After a very long wait (3 years!), Season 4 is finally here! But we can’t deny that it has been some time since Season 3, and we might have forgotten what happened in the series especially after the events we have endured for the past two years. So, to help fellow fans and viewers of Stranger Things (me included) to remember and catch up on what has happened previously, here is a recap of Seasons 1 through 3 while we wait for Season 4 to drop.
The series is set in the town of Hawkins, Indiana and begins in the year 1983. Centred around 4 middle-school boys who are best friends – Michael (Mike), Dustin, Lucas, and Will – a mysterious and powerful girl Eleven (also fondly known as El) joins them to make a merry band of five who will end up fighting and protecting their town from the horrors of the Upside Down.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 1 to 3.
- Will mysteriously disappears while cycling back home after a game of Dungeons & Dragons with his pals, Mike, Dustin and Lucas. This sets off a series of manhunts that would lead the characters to find out what is truly happening in the town of Hawkins.
- Hopper, the Chief of Police organises search parties to look for Will where he would eventually come across the secretive Hawkins National Laboratory.
- While looking for Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas finds Eleven and decide to house her in Mike’s basement.
- Joyce, Will’s mother receives strange phone calls that she believes are from her missing son. She strings a bunch of Christmas lights all over her house in an attempt to contact him.
- Nancy’s best friend, Barb disappears while they were at Steve’s house party. Barb who was sitting by the sitting pool is seen being dragged into the unknown by a monster which will come to be known as the Demogorgon.
- What appears to be Will’s body would be discovered in the quarry but Joyce does not believe that it is Will. She relays her suspicions to Hopper who would break into the morgue and cut open Will’s body to find that it is fake.
- Eleven proves to Mike, Dustin, and Lucas that Will is still alive by using her psychokinetic abilities. They attempt to find Will by finding the gate to the Upside Down but is unknowingly misdirected by Eleven.
- Throughout the season, Eleven has a series of horrific flashbacks about the laboratory testing performed on her by Dr. Brenner. It turns out that she is the one who opened the gate to the Upside Down.
- Nancy and Jonathan who decides to join hands to search for Will and Barb goes to the woods where Will was last seen. Nancy decides to investigate a suspicious looking tree and finds her way into the Upside Down. She gets noticed by the monster but was saved in time by Jonathan.
- Joyce and Hopper find Eleven’s mother and discovers the truth. They return and share what they know with Nancy and Jonathan. They contact the kids and decide to build a sensory deprivation tank for Eleven to find Will and Barb. She finds Barb dead but Will alive and hiding in Castle Byers, his makeshift fort.
- Joyce and Hopper manage to enter Upside Down and rescue Will. Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan decide to kill the monster by luring it to the Byers’ house. They caused some serious injury but it escapes.
- Government agents arrive to capture Eleven. Although she manages to kill most of them, she is too weak, and Dr. Brenner manages to get to her. However, the bloodshed attracted the Demogorgon who arrives and attacks Dr. Brenner.
- The Demogorgon goes after the kids and Eleven uses her powers to protect them. She destroys the Demogorgon but vanishes as well.
- The series ends with Will vomiting slugs into his bathroom sink implying that the horror has yet to end.
- In Season 2, we find that Eleven is alive and she moves into a secluded cabin with Hopper to keep her safe from anyone that is looking for her.
- However, Eleven feels restricted by Hopper’s overprotective rules and runs away to find her birth mother. There she learns about the other children that were in the same program with her. She meets Kali (also known as Eight) who is on a quest to kill everyone associated with the Hawkins programme. Eleven leaves Kali when she senses that Hawkins is in danger.
- Back in Hawkins, it turns out that Will has not fully escaped the clutches of the Upside Down. He is infected by the Mind Flayer who is using him to spy and do his bidding. The Mind Flayer controls the hive mind of the creatures from the Upside Down – the Demogorgons and their four-legged forms, the Demodogs.
- There are new faces in this season namely stepsiblings Max and Billy. Max catches the eyes of Lucas and Dustin who will try to compete for her attention. She joins the gang and helps to fight the Demodogs and Demogorgons by the end of the season.
- Billy spends most of his time brooding and bullying his stepsister Max. He also develops a rivalry with Steve, and they end up getting into a big fight.
- There is also Bob, a sweet and clueless old classmate who is dating Joyce. He sacrifices himself in the midst of helping Joyce, Will and the others escape the Demodogs.
- Another addition to the season is Dr. Owens, the new Hawkins laboratory doctor. He proves to be an ally when he remained behind at the lab to help Joyce and the others secape from the incoming Demodogs.
- Joyce and the rest of the boys catch on that there is something wrong with Will. They try to rid Will of the Mind Flayer’s hold and he manages to fight the monster long enough to tell them to close the Gate.
- After a long fight with the Mind Flayer, Eleven uses her telekinesis abilities to successfully seal the portal that was created by Hawkins Lab to connect Earth to the Upside Down.
- It ends on a happy note (or does it?) with the Snow Ball where Mike and Eleven shares a sweet kiss and Max and Lucas gets together.
- The portal may have been closed but the Mind Flayer survives. The final shot of season 2 shows the Mind Flayer casting an eerie shadow over the high school where the Snow Ball is ongoing.
- It’s nearly one year after Eleven’s successful shutting down of the Gate linking Earth and the Upside Down. Love is in the air this season – Dustin is on a long-distance relationship with a girl named Suzie he met at science camp, Mike and Eleven are an item who spends too much time together and so are Max and Lucas.
- But the star of this season is really the newly opened Starcourt Mall where everyone goes to hang out. Steve and new character Robin Buckley work together at Scoops Ahoy, an ice cream shop at the mall.
- Billy who is a lifeguard at the community pool locks eyes with Mrs Wheeler, Mike and Nancy’s mother. On his way to rendezvous with her, he crashes his car and becomes possessed by the Mind Flayer.
- Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan are interns at the local paper when they decide to investigate the case of Mrs. Driscoll who claims that something was up with the rats.
- Dustin accidentally overhears a message in Russian while communicating with Suzie via radio. He enlists the help of Robin and Steve to translate the mystery message and learn that there is a Russian lab beneath Starcourt Mall where they are trying to find a way into the Upside Down.
- Erica, Lucas’ sassy sister ends up joining their mission to infiltrate the lab. Robin and Steve gets caught and taken prisoner by the Russians where they were interrogated and beaten. Thankfully, Dustin and Erica manage to rescue them.
- Eleven and Max becomes suspicious that Billy is under the control of the Mind Flayer and their suspicions were confirmed when they trapped Billy in the sauna with the help of Lucas, Mike and Will.
- They meet up with Nancy and Jonathan and they all end up convening at the mall where they are chased by Billy, the Mind Flayer and Russian soldiers. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the Mind Flayer attacks Eleven and causes her to lose her powers.
- While the kids were getting into trouble, Joyce who has been noticing something amiss and visits the Hawkins lab with Hopper. They are attacked by a Russian soldier named Grigori. Hopper recognises Grigori who he has seen at the mayor’s office.
- Hopper finds out that the mayor of Hawkins is enabling the Russians to bring in a mysterious liquid substance through the mall and other buildings. He uncovers the Russians’ plan to reopen the Upside Down.
- The season culminates in a large showdown at the mall where Billy ends up sacrificing himself to save Eleven. While trying to close the Gate, Hopper ends up on the wrong side of the room and it looks like he dies in the explosion that closes the Gate and kills the Mind Flayer.
- In the final scenes, we see that Joyce along with Jonathan, Will and Eleven moves out of Hawkins.
Season 4 is set to premiere on Netflix in two volumes – Volume 1 (5 episodes) will be premiering on 27 May 2022 and Volume 2 (4 episodes) on 1 July 2022. From the trailer, we can see that Hopper is still alive and imprisoned somewhere in Russia. We are also introduced to this season’s main antagonist, Vecna. With Eleven’s powers gone and the group separated, I’m sure fans are wondering how are they going to fight Vecna and protect Hawkins. Season 4 is set to be bigger and scarier and we can’t wait! Counting down the days till we can watch it on Netflix! 🕰️
Btw big news for all Stranger Things fans! Hear from the Duffer brothers themselves through their open letter as they confirm that Season 5 will be the last of Stranger Things 😭