Get Up To Speed On The Upside Down And More
♦ Stranger Things Season Two starts on Netflix tomorrow and to help everyone get ready for it, courtesy of our friends at Esquire, here’s a guide to the first season to get people up to speed…
Where does this take place?
The fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, which is basically a conglomeration of every Spielberg setting of the era, along with The Goonies and Stand By Me. There’s also a laboratory in the middle of town that no one seems to notice or care about at all.
Who is this about?
Okay there are a lot of characters here, so I’ll give a brief description of each:
Mike Wheeler: The kid from It whose house everyone plays Dungeons & Dragons in.Dustin Henderson: Mike’s adorable friend who has a lisp because of cleidocranial dysplasia.Lucas Sinclair: Another friend of the group who is the most skeptical of everything.Will Byers: The poor kid who goes missing.Eleven: The girl with the buzzed head who has superpowers and escaped from the Hawkins Laboratory where a guy who looked like David Byrne was running experiments on her.Nancy Wheeler: Mike’s older sister, and the smart, popular girl at school.Jonathan Byers: Will’s older brother who is the reclusive, Holden Caufield-type amateur photographer at school.Steve Harrington: Nancy’s boyfriend, who kind of starts out as an asshole, but is better in the end. Also, awesome hair.Joyce Byers: Will and Jonathan’s mom (played by Winona Ryder), who really has a hell of a time after her son goes missing into a different dimension. She’s one of the town’s two responsible adults.Jim Hopper: The drunken Hawkens Police chief whose daughter died. He’s the other of the town’s two responsible adults.
What is this about?
Essentially, Will goes missing without a trace, but since the police force is a joke and the adults are all worthless, it’s up to a group of children to solve the mystery.
Didn’t one of the kids go missing?
Yeah, that was Will. He was pulled into a parallel alternate dimension called the Upside Down, which was opened thanks to experiments being done in the Hawkins Laboratory.
So, what’s this monster?
The kids call it the Demogorgon. It kind of looks like a vagina or a flower and it lives in the Upside Down, where it took Will. Thankfully, Will somehow got away from the monster and hid in the alternate reality version of his house, communicating with his mom through a clever code with Christmas lights.
What does Eleven have to do with this?
Raised in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hawkins Laboratory as test subject 011, Eleven has psychokinetic abilities as a result of government experiments. She’s the daughter of Terry Ives, who was a test subject of MKUltra in the ’70s. Ives is now in an unresponsive state thanks to the experiments done on her. Eleven breaks out of the lab and escapes Dr. Brenner, the man who kidnapped her and raised her, whom she calls “Papa.” The lab was using Eleven’s psychic state as a way to spy on the Russians, but accidentally used it to tap into the Upside Down. And this is really the most confusing part of the whole thing, so congrats for getting through it all.
Who the hell is Barb?
Barb was Nancy’s sad friend who died a meaningless death, became a meme, and got a role on Riverdale.
Where are the parents during all this?
Who is in love with whom?
Well, Mike is in love with Eleven and visa-versa. Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan have a fun little love-triangle thing, but Nancy and Steve are dating. Joyce should totally be with Hopper but she’s not.
How did it end?
With a big fight! Essentially, all the kids go to the school and all of the government agents show up with Dr. Brenner to take Eleven back. She messes them up. Then she does some crazy magic stuff and vanishes after killing the monster. Hopper and Joyce go into the Upside Down via the portal in the lab, where they find Will alive. No one knows what happens to Eleven, although Hopper is leaving food in a box by the woods. Everything seems happily ever after, except Will coughs up a slug and has a PTSD flashback to the Upside Down. Also, Barb is still dead.