After almost two years without new episodes, Stranger Things is FINALLY returning on July 4.
And since it has been a little while since we last saw Eleven, Hopper, Mike, and the rest of the gang, I took it upon myself to rewatch Seasons 1 and 2 in preparation.
So, below are some of the important moments you need to remember before Season 3:
Obviously MAJOR spoilers ahead for Season 1 and 2 of Stranger Things.
First, Will wins Dustin’s issue of X-Men Issue #134, the comic that introduced Jean Grey as Dark Phoenix — this actually foreshadows Eleven arriving with dangerous telekinetic powers.
Also, Episode 1 is the first time Hopper mentions Sara, who we come to learn was Hopper’s daughter who died.
Of course, Episode 1 ends with Mike, Dustin, and Lucas coming across Eleven, which has become an iconic Stranger Things moment.
In Episode 2, Mike gives Eleven an Eggo waffle for the first time — Eggos obviously become an important item for Eleven.
When Mike’s mom comes home, Mike makes Eleven hide in the closet, which ends up being one of many homages to E.T. throughout the series.
Also in Episode 2, Barb is taken into the Upside Down while she’s sitting by Steve’s pool — this is when we learn the Demogorgon is attracted to blood.
In Episode 3, we get the first glimpse of the Upside Down and the fact that it physically resembles our world — of course, we later learn that this is the last time we see Barb alive too.
Also in Episode 3, Terry Ives is mentioned for the first time when several newspaper articles reveal the Hawkins Lab experiments.
In Episode 4, Eleven using her powers and being experimented on is an homage to Stephen King’s Firestarter starring Drew Barrymore.
In Episode 5, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas first talk about “The Vale of Shadows” from Dungeons & Dragons, which is what they believe the Upside Down is.
Also in Episode 5, two more Hawkins residents go missing by Mirkwood, which is the same road Will was biking on right before he was taken.
When Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Eleven are looking for the gate to the Upside Down, it mimics the iconic traveling moments from Stand By Me.
In Episode 6, Terry Ives is introduced when Hopper and Joyce visit her — it’s revealed that Terry believes her daughter had superpowers like telekinesis.
In Episode 7, there’s another E.T. reference when Eleven helps everyone escape the Hawkins Lab employees — E.T. infamously helps Elliott escape the cops by flying away on his bike.
Also in Episode 7, we learn that Will is trapped in the Upside Down version of Castle Byers — this is foreshadowed earlier when we see the Byers’s dog laying in the exact same spot.
In Episode 8, we see Hopper’s daughter Sara for the first time, and we learn that Hopper wears one of her hair ties on his wrist.
Season 1 ends with Eleven seemingly disappearing after defeating the Demogorgon — of course, we learn that she’s alive and Hopper has been bringing her Eggos.
Also at the end of Season 1, Will looks in the mirror and coughs up something from the Upside Down — the scene mirrors a similar moment in Twin Peaks Season 2 with Agent Dale Cooper.
Season 2 begins with the revelation that there are other people with powers like Eleven’s — we see Kali aka Eight use her powers.
Also, despite escaping the Upside Down, it’s revealed that Will is still tethered to it and can see it — there’s even an homage to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
In Season 2, Episode 1, Eleven is still telling time the same way that Mike taught her to in Season 1.
In Season 2, Episode 2, there’s another tribute to E.T. when Eleven wants to leave the cabin dressed as a ghost.
In Season 2, Episode 3, Eleven reveals that she hasn’t seen Mike for 326 days — also 3+2+6 = 11.
Also in Season 2, Episode 3, Dustin finds Dart in his trash can — Dart ends up being a smaller version of a Demo-dog, a version of a Demogorgon.
When facing his fears in the Upside Down, Will gets infected by the Mind Flayer that has been terrorizing him.
In Season 2, Episode 5, Hopper finds the tunnels used as a connection between our world and the Upside Down — there’s also an homage to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Also in Season 2, Episode 5, Eleven meets Terry and it’s revealed that Dr. Brenner took Eleven aka Jane shortly after Terry gave birth.
In Season 2, Episode 6, Nancy and Jonathan finally get together while at Murray Bauman’s, who is helping them reveal the mistakes of Hawkins Lab.
In Season 2, Episode 7, Eleven finds Kali aka Eight, who was held at Hawkins Lab with Eleven when they were younger — I’m sure the other experiments 1–7, 9, and 10 will make an appearance at some point.
In Season 2, Episode 8, Bob Newby sacrifices himself in order to save Joyce, Hopper, Mike, and Will from the Demo-dogs — Bob Newby, superhero!
Also in Season 2, Episode 8, using Will’s connection to the Mind Flayer and morse code, it’s revealed that the gang needs to close the gate to the Upside Down.
In Season 2, Episode 9, Eleven and Mike reunite for the first time after she returns to help close the gate and save Will.
Also in Season 2, Episode 9, Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max burn down the tunnels, while Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy expel the Mind Flayer from Will’s body.
Season 2 ends with Eleven seemingly closing the gate to the Upside Down once and for all and defeating the Demogorgons — shortly after this, Hawkins Lab is also shut down due to their involvement in Barb’s death.
Also at the end of Season 2, Hopper officially adopts Eleven and he even gives her Sara’s blue hair tie.
And finally, Stranger Things Season 2 wraps up on a cliffhanger when it’s revealed that the Mind Flayer is still alive in the Upside Side and is looming over Hawkins.
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