Stranger Things recap: Big moments from the first two seasons

Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix /
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Stranger Things - Netflix shows
Stranger Things – Credit: Curtis Baker/Netflix /

Let’s take a look back at the first two seasons of Stranger Things and get refreshed for the premiere of season 3 this July 4!

Whether you’re doing your own Stranger Things re-watch or not, it’s always good to get a nice refresher of the major events that will lead us to the action that is sure to take place in the next season (have you seen that new trailer, though?).

The Stranger Things cast also just shared a new video recapping the season. After reading through the recap below, watch the video with all your favorite characters sharing the biggest moments in the first two seasons.

Stranger Things 3 premieres on July 4. If you don’t have time to rewatch the series before then, you came to the right place! Let’s go back and hit some of the most important parts of these first two seasons:

Season 1 Recap

The first season of Stranger Things introduced us to a group of friends playing Dungeons and Dragons. These boys are Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will. On his bike ride home, Will Byers encountered a scary figure in the fog and ran home, but disappeared in his backyard tool shed with no explanation. Everyone, including Will’s mother Joyce and his brother Jonathan, starts to learn about Will’s disappearance and Joyce begs for a search to begin.

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In the meantime, during their own search for Will at night, the boys encounter Eleven (or El). Before this, however, we learn that she is some sort of child experiment who may have escaped from somewhere. After finding comfort at Benny’s Burgers, El runs away as some individuals show up and kill Benny. After killing the men who trap her and stopping a moving fan, it’s clear she has some sort of telekinetic ability.

Pretty soon after this, we see Mike’s sister Nancy and her friend Barbara (or just Barb) show up to a party at Nancy’s boyfriend Steve Harrington’s place. After a crazy night of swimming and drinking, Barb cuts herself on a can and is left alone outside, where she is presumably kidnapped by the same creature that got Will.

We start to learn that the place Barb went is “the upside down”, which is a parallel world to the world that these characters live in. Nancy even almost gets trapped there by the monster but is saved by following Jonathan’s voice from outside of the upside down.

Joyce starts to get clues that Will may be alive somewhere, despite first responders finding what everyone believes to be Will’s body floating in a quarry. Joyce sets up string lights all across her home as she finds out a way to communicate with Will and learns that he is alive, but in great danger.

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After suspicions arise, the chief of Hawkins police, Jim Hopper finds out that Will’s body was just a stuffed doll. The boys find out that Will actually is alive through El’s powers, and disguise her to sneak her into school to get access to a bigger radio to find Will. We also learn that Eleven has indeed been a child experiment and that she was the one who opened the “gate” to this other dimension.

Later, Hawkins Lab personnel (who El calls “the bad men”) learn that Eleven has escaped and his hiding at Mike’s home. They show up at his house to come for El, and the group is forced to flee on their bikes (Eleven flips a van over with her mind!).

After being rescued from their hiding spot by Hopper, they return to Mike’s house and explain what’s going on. The group, which includes Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy, decide to create a sensory deprivation tank at school for Eleven to “find” Barb and Will in the upside down, similar to how she would go there at Hawkins Lab. We, unfortunately, learn that Barb did not survive but that Will is barely hanging on. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Nancy set up booby traps at the Byers’ house and with help from Steve, capture the Demogorgon and burn it to a crisp.

At Hawkins Middle, the gang is left waiting alone and soon are ambushed by “the bad men”. They head into a classroom where the Demogorgon breaks in, and try to defeat it. However, Eleven ends up sacrificing herself for her friends and defeats the Demogorgon, disappearing along with it. In the meantime, Hopper and Joyce had traveled into the upside down. They end up finding Will and “bring him back to life” using CPR.

The season ends with the group being happy and reunited with Will, yet sad because El was now gone. Hopper leaves some food from his office Christmas party and Eggo waffles in a secret box in the woods. At the Byers’ home, Will coughs up a mysterious looking slug and gets a quick glimpse or flashback into the upside down.