Before we time-jump into the summer of 1985 in Hawkins, we need to take a look back at the biggest plot twists from season two.
It’s been one year, eight months and five days since we last saw Eleven, Mike, Hopper and the rest of our favorite monster-hunters. (We’re serious! Friends don’t lie.)
So unless you’ve been stuck in the Upside Down, you should be well aware that season three of Stranger Things is premiering this Thursday, July 4 on Netflix.
But before we time-jump into the summer of 1985 in Hawkins -- an era filled with bright scrunchies, adventures in the mall and teenage romance -- we need to take a look back at everything you need to remember from season two.
So pop some Eggos in the toaster and settle into your favorite La-Z-Boy recliner because here are the 11 biggest plot twists you need to know before your next Stranger Things binge...
(This should go without saying, but season two SPOILER ALERT!)
1. Will Was Tethered to the Upside Down
The good news? Will’s back! The bad news? He spent 98% of season two being tortured and possessed by his paranormal connection to the Upside Down and the mysterious "Shadow Monster" looming in his visions. Despite his frequent check-ups with Dr. Owens at Hawkins Lab, his “episodes” into the Upside Down continued to progress.
2. Hopper Was Hiding Eleven in the Woods
While most of our group believed that Eleven disappeared defeating the Demogorgon in season one, Hopper spent the past year hiding her in their secret home in the middle of the woods. Although Hopper was doing his best to keep a pre-teen with psionic powers under control with Triple-Decker Eggo Extravaganzas, Eleven grew impatient with her isolation and was desperate to reunite with Mike and the rest of her friends.
3. Stepsiblings Max and Billy Moved to Hawkins
Say hello to Hawkins’ newest residents! Maxine -- best known as video game conqueror "Mad Max" -- quickly caught the eyes of Lucas and Dustin thanks to her fiery personality and impressive skateboarding skills. Meanwhile, Max’s older stepbrother, Billy, quickly made enemies with Steve Harrington due to his aggressive temper and cocky personality. (tl;dr: Max is an awesome chick who just wanted to fit in and Billy acted like an abusive douchebag all season.)
4. Nancy and Steve Broke Up
Despite the fact that Steve was head over heels in love with her, Nancy’s grief and guilt over Barb’s death (not to mention her lingering feelings for Jonathan) caused an irreparable crack in their relationship. Tensions between the couple came to a head during an alcohol-fueled rant at a Halloween party, where drunk Nancy stated that her relationship with Steve was "bulls**t."
5. The Mind Flayer Infected Will’s Body
During one of Will’s "episodes" into the Upside Down, he decided to take Bob's advice and face his fears, so he stood up to the Shadow Monster -- also known as the "Mind Flayer" -- that was terrorizing him. Unfortunately, Will’s bravery was also his downfall because the mysterious entity infected Will’s body to use him as a host to spy on Hawkins. Poor little dude just can’t seem to catch a break.
6. Dustin Found and Kept a Young Demodog as a Pet
When Dustin heard some rustling in his trash can on Halloween night, he had no idea that the sweet, nougat-loving "pollywog" he found would eventually evolve into a vicious, cat-devouring demodog. (RIP, Mews!) We’re not sure if D'Artagnan is still lurking in the tunnels underneath Hawkins, but we’d like to send him a thank-you card for sparking the bond between Dustin and Steve.
7. Eleven Visited Her Mom and Met Her "Sister"
Tired of living a life full of secrets and isolation, Eleven left Hopper’s cabin and set off in search of her long-lost mama. While at her aunt’s house, Eleven -- or should we say Jane? -- used her psionic abilities to discover that the bad men used electroshock therapy to fry her mother’s brain. Through her visions into the “rainbow room,” Eleven discovered that there was another young girl who was being used as a test subject at Hawkins Lab, so she set off to her “sister” Kali Prasad -- aka Eight -- who has the ability to manipulate minds. Eleven briefly joined Kali’s gang of misfits to enact revenge on the bad men who ruined their lives, but just as Kali was encouraging Eleven to kill the man who electroshocked her mother, Eleven decided that this wasn’t the person she wanted to be. Even though she left her sister behind, Eleven and Eight’s one-episode adventure was pretty bitchin’.
8. Joyce’s Boyfriend, Bob, Died a Hero
In season two, we were introduced to Bob Newby, a tech-loving Radio Shack employee who was absolutely head over heels in love with Joyce Byers. When Will was possessed by the Mind Flayer, it was "Bob the Brain" who cracked the code and realized that the random images that Will was drawing were actually tunnels underneath Hawkins. Bob also bravely took on the responsibility of navigating Joyce, Hopper, Will and Mike away from the demodogs and safely out of Hawkins Lab. Just as it seemed like he was about to join the group and leave the lab unscathed, a vicious pack of demodogs attacked and killed Bob right in front of a horrified Joyce.
9. Nancy and Jonathan Got Justice for Barb
Newly single Nancy teamed up once again with Jonathan and together the dynamic duo came up with a plan to infiltrate Hawkins Lab and secretly record the agents admitting to Barb's death. Armed with their new evidence, Nancy and Jonathan met up with private investigator Murray Bauman and the trio concocted a "watered-down" explanation for Barb's death and they mailed copies of the tape-recording out to all the major news outlets across the country. By the end of the season, Hawkins Lab was officially shut down, Barb's parents were given closure about their daughter's disappearance, and Nancy and Jonathan finally admitted (and acted on!) their feelings for each other.
10. Eleven Closed the Gate to the Upside Down
While Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan were focused on making Will's body an inhospitable environment for the Mind Flayer, Steve reluctantly led Dustin, Max, Lucas and Mike down into the tunnels beneath Hawkins to simultaneously burn away all the evil. Meanwhile, Hopper led Eleven back into Hawkins Lab and she channeled all of her anger into successfully closing the gate to the Upside Down.
11. Romance Was in the Air at the Snow Ball
Season two ended with some very swoon-worthy moments at the Hawkins Middle School "Snow Ball" dance! Thanks to Steve's bromantic encouragement, Dustin showed off a new 'do and confident attitude, but when a number of girls turned Dustin down, Nancy put her chaperoning duties on hold and kindly asked him to dance with her. In other couples news, Lucas and Max shared their first kiss, Will was asked to dance by a cute girl, and Eleven was allowed to come out of hiding for one night and she shared a sweet dance (and smooch!) with Mike.
Season three of Stranger Things drops Thursday, July 4 on Netflix.