Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 3
Eleven is sure to regain her powers in Stranger Things season 4 - and it's possible her "Lost Sister," Kali, could be the key to unlocking them. Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven is undoubtedly the star of Stranger Things, which is the story of how an isolated young girl learns to be a (sort of) normal kid. The end of Stranger Things season 3 saw Eleven lose the telekinetic powers that have always made her so formidable.
In many ways, this was the fulfillment of Eleven's arc in season 3, which was about Eleven becoming a person in her own right, shaped by her own interests and desires rather than by Hopper and Mike. Although Eleven experienced the loss of her powers as another source of grief, in truth she gains more than she loses, becoming a normal - if somewhat awkward - teenage girl. In fact that was why Millie Bobby Brown herself had long argued that Eleven should lose her powers. "I want to build her to be a strong person without her powers," she noted in an interview last year. "But right now it’s very about her powers and I think taking that away slowly would be cool."
But there's no way the threat of the Upside Down is over, and those powers are frankly far too important to the broader mythology of Stranger Things. Mike believed Eleven's telekinetic ability would just return, as though a switch had been flicked, but it's safe to assume it's going to be a lot harder than that. How can Eleven regain her powers?
Why Did Eleven Lose Her Powers In Stranger Things Season 3?
Up until Stranger Things season 3, Eleven's powers have frankly seemed inexhaustible, and they've increased in scale as the show has gone on. In the first season, the kids were wowed when she flipped a car; in season 2, she closed a Gate to the Upside Down by sheer force of will. Eleven continued to perform impressive feats throughout Stranger Things season 3, resisting the Mind Flayer, going one-on-one against Billy, and tearing the Mind Flayer's monstrous body apart. And then, suddenly, her powers vanished.
Stranger Things season 3 doesn't even attempt to provide an explanation, which makes sense; none of the kids are scientists, and Eleven's powers have been relatively unexplained in the first place. As a result, viewers have been left to speculate. Some have suggested the Mind Flayer was responsible, since Eleven lost her powers after being bitten by it. A shred of its organic matter may have remained in Eleven's body and somehow switched her powers off. It's also possible that this is a simple burnout, and perhaps a result of suffering two concussions in the space of just two days. Every concussion is essentially a brain injury, and Eleven's abilities lie in her mind, so that would fit.
Who Could Help Eleven Regain Her Powers In Stranger Things Season 4?
If Eleven is going to regain her powers in Stranger Things season 4, it's likely that she'll need help, and there are only two people who could potentially be of any use. The first is Dr. Brenner, Eleven's Papa, who monitored her powers throughout her childhood and is the one scientist who understands them. He was believed killed by the Demogorgon in season 1, but in season 2 Eleven learned that he's still alive. Brenner's knowledge, however, may not be particularly helpful. It's intellectual, not experiential, and there's no evidence Eleven ever lost her powers before, meaning his scientific training wouldn't really be conducive to finding a solution.
The other possibility is Kali, a.k.a. Eight, another of the children Brenner experimented with. Introduced in Stranger Things season 2, Kali was about six years older than Eleven and possessed a slightly different powerset. Kali is able to implant images into people's minds to make them see or not see what she wants; she typically uses her abilities to generate fear, but they don't have to be used that way. Eleven met Kali in the controversial episode "The Lost Sister," where they teamed up in Chicago. The dynamic between the two was fascinating, with Eleven rejecting Kali's wrathful ways, but one thing was certain: Kali understood these powers a lot better than Eleven did. She was able to train Eleven to tap into them in a way she had never done before, setting her up for closing the Gate at the end of the season. Given that's the case, Kali could be key to regaining Eleven's powers in Stranger Things season 4.
How Kali's Return Can Redeem The Lost Sister
"The Lost Sister" proved to be a controversial episode, dividing the fanbase in part because it was unlike any other episode to date. The Duffer brothers have explained that "The Lost Sister" was partly inspired by Star Wars, specifically Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The idea was that Eleven would go on a quest in order to unlock a new level of power, akin to Luke Skywalker's quest to Dagobah. Kali was intended to serve as a dark, twisted version of Yoda; Eleven had to learn to extract the good from Kali's teachings while rejecting the bad.
The problem with "The Lost Sister" was that fans simply weren't ready for that story yet. It was heavily criticized by viewers who just wanted to head back to Hawkins, and who couldn't yet accept that Stranger Things needed to move beyond rural Indiana. Ironically, the end of Stranger Things season 3 has potentially set up that kind of development far more effectively. The show ended with Eleven and the Byers family moving out of Hawkins, and with a post-credits scene set in Russia's Kamchatka Province. All this clearly signposted that Stranger Things has finally begun to leave Hawkins, just as the Duffer brothers wanted it to. Given that's the case, this may be the perfect opportunity to revisit and redeem the plot of "The Lost Sister;" Just as in season 2, in Stranger Things season 4 Eleven could seek out Kali in order to gain mastery of her powers.
How Kali's Return Could Fit Into Stranger Things Season 4
The Duffer brothers have suggested that Stranger Things may end with season 4, and if so it's important that all the loose ends be tied together. One of these loose ends is Kali herself; another, of course, is the aforementioned Dr. Brenner. Kali could actually serve as a route to get to Brenner, given that she's attempting to find and kill him for what he put her through as a child. Indeed, that could even be the deal Eleven is forced to strike with her sister; Kali helps Eleven get her powers back, if Eleven then tracks down Brenner.
Of course, at this stage it's impossible to predict how all the pieces will then come into play. It's safe to assume that Stranger Things season 4 will see the Russian threat escalate; the post-credits scene was clearly intended as setup, establishing that the Russian project isn't over and that they have an American prisoner. Kali could be a very useful asset on any mission to rescue said prisoner, and shut down the Russian experiments once and for all, with her illusions concealing an infiltration of the Kamchatka base. It would be ironic if Brenner's dreams were fulfilled, and his two "children" wound up working together on the front lines of the Cold War.