stranger things 4 was a reminder that sometimes you have to walk backwards to learn how to move forward. Season Four, Part 1 of the Netflix drama featured numerous flashbacks to Eleven’s past, revealing how her time at Hawkins Lab connected with the new monster Vecna and how they shaped the person she becomes today.
As stranger things With the fifth and final season fast approaching, we’ll likely get even more concrete answers to all the series’ remaining mysteries, and details about Eleven’s origins are high on our must-to-know list. stranger things 4 was the first big step towards solving this mystery since Season 2, which aired back in 2017. So you’re not alone if you forgot the previous crumbs left by the Duffer brothers. There’s also the 2019 prequel novel, Suspicious Mindswho revealed a lot of information about her parents that you wouldn’t know if you’d only watched the show.
before stranger things 4 In Part 2, we summarized everything we already know about Eleven’s past, from what happened to her birth parents to her relationship with Vecna.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the end of Stranger Things 4 part 1.]
Eleven’s mother was a test subject in MKUltra
Eleven’s mother, Terry Ives, was one of the test subjects in MKUltra, a real-life CIA-sanctioned program in which the government conducted mind control experiments on humans. In the series, college student Terry appeared in 1969 under the supervision of Dr. Brenner contributes to the program. She was then subjected to experiments in which she was placed in sensory deprivation tanks and forced to take psychedelic drugs.
Little did Terry know she was pregnant with her and boyfriend Andrew Rich’s baby at the time. If the name Andrew Rich doesn’t register for you, that’s because his identity has only been revealed Suspicious Minds
dr Brenner abducted Eleven at birth
As soon as Terry gave birth, Brenner kidnapped the baby, stripped her of her birth name (Jane) and turned her into Subject 011. Brenner insisted that Eleven call him “Dad,” which led her to see him as a father figure and thus makes her easier to manipulate.
To nurture Eleven’s natural psychic abilities, she was constantly experimented on and severely punished if she failed her tests, and often placed in solitary confinement. Eleven was severely traumatized by these experiences, and in 1978 she struck out and used her powers to kill a guard who had tried to lock her up. Rather than punishing Eleven for the murder, Brenner responded with affection and pride in how she had mastered her skills.
Eleven and Kali were playmates at Hawkins Lab
Hawkins Lab allowed Eleven and the other test subjects to play together in the Rainbow Room, and that’s how Eleven met Kali Prasad (Eight). Terry also met Kali at Hawkins Lab when the young girl was only 5 years old. When Eleven finally met Terry in Season 2, her mother shared a vision of El and Kali as children. This vision convinced Eleven that Terry wanted her to find Kali, so in season 2 Eleven tracked her down in Chicago.
Terry was tortured after trying to get Eleven back
Brenner covered up Eleven’s kidnapping by making it appear as if Terry had miscarried. While everyone else – including Terry’s sister Becky – bought the story, Terry knew her daughter was alive. Terry tried to sue Brenner and the government for stealing her child, but the case was dismissed. Seeing no other option, an armed Terry stormed the Hawkins Lab in 1974 to get Eleven back. Terry managed to find Eleven and Kali playing in the Rainbow Room, but before she could escape with her daughter, Terry was captured by lab workers.
Brenner then had Terry forcefully administered electroshock therapy by the orderly Ray Carroll until she suffered severe brain damage and was left in a largely catatonic state. As a result, Terry was forced to repeat the same words describing the events of Eleven’s birth through her own torture: “Breathe” (which Becky said as Terry went into labour); “Sunflower” (the first thing she saw after the C-section); “Rainbow” (the room where she found Eleven); “Three right. Four to the left” (the combination to the safe where she kept her gun); and “450” (the voltage of electroshock therapy).
When Eleven found out what happened to her mother in 1984, she and Kali’s gang hunted Ray down and attacked him at his home in revenge. Although Kali wanted to kill him, Eleven insisted on letting him live.
Eleven was bullied by the other kids at Hawkins Lab.
Although the elf we met in Season 1 was incredibly powerful, she struggled with her abilities for many years growing up. As a result, some of the other test subjects, led by the eldest, Two, saw her as an easy target and bullied her. But in 1979, at a group exercise where test subjects competed to see who was the stronger, Eleven managed to beat Two. In retaliation for embarrassing him, Two and his minions beat up El and gave her a concussion. Elf refused to report her, but it was fairly easy for Brenner to figure out what really happened. Brenner punished Two by putting an electric shock collar on him and torturing him in front of the other children. Afterwards, Two vowed to get revenge by killing Eleven, although he would never get the opportunity to carry out his plan.
Eleven and One were allies before he became Vecna.
In 1979, a caregiver approached Eleven in the Rainbow Room and began helping her, offering tips on how to use her abilities and revealing how Brenner was manipulating her. What Eleven didn’t know at this point was that the caretaker was actually Henry Creel, also known as Brenner’s first test subject, One.
After Two threatened to kill El, One told her that Brenner enabled the bullying because he was afraid of her power and couldn’t control her easily. One warned that she would be killed if Eleven didn’t run away immediately, so he showed her the drainpipe that would allow her to escape the lab. However, Eleven was unwilling to leave without One and used her powers to remove what she thought was a tracking chip from his neck. What she actually removed was a chip that prevented One from using his powers. Once the inhibitor was removed, One began brutally killing everyone in Hawkins Lab (although Brenner managed to survive).
Eleven was horrified when she saw what One was doing. But One, who had always seen himself in Eleven, tried to explain his reasoning to her and still wanted to move forward as an ally. Eleven refused and the pair began a life-and-death fight, which Eleven won by using the tip One shared with her earlier – to draw power from a memory. Instead of drawing from a memory that upset her, as One recommended, Eleven found her strength in a happy memory of her mother. Fueled by this memory, Eleven made her final attack, knocking One into the Upside Down where he was transformed into Vecna.
Eleven unknowingly opened the gate to the Upside Down
Although One had shown her how to escape, Eleven chose to stay at Hawkins Lab after the massacre, where she continued her classes with Brenner. In 1983, when Eleven had sufficiently developed her wiretapping skills, Brenner assigned her to spy on a Russian agent. This is where Eleven heard the Demogorgon for the first time. As a mad scientist, Brenner instructed Eleven to reestablish contact with the creature. This time she could see the Demogorgon brutally devouring one of its victims. When a curious and terrified Eleven reached out and touched the Demogorgon, the gate to the Upside Down in Hawkins Lab opened, allowing the monster to enter our world. As the Demogorgon massacred everyone, Eleven took the opportunity to escape through a drainpipe and was spotted by Mike, Dustin, and Lucas later that day.
dr Brenner was presumed dead for three years.
After Eleven ran away from the Hawkins Lab, Brenner divided his time between finding her and investigating the gate to the Upside Down. Shortly after Brenner finally caught Eleven at school, he was attacked and seemingly killed by Demogorgon, resulting in the far friendlier Dr. Owens took over the management of the Hawkins Lab. However, Brenner survived the attack (again) and continued his work on the Nina Project, which allowed Eleven to relive her past, remember her relationship with One, and possibly even regain her powers.
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