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Warning: spoilers lie ahead for Stranger Things Season 2.
Stranger Things returned to Netflix for Season 2 just in time to deliver some scares for Halloween, and the new batch of episodes introduced some new characters into the Hawkins action to mix things up. One of the most notable new characters had nothing to do with Hawkins, however, and she was showcased in the most polarizing episode of the whole second season, called "The Lost Sister." Kali and her band of murderous misfits appeared in the episode that took Eleven to Chicago on a journey to try and find her "sister," and the whole hour felt a lot like a backdoor pilot that shows often use to launch spinoffs. CinemaBlend was recently able to speak with Stranger Things creators Ross and Matt Duffer, and they said this about the possibility of a Kali-centric spinoff launching from Season 2:
Ross Duffer: No, it was just about, you know, it was sort of Eleven's journey, and her past, and dealing with the pain of that past, is really what it was. We'll see. I mean we're still just early days on Season 3 so we're seeing where it might go.
Matt Duffer: It was definitely, it was more about expanding the universe and the world a little bit.
The Duffer brothers spoke with our own Conner Schwerdtfeger at a Master Class event at Chapman University, and their comments make it quite clear that the whole point of "The Lost Sister" was to showcase Eleven, not use Eleven to launch a spinoff starring a whole new group. There's certainly no denying that poor El had to deal with the pain of her past in the episode. While there was joy in Eleven giving "Jane" a try and reuniting with Kali (formerly known as Eight), El had a rough time.
For one thing, she had a group of strangers encouraging her to go full Darth Vader and choke an abuser to death with her mind while his daughters were in the next room. For another thing, Kali used her unique abilities (which enable her to make people see what she desires) to force El to face off against Brenner, which was the last thing the traumatized 13-year-old needed from her long-lost sister. Throw in her lingering attachments to Hopper, Mike, and the others in Hawkins, and "The Lost Sister" was quite a journey for Eleven.
Of course, it was also a journey that spent a fair amount of time introducing a bunch of new characters who had no relevance to the main plot of the Mind Flayer in Hawkins, so it's easy to see why fans might have wondered if the Duffers were trying to launch a spinoff. Ross Duffer went even further to debunk the spinoff theory, saying this about the speculation that "The Lost Sister" was a backdoor pilot:
That's absolutely not true.
There we have it: "The Lost Sister" was not a backdoor pilot or a test run for a spinoff. That said, we probably shouldn't rule out Kali and/or some of the rest of her gang showing up in Season 3 and beyond. There's some unfinished business between Eleven and Kali, and Kali seemed to know where Eleven was going. For her part, El wouldn't need more than a blindfold to find Kali again. We may see more of Kali; we just shouldn't expect it to be in Stranger Things: Chicago or some other spinoff. The action of the series will probably need to leave Hawkins someday. Love it, hate it, or don't really care about it, the episode did expand the world of Stranger Things in a way that could pay off in years to come.
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Only time will tell. You can check out "The Lost Sister" and the rest of Stranger Things streaming on Netflix. For more on Stranger Things, check out our breakdown of key details you may have missed in Season 2 and 8 big questions we still have after Season 2. The Duffer brothers also revealed what that terrifying final scene means for Eleven moving forward, so check out what they had to say for more info about El.