Like so many other Netflix viewers, I binge watched the latest season of Stranger Things in a single sitting. My wife and I, avid fans of the series since it’s debut three years ago, ordered up some food and hunkered down for the nearly 8 hour run of the latest story.
While we did find a lot of enjoyment out of this season there was one thing that I was waiting for the entire time that prevented me from fully enjoying the narrative. It was the continuation of a simple story thread from the previous season, seemingly abandoned as if it were no more valuable than a mention or a cameo. For some reason, the Duffer Brothers dedicated an entire episode to it only for it to literally lead nowhere. The story thread in question? Season Two Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister.
Now, fans of the series will argue about this one. Some people claim it was merely a means for the Jean Grey analog ‘Eleven’ to fully explore her growing powers, others explain it as building a background for said character, but the fact of the matter is that it was a major plot point that went absolutely nowhere. Which, in and of itself is sad really because the revelations in that episode should have had some lasting effects on the character of Eleven, yet, even in the latest season, she acts as if it never happened.
In case you don’t remember it, the episode revealed that Eleven was not always alone in the Hawkins National Laboratory, in fact, there were other children there all of which had numbers of their own. The one we learn of specifically is one Kali (aka ‘Eight) played by the fantastic Danish/Indian actor Linnea Berthelsen’. When Eleven meets up with Kali she finds that her long lost sister is running a gang in the city using her powers of illusion to commit crimes in order to survive on the streets. She is the leader of the gang and, upon seeing Eleven’s potential, trains her in a matter of days(?) weeks(?) only so Eleven can return home at the right moment to save her friends. Seriously that was the entire purpose of the episode, build up a cool back story, setup the potential of other super-powered girls in the world (with Kali there least 9 others we don’t know about who have powers like Eleven) and then nothing. While the episode felt out of place and tonally different, I figured that it would serve a greater purpose in the end that it couldn’t totally be a wasted segment in what was otherwise a pretty decent story. When the end of the season came and went without even so much as a nod in Kali’s direction, I reassured myself that the Duffer Brothers were saving this story for season three and I calmly filed it away for later use.
Boy was I ever wrong.
Sure season three continued the narrative setup in the main story lines of seasons one and two and, frankly, gave a pretty satisfactory ending to the overall story wrapping up a pretty tremendous run. Heck, if that is all we get (seeing that Netflix is all about only making three seasons these days) then bravo sirs, what a terrific ending. The problem I have is that the entire time I was watching the season, my mind kept thinking back to Kali and the potential she presented in the series. That there are others like her and Eleven out there so, of course, I had hoped for some resolution.
I know it is a silly thing to bother me but there were clues from the beginning of the series that this single episode opened up (like Eleven’s Name itself) only to pull a JJ Abrams like move and ignore all together. I honestly thought that we would discover yet another numbered child, maybe even find out that the MindFlayer was, in fact, one of the test subjects lost to the Upside Down. Needless to say, so much potential only to be relegated to a completely wasted episode that literally served no purpose. I doubt we will ever find out who the other 9 test subjects were and even what happened to Kali, but I guess that is what fan fiction is for. I mean, think about it, we literally had an X-Men level mutant with illusion powers who was pretty much forgotten. Who knows what kind of powers the others may have had. Spinnoff potential maybe? An Older Eleven rediscovering her mutant sisters just in time to save the world? A girl can dream.
As for Season Three, Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the season, just not as much as I would have had they not left that plot thread dangling for no legitimate reason. I mean, Honestly it was a pretty solid season that picked up pretty much where season two left off. This season even managed to give the series a fairly definitive ending with just the smallest hint that it could continue in the future should Netflix break their three season tradition. I for one hope to see what else is lurking in the Upside Down but honestly, I don’t think we will.
Thanks for reading
Late To The Game 7/12/2019
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