Ah, the Fourth of July. That highly anticipated summer day where you go out and enjoy a nice barbecue with your family, shotgun a couple of Natty's with your friends, and try really hard to get a perfect Boomerang of the fireworks for your Instagram story. Or, the day where you stay in bed binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things, because yes, the wait is finally over, my friends. Our favorite squad of bad-ass kids is back and this time things seem to get even more intense than ever for them.
It's been two years since we last visited Hawkins, so if you feel like you don't recall much, I gotcha. Here's everything you should remember from the previous season of Stranger Things:
1. Eleven lives with Hopper.
At the end of season one, we saw Hopper leaving some Eggo's in the woods, hinting that Eleven was still alive and out there after annihilating the Demogorgon and totally vanishing. Sure enough, at the beginning of season two, it is revealed that both characters are living together in a cabin, where Hopper has been hiding Eleven from everyone for her protection. During the last episode, Hopper officially adopts Eleven, or as her birth certificate states, "Jane Hopper" (BRB, crying).
2. Will is pulled over to the dark side.
We all knew Will was not okay after coughing up a slug in that last scene of season one. During the first half of season two, Will is suffering from PTSD, as he constantly has hallucinations and panic attacks involving the Upside Down and a certain "shadow monster," aka the Mind Flayer, that is seen looming over Hawkins. After several of these episodes, Will tries to confront the creature but ends up becoming possessed by it. The Mind Flayer then begins using Will for his malicious deeds until its weakness is discovered: heat. So they burn the evil out of Will, like some sort of exorcism.
3. Mad Max joins the squad.
In this season, there are two new kids in town: Maxine, who goes by "Mad Max" at the arcade, and her older stepbrother Billy, who is very hot, but also a complete jerk. The boys try to befriend Max after they learn she beat Dustin's high score on Dig Dug and see her skateboarding around the school. At first, she's weirded out by them and all their Upside Down/Demogorgon shit (I mean, can you blame her?), but at the end of the day, she finds her place in the group and even helps them out. Throughout the season, there's quite the love triangle between Lucas, Dustin, and Max, since both boys have a crush on her, but Lucas ends up getting the girl.
4. Steve and Nancy broke up.
Nancy is still very distressed over Barb's death and the guilt is weighing her down, which eventually causes her to get into an argument with Steve, and they break up. For the remainder of the season, Nancy and Jonathan became closer than ever (wink wink) as both were determined to finally get some #JusticeForBarb. These two characters embark on a journey to find a private investigator named Murray with hopes that he can help them expose the lab.
5. There's "Demodogs" now.
Dustin finds a strange little pollywog-looking creature in his trashcan and decides to keep it, naming it Dart. Over the course of the season, Dart keeps growing and evolving (just getting uglier and more vicious) until he becomes a "Demodog," as Dustin refers to it, which is basically an adolescent Demogorgon. So by this point in the series, we've seen the complete life cycle of a Demogorgon.
6. Eleven finds her mom and sister.
With the help of her powers and a little sneaking through Hopper's secret files, Eleven finally finds her biological mom, Terry, who sits in a rocking chair in some sort of vegetative state. Eleven taps into her mother's memories and learns how Hawkins Lab kidnapped her after being born and performed electroshock therapy on mom so she would lose her memory. These memories make Eleven reunite with her "lab sister" Kali, aka "Eight," and together they hunt down one of the bad guys from the lab, who confesses that Dr. Brenner, aka "Papa," is actually alive. #shook
7. Steve and Dustin become best friends.
I was honestly quite bummed out when Nancy and Steve broke up, 'cause I always shipped them. But then, as both characters split ways, Steve became the kids' official babysitter and my new favorite relationship emerged. After Dustin's pet, Dart, grows and eats his cat Mews, he runs off to seek help and comes across Steve, who conveniently still had his spiked batt from season one. Together, they go on a mission to kill the "Demodog" and end up bonding along the way. Steve even shares with Dustin the secret to his luscious hair and gives him a little advice on girls.
8. We meet Bob and then he dies.
There's always that one character that simply deserves better. Last time it was Barb, then, in season two, it was Joyce's new boyfriend, Bob. From the beginning of the season, Bob shows to be a fun, smart, and caring guy that puts up with all the craziness that goes on in the Byers family. In the end, he becomes a hero, as he willingly risks his life to restore the power in the lab so that everyone can escape safely and ultimately gets eaten by the Demodogs. We'll never forget you, Bob.
9. Billy and Mrs. Wheeler kinda hit it off.
As I mentioned before, Billy is the new bad boy that no woman in Hawkins can resist. While Max is out, you know, just casually hunting the Demogorgons with the gang, Billy is forced by his dad to go looking for his stepsister. He stops by the Wheelers' house to ask if she is there and is greeted by Mike's mom, Karen Wheeler, at the door. Both characters immediately begin flirting, and the teasers from this upcoming season promise the flirting doesn't end here.
10. Hawkins Lab is closed and so is the gate... or so we think.
At the end of season two, as always, Eleven saves the day and uses her powers to close the gate to the Upside Down, which is located inside of Hawkins Lab. Speaking of the lab, we also learn that the private investigator, Murray, was able to expose them for their involvement with Barb's death and the whole building ends up being shut down. Everything seems to finally be over, but as the kids are enjoying their school's Snow Ball dance, we see the Mind Flayer in the Upside Down still posing a threat over Hawkins.