The story so far has been quite a rollercoaster ride. Salutations from Hawkins, Indiana! It’s 1983, a year of fantasy role-playing games, great movies, and Steven King books. Young Will Byers, who was playing Dungeons & Dragons with his buddies, was abducted off the street one night while walking home when he saw a weird creature. Best friends Mike, Lucas, and Dustin start looking for Will but instead find a mysterious girl with a shaved head who only goes as Eleven. Will’s mother Joyce, who is pleading with the town police chief Jim Hopper for assistance in finding her son, also starts to detect strange electrical disturbances in her house and sets up a set of Christmas lights inspired by a ouija board in an effort to find him. It appears that Hawkins is the epicenter of all kinds of craziness. Eleven unintentionally unlocked a doorway to a terrifying parallel world, which Mike and the crew quickly dubbed the “Upside Down,” while participating in an experiment on psionically gifted children at a local lab. I is a gloomy reflection of the city, with strange tentacles and ash falling from skyscrapers and other notable structures. The boys named the humanoid beast with a head full of fangs with the name Demogorgon after the main antagonist in their D&D games. Will has been brought there and is at the mercy of this monstrosity. The search for Will also involves Will’s brother Jonathan, Mike’s sister Nancy, and Nancy’s boyfriend Steve. When these three aren’t preoccupied with their own teen drama, the Demogorgon, which killed Nancy’s best friend Barb, is haunting them.
Together, Joyce and Hopper mount their own rescue mission, confronting Dr. Brenner, who was in charge of the experiments, and eventually track down Will and bring him back to the surface. In a makeshift sensory deprivation tank at Hawkins School, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas assist Eleven increase her skills. However, when the agents from the sketchy lab storm the school and Eleven kills several of them, the Demogorgon is drawn to the killing. The monster pursues the children despite their attempts to flee, but Eleven challenges it and ultimately sacrifices herself in the process (or does she?). Now in the fall of 1984 we return to Hawkins after a little detour to meet several other people who have Eleven’s superhuman abilities and one of whom has “008” tattooed on her wrist. But soon it becomes clear that Will is still experiencing terrifying images of the Upside Down. The guys meet Max Mayfield, a new student who has just moved to town with his stepbrother Billy and is an alpha male prepared to challenge cool kid Steve for the top spot in the school. Joyce has found a new love in Bob Newby, a former classmate played by Sean Astin, aka Samwise Gangee, one of the most recognizable movie characters ever. You’ll be happy to know that Eleven is still alive. She was only taken to the Upside Down by her confrontation with the Demogorgon at the conclusion of Season 1, from which she has since escaped and is currently hiding out with Hopper. Hopper has been looking into rotting pumpkin patches, and he finds a tunnel going to the Upside Down and rapidly gets stuck, Will’s visions come in handy. The huge entity Will is witnessing is the Mind Flayer, which, as its name suggests, is a scary monster. The tunnels reveal to have been invaded by vines and tentacles from the Upside Down.
Our heroes gather at Hawkins Lab, where we learn where the primary entrance to the Upside Down is situated, even if Will is still afflicted by some sort of Upside Down virus. Oh, and terrifying Demodogs show up and attack, where the new fan favorite character of Bob gets ripped apart by them. The Mind Flayer’s tunnels, which Steve and the children end up lighting on fire, Hopper’s cabin, where Nancy, Joyce, and the others ramp up the heat in an exorcism-style attempt to heal Will, and the lab, where Eleven shuts the dimensional gate, are all scenes of a final stand-off. After a month, the lab will permanently close. While the kids are enjoying the school dance and the Hollands are holding Barb’s funeral, a Mind Flayer is hanging above them, ready to strike. Summertime in Hawkins! The year is 1985 right now and all the kids appear to be much older. Dustin picks up strange Russian transmissions, and together with Robin, Steve, Erica he finds a brand new lab beneath the Starcourt Mall. A large sized yet sophisticated contraption is being used by the Soviets in an attempt to open a new portal to the Upside Down. Billy, who has gained notoriety among the local ladies as a result of his summer employment as a shirtless lifeguard, gets assaulted by vines and becomes possessed by the Mind Flayer.