'Stranger Things' Recap: What You Need to Know Before The Season 3 Premiere

The premiere of Stranger Things Season 3 is almost upon us, and while fans are excited to see what the city of Hawkins has left in store for Eleven and company, we may need a bit of a refresher on what exactly led us to the July 4 premiere.

Premiering in 2016, the Netflix original sci-fi series has dealt with the Demogorgon, Mind Flayer and other mysteries from the Upside Down, but is it really possible to remember all the key details from Season 1 and 2? Well, if you do need that refresher, continue below.

Stranger Things Season 3 Key Characters:


Audiences first meet Eleven, lovingly referred to as El by friends and played by Millie Bobby Brown, in Season 1. She's gone through a lot in the past two seasons but some things always remain the same–she suffers her fair share of bloody noses and she loves Eggo waffles.

Eleven, Stranger Things Season 3
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Played by Finn Wolfhard, Mike seems to be the leader of his friend group and shared an adorable kiss with Eleven at the conclusion of Season 2.

Mike, Stranger Things
Finn Wolfhard as Mike in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Ah, Will. Noah Schnapp's character is arguably the sweetest yet darkest character. Initially a shy character in Season 1, Will showed a bit of a demonic side after being possessed by the Mind Flayer (also known as the Shadow Monster) in Season 2.

Will, Stranger Things
Noah Schnapp as Will in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Definitely the comedic relief of the bunch. Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo has made a couple of questionable decision within the past two seasons–such as housing a baby Demadog.

Dustin, Stranger Things Season 3
Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Easily the "no b-s" character of the bunch, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) is arguably the most underrated character of the Stranger Things world. Hopefully, Season 3 will bring more iconic Lucas moments, especially after solidifying a romantic relationship with California-native Max during the Season 2 finale.

Lucas, Stranger Things Season 3
Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Audiences are first introduced to Max's presence in Hawkins during episode 1 of Season 2, when the boys are at the arcade and notice that some mysterious person–known as MadMax–holds all the high scores.

As Eleven is absent for most of Season 2, Max (Sadie Sink) shows her worth to the boys in true California-bred fashion.

Max, Stranger Things
Sadie Sink as Max in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Is may be easy to conclude that viewers have a love-hate relationship with Mike's sister, Nancy (Natalia Dyer). She's come a long way since Season 1 but she's caused cause the controversy with her relationship status. Steve or Jonathan?

Nancy, Stranger Things Season 3
Natalia Dyer as Nancy in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Will's brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) is possibly one of the most misunderstood characters. From playing a wallflower-type character to stepping up to the heroic plate, Jonathan is catching our attention and we are here for it.

Jonathan, Stranger Things
Charlie Heaton as Jonathan in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


Arguably the character that has seen the most character development is Steve (Joe Keery). Not only did he rebound from being a hated character, but he also has proved that he is the best babysitter Hawkins has to offer.

Steve, Stranger Things
Joe Keery as Steve in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix

Chief Hopper

Chief Hopper, otherwise known as Hawkins' dad, is one of the most loveable characters of the series. Not only did he basically adopt Eleven but can we all agree that he and Joyce would make a fantastic couple?

Chief Hopper, Stranger Things
David Harbour as Chief Hopper in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


She's traveled to the Upside Down and exercised the Mind Flayer out of her son. So basically, she's the best mother ever.

Joyce, Stranger Things Season 3
Winona Ryder as Joyce in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix


He may be devilishly good-looking, but Billy has proven to be quite the bad boy. Will he have a moment of redemption? We'll have to wait and see.

Billy, Stranger Things Season 3
Dacre Montgomery as Billy in 'Stranger Things.' Netflix

Stranger Things Season 1 Recap:

The main conflict in Season 1 is finding Will after he goes missing after playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. As the whole town is on the lookout for the missing boy, audiences catch their first glimpse of Eleven–the little girl with the shaven head, dressed in a hospital gown.

As Eleven runs away from the scientists at Hawkins laboratory, she runs into the boys (Mike, Dustin and Lucas). Despite those at the sketchy laboratory are trying everything in their best power to cover up Will's disappearance (like putting a stuffed dummy in the river to make it seem like Will drowned), Eleven provides key insight and reveals what is known as the Upside Down.

Toward the conclusion of the season, time is starting to run out for Will and the evil scientists are getting closer to capturing Eleven. Hopper then hatches a plan for Eleven to communicate with Will in the Upside Down by using a sensory deprivation tank at the local school.

Long story short, the tank works, allowing Joyce and Hopper to save Will from the Upside Down. At the same moment Will is being extracted from the Upside Down, Eleven enolates the Demogorgon–but not without disappearing as well.

The season ends with Will coughing up a black slug and a big question mark of what happened to Eleven.

Notable Season Deaths:

  • Barbara (Barb) Holland – Nancy's best friend was taken to the Upside Down and devoured by the Demogorgon.

Stranger Things Season 2 Recap:

Season 2 opens up with characters we have never seen before. Riding in a white van, a group of delinquents are running from the police, until one of them reveals she has the power to portray images in people's minds. As she wipes the blood from her nose, this scene is a way to prove that there are more people out there that are just like Eleven.

Though Will was able to safely make it out of the Upside Down, it is clear that something is still dangerously wrong. While at the arcade with his friends, Will is experiencing terrifying visions of what came to be known as the Shadow Monster.

Fast forward an episode and Will becomes possessed by the Shadow Monster and turns into a spy for the creature. It is later learned that whatever happens to the monster also painfully happens to Will.

As things aren't looking too great in Hawkins, Eleven is conducting her own, independent mission of finding out about her origins and birth mother. Eleven ends up tracking down her mother (who is completely incoherent) and learns that there are other children just like her. She ends up joining the group of delinquents from episode 1 (remember them?) but quickly removes herself from the group after they become violent on the scientists who once experimented on them.

Eleven comes back into Hawkins just in time to save her friends from the Demadogs and close the gate to the Upside Down once and for all.

Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan, on the other hand, are working to exercise the Shadow Monster out of Will. They do so by the one thing that hurts the creature–heat.

During the season's finale, things finally look to be heading toward the right direction. The kids had to their school's Snow Ball where Mike and Eleven finally share their first kiss and Max and Lucas officially become a couple.

Unfortunately, good things don't seem to last in Hawkins, and the last episode of Season 2 ends with the Shadow Monster looming over the school.

Notable Season 2 Deaths:

  • Bob Newby – What does Bob get when he saves everyone–literally everyone–from Hawkin's Laboratory? He gets munched on by Demadogs.

Season 3 of Stranger Things premieres July 4 on Netflix.