What a long, strange trip it’s been to get to Stranger Things 4. The third installment of Netflix’s hit horror/ sci-fi/ ’80s-throwback came out on the July 4 holiday in 2019, and the fourth season started shooting in February of the following year. And then, well, strange things started happening IRL.
While we don’t need to recap those events, it has been long enough since the third season that, with Stranger Things 4 hitting Netflix on May 27, many of us need a recap on where things stand. In that spirit, here’s a quick refresher on each of the show’s first three installments. To watch Netflix directly through your internet-connected DISH Hopper, hit the menu button on your Google Voice Remote, or navigate to channel 302 and select “OK” to open the Netflix app.
Stranger Things (Season 1)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% Fresh
This is the one where…We meet our young protagonists: Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and Will (Noah Schnapp), whose unexplained disappearance sets the plot in motion. Winona Ryder plays Will’s distraught mother Joyce, David Harbour (in his breakout role) is police chief Jim Hopper, and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) begin their will-they-or-won’t-they relationship. Barb dies. We miss her.
Best Episode: Chapter Eight: The Upside Down
Stranger Things 2
This is the one where…Will has terrifying visions from the Upside Down; Joyce starts dating Bob (Sean Astin); Eleven survived her encounter with the Demogorgon and with the help of Hopper, is hiding out in a shack in the woods; Bob gets killed by a Demodog (RIP Bob).
New Kids on the Block: Redheaded tomboy Max (Sadie Sink) moves to Hawkins, Indiana with her cruel step-brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery).
Best Episode: Chapter 9: The Gate
Stranger Things 3
This is the one where…Eleven and Mike start swapping spit; Nancy and Jonathan are working for the local newspaper; Steve (Joe Keery) drops the pretty-boy schtick and becomes part of The Party; A new shopping mall opens another gate to the Upside Down; Billy gets possessed by The Mind Flayer but sacrifices his life to save Max; Hopper gets blown up while closing the interdimensional gate (don’t worry, he’ll be back); a now fatherless Eleven is adopted by the Byers family, who decide to move away from Hawkins.
New Kid on the Block: Robin (Maya Hawke), who works at the local ice cream shop with Steve.
Best Episode: Chapter Seven: The Bite
Watch the first seven episodes of Stranger Things 4 beginning Friday, May 27 on Netflix; the final two episodes of the season will premiere on July 1. For a full series recap with the cast of the show, click here.