‘Stranger Things’ Best Character Returns in Critically Acclaimed New Series

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The cast of Stranger Things in a mall

Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things fan-favorite character Steve Harrington (portrayed by Joe Keery) just received a loving, unintentional homage in the critically acclaimed drama series Fargo, along with his favored weapon, a homemade nail bat.

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

In addition to his role as “King” Steve in Stranger Things, Joe Keery currently stars in Fargo season 5 as Gator Tillman, a violent, hotheaded sheriff’s deputy from North Dakota. Although Gator and Steve have very little in common as characters (other than being portrayed by the same actor), the fourth episode of the new season of Fargo accidentally created an amusing connection between the two.


Related: ‘Stranger Things’ May Have Revealed Max’s Fate in Season 5

In the latest episode of the critically beloved Fargo, Joe Keery and several henchmen invade the home of Dot Lyon (Juno Temple), hoping to kidnap her and her daughter (Sienna King). However, Dot anticipates their arrival and prepares a number of deadly Home Alone-style defenses, including a swinging sledgehammer and, more crucially, a baseball bat with nails hammered through it, sometimes referred to as a “zombie killer.”

Joe Keery as Gator in a diner in Fargo
Credit: FX

Notably, this is the exact weapon that Joe Keery’s character has become associated with ever since he first wielded it to beat down a Demogorgon in Stranger Things season 1. Although the weapon was first made by Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), it basically has become as much an iconic part of Steve as his well-styled hair.

After Juno Temple fails to hit Joe Keery with the zombie killer, he takes it from her and uses it himself, basically turning Gator Tillman into an evil version of Steve Harrington who tries to violently kidnap children instead of save them from creatures from the Upside Down.

According to Fargo creator Noah Hawley, the zombie killer homage to Stranger Things was actually accidental. Hawley told TV Insider, “There’s a sledgehammer over the front door, and the windows have been electrified, and his daughter is hammering nails into a baseball bat, it was a great scene for me…then, of course, I’m stuck with this baseball bat with the nails in it, and once you’ve got that, you kind of have to include it when there’s a siege of the house.”

Joe Keery as Gator in a darkened house in Fargo
Credit: FX

Hawley continued, “No, it wasn’t really deliberate, but it doesn’t bother me that there are those associations and that there’s sort of an homage…We’ll see what Ross and Matt Duffer think about it when they see it in there.”

The Fargo season 5 showrunner might not have intended to reference Stranger Things with that very specific choice of weapon and actor, but it’s certain what fans of both shows will pick up after seeing the episode.

Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) walking together in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 Releases First Look at New Villain

In addition to Joe Keery and Juno Temple, Fargo season 5 stars Jon Hamm, Richa Moorjani, Lamorne Morris, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Rysdahl, Sam Spruell, and Dave Foley. The show is currently airing on both FX and Hulu.

Stranger Things season 5 is currently in production after months of delays due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The upcoming season has been announced to be its last, so we might be seeing the last of Joe Keery swinging a zombie killer sooner than we think. Unless it happens in Fargo again, that is.

Will Stranger Things season 5 live up to the hype and all the delays? Is Fargo season 5 a secret crossover? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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