Everything to Remember Heading Into Stranger Things Season 4

Before returning to the Upside Down for Stranger Things season four, let's look back on everything that went down in season three, including Billy's death, Hopper disappearance and more.

By Alyssa Ray May 26, 2022 4:00 PMTags
Watch: Stranger Things Season 4: "Kids Will Have Nightmares"

It's been three years since Stranger Things last had a new season on Netflix. So, we wouldn't blame you if were feeling a little Upside Down ahead of season four.

Even Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo exclusively told E! News' While You Were Streaming that he was breathing a "sigh of relief" now that the new episodes are set to debut on May 27. "We've been living in this season for so, so long," he quipped on the long wait for season four. "It feels like the never-ending season at this point."

But there's no need to panic, as wE! are here to give you a refresher on everything that went down in the summer-centric season three. We're talking answers behind powerless Eleven's relocation to California, Hopper's fate and the return of the Demogorgon.

So, toast up some Eggo waffles, put your Dungeons and Dragons campaigns on hold and settle in, because we have a lot to catch you up on.

Stranger Things Season 4: Everything We Know So Far

The Russians Invade Hawkins’ Starcourt Mall

The Americans aren't the only ones curious about the Upside Down. Episode one of season three opens with the Russians trying to open their own gate into the mysterious dimension. Though the Russian scientists fail to enter the Upside Down from their home country, they find a new location to try out their experiment: Hawkins, Indiana.

The first sign of Russian presence in Hawkins comes after Dustin (Matarazzo), who is testing out his new ham radio, picks up a Russian code over the airwaves. Dustin turns to friend and mentor Steve (Joe Keery) for help. At this point, we are introduced to Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve's co-worker at Scoops Ahoy, who happens to be good with languages.

Thanks to some amateur sleuthing, the trio discovers that the Russians have built a lab beneath Hawkins' Starcourt Mall.

Billy Gets Possessed by the Mind Flayer

While on his way to meet up with Mrs. Wheeler (Cara Buono), Max's stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) gets into a car accident, which lands him at the hiding place of the Mind Flayer. Yes, the same Mind Flayer that possessed Will in season two. And, like Will before him, Billy gets bewitched by the Upside Down's big bad guy.

Through Billy, the Mind Flayer then begins to control the minds of many Hawkins residents, a.k.a. the Flayed. What's even worse? These controlled citizens eventually turn into a pile of fleshy goo, which morphs into a giant Spider Monster, who does the Mind Flayer's murderous bidding.


Hopper and Joyce Almost Go on a Date

Season three wasn't all about monsters, however, as Hopper (David Harbour) realizes the hardship of parenting a teenage Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who is fully dating Mike (Finn Wolfhard). Not knowing how to handle this situation, Hopper turns to Joyce (Winona Ryder) for advice, which brings them closer together.

Unfortunately, we never see the pair go on a date at Enzo's, because Joyce gets too distracted by her magnets losing their connectivity. Worried that this situation is caused by the Hawkins Lab, which is supposed to be closed for good, Joyce and Hopper return to the abandoned government facility.

Though Hawkins Lab still remains shuttered, the duo is confronted by a violent Russian agent, leading them to realize all is not right in Hawkins. After capturing Russian scientist Alexei (Alec Utgoff), who is in Hawkins to work on opening the gate to the Upside Down, Joyce and Hopper enlist former investigative journalist Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) for help.

Together, they learn the extent of Russia's presence in Hawkins.

Robin Comes Out to Steve

Here's where some of the storylines overlap. As Joyce, Hopper and Murray are learning the truth, Steve, Robin, Dustin and Lucas' little sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) infiltrate the mall-based lab. Things don't go according to plan, which results in Steve and Robin getting captured.

The Scoops Ahoy duo is rescued by Dustin and Erica, but not before being tortured and injected with a truth serum. Because of this, Robin confides in Steve that she never had a crush on him in high school, as she is gay.

Eleven Loses Her Powers

Meanwhile, with the Mind Flayer's monster growing in power, Eleven and the other kids reconnect with Will's older brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Mike's older sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer), who've investigated the weird occurrences in town through their newspaper internship. Realizing the chaos is caused by the Upside Down—again—the teenagers and the kids head to the mall, where they reunite with Steve, Robin, Dustin and Erica, in order to fight off the new beast.

During this battle, Eleven is bitten by the monster, forcing her to use all of her strength to remove the remaining remnants of the beast in her leg. This leaves her powerless in the process.

Stranger Things: Season 4 Photos

Billy and Hopper Sacrifice Themselves

All seems to be lost when Billy, who is still possessed by the Mind Flayer, picks up a weakened Eleven and presents her at the feet of the Spider Monster. In a last ditch effort to save herself and the world, Eleven reminds Billy of some of his happier memories, bringing him back into control of his mind.

In turn, Billy sacrifices himself to the Spider Monster, saving Eleven and the other kids in the process. He, unfortunately, doesn't make it.

Similarly, in the bowels of Starcourt Mall, Hopper and Joyce face off against the Russians to turn of their machine that has opened up the Upside Down's latest gate. While their plan was to destroy the machine together, Joyce is forced to do it on her own as Hopper is stuck fighting the violent Russian agent.

Because of this, Hopper is in proximity of the machine blowing up, leaving everyone to believe he's dead. (Spoiler: Thanks to a season four trailer, we now know he's alive, but held captive in a Russian prison.)

Joyce and the Kids Move From Hawkins

Three months after the battle at Starcourt Mall, Eleven, who is now living with Joyce and her kids, is seen packing up her belongings. In the process, she is given a heartbreaking letter written by Hopper, who reveals just how much he loved being her adopted dad. 

After she and the Byers say goodbye to their loved ones, they drive off, seemingly leaving Hawkins for good. (Netflix has since revealed that the Byers settled in California.)


The Russians Have a Demogorgon

In an after credits scene in the eighth episode of season three, two Russian soldiers are seen walking through a prison in Kamchatka, Russia. After grabbing a prisoner and dragging him into a blood-stained room, a Demogorgon emerges, proving we haven't seen the last of the Upside Down monster.

Volume one of Stranger Things season four will be available to stream on Netflix May 27.

Watch the latest episode of E!'s While You Were Streaming Friday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m. PT on Twitter @enews.