SPOILER WARNING: The following article explores plot details for Stranger Things 2. Read at your own risk.
Although the critical reaction to Stranger Things 2 has been mostly positive, there seems to be one particular aspect of the new season that critics and fans have not enthusiastically responded to, and that is the episode, “Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister”.
The episode serves as a standalone adventure for the series breakout character, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). In the episode, we see her travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she reunites with Kali/Eight (Linnea Berthelsen), her long-lost “sister” that was also subject to the cruel experiments that gave her special abilities.
“The Lost Sister” has polarized viewers for numerous reasons. For one, many felt that it was an unnecessary detour that took an otherwise expertly-paced second season that took the series to a screeching halt after the incredible momentum that the first six episodes provided. Also, the standalone episode has been criticized for pandering a bit too far with the 1980’s nostalgia and its over-the-top nature with Kali’s gang of misfits.
The Duffer Brothers have since defended the Stranger Things episode, deeming it necessary for Eleven’s arc before she eventually returns to Hawkins, Indiana to save her friends. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Matt Duffer discusses how the episode took some inspiration from Star Wars, specifically The Empire Strikes Back:
“We talked a lot about Empire Strikes Back. We talked about Luke going to Dagobah and meeting Yoda. Also, the idea of a dark Eleven, of Eleven being pulled to the dark side was an interesting idea. So a lot of that episode was what happens if Eleven is drawn towards this darkness and what can she learn about herself if that’s the case.”
Linnea Berthelsen also spoke about how Star Wars influenced her bringing the relationship between Eleven and Kali to life:
“I took everything from Luke and from the relationship with Anakin. The reason why Kali is so angry is also because of love. She wants to believe in another human being. Something really went wrong and people let her down. She’s trying what she believes is the best way to support Eleven. Maybe it’s not the right way to do it but it’s coming from a good place. And I think that’s the same thing with Darth Vader — he believes it’s the right thing and he’s doing everything for the love of his mother.”
Come to think of it, the parallels to The Empire Strikes Back seem to ring true. The scene in which Eleven is attempting to move that train car was similar to Luke Skywalker using the Force in trying to bring his X-Wing fighter out of the swamp. Another parallel would be Eleven’s decision to return back to Hawkins after sensing that her friends are in danger – similar to how Luke left Dagobah after he sensed Han and Leia were in deep trouble.
Also, how interesting is it that we have a property just over a month before the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi do we see parallels with The Empire Strikes Back?
Hopefully, Stranger Things 3 will better explore the relationship that Eleven and Kali had than how “The Lost Sister” portrayed it. The episode was certainly the weak link of an otherwise terrific season, but there were still some interesting ideas that can be explored next time. After all, this cannot be the last time we hear from Kali.
Stranger Things 2 stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, and Noah Schnapp. In addition to Astin, the series has also added Paul Reiser (Aliens), Brett Gelman (Jobs), Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers), Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen, and Broadway star Sadie Sink into the mix as well. Here’s the official synopsis:
“It’s 1984 and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.”
Stranger Things 2 is now available on Netflix.