It’s been almost three years since we’ve had a dose of the upside-down weirdness of stranger things (the same period of time as that between stranger things seasons 1 and 3). This kind of delay isn’t unheard of in the new normal, but hoo boy, there’s a lot to take away from where the folks at Hawkins have been.
Unsurprisingly, things look very different for just about everyone in stranger things 4. So we prepared an encore on where we left off with Eleven, Will, Mike, Max, Lucas, Dustin, Erica, Steve, Robin, Nancy, Joyce, Hopper – OK, you get the picture.
[Ed. note: There’s gonna be spoilers for Stranger Things season 3 here, as you might’ve expected!]
Season 3 was the mall season
You may have forgotten it’s been long enough: in a tribute to the burgeoning shopping mall culture of the 1980s, much stranger things 3The action takes place at the new Starcourt Mall. Unfortunately, the new shopping complex also happens to be a front for a secret Soviet research base (that was the 80s!), under which the Russians built the first key – a portal to the Upside Down – on the ground. American. (According to one Soviet, there are certainly more in Russia, but none have been as successful as the Hawkins Key.)
After Steve, Dustin, Erica and Robin discover the key, they inform Hopper, who hatches a plan to break into the base and disable the machine alongside Joyce and Murray (the conspiracy theorist who gets locked up because he can translate Russian).
Unfortunately, their plan is crippled by the fact that Hopper must fight to the death a Russian hitman right next to the active machine. Unable to join Joyce in the control room before she could stop the machine, the two shared a meaningful look as she deactivated it, possibly disintegrating him in the process. As Joyce wanted to search the debris, Murray escorted her in order to prevent angry Soviet troops from invading.
Everybody’s long distance now
Eleven and the Byers moved to California after the events at Hawkins Mall, which meant that not only did Will part ways with the D&D group, but also couples Jonathan and Nancy as well as Eleven and Mike.
Just before they left, El and Mike promised to see each other on Thanksgiving and Christmas; El also officially told Mike “I love you,” so when we left them in Season 3, they were rolling. Jonathan and Nancy made no such promises, but she offered to keep him in her basement if he wanted to stay.
“No, not the American.”
A small teaser at a Russian facility saw two guards feed a prisoner an upside-down monster. But before they can catch the poor bastard, one guard signals the other to leave, unlocking another cell.
What other way to interpret this is there than Jim Hopper alive? I don’t know, but let’s see what stranger things says the season 4 promo.
OK, well that was quick: Yes, he’s definitely alive and captured by the Soviets. More on that in Season 4.
Billy sacrificed himself
After being possessed by an upside-down monster (so to speak), Billy was brought back to himself when El fused with him and shared a vision of his happy childhood memory. Reconnecting to his humanity inspired him to stop the Mind Flayer from attacking the rest of the children. He was eventually stabbed through the heart by the monster.
Although they were never particularly close, it hit her sister-in-law, Max, pretty hard at the time.
Eleven lost her powers
After the Mind Flayer bit her and left a piece of himself lodged inside her, Eleven’s powers disappeared. Although it was presumed to be a side effect of the bite, she still lacked her powers as the Byers left for California three months after the battle. When Season 4 picks up in California, she’s still struggling to figure out who she is outside of her superpowers.
Dustin has a hacker friend, Suzie.
All season, Dustin has talked about his long distance girlfriend he met at camp. At the eleventh hour, the team discovers that she is, indeed, real and a computer whiz.
The kids from Stranger Things are now in high school!
Yes, they’ve all aged a lot in the three years (our time) since we last saw them! But in-universe, it’s been about six months since the end of last season, and stranger things 3 took place in the summer of 1985, just before the youngest entered high school. Will it be more gruesome than facing upside-down monsters multiple times? It’s the 80s, so probably!
Erica got Will’s D&D shit
After risking her life to uncover the truth about Starcourt Mall alongside our brave heroes, Lucas’ younger sister Erica instantly became a fan favorite and also more invested in her brother’s social life – or, at least , the corny, maybe alien parts. of this one. Dustin and Lucas introduced Erica to the D&D books left behind by Will (he said he absolutely didn’t want to find any D&D friends in California, which is a nice gesture but not entirely smart, in the opinion of this writer).
Eleven has been seen by many doctors!
It’s not a Season 3 thing, as a lot of that plot was localized around the Russian invasion and the mall. But in Season 1, we were introduced to Dr. Martin Brenner, a scientist at the facility who raised El; he built himself up as a father figure to her in order to make her more experimentally compliant, so she called him “Dad”. In the end, she finally saw through his manipulation and left him attacked by the Demogorgon. Although he was presumed dead for a while, Brenner was confirmed alive in Season 2. By then, he had already been replaced by Dr. Sam Owens from the Department of Energy, who eventually adopted a much more sympathetic approach towards Eleven and Hopper.
Considering Dr. Owens appears in the Season 4 trailer, suffice it to say that the season will revisit El’s past.
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