We're just over two weeks away from Stranger Things Season 2's arrival on Netflix. For those who haven't watched Season 1 since it dropped in July 2016, it's been 15 long months since the last time we were in Hawkins, Indiana, in the early 1980s. You might need a refresher for the events of last season, so let us review. How did Stranger Things Season 1 end?
Stranger Things Season 1 began with the disappearance of Will Byers. But while some thought he ran away, and others presumed him dead, Will was actually trapped in the Upside Down, a mirror dimension of our world. At the same time Will was captured, a little girl, who only knows herself as the number 11, escapes from the lab where the Upside Down was first opened.
Only a day or so after Will's disappearance, another character, Barb, is also whisked into the Upside Down. Unlike Will, she is not as lucky and is killed by the monster known as the Demogorgon.
This puts three sets of characters on the hunt for the Upside Down and the fate of their friends and family:
- Will's mother, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and Chief Hopper (David Harbour) looking for her son.
- Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Barb's BFF, looking for her friend, accompanied by her boyfriend Steve (Joe Keery) and Will's older brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton).
- Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who are also looking for Will.
Joyce And Hopper
Joyce and Hopper travel into the Upside Down together, where they find Will trapped in the lair of the Demogorgon. The creature is feeding off of him, as it has fed off of children before him. As you can see from the clip, Joyce and Hopper encounter many young children in a state of decay inside the Upside Down. Some are mere skulls, others corpses.
Joyce finds her son still alive and Hopper saves his life, flashing back to the child of his own who died of cancer, and whom he couldn't save.
A thing of note: Hopper also finds a hatched egg as they travel through the murk, suggesting there there may be more creatures that hatched. But where? And how? Maybe we'll learn in Season 2.
Nancy, Jonathan, And Steve
Nancy and Jonathan stumbled into the Upside Down earlier in the season, and they know Barb is dead. In the final episode, they're at Jonathan's house, trying to trick the monster into crossing over by cutting themselves.
Steve shows up at just the wrong moment (or maybe just the right one) when the Demogorgon breaks through the wall between worlds and attacks Jonathan. Nancy unloads an entire pistol into it, and Steve gets quite a few licks before they spring their fire trap on the monster... but, sadly, it doesn't do it all the way in.
Even with Jonathan and Nancy bonding, she still sticks with Steven by the end of the season. We'll have to see if they're still going strong in Season 2.
Mike, Dustin, Lucas, And Eleven
Eleven is the real hero of the piece. She's been setting up to do this with her telekinetic powers ever since she first escaped. But in the finale, she's already in a weakened state. She spent hours in the sensory deprivation tank trying to find Will, and then she attacks and kills many of Dr. Brenner's lab assistants on her way to the final confrontation with the Demogorgon. (Luckily, it is also in a weakened state due to the above encounter with Nancy and company.)
Whenever Eleven uses her power, she gets a nosebleed, suggesting that this is doing irreparable damage to her brain. When she says goodbye to Mike and friends, it seems like she's sacrificing herself to take out the creature.
But as we know from the trailers for Season 2, Eleven did not die, but was instead transported back to the Upside Down. We can't wait for her to come back in Season 2.
At the end of the season, the status quo is restored... mostly. Nancy and Steve are still together, but she and Jonathan are fast friends now, too.
Will is back with his buddies playing Dungeons and Dragons... but now they're all way more willing to attack their enemies, including a new one called the Thessalhydra. Some wonder if this is going to be the Season 2 all-new monster, born of that egg Hopper saw.
But Will isn't totally back to normal. His time in the Upside Down (roughly a week, we think?) has left him prone to barfing up slugs. Don't ask. Joyce certainly won't want to know.
And then there's Eleven. While Mike is staring sadly at the makeshift lean-to in his basement that she once inhabited, Hopper is doing one better. He's taking groceries out to the woods and leaving them... along with boxes of her beloved Eggo waffles.
We can't wait for Eleven's return, and more of the Upside Down. Stranger Things Season 2 will arrive Oct. 27, 2017, with nine episodes on Netflix.