‘Stranger Things 2’ Fans at War Over Episode 7, ‘The Lost Sister’

Eleven is awesome, Hopper needs to date Joyce, Steve is the world’s best babysitter—these are all opinions Stranger Things fans generally agree on. And yet, there is one question tearing the fandom apart: Is Season 2, Episode 7 good, or is it trash?

This episode, titled “The Lost Sister,” takes a 45-minute break from Hawkins and follows Eleven on her journey to discover Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), a fellow victim of Hawkins National Laboratory experiments. Kali (who has a number 8 on her arm) escaped the lab, and now has a band of rebel punks in Pittsburgh that she uses to seek revenge on the men who hurt her. Eleven (or Jane, as she goes by now) finds the gang, and Kali helps her hone her powers, to the point where they are ready to kill a man, though Jane saves him at the last minute. 

Actress Millie Bobby Brown was undeniably a standout as Eleven in the first season, so for some (including yours truly), a bottle episode all about her was a fun escape from the land of The Upside Down. Plus, who doesn’t love a good punk montage? Eleven put on a leather jacket and slicked back her hair to The Runaways’s “Dead End Justice.” She learned the word bitchin! Does it get any better than that?

11-2-stranger-things Eleven expands her vocabulary in “Stranger Things 2.” Netflix

However, others felt the episode was a frustrating, unwelcome interruption. A recent Slate article dubs it a “historic embarrassment,” citing the unrealistic representation of the ’80s punk scene. “They look like the laughably off-base ‘punks’ from the notorious episodes of CHiPs and Quincy that attempted to warn network TV viewers about the dangers of ripped T-shirts and antisocial lyrics in 1981 and ’82,” writes Sam Adams, of Kali and her gang’s costuming.

11-2-stranger-things-kali Kali (front right) and her rebel gang in “Stranger Things 2.” Kali escaped the lab and now has a band of rebel punks in Pittsburgh that she uses to seek revenge on the men who hurt her. Netflix

For some fans, oblivious to the costuming, it still felt it was too different from other episodes. Others were simply bored and impatient; 45 minutes was just too long time to put a nine-episode season’s plot on hold.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creators Matt and Ross Duffer defended the now-controversial episode. “Whether it works for people or not, it allows us to experiment a little bit,” Matt said. His brother Ross added that he felt the episode offered valuable insight into Eleven as a character. “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.”

One thing is certain: As long as Twitter exists, the debate will rage on.