Where Did We Leave Off With The Heroes Of Stranger Things?

After going well over a year without new Stranger Things episodes, the wait is finally all but over. The Netflix blockbuster will premiere Stranger Things 2 in a few days time, on Friday, October 27. Considering the fact we’ve waited about 15 months for this moment since the series bowed in July 2016, the countdown now boils down to merely a few hours.

Yet, the time between Stranger Things seasons might mean you don’t actually remember everything from the sci-fi drama’s beloved freshman year. It did include a government conspiracy, an interdimensional monster, and Eggos references (so many Eggos references). That’s a lot to keep track of after more than a year, especially when you take into account all the other shows that have turned into national obsessions since the summer of 2016. Riverdale and Mindhunter alone take up so much mental real estate these days.

To combat this problem, we put together a handy refresher course for all of your favorite characters, from Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) — who may have been MIA for most of Stranger Things season 1, but will play a humongous role in season 2 — to everyone’s favorite kick-butt, telekinetic tween, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Keep reading for the walk down Hawkins, Indiana's Demogorgon Lane we all need at this point. This way you can avoid the Upside Down of having absolutely no idea what’s going on when you binge Stranger Things 2 this weekend for nine hours straight.

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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Jim Hopper

It is honestly kind of absurd how quickly and easily Hop (David Harbour), a gruff, small-town sheriff haunted by the death of his young daughter, accepts the sci-fi chaos of Hawkins. By the end of the season, we see the police officer talk smack to deadly government agents, travel to the Upside Down with Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and pull a legitimately horrifying other-dimensional tentacle out of Will Byers’ body. This is all the worst, as Hopper responds like it’s all just another day at the office.

In Hop’s last scene in season finale “The Upside Down,” we see him leave a few Eggo waffles and a container of Christmas dinner for Eleven in the woods, just in case she’s isn’t actually dead (more on that prospective fatality in a bit)
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Joyce Byers

If only for a few minutes, Joyce is allowed to stop her terrified, harried mom routine to enjoy the fact her youngest son isn’t dead and has mercifully been returned to her from a hellish parallel dimension. And, her older son Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) is there, too.

After dragging Will back from the Upside Down — following some very forceful CPR techniques — she gets to enjoy Christmas dinner with her two favorite boys, runny potatoes and all.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Steve Harrington, Nancy Wheeler, & Jonathan Byers

These three will forever and always be a packaged deal, or, to be more specific, a packaged love triangle, so let’s talk about them as such. In “The Upside Down,” Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan team up at Casa Byers to kill the Demogoron by setting it on fire. The unlikely friends both have beef with the monster since it kidnapped Jonathan's brother and murdered Nancy's best friend, Barb Holland (Shannon Purser).

Unfortunately, Nancy’s actual boyfriend decides this is exactly the perfect moment for a big romantic gesture to apologize for being a cro-magnon brat earlier in the season, effectively (and unknowingly) crashing Nancy and Jonathan's major monster-killing hangout session.

Although Stranger season 1 sets up Nancy and Jonathan as an end-game couple, Steve’s heartfelt move saves his relationship for the time being. The season closes with Nancy and Steve canoodling on the Wheeler couch, while Jonathan accepts the fact his in-a-relationship crush at least gave him a camera for Christmas.

Steve and his ridiculously perfect Christmas sweater may have won this battle for Nancy’s heart, but it’s unlikely they'll win the war.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Lucas Sinclair & Dustin Henderson

Poor, underserved, secondary-best friends Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). In the “party’s” final showdown with the Demogorgon, these boys at least get to throw rocks at the monster. Of course, that doesn’t work. But, hey, they’re included. And Lucas went on his super cool solo mission earlier in season 1, where he scoped out the very suspicious Hawkins Lab following an argument with his friends (and nearly died). That was also very cool and badass.

In some good news, all signs point to Lucas and Dustin getting deeper stories in Stranger Things season 2 since they’re directly involved in the action.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Mike Wheeler

While Eleven might be the kick-butt, telekinetic heroine at the heart of Stranger Things, the emotional, de facto friend group leader Mike (Finn Wolfhard) is our way into the story. He really, really wants his best friend Will back from the Upside Down, and he ends up fostering a massive, nearly romantic, friendship with Eleven.

In Mike’s last scene with new BFF Elle, he promises she can move into the Wheeler home and go to the Snow Ball dance with him. It’s a sweet, yet doomed, plan. But, when Will is finally returned to his loved ones in Hawkins, Mike is the first non-family member to find out and rush to “Byers’” bedside. With Will alive and allegedly “well,” Mike is happy to host Dungeons & Dragons game night at his house.

Although, Mike can’t help but stare wistfully at the basement blanket fort that was one Eleven’s bed.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Will Byers

Will Byers is going to need some very serious psychotherapy, ASAP. The young boy spends about a week in the Upside Down, evading the Demogorgon and looking like he’s slowly dying. By the time he’s dragged out of the horror-show of a parallel dimension, his mom and Hop have to yank that aforementioned Upside Down tentacle out of his throat. The creepy thing wasn’t just attached around Will’s mouth, as it originally seemed —no, it very clearly went into his entire body. Yuck. Yikes.

Will is taken to the hospital once he gets out of Upside Down, and it looks like the worst of his condition is consistently looking sickly for the rest of his life. As Will’s friends happily gab about all of the crazy things that occurred while he was captured by an inter-dimensional demon — ”We made a new friend!” “She’s basically a wizard!” “She has superpowers!” — all the fagile boy can do is cough like 1800s tuberculosis patient.

But, as we find out in the last seconds of Stranger Things season 1, Will isn’t coughing up blood. Instead, he’s spitting out at least one of the worst looking slugs ever, which obviously came along for the ride in Will’s body during his Upside Down escape. The Upside Down isn’t done with Will Byers just yet.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Eleven

As I said earlier, at the end of Stranger Things 1.0 all of Eleven’s loved ones seem to think she’s dead. That’s because Eleven sacrificed her own life to kill the Demogoron once and for all in her final scene. In “The Upside Down,” the “bad men” of Hawkins Laboratory, and the cool-with-murder government agents affiliated with the lab, track Eleven and her friends down to Hawkins Middle School. Eleven kills everyone, pointing guns at literal children, making blood pour from their eyes before they drop to the floor dead. It’s a truly disturbing, macabre series of events to be carried out by a child.

Still, Eleven’s creepy “Papa,” Hawkins Labs head honcho Dr. Martin Brenner (Michael Modine) tries to tell Eleven he’s taking her back to the lab. She disagrees and runs off, since the Demogoron senses all the blood Eleven spilled and is down to create more gory, murder-y chaos, as usual.

So this brings us to Eleven and the Demogorgon’s final showdown, which is poignant, since the little girl is the person who was accidentally forced to open the gate between our world and the Upside Down, allowing the monster into Hawkins. Although Mike, Lucas, and Dustin try to take out the Demogorgon, they fail. So, the task is up to Eleven, and she disintegrates the monster from the inside out by using her psychic abilities. “Goodbye, Mike,” she says before hitting the Demogorgon with one final psychic death blow, which turns Eleven's eyes blood red. Once the monster disappears into a cloud of debris, Eleven also vanishes.

But, as all sci-fi and horror fans know, if there’s no body, there’s no official death. As we see in the trailers for Stranger Things season 2, Eleven will be back and better than ever, with the rad curly ‘80s hair to prove it.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
“The Bad Men”

Yeah, Eleven and Demogorgon managed to kill each and every one one of these shadowy government agents before their final showdown. Dr. Martin “Papa” Brenner included, as far as we can tell.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Any Parent Who Isn't Named Joyce Byers

They are all blissfully, willfully ignorant to the actual living nightmare that engulfed their sleepy Midwestern town.