We're finally about to jump back into the creepy, retro, monster-filled world of Hawkins, Indiana for another season of Stranger Things, but before you can welcome Will Byers back to reality and hold out hope for Eleven, you're going to need a refresher on all the craziness that went down in the first season. Luckily for you, there's still time to watch (or rewatch) the eight-episode season before Season 2 premieres on Friday, Oct. 27 — or you can just catch up on everything that happened in Stranger Things Season 1 right here with this quick crash course.
In the most basic sense, the first season of Stranger Things revolved around the mysterious disappearance of a young boy named Will Byers, which becomes more bizarre the more it's investigated. To provide an easy and clear structure to this refresher, the first season can be broken down into how three groups of characters and their efforts to find out what happened to Will. At the end of the season, all the stories come together and everyone learns the creepy, otherworldly truth about Will's disappearance.
1. Joyce and Hopper
First, there's Will's mom Joyce Byers and police chief Jim Hopper. As Joyce immediately realizes the supernatural aspects of her son's disappearance, Hopper catches onto a conspiratorial cover-up by a shady government agency trying to make the public believe Will had died. While Hopper is coming to the realization that there's more to Will's disappearance than there seems, Joyce is able to communicate with Will through the walls of her home by setting up holiday lights. She sees her walls move and make noises, and Will tells her that he is not safe where he is.
Soon enough, Joyce and Hopper team up and work together to get to the bottom of what's going on. They discover the mysterious Hawkins Lab is a part of the incident, and track down a comatose woman whose daughter was taken from her by a doctor at the lab.
2. Jonathan and Nancy
Joyce's other son and Will's older brother, Jonathan Byers, is taking what he believes to be a more active search for his missing brother than his mom. He soon finds an ally in Nancy Wheeler, the older sister of Will's best friend Mike and Jonathan's secret crush. After Nancy's best friend Barb also mysteriously disappears after a party, she and Jonathan work together to try to track down their missing friends.
Jonathan actually manages to snap a picture of the monster behind all the abductions in the woods near where Barb was last seen, and he and Nancy happen upon a portal to an alternate dimension known as the Upside Down while investigating the woods. When they see the monster through that portal, they run away and resolve to kill it.
3. Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Eleven
The main storyline follows Will's friends and the mysterious telekinetic girl they discover, who helps them track down their missing buddy. Will mysteriously disappeared after a session of Dungeons and Dragons with Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, and the three friends run into a girl named Eleven shortly afterwards. She says that she's seen Will, and even communicates with him through a walkie talkie to prove it, also showing off her telekinetic powers in to the boys.
With Eleven's help, the boys begin to learn about parallel dimensions, and come to the conclusion that Will was taken to another plane of reality they refer to as the Upside Down by a monster they refer to as the Demogorgon, after a creature in their Dungeons and Dragons game. They eventually come up with a plan to enhance Eleven's powers by using a sensory deprivation tank in order to allow her to enter the Upside Down and save Will.
Finally, all three groups come together to enact their plan to save Will, and Eleven is able to find him in the middle school as Hawkins Lab agents break in to reclaim her. Eleven takes most of them out with her powers, while Joyce and Hopper rescue Will from the Upside Down. Finally, the Demogorgon breaks through the rift as well, and Eleven jumps on it, sacrificing herself as they both disintegrate. After that, everything seemingly goes back to normal, except the boys miss their disappeared friend Eleven, and we see Will coughing up a slug-like creature in private.
And there you go — you're all ready for Season 2 of Stranger Things, which premieres on Netflix on Friday, Oct. 27.