Feature Article

Everything You Need To Know About Stranger Things Before Starting Season 2

So many questions

The second season of Stranger Things will release on Netflix on Oct. 27th, but for those of us who only watched the first season once, here's a quick refresher on everything that happened in Stranger Things Season 1. Not that it wasn't memorable--it's just been a while!

Now let’s travel all the way to back 1984, to a little town called Hawkins, Indiana.

The Gang

The series begins with young Mike Wheeler (Finn Woldhard) playing Dungeon Master to a game of Dungeons & Dragons for his friends Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and the ill-fated Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). During the RPG adventure, the boys encounter a monster called a Demogorgon.

This creature from the underworld foreshadows the shenanigans this whole town is about to get into. After leaving the game, Will Byers is waylaid by a creature not unlike that very demon, and he disappears into another dimension, which is referred to later as "the Upside Down."

The search for WIll is the reason for the season. Will’s mother, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), is a smoking wreck for most of it, due in large part to monsters regularly popping out of her walls, her butthead of an ex-husband, Lonnie (Ross Partridge), and her extradimensional son consistently blowing up her phone.

Get it?

Where’s Will?

Meanwhile, a girl name Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who has telekinesis and severe--but not unfounded--dad issues, escapes a local department of energy facility. She's being hunted by the most motivated government employees since the movie E.T., led by a Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine).

Eleven’s real name is thought to be Jane, after we see a expository scene involving a catatonic woman named Terry Ives (Aimee Mullins), who was apparently pregnant with Eleven while involved in a clandestine government test called MKUltra.

Eleven eventually shacks up with Mike and takes up the task of eating all his Eggo waffles. After a bunch of friendship-stressing, prepubescent drama, she uses Mike’s walkie-talkie to contact Will in the other dimension, which convinces the group she can find him in the Upside Down.

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The sheriff of this here town is Jim Hopper, Alcoholic (David Harbour). He has good reason to be one, though, since his young daughter, Sara (Elle Graham), died of cancer. When Joyce implores him to search for Will, he does so with a personal motivation, occasionally flashing back to moments he spent with his dying daughter.

When a body resembling “the Byers boy” is found floating in a reservoir, Jim Hopper cuts it open--you know, like an autopsy. Only with a pocket knife, and he's totally not supposed to, but he does it anyway, because he's Jim F***ing Hopper.

It turns out the body is a fake, injecting the story with yet more juicy mystery.

Young Americans

No story is complete without a teenage love triangle and the death of an innocent, so let’s get into the young adults of the tale.

Mike’s older sister, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), is best friends with the nerdy Barbara Holland (Shannon Purser). When the two go to a party at Nancy’s crush Steve Harrington’s (Joe Keery) house, Barb winds up in the deep end. She's seen one other time in the series--though not in very good shape.

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Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) is Will’s older brother, and in addition to having the issues of searching for his brother, dealing with his hysterical mother, and navigating high school on a television show in the simulated 1980s, he may or may not have feelings for Nancy. After Jonathan and Nancy join forces to look for Will, Jonathan and Steve clash, but when it comes down to it they all get together to try and kick Demogorgon ass.

Under threat of ambiguous government agents, Hopper, Joyce, Jonathan, Nancy and the boys build a sensory deprivation tank for Eleven, so she can think her way into the Upside Down and find Will and Barb.

Joyce and Hopper break into the Hawkins Laboratory, but they are captured by Dr. Brenner. Hopper trades Eleven's location for access to the dimensional gate, while Eleven and the boys hide out at their middle school. Dr. Brenner shows up for Eleven, but she kills most of his agents before subsequently passing out from the effort.

Her power brings the Demogorgon to her location, and it conveniently kills Brenner and his agents. Just as the Monster turns its attention to the boys--and they uselessly wrist-rocket it--Eleven regains consciousness, bleeds from her eyeballs, and blasts the monster out of existence, before vanishing herself.

Joyce and Hopper find Will unconcious with demogorgon boogers in his nose, and they return him to the Rightside Up. A month later Will is still coughing up Demogorgon boogers, and Eleven is still absent, but hey, happy ending?

Some Stranger Things Season 2 Theories

That ending also left plenty up in the air still. Eleven is definitely still alive, as Hopper is seen leaving Eggos out in the woods. Eleven and the Demogorgon seem to share some kind of connection, so if she's still alive somewhere, it might be too.

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Will's nasty indigestion will have to be a big plot point in Season 2, as that too might indicate that the Demogorgon isn't dead--or that there are more of it. Hopper and Joyce found what looked like an egg at the end of Season 1, which doesn't bode well for poor little Hawkins.

Eleven's very name even begs the question: Are there more psychic kids in a lab somewhere, just waiting to be unleashed on the plot of Stranger Things?

These questions and more will (hopefully) be answered when Stranger Things Season 2 arrives on Netflix Oct. 27.

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