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Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Here’s What Happened In Season 3

Can't remember what Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Steve, and the rest of the Stranger Things gang were doing in Season 3? We're happy to help

Stranger Things Season 3
Stranger Things (Netflix)
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    It has been three years since a new season of Stranger Things, Netflix’s blockbuster sci-fi adventure, graced our screens and we, along with the kids that the show revolves around, have grown a little older since July of 2019. We’ve learned new things, adopted new technologies, and learned more sinister things about people who propped themselves up as important leaders. (Perhaps we aren’t so different from the gang and their siblings, parents, and acquaintances.)

    With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the newest season of Stranger Things feels familiar but still thrilling — however, since it has still been nearly three years between seasons (the biggest gap the show has taken since it began in 2016) you might want a refresher into who these characters are, and where we will find them when Season 4 begins. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.

    Eleven/Jane Hopper (Millie Bobbie Brown)

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    stranger things millie bobbie brown Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Things are a bit weird for our favorite telekinetic teenager: Just as she was getting used to being a regular kid, such as experiencing the highs and lows of first love, it turns out that the new Starcourt Mall is serving as a portal between the world and the Upside Down. Bummer!

    Upon this discovery, it is ultimately up to her to once again save the day, although it, unfortunately, comes at a cost. Her telekinetic abilities were lost after she pushed them to their extremes in her fight against the Mind Flayer. Not only that, but it appeared that her adoptive father, Jim Hopper, died in the ensuing chaos. Or did he?

    The event ended up being the final straw for both Eleven and the Byers family, and thus the first volume of Season 4 will begin with her, Will, Jonathan, and Joyce adjusting to life in California.

    Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard)

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    stranger things finn wolfhard Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Speaking of Eleven, let’s catch up on what her boyfriend Mike was up to. The two had officially started dating when Season 3 began, even if Hopper didn’t care for it that much — however, their young love seemingly ended, forcing the two to break up. If things couldn’t get even worse, Mike and the rest of the party had to prepare for the Mind Flayer’s return. Even if most of their town was saved, Mike still had to part ways with Eleven, as she was joining the Byers family in their move to California.

    When Season 4 begins, Mike will be a new member of the Dungeons & Dragons group The Hellfire Club, with plans to visit Eleven in California over spring break.

    Will Byers (Noah Schnapp)

    stranger things noah schnapp Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Between near-death experiences and bad haircuts, Will needs a break. He didn’t even get the same relief his friends felt at the beginning of Season 3. It turns out that his feelings that something wasn’t right were, well, right; the Mind Flayer, which had previously possessed him, was still in Hawkins. While he didn’t have nearly as bad of a time fighting the Mind Flayer as he did in Season 2, a new tension grew between him and Mike due to what may be Will’s unrequited crush.

    Will can next be seen living in California along with his mother, brother, and Eleven, helping his new adopted sister deal with the bullies at their new high school.

    Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin)

    stranger things caleb mclaughlin Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Even before the major resurgence of the Mind Flayer, Lucas wasn’t having the best of times due to his complicated relationship with girlfriend Max. However, when her brother Billy becomes the host of the Mind Flayer, he once again committed to stopping the monster from not only wreaking havoc on Hawkins but from killing Max as well.

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    However, that might change in Season 4, as Lucas has joined Hawkins High’s basketball team and has begun losing interest in hanging out with Mike and Dustin. However, he still wants to work things out with Max, who has been acting strange lately.

    Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo)

    stranger things gaten matarazzo Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    While Mike and Lucas ended up having difficult times with love, Dustin surely didn’t. After returning from a month at Camp Know Where, he claimed to have fallen in love with a fellow tech nerd named Suzie, although nobody believed her existence. As he teamed up with his best friend Steve, Lucas’ sister Erica, and Steve’s coworker Robin, not only was he able to help close the latest Gate, but he also proved the existence of Suzie. He also gave some of his beloved Dungeons & Dragons sets to Erica.

    In Season 4, he and Mike have officially joined the D&D campaign the Hellfire Club. He’ll also still be in contact with Suzie as a new threat to Hawkins is discovered.

    Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink)

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    stranger things sadie sink Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    With her friendship with Eleven still going strong, it wasn’t surprising how Max took her side during her breakup with Mike. However, it also caused her own relationship with Lucas to splinter. Young love, though, wasn’t nearly as terrifying as seeing her stepbrother Billy used as a vessel for the Mind Flayer. Although the creature was defeated, Max was still left scarred by Billy’s death.

    Season 4 will see Max trying to deal with the trauma that the Starcourt Mall incident has left her. However, she seems to be affected by that fateful summer in more ways than she expects.

    Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)

    stranger things winona ryder Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Like son, like mother — this poor woman cannot seem to get a break. In Season 3, Joyce was finally starting to heal after the trauma of losing and then finding her son, while also discovering the existence of a hellish alternate dimension. However, she still is grieving her deceased boyfriend Bob (Season 2’s Sean Astin), leaving the romantic tensions between her and Hopper still unspoken. With Hopper presumed dead and Hawkins nearly destroyed for the third time, she decides to leave for sunny California to start a new life.

    Jim Hopper (David Harbour)

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    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    When Season 3 began, Hopper had officially adopted Eleven, taking her in as his own daughter. Not only that, but his feelings towards Joyce had grown stronger, even after her initial rejection (which she respected). But by the end of the season, he found himself needing to risk his life once more to protect both Eleven and Hawkins, working with Joyce, Murray, and a kidnapped scientist to close the gate to the Upside Down again. Unfortunately, the power of the Gate seemingly killed Hopper, in a noble but heartbreaking sacrifice.

    Or did it? As we’ve known since the post-credits sequence at the end of Season 3, Hopper has actually been sent to Russia, presumably imprisoned and forced to do manual labor.

    Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton)

    stranger things charlie heaton Stranger Things Recap: Before You Watch Season 4, Heres What Happened In Season 3

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Jonathan was previously working at the Hawkins Post as a photography intern, pairing with his reporter girlfriend Nancy. The two discover a potential story about sick rats around the town, but they get fired after doing some investigating. This leads the couple to pursue the story further, eventually discovering the re-emergence of the Mind Flayer.

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    At the end of Season 3, Jonathan moves to California with his brother, mother, and Eleven, with he and Nancy committing to a long-distance relationship. We’ll see how that works out for them in Season 4.

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