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The spooky happenings of “Stranger Things” Season 1 centered around Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who served as the connection between the monster that terrorized its characters and the frightening other dimension known as the Upside Down.
The supernaturally powerful kid with telekinetic powers is the one who accidentally tore a portal between Hawkins, Indiana, and the Upside Down, and she’s the reason the monster known as the Demogorgon is hunting kids named Will and Barb in the first season of “Stranger Things.”
In Season 1, Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) wind up finding out a lot about Eleven by tracking down her mother, Terry Ives. But if it’s been a while since you watched “Stranger Things” Season 1, you might be a little hazy on Terry and Eleven’s backstory — and it’s essential to understanding some of the things that go on in “Stranger Things 2.”
When Hopper and Joyce find Terry in Season 1, they discover a woman who’s basically catatonic. According to her sister, Becky Ives (Amy Seimetz), Terry wasn’t always as unresponsive as she is when Hopper and Joyce encounter her.
Terry was part of Project MK-Ultra, a U.S. government-run series of experiments that ran from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Though “Stranger Things” is fictional, MK-Ultra was a real program, focused on mind control experiments that used, among other things, psychoactive drugs.
In “Stranger Things,” Terry volunteered for the program, run by Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), without fully knowing what it entailed. As it turned out, Terry was pregnant when she took part in the experiments — and it had some powerful effects on her baby.
Terry’s baby, Jane, was born not long after, but Brenner took Jane for study after realizing the effects the MK-Ultra experiments had had on her. The official report was that Terry miscarried the baby, but Terry knew that wasn’t true. She tried to sue the government to get Jane returned to her, but the case was thrown out because Terry lacked evidence.
Terry spent the next several years looking for Jane, who Brenner dubbed “Eleven,” and even came close to finding her at Hawkins Lab. But Brenner always stood in her way. About five years before the events of “Stranger Things” Season 1, for unknown reasons, Terry wound up in the unresponsive state in which Hopper and Joyce find her.
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