The Stranger Things Recap You Need Before Watching Season 3
A refresher on what's going down in Hawkins.
Stranger Things 3 premieres on July 4th and before writing this I could only remember one character’s name (Eleven, of course). If you’re in the same boat, here’s a rundown of all the things you need to remember before returning to the town of Hawkins (or the Upside Down) for a third season.
First of all, here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. From what we know there’s a seven-month time jump, and the kids are now tweens. The story takes place over the summer of 1985, with all the aesthetics of 1985 small-town America you could hope for — including an H&M collection and special Nike releases we'll see onscreen and IRL — and it looks like a lot of the action will be happening in the mall. But before the kids go alien hunting at the local shopping center, get refreshed on everything they've been through thus far.
Will Byers is Not Okay
In Season 2 we get a look at how deeply affected Will (Noah Schnapp) was by his time in the Upside Down. From his PTSD diagnosis to flashbacks or visions of the past and future, to discovering that the hospital where he was getting treatment was actually a CIA laboratory with a doorway to the Upside Down, where his mom’s new boyfriend Bob eventually died saving him and his friends. Yeah, he’s not okay. From the trailer it looks like What’s Up With Will will play a big part in the upcoming season.
Hopper is Now Eleven’s Dad
While Jim Hopper (David Harbour) took care of Eleven for a year and hid her in his father’s cabin, after the destruction of Hawkins Lab, he officially adopted her and became her dad. This is probably the cutest relationship in the whole show, and hopefully they have fewer cabin-destroying fights and more enjoyable Eggo breakfasts together in season 3.
New Characters Mad Max and Billy Hargrove Have More to Do
Mad Max is the skateboarding, video-game playing new girl in town in Season 2, played by everyone’s new favorite redhead with an alliterative name, Sadie Sink. Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is her older step-brother, and he’s basically a jerk. He and Steve get into it a few times throughout the season. From the trailer it looks like Billy gets a job as a lifeguard this summer. Mad Max is either still friends with the group or might even be in that lovely teen “it could be romance” phase with Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), as was alluded to in Season 2. Speaking of Lucas: His little sis Erica joined the scene last season, mainly to call him a “nerd” and say such iconic things as “You can’t spell America without Erica.” Since she was a fan favorite last year — and Stranger Things 3 drops on the Fourth of July — America’s Erica will surely be back to represent annoying (and probably heroic) little sisters everywhere.
Good Guy Steve is Still a Good Guy
I’ll be honest, I had mixed feelings about Steve (Joe Keery) for a bit, but by the end of Season 2 I was a Steve fan. I’m glad he didn’t just disappear when he and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) broke up. He stuck around and defended the kids from some demodogs, and it looks like his fun relationship with Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is carried on through Season 3. As he says in S2 himself, “I may be a pretty shitty boyfriend, but it turns out I’m actually a pretty damn good babysitter.”
Eleven is Definitely A Secret Government Weapon
Season 2 confirmed that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is the product of the real-life CIA project MK Ultra (yes, as in real CIA scientists doing strange things to real people). It’s briefly mentioned in Season 1, but in Season 2 we meet Eleven’s mom and discover even more hints around this connection. Eleven’s powers are telekinesis, and through sensory deprivation she can project into an alternate dimension from where she can spy on people. As the program was developed during the Cold War, she was being trained to spy on the Russians. The alternate dimension she projected into, however, had a lot of monsters and bad stuff in it. This is the Upside Down.
VIDEO: 11 Questions With Eleven: Millie Bobby Brown
Eight, or Kali, is Still Alive Somewhere
In Season 2 we meet Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), also known as Eight, another part of the CIA project, whose powers synchronized well with Eleven’s. They feel like sisters to each other, and share a really beautiful bond. They go on some adventures together in Season 2, and Kali helps Eleven harness her anger to better control and amplify her powers. However, after Kali saves her gang from police, Eleven leaves to go save her friends, and Kali probably has some feelings about that — abandonment being a big issue for these parentless science-project kids — which we will probably see in the upcoming season.
Bad Guy Dr. Martin Brenner is Still Around
This one is a bit messy to explain, but let’s just say the evil scientist from Season 1 is still out there, and that’s been confirmed by the showrunners. Keep that in mind so you don’t have a “who’s that guy” moment when Matthew Modine shows up, presumably as something terrifying unfolds.
Nancy and Jonathan Are for Sure a Thing
In Season 2 the guilt of Barb’s death weighs on Nancy, especially once finding out that Barb’s parents are selling their house to hire a private detective to find their daughter, whom they believe is still missing. Nancy becomes distant in her relationship with Steve, and eventually they break up after he accuses her of cheating on him with Jonathan. Later in Season 2 Nancy and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) actually do start dating (fun fact: These two are a couple in real life.). We only get a flash of them in the trailer but it looks like they’re still together.
Joyce Byers is Stressed
Given all the trauma that’s lobbed at Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), she’s definitely due for some solid therapy and possibly medication. It’s been a few months since she watched boyfriend Bob get torn apart saving her and her kid, so who knows how she’s dealing with that. We only get a few shots of her in the trailer and it mostly seems like she’s still worried. Which, frankly, is the most logical thing to be in Hawkins, Indiana.
Feeling stressed and refreshed? Tune in to Stranger Things 3 when the whole season hits Netflix on July 4, 2019.