing the bad guy become the hero.  It feels less impossible, even though I'm watching or reading something fictional.
The reality is that no full redemption will ever be experienced in this world outside of Jesus Christ.  Even human forgiveness and sacrifice is flawed.  But Jesus is different.  In His story, which can also be yours, the bad guy does turn, find salvation and peace, and is changed forever!  AMEN TO THAT!