It's a question fans have been asking for three years: does Eleven get her powers back?
The penultimate episode of Stranger Things season 3—yes, all the way back in July 2019—saw a battle scene between the Hawkins crew and that season's big baddie, the Mind Flayer, at Hopper's cabin. It's during the smackdown that Eleven gets attacked by the gross, gooey creature, who bites her leg and in the process causes our telekinetic heroine to lose her powers.
Using the last of her abilities to remove the piece of the Mind Flayer embedded in her wound, Jane "Eleven" Hopper is still functionally powerless by the time Stranger Things season 4 rolls around.
Picking up six months after the Mind Flayer battle, Eleven is now living in Lenora Hills, California, with the Byers family. And despite her many letters to her boyfriend Mike saying otherwise, things aren't going well: she's still mourning the loss of her surrogate dad, Jim Hopper, and is struggling with bullies at her new school. It's actually during a confrontation with said bullies that viewers see the extent of Eleven's power loss—now she's just a normal, if albeit a bit odd, young girl.
But will Eleven ever get her powers back this season? Here's what we know.
*Warning: spoilers ahead*
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Does Eleven get her powers back in 'Stranger Things'?
In short, yes, although not entirely. According to Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) does still possess her supernatural abilities but her run-in with the Mind Flayer last season caused her brain signals to get scrambled, similar to a stroke.
Through immersion therapy called The Nina Project, in which Eleven is put in a deprivation tank in the Nevada desert and forced to unpack traumatic memories from her childhood, we see Eleven begin to regain her former powers, using her telekinesis against the facility guards. However, her powers aren't 100% consistent, as they don't work against Brenner but do work against her therapy group antagonist, Number Two.
Lab orderly Peter Ballard (Jamie Campbell Bower), who has taken an interest in Eleven's well-being, told her that he uses memories from his past to trigger his powers, "something that made him sad but also angry." It's a tip she uses in season 4 episode 7 when we all find out that not only is Peter Number One—Dr. Brenner's first test subject at Hawkins National Laboratory—but he is also Victor Creel's son Henry and the real murderer of the Creel family. And, oh yeah, he is Vecna, this season's monster villain.
When Eleven tries to conjure traumatic moments to cast a power blast strong enough to destroy Peter/Henry/One, it doesn't work. But a good memory does trigger her abilities, specifically Eleven remembering her mother's face and voice, which allows her to banish Peter to the Upside Down, where he takes his final form as Vecna.
Watching Eleven relive all of this while in the deprivation tank, Dr. Brenner proclaims, "It's happening," suggesting that Eleven is getting her superpowers back. Whether they'll return in full effect in Stranger Things season 5 is still to be seen, but at least she'll have some juice to fight Vecna in the final two episodes of Stranger Things season 4!
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
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