How Stranger Things’ Most Polarizing Season 2 Episode Could Have Worked A Lot Better

stranger things the lost sister eleven
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Netflix)

Warning: GIGANTIC SPOILERS ahead for the second season of Stranger Things. If you haven't watched yet and you don't want to know what happens, check out some of our spoiler-free articles.

Stranger Things finally delivered a brand new batch of episodes on October 27, and plenty of fans spent the weekend binge-watching Season 2. The new season was bigger and more intense in a lot of ways, and it even addressed some of the biggest leftover concerns from Season 1. The overall consensus seems to be that Season 2 was a fabulous follow-up to Season 1. That said, there's one episode that has divided many fans on whether it was awesome, awful, or even necessary. The seventh episode was called "The Last Sister," and it was the closest thing Stranger Things has ever done to a standalone bottle episode.

In "The Lost Sister," Eleven (back from the Upside Down) traveled to Chicago in search of her "sister," believing that her mother wanted her to find one of the other children who had been a test subject of Brenner's. Eleven discovered the test subject formerly known as Eight, now going as Kali, working with a group of other misfits to hunt down and kill the people who wronged them. Kali shared some pointers with Eleven about channeling anger to strengthen her powers, gave Eleven a punk makeover, and used her unique abilities to force Eleven to face off against a projection of Dr. Brenner.

Basically, "The Lost Sister" could have been lifted out of Season 2 without making much of a difference to the overall plot. Aside from a few moments when Eleven visited Hopper and Mike in the Void, we didn't have any connection to the arc of the season. There were definitely some high points of the episode, and Eleven saying "I can save them" when Kali stated that her Hawkins friends would not be able to save her will go down as one of my favorite Eleven moments, but there are some changes that could have been made for "The Lost Sister" to have worked a lot better and satisfied more of the audience.

The placement of "The Lost Sister" is what really seems to have divided fans, as it put a pause on all the action that had been building in Hawkins. If the episode had simply been moved, it might have been much better received. Given that Eleven's storyline progressed almost entirely independently of the rest of the regular cast aside from Hopper, Stranger Things probably could have shifted the narrative around to place "The Lost Sister" closer to the middle of the season rather than right as the finale arc was picking up momentum.

Alternately, "The Lost Sister" could have been left out of Season 2's immediate release altogether and been released as a separate episode at a later date. Season 2 still could have had Eleven show up punk makeup at the end of the penultimate episode, and it would have worked as a hook to tune in for a special to find out what had happened. An eight-episode Season 2 without "The Lost Sister" would have worked just fine, and a separate release would have been great for those of us who binged through Season 2. How amazing would it have been to get an Eleven-centric episode on November 11?

All of this said, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer stand by their decision to include "The Lost Sister" when and where they did in Season 2. Ross Duffer said this in a chat with EW:

That Eleven story line overall is sort of the biggest risk we took. We're going to continue to do risks moving forward to keep us on our toes. I didn't want her to just magically save the day. Just like Luke Skywalker, she needed to go off on her own and learn something about herself.

Ross Duffer's mention of Luke Skywalker with regard to "The Lost Sister" is interesting, as Eleven's journey in the episode was a lot like Anakin Skywalker's journey to becoming Darth Vader. She was encouraged to use her anger for strength by a dubious ally, and she even used her abilities to nearly choke somebody to death. Luckily, El came to her senses before she could go full Vader.

What do you think? Was "The Lost Sister" great where it was, or should it have been moved/omitted? Let us know in the comments! Don't forget to check out our breakdown of 9 key Stranger Things details you may have missed in Season 2. If you already made your way through all episodes of Season 2, take a look at the Stranger Things aftershow on Netflix.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.