If fans were skeptical about a certain episode in Stranger Things' second season, they certainly weren't alone. In fact, the show creators Matt and Ross Duffer understand why audiences would have mixed feelings about the season's unique seventh episode. In a new interview with Vulture, the Duffer Brothers explain "The Lost Sister" episode and why it almost didn't even make the cut. Although many fans may have been annoyed by Stranger Things' controversial Season 2 episode, the Duffers' explanation could potentially make them feel a little bit better.
It's the tip of the season's climax, when dogs emerge from the Upside Down and into the lab halls, when the dramatic scene is put on pause for an entire episode about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her self-identity search. Really?! You're killing us, Duffer brothers. At least that's what I thought when watching. According to Matt Duffer, this is exactly why the creators were uncertain about the episode to begin with.
"When we got to the point of writing the episode, we wanted to see if we really needed it or not," he told Vulture. "We actually did toy with pulling the episode completely." Why? Because they understood why it could've been frustrating for fans, which it ultimately was.
Matt Duffer explains that intentions of giving Eleven her "own little mini-movie" could've come with some backlash, especially given its placement. "We thought it would either be cool or really annoying to step away for an episode," he said. "There was no intention to do a spinoff or anything. But it does feel like that," Duffer continued. "It’s a totally different show embedded within the show."
As a fan, the disruption to focus on Eleven seemed intriguing at first, but definitely felt tedious when it lingered for the entirety of the episode. In a quest to find her true identity, Eleven attempts to connect with her mom and then ventures to Chicago to meet her "lost sister," Number 8 Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) and her crew of criminal misfits. Meanwhile, fans were left wondering, what the hell is going on back in the lab?
Beyond the placement, the nature of the episode has stirred controversy for mirroring other series like Heroes and Orphan Black. These parallels have been both criticized and appreciated by audiences. And overall, fans who spoke out were generally outraged that the episode didn't fit in the otherwise gripping series.
But as explained by the Duffers, the episode was also necessary in making the Season 2 conclusion as impactful as it was. Without "The Lost Sister," Matt Duffer said "[t]he ending with Eleven didn’t work [or] land at all." Seeing Eleven's journey is what makes her return so much more meaningful and allows the series of events to really make sense.
"We wanted Eleven to have her own journey and have this journey of self-discovery, that’s why we did it," Matt said. His brother Ross added, "The idea is, if she’s going to do this and we’re going to do this episode, she needs to learn something that allows her to succeed at the end." Watching Eleven reunite with Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and the crew and fight off the Upside Down is the payoff "The Lost Sister" eventually gives fans.
Another advantage of the episode, explained by the creators, is its distinguished nature and setting. "It allows you to play with the tones that we never would’ve been able to explore within Hawkins," Ross said. The urban, eery Chicago setting gives the show another creepy dimension while also paying tribute to iconic '80s films like Terminator and Batman.
Given the pros and cons of "The Lost Sister" and the fan controversy, it will be interesting to see if the Duffers create another similar episode in Season 3.