Season 3 of Stranger Things is set to begin with an unfailing sunniness only summer vacation can provide, but the previous season definitely didn't involve much literal or figurative sunshine. Season 2 kicked off during the fall of 1984, delving into Halloween celebrations, the aftermath of the Demogorgon attacks, and Eleven's undercover life in Hawkins. What happened to Eleven in Stranger Things Season 2? After spending much of the season away from Mike, Will, and the rest of the gang, Season 3 is bound to be a little happier for her before more monsters turn up.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) appeared in the Netflix sci-fi drama's first season as a timid little girl with a shaved head who had escaped from the Hawkins National Laboratory. In the wake of their best friend Will (Noah Schnapp) mysteriously disappearing, a group of young boys took in Eleven and soon discovered that she could communicate with an alternate dimension called the Upside Down, where the boys suspected Will was being kept.
The Season 1 finale entailed Will returning to the real world and Eleven using her powers to destroy the Demogorgon monster, but she disappeared before authorities reached the kids. The only hint the first season teased about her whereabouts was police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) leaving a stack of Eggo waffles, Eleven's favorite food, in the middle of the woods. When Season 2 premiered in October 2017, it became clear that Hopper couldn't limit his contact with Eleven to only this.
The second season revealed that Eleven was now living with Hopper in a remote cabin, but she was essentially living like Rapunzel in a locked tower. Fearing that government authorities would find her, Hopper refused to let her contact the boys and use her powers, but Eleven needed her teenage rebellion just as much as anyone. She left the cabin with a mission to reunite with Will (Finn Wolfhard), but after spotting him with new girl Max (Sadie Sink), she became even more frustrated with her situation and set off to find her birth mother.
With her mother Terry (Aimee Mullins) practically in a catatonic state, Eleven was able to make a mental connection with her and catch glimpses into the government interference that caused these changes in Terry. She also learned through these flashes that other people with her powers existed, convincing her to travel to Chicago to meet her "sister" Kali (Linnea Berthelsen). Kali led a gang that strove to kill anyone involved with the girls' traumatic childhoods in the lab, but Eleven wasn't on board with the group's murderous path. She returned to Hawkins just in time to help her friends and close the gate to the Upside Down.
Season 2 ended a month after the gate was sealed, showing that Hopper had adopted Eleven and that the lab was now closed. But the ending also teased that monsters were still lurking within the town, and the Season 3 trailer confirms that the kids' carefree summer at the mall will inevitably have one or two run-ins with these creatures again. Well, it just wouldn't be Hawkins without some monster chasing.
Season 3 of Stranger Things debuts on Thursday, July 4, on Netflix.