Ever since the launch date for Stranger Things 3 was announced on New Year’s Day, we’ve been really excited to dive into the new episodes, and vowed there and then to catch up on series two as soon as possible.
But then… then, we didn’t.
And while we’re still fully committed to binging the brand new series of Stranger Things at the earliest opportunity, we must admit that after almost two years, we found we were kind of struggling to remember where things left off.
If you’re anything like us – and don’t feel like cramming in 10 hours of telly in the space of a couple of days – then you’re in luck, because we’ve revisited the Netflix show and put together this cheat sheet to remind you what everyone in Hawkins was up to when we last caught up with them...
The gang met Max (and her heinous brother, Billy)
Yes, while the boys were all missing Eleven (not realising she was actually very nearby, secretly living with Hopper), they did make a new friend in Max, a new girl at school, who both Dustin and Lucas found themselves enamoured by.
Max arrives in Hawkins with her older brother, Billy, an outcast who deliberately intimidates and bullies Steve, and warns his sister off spending time with Lucas, for reasons that seem to be rooted in racism. An all-round horror, in other words.
Dustin also made a new friend of his own
Despite everything his mate went through in the first series, when Dustin stumbles across a mysterious new creature, his first instinct is to keep it as a pet, naming it Dart.
Unfortunately, we soon learn that Dart is actually – you guessed it – a miniature Demagorgan, direct from the Upside Down.
Meanwhile, Will had some monster trouble too
As well as the return of the Demagorgans, Stranger Things 2 introduces us to the Shadow Monster, who takes over his body Will’s body like a virus, eventually manipulating him into endangering his friends and family.
In the final episode, Joyce and Jonathan are able to coax him out at the same time Eleven finally “closes the gate” to the Upside Down, in one of the show’s most dramatic scenes ever (though if the Stranger Things 3 trailer is anything to go by, she didn’t exactly do a good job of it).
We found out a lot more about Eleven’s back story
Sick of being kept out of sight by Hopper, Eleven runs away determined to find answers about her past, and she gets them, finally learning that she has a mother, who was left in a catatonic state after trying to rescue her from Hawkins Lab.
Eleven also learns that there are others out there with her abilities, but the less said about that saga the better. Seriously, remember *that* episode? *shudders*
Hawkins, Indiana is now in the “national spotlight”
Yes, while it wasn’t exactly the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the Hawkins Lab saga has gone somewhat public, and as we hear in a news report in the Stranger Things 2 finale, the small town where “nothing ever happens” is now in the “national spotlight”.
Most crucially, this means closure for Barb’s parents, who we see are finally given answers and the ability to say goodbye to their daughter (even if the answers they get aren’t exactly 100% factual).
There was a lot of coupling up in the finale
If you didn’t cry at the final Snow Ball scene, then frankly, we don’t know what to tell you. It was magical. Nancy rescuing Dustin from a night on his own on the dance floor. Max having her first kiss with Lucas to Cyndi Lauper, while Eleven and Mike also kissed for the first time. Will dancing with… some random girl.
Oh, and let’s not forget about Joyce and Hopper, who were seen sharing a tender moment (and a joint) outside while the school dance was going on. Whether sparks are still flying between them in Stranger Things 3 remains to be seen, though.
But the best pair of all were Steve and Dustin
More of this in series 3 please. We repeat: more of this in series 3.
A new start for Eleven
After saving his life, Hooper managed to talk one of the doctors at Hawkins Lab into helping Eleven start a new life, one in which she won’t be “prodded and poked like a lab rat”.
As we see in the episode’s epilogue, he made good on his promise, though we hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to have to get used to calling Eleven “Jane” in the new series.
But… it’s not over yet
Nothing in Stranger Things is ever simple is it? As the last shot of the second series revealed, the Shadow Monster is still very much at large in the Upside Down, and from what we can decipher from the series 3 trailer, it’ll be making a comeback in the new episodes, which could spell bad news for Billy.
Stranger Things 3 is now streaming on Netflix.