Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Stranger Things,” so don’t read on if you haven’t finished season one.
If seeing the credits roll on the finale episode of “Stranger Things” season one left a gaping hole in your life, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. The way we see it, there’s a lot to discuss especially when it comes to the series’ heroine: Eleven.
Eleven — or El — had a final scene that was clearly designed to make us believe she was sacrificing herself for the greater good by killing the Demagorgon with her powers. But during a “one month later” sequence, we saw Hopper leaving a tupperware full of leftovers and some cold Eggo waffles in a mysterious cubby in Mirkwood. So what really happened to El?
“Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer (better known as the Duffer Brothers) made sure to establish early-on in the show that El’s powers were not limitless. The bigger the task given to her, the more physically drained she became after completing it. So after making a huge telepathic trip to the Upside Down in episode seven, El is still recovering at the beginning of the finale. Then she uses her telekinesis to kill the government agents trying to capture her, and finally she defends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas from the Demagorgon.
It’s reasonable to assume that all those back-to-back efforts killed her especially since her final goodbye to Mike seemed so … final.
But the eggo waffles lead us to believe that she’s still out there, and perhaps has even made contact with Hopper.
Here’s what Matt Duffer had to say in an interview with Variety:
“Obviously something happened to her when she destroyed and killed that monster and we don’t know what she went. Hopper is left with this guilt because he sold her out. We wanted to leave it sort of mysterious exactly what he knows … Have there been sightings in the woods or is he hoping she’s out there or has he already made contact with her? We don’t answer any of that, but we like the idea of potentially putting her and Hopper together.”
The Duffer Brothers clearly set themselves up for the possibility of exploring many different storylines in a second season. Though Netflix has yet to formally announce “Stranger Things” season two entering production, the network’s chief executive Reed Hastings told the Guardian it “would be dumb not to” commission a second set of episodes.
This keeps us hopeful that we’ll learn more about El and how she managed to disappear from the classroom. When the Demagorgon exploded, the dust-like pieces enveloped El. By the time everything settled, there was no sign of her — nor of a portal leading to the Upside Down. If she didn’t explode along with the monster, then what happened?
Perhaps she managed to transport herself to the Upside Down, but can she really survive there? We know the air is toxic, but perhaps Hopper is getting oxygen tanks and hazmat suits to her too.
Perhaps she just hid in the Upside Down long enough for the Hawkins Lab staff to assume she was dead, and now she’s hiding in the real world Mirkwood.
No matter where she is, we just hope Mike finds out that El is still out there. The poor kid thinks his first love sacrificed herself in a telekinetic explosion for him!
Both Netflix and the Duffer Brothers have given us reason to expect a second season and a thoughtful continuation of the stories surrounding El, Mike, Hopper, Will, and the enigmatic Hawkins Lab. There were a lot of unanswered questions beyond El’s fate, after all.
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