Heat up those Eggo waffles because "Stranger Things," one of the most talked-about TV shows of 2016, returns for its second season on Netflix on Oct. 27, 2017. Sure, it's only been a little over a year since we got a glimpse of the Upside Down, but the Duffer brothers left us with some major cliffhangers and it feels like we've been waiting forever to be reunited with our favorite misfits. If your memory's a little fuzzy about where we left off with each character, Wonderwall.com has got you covered. Keep reading for more…
It was hard not to tear up when Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown, sacrificed herself to finally kill off the Demogorgon. The mysterious heroine with psychokinetic abilities pinned the Monster against the wall, said goodbye to Mike and used what powers she had left to disintegrate the creature before disappearing as well. But thankfully, our grief didn't last too long. In one of the last scenes in the season finale, we saw Chief Jim Hopper leave Eggo waffles (El was really, really into them) in a concealed box in the woods, giving us hope that the runaway lab rat might still be alive. And on Friday the 13th in October, Netflix released its final trailer for Season 2, which revealed Eleven is definitely back (and has a new hairstyle to boot).
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Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, left us with one of the biggest cliffhangers of the season. After being abducted by the Monster and trapped in the toxic Upside Down for a while, an unconscious Will was eventually found by his mom and Chief Hopper in the horrifying alternate dimension, stuck in a cocoon-like nest with a tendril-looking thing shoved down his throat. The chief pulled the tendril out and shot it. They then brought Will back to the real-world version of Hawkins, Indiana, and to the hospital. A month later, just when you thought Will was healing up and all was back to normal, he excused himself from Christmas dinner and went to wash his hands — but in the bathroom, he coughed up a slimy slug-like creature that went down the sink (please tell us he wasn't coughing up monster slugs for a month!). He then saw a flash of the bathroom in the Upside Down, hinting that this dark world didn't leave him and he would have a lot to work on in Season 2.
Finn Wolfhard's Mike Wheeler, the leader of the outcasts devoted to finding their friend Will, formed a strong bond with Eleven during the journey. The chemistry between the two was undeniable (even Mike's sister picked up on it). While hiding out in the school as the bad guys looked for them, Mike and Eleven talked about their future life together. (Somehow Mike thought that El would finally have a real bed, real food and a new family, which is when you know something serious is about to go down for Eleven). He then asked El to the Snow Ball school dance and kissed her. Later, Mike tried to stop Eleven from sacrificing herself but could only watch as El was seemingly obliterated with the Monster. A month later, back as the Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon master with his friends, Mike looked longingly at Eleven's neatly kept pillow fort.
Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, won our hearts with his sense of humor and ability to be the voice of reason. He is so down-to-earth and realistic that his predictions sometimes were spooky accurate. He knew that the school lunch lady was hoarding all the chocolate pudding for herself, which he eventually found and grabbed en masse in the last episode, even as the world was falling apart around them (NBD, gotta get fed). In the epilogue, during the group's Dungeons and Dragons game, Dustin also correctly predicted that the next monster would be the Thessalhydra, setting us up for Season 2.
Leave it to Caleb McLaughlin's Lucas Sinclair to question everything in the series, so much so that his wariness of Eleven drove a wedge between him and good mate Mike. But Lucas also knows when he's wrong and later made up with Eleven (and Mike), bringing the group back together again when it would matter the most. At the end of the season, Lucas had his David and Goliath moment as he faced off against the Monster with just his sling and rocks. For a hot second, we all thought that one of his rocks finally did the Monster in, but it was really El to the rescue once again. Still, we have to give Lucas credit for being a pretty brave dude.
While everyone else thought Joyce Byers, played by Winona Ryder, was having a mental breakdown, the single mother stuck to her guns and refused to believe Will was dead, even after a "corpse" was found and even when her oldest son berated her. She continued to search for and attempt to communicate with her son throughout the series (we'll never see Christmas lights the same way again). After Joyce and Chief Hopper saved Will from the Upside Down through the Hawkins National Laboratory, she and the boys were finally able to sit down to a perfect dinner — well, perfect from Joyce's slug-less perspective. A newspaper clipping in the epilogue also revealed Joyce told the public that Will was the subject of a secret government program run by the Hawkins National Laboratory. "The allegation comes amidst a massive investigation into the hidden organization and its elaborate experimentations in perusal of mind control," the clipping read.
Chief Jim Hopper
In helping Joyce locate her son, David Harbour's Chief Jim Hopper made an agreement with Dr. Brenner to gain passage into the Upside Down in exchange for Eleven's location. Beyond this point, Hopper's season finale was shrouded in mystery. He noticed a broken yellow egg in the Upside Down and we have no idea what it is or what it means yet. The chief also got into a shiny black government-owned vehicle while everyone was with Will in the hospital. And a month later, Hopper left a box of El's favorite waffles for her in the woods. (Was he protecting her or luring her?) We have so many questions!
Dr. Martin Brenner
The season's antagonist, Dr. Martin Brenner, gave us the creeps when he tested and pushed Eleven and made her call him "Papa." The head honcho of the Hawkins National Laboratory, played by Matthew Modine, spent most of the season trying to track Eleven down after her escape, but met his end (or what looked like his end) when the Demogorgon swallowed him whole.
Natalia Dyer's Nancy Wheeler learned that her best friend Barb was captured by the Monster and died at the end of Season 1, which was terrible timing for a love triangle with two flawed guys. Nancy was one of the only people who entered the Upside Down and escaped harm-free. She and Jonathan later lured the Monster into Jonathan's home and injured the creature with Steve's help. During Christmas, she ended up giving Jonathan a new camera to replace the one Steve broke, telling him, "It's not really a present," and kissing her friend on the cheek. She then went back into her home and snuggled up next to Steve, who asked Nancy, "Did you give it to him?" All seemed well again with Nancy's love life.
Jonathan Byers, played by Charlie Heaton, was unequivocally devoted to two things: his family and his photography. His love for photography, though, was both a blessing and a curse in Season 1. His photographs of Nancy at the pool party (one in her undergarments) got him in hot water, but his picture of Barb with an inconspicuous figure also provided the evidence Nancy needed in her search for her best friend. The two worked together to trap and maim the Monster. During the Christmas Eve dinner, Jonathan tested out his new camera from Nancy (which was really from Steve) on his mother.
Steve Harrington, the popular school jock, was a major jerk to Nancy at times, like when he accused her of cheating and spray-painted obscenities about her in front of the town theater. But by the end of the season, Joe Keery's Steve had a change of heart and surprised us all. He told off his friends, helped clean the spray paint off the theater marquee, went to the Byers' place to make things right (not knowing he was about to fight off the Monster with a spiked bat) and bought Jonathan a new camera. Okay, maybe we're feeling #TeamSteve.
Cara Buono's Karen Wheeler is the opposite of Joyce in so many ways. The supermom looked put-together but often didn't know what was going on in kids Mike and Nancy's lives. She later gives up Mike's possible location to the Hawkins officials who searched her home, thinking she could trust Brenner and that she was protecting her child.
Troy and James
The school bullies, Peyton Wich's Troy and Cade Jones's James, had a series of encounters with Mike and the gang. In one instance, Troy made fun of Will during his memorial assembly and Eleven got Troy to urinate on himself in front of their classmates. Eleven came to the rescue again when Troy and James tracked the boys down in the woods out of revenge. The bullies had threatened to cut out Dustin's teeth with a knife unless Mike jumped off the cliff. Mike jumped but was levitated back to the cliffside by El, who then knocked James to the ground and broke Troy's arm. The last we saw of Troy was at the police station with his mom when they reported his broken arm and clued Chief Hopper in about El's abilities.
The deadbeat dad, Ross Partridge's Lonnie Byers, had the nerve to show up at Joyce's home — not for Will's funeral, but to try to sue the company that owned the quarry where Will "drowned."
Holly Wheeler, played by twins Anniston and Tinsley Price, was always seen at her mother's side — well, except for one really important time. The cute but fierce tot wandered into Will's room, following a string of Christmas lights, and saw the Monster push through the wall. Holly didn't even scream and answered "yes" when Joyce asked if she saw anything. That girl is one brave kid!
We get it. Barb's death was tragic and heartbreaking, as evidenced by the #WeAreAllBarbFans and #JusticeforBarb trending hashtags. But for the last time, everyone, Barb is dead and will continue to be dead. The Duffer brothers confirmed it multiple times and even showed her very dead remains in the Upside Down. Rest in peace, Barb. Season 2 won't be the same without you.