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Birth and early life
In the late 1960s, a young woman named Terry Ives participated in the controversial government program known as MKUltra.  As a test subject, Terry would take part in experiments involving psychedelic drugs and sensory deprivation.
In December of 1969, Alice Johnson a friend and fellow test subject of Terry Ives at Hawkins National Laboratory experienced a vision from the future: She saw a girl marked with the number 011 with shaved brown hair being observed by Dr. Martin Brenner. The girl utilized an invisible force to throw off an orderly, a detail which stunned Alice. Alice was unaware of what the vision meant. In that same month, Dr. Martin Brenner was informed that Terry Ives was actually pregnant. Brenner then began to plan accordingly, ensuring that the unborn child would become a subject for the program, seeing it also as an opportunity to give subject 008 the playmate that she had always wanted.
Unbeknownst to Terry, she had become pregnant by her then-boyfriend Andrew Rich during this period. In June of 1971, she gave birth to a girl, naming her Jane. Due to the experimentation on Terry, Jane was born with various extraordinary psychokinetic abilities. Immediately after her birth, she was abducted by Dr. Martin Brenner. The kidnapping was covered up as a miscarriage, meaning there were no birth certificates or medical records of Eleven's existence, allowing her to be the perfect human test subject. While Terry knew her daughter was still alive and tried desperately to get her daughter back, Terry's sister believed Jane never existed.
Growing up in Hawkins Lab, she was not referred to by her given name, instead being labeled as “011,” indicating her place as a test subject. Brenner built himself up as a father figure in the mind of Eleven, making her refer to him as "Papa." In the early years of her life at the lab, she was allowed to play in the rainbow room with other child experiments, including Eight, who possessed illusion casting, and twins 9 and 9.5, who the former possessed heat generation.
1971 - 1983: Psychokinetic training
Eleven was trained by the government in Hawkins National Laboratory. Through tests, scientists wished to discover and enhance the extent of her psychic abilities. She was the subject of several experiments. To punish her for any failures, Eleven was often dragged into and locked in a solitary cell for great periods of time, the experience of which severely traumatized her with a fear of confinement.
In the first known experiment, Eleven was presented with a soda can, which she then crushed using telekinesis. Although her nose began bleeding soon afterwards, Dr. Brenner seemed pleased nonetheless.
In the year 1978, Eleven made a house of cards collapse using her mind. Having been pleased with herself she asked the attending personnel in charge of the experiment to tell Brenner, not knowing that Brenner was already watching from outside the room together with another subject.
One experiment involved using her powers to manipulate a living creature. Dr. Brenner presented Eleven with a cat, but she could not bring herself to do anything to it. As punishment for her refusal, she was dragged into the cell by two guards. Refusing to be locked in again, an enraged Eleven used her powers to smash one guard into a wall and to break the other's neck before they could close the door. While she sobbed at her experiences, Brenner comfortingly carried her away, pleased that Eleven was indeed capable of biokinesis. 
Brenner wanted to test Eleven's ability to eavesdrop over long distances. Eleven was ordered to repeat words stated by an individual elsewhere in the laboratory. She did not repeat the words through her voice but instead made the individual's words play over a wall speaker.
Eventually, Brenner wanted Eleven to eavesdrop over an even greater distance. She was placed in a sensory deprivation tank, where she entered a psychic state in which she could reach out to other living creatures in different locations. In this state, she was ordered to spy on a Russian agent. Although Eleven successfully followed this instruction, she unwittingly came across a mysterious creature. Eleven panicked, and the experiment was aborted.
Dr. Brenner was intrigued and wanted her to make contact with the creature. The experiment was repeated; Eleven entered the tank once again. Immersed in the psychic state, Eleven made contact with the monster. At that moment, a gate cracked open between Hawkins Laboratory and the monster's dimension — allowing it to enter their dimension. In the ensuing chaos, Eleven escaped the lab through a drain pipe and fled into the surrounding woodlands of Hawkins.
On the run
Walking through the woods, Eleven came across Benny Hammond's diner and attempted to steal food, but Benny caught her and prevented her escape. He clothed, fed, and attempted to communicate with her. She was reserved and did not say much but eventually revealed that her name was Eleven. Thinking she was a victim of child abuse, Benny called social services. Agent Connie Frazier from Hawkins Lab arrived, posing as a social worker, and immediately shot Benny. Eleven fled the diner, killing two other agents in the process.
Later that night, Eleven was found drenched in rain in the forest by Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, and Dustin Henderson as they searched for their missing friend Will Byers. They brought her back to Mike's basement, where they argued about what to do with her. Lucas and Dustin were cautious and wanted to call the police, but Mike decided against it, instead creating a plan: he would have her ring the doorbell the next morning so his mother could call the right people to help her. After building her a pillow fort to sleep in, Mike and Eleven introduced themselves to each other, Mike giving her the nickname "El."
The next day, Mike brought Eleven her breakfast and tried to get her to go along with his plan, but she refused and told him that "bad" people were looking for her. During a tour of the house, she recognized Will in a photograph. However, before Mike could ask her any more questions, his mother came home. He then urged her to hide in his closet so she would not be found. When she hesitated, he explained to her what a promise was and promised he would not tell his mother about her. While confined in the closet, Eleven remembered an occasion where she was locked in a dark room at the lab. Dustin and Lucas came to Mike's house after school, and Mike told them Eleven could help them find Will. Lucas was still insistent on telling their parents, but Eleven stopped him by shutting the door using her powers, which had not been revealed to them until that moment.
Later that evening, the boys brought Eleven food, apologizing to her and revealed that they were desperate to find their friend Will. While Eleven was unfamiliar with the concept of "friend", Mike explained it to her. To demonstrate where Will was hiding, she flipped over their Dungeons & Dragons board to demonstrate that he was in an "upside down" dimension. She placed Will's player piece on top and the Demogorgon piece next to it, which symbolized the Monster.
The next day, the boys decided to let Eleven guide them to Will after school. Before leaving, Mike provided El his watch and asked her to meet them at 3:15pm. Eleven was alone at Mike's house and came across a Coca-Cola commercial on his television, reminding her of the experiment involving the cola can. Later, Eleven arrived and waited for Mike and his friends to appear, before witnessing a cat growling, which reminded her of another experiment where Brenner tried to force her to kill a cat. The boys came home from school as Mike lapsed El out and they commenced "Operation Mirkwood," where Eleven led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. She led them to the Byers house but was unable to explain that Will was there but in the other dimension. Police cars raced by, and the group followed them to the quarry, where they saw what appeared to be Will's corpse being dragged out of the water. Feeling hurt and betrayed, and believing Eleven to be a liar, Mike lashed out at her and raced home on his bike.
Returning to Mike's basement, Eleven tampered with Mike's Supercom in order to prove to him that Will was still alive. After Mike angrily berated her and accused her of lying to him about Will's well-being, as well as believing Lucas to be right about her, El managed to use her powers to project Will's voice through Mike's Supercom where he faintly sang one of his favorite songs. This allowed El to prove and confirm to Mike that Will was still alive.
The following day, Mike showed El doing this to Dustin and Lucas, who wondered if Will had become a ghost. After further discussion, the boys decided to take El to school so that she could use Mr. Clarke's Heathkit to make further contact.
They disguised Eleven in a blonde wig and pink dress borrowed from Nancy and brought her to Hawkins Middle. They were stopped by Mr. Clarke, who made them attend an assembly for Will. After the assembly, Mike confronted the bully Troy regarding the jokes he made about Will during the assembly. Troy attempted to hit Mike, but Eleven froze him in place using her powers and made him urinate his pants in front of several other students. Later, they used the Heathkit radio and heard Will talking to his mother from the other dimension. Unfortunately, the radio eventually caught fire. After they returned to Mike's basement, the boys theorized that Will was stuck in the Vale of Shadows, a "dark echo" dimension of death and decay, which Eleven labeled the Upside Down.
After talking to Mr. Clarke at Will's funeral, the boys decided to follow their compasses, believing they could be guided to a hypothetical gate to the other dimension; this was assuming that the gate would affect the local magnetic field. However, Eleven manipulated their compasses to keep them away from Hawkins Lab as it wasn't safe. When the boys realized this, Lucas accused her of sabotaging the mission, which Mike refused to believe and tried to defend her. A fight erupted between the two, and Eleven, in an outbreak of emotion, flung Lucas into the air using her powers, knocking him out. Mike, in a fit of panic, screamed at Eleven, and she fled the scene, overwhelmed with emotion.
In the woods, Eleven took off her wig and despaired as she looked at her reflection in a pool of water, angrily sending ripples across the water with her powers. She later entered a supermarket to steal some food as she was hungry. As Eleven walked through the store, some people took notice of her. When the store's manager tried talking to her, Eleven called him a "mouthbreather" and proceeded to steal some boxes of Eggos, which she had developed a great fondness for. The manager attempted to stop her thievery, but she walked out and broke the sliding glass doors using her powers, preventing the manager or anybody else from following her.
As Eleven sat alone in the forest with her Eggo boxes, she faintly heard Mike and Dustin shouting her name as they searched for her. The two boys were suddenly ambushed by Troy and his friend James who were seeking revenge following Troy's humiliation in the gym. They threatened Dustin with a knife and forced Mike into taking a fatal plunge off a cliff into the water below. Eleven appeared just in time, levitating Mike back to safety, pushing James to the ground and breaking Troy's arm. Upon waking from her over-exertion, she apologized and claimed that she was the monster for having opened the Gate. Mike comforted her saying that she wasn't the monster because she saved him. Eleven, Mike and Dustin then reconciled as they embraced each other, before returning to Mike's home.
Mike and Eleven shared an intimate moment in his basement before Dustin interrupted to alert them that Lucas was communicating via radio, warning them that the "bad men are coming." The three escaped on bike while agents from Hawkins Lab pursued them. Eleven used her powers to flip one of their vans over, and they made a narrow escape. The kids went to a junkyard, where Lucas and Eleven apologized to one another. After realizing that agents were still searching for them, they shoved their bikes under an abandoned bus and hid inside.
Chief Hopper, who now knew of Eleven's existence, communicated with the group through Will's radio and came to escort them to the Byers house, where they met with Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy. Eleven tried communicating with Will and Barbara Holland through one of the boys' radios to no avail, but she suggested they could use a "bath" instead. The group broke into Hawkins Middle School and set up a kiddie pool filled with saltwater to serve as a makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Joyce commended Eleven for her bravery, ensuring she would be there for her while she looked for Will and Barb. Eleven got into the pool and began to float, entering her mental void. Eleven first found Barbara's corpse, and in response, Eleven hysterically and repeatedly shouted, "Gone!". Joyce comforted her, calming her down. She eventually found Will alive but weakened hiding in Castle Byers. Eleven told him to stay strong and ensured him his mother was coming for him. Will responded telling Eleven to hurry before she suddenly lost contact.
The kids were left alone in the school while Joyce and Hopper went to the lab and Nancy and Jonathan went to the Byers house. Mike and Eleven shared another intimate moment where Mike invited Eleven to be his date at the Snow Ball school dance. Eleven accepted and the two shared a kiss.
As part of an "agreement" he made with the laboratory to save Will, Hopper revealed Eleven's location. Agents arrived at the school to capture her, but Eleven killed most of them by crushing their brains, an exhaustive process which drained her of energy and caused her to briefly collapse.
Dr. Brenner and his team of agents and military police found Eleven and the boys. As the boys were restrained and held back by military police, Brenner talked to Eleven, telling her that she would be returned to the lab. However, Eleven resisted, calling and reaching out for Mike.
The Monster was attracted to the pools of blood, breaking through the wall. The Monster began a spree of violence, attacking Dr. Brenner as military police let go of the boys and opened gunfire. This allowed the kids to escape with Dustin carrying Eleven.
For a while, the four kids outran and evaded the creature, hiding in Mr. Clarke's classroom. Mike tried to calm Eleven, who became highly exhausted after using her powers, and told her not to worry as everything was going to be okay and then they will go to the Snowball. Eventually, the Monster found them, breaking into the room and attacking them. The boys attempted to fight it with Lucas's wrist rocket, but it had little effect on the monster. Though she was drained, Eleven decided to confront the creature, pinning it against the blackboard with her mind while also immobilizing Mike to prevent his intervention and protect him and his friends. After wishing goodbye to Mike, she proceeded to disintegrate the creature's body, vanishing to the Upside Down in the process.
When Eleven awoke, she was frightened and scared and stumbled down the hallways of the Middle School looking for Mike. Eventually, she found the portal that the Demogorgon had created when it had entered the school. When the agents were gone, Eleven, using her abilities, made the portal large enough for her to crawl through and reach the real world. Once she was back in the regular world, Eleven found her way to the Wheeler residence. She saw Mike being interrogated by the police through a window, catching his attention and making the officers suspect she was nearby. As they began searching for her, she was forced to flee and hide in the woods.
1983 - 1984
Living in Hopper's cabin
For a month, she hid in the woods, killing animals for sustenance. Upon being discovered by a hunter, she knocked him out cold with a cooked squirrel and stole his jacket for warmth. In December, Eleven discovered a box filled with leftovers and Eggos.
Upon discovering that Hopper was the one who had left the food, Eleven confronted him. He then took her to a cabin in the woods that would serve as their new home. Together, they cleaned the cabin and rigged nearby trees with trip wire to alert them of any intruders. In order for them to communicate safely, Hopper taught Eleven how to read and signal Morse code. Hopper created a set of rules for Eleven's safety, requiring her to always have the curtains drawn, to always have the door locked, and to never leave the cabin alone.
When Hopper arrived at the cabin late, Eleven was irritated that he had not signaled beforehand. The two then ate dinner together.
The next morning, Eleven tried to convince Hopper to let her go trick-or-treating, arguing that she wouldn't be seen by the bad men because of her ghost costume. Hopper refused, as it would have been too big of a risk. He then came up with a compromise, telling her he would get off work early and they'd watch a scary movie together. While not completely happy with the compromise, Eleven agreed to it.
Later that day, Eleven was flipping through television channels when she heard a sound coming from outside. Looking out the window, she saw a squirrel, triggering a flashback to the moment where she had attacked and rendered the hunter unconscious.
That night, as Eleven watched a movie alone, Hopper signaled that he was going to be late again. This angered Eleven, and when Hopper finally arrived at the cabin, she refused to come out of her room. Using the white noise from the television and a blindfold, she entered her mental void to visit Mike. Mike was sitting in the blanket fort he had built for her the year before, trying to contact her and revealing that he tried contacting her for 353 days in a row. Just as she was going to make contact, Mike, unaware of her presence left. Crying, Eleven removed the blindfold.
The following morning, Hopper managed to convince her to come out of her room. At breakfast, Eleven asked Hopper when she would be able to see Mike again. Hopper tried to placate her by saying she'd be able to see him “soon,” but Eleven's patience had reached its limit. She lashed out at Hopper and stormed away to her room, slamming the door.
Later that day, Eleven decided to leave the cabin in order to visit Mike, disobeying Hopper's rules. While walking in the forest, she came across a woman pushing her child on a swing; this made her remember an occasion when she had asked Hopper where her own mother was, to which Hopper had responded she “was not around anymore.” Eleven is snapped back to her senses by the woman asking where her parents were. Instead of answering, Eleven asked the woman where the school was located and the woman gave her the directions to the school. When the woman tried asking Eleven where her parents were, Eleven used her powers to manipulate the swing, frightening the mother and child while distracting them long enough for her to slip away.
Once at the school, Eleven began searching the hallways for Mike. She eventually found him in the gym where she felt happy to see him in person for the first time in months while watching him through a window. However, when Eleven saw he was watching a girl named Max Mayfield perform tricks on her skateboard, Eleven believed Max was flirting with Mike. Jealous, Eleven used her abilities to pull Max's skateboard, causing her to fall. After witnessing Mike grab Max's hand in order to help her up, Eleven left the school and headed back towards the cabin.
On her way out of Hawkins Middle School, she was spotted by James Dante and Troy Walsh, who were intent on getting revenge. As she reached the woods, Eleven heard their voices and performed a telekinetic trick that scared the two. Looking out from behind a tree, Eleven wiped her bleeding nose before continuing on towards the cabin.
When she arrived at the cabin, Eleven discovered Hopper waiting for her. The two got into an argument, with Hopper grounding her and revoking her television privileges. However, Eleven held the television in place with her powers, resulting in Hopper destroying the device's cord. Furious, Eleven told Hopper she hated him and went to her room. As Hopper tried to convince her to open the door, she experienced a psychic tantrum, breaking all of the cabin's windows.
Discovering her past
Before leaving for work the following morning, Hopper told Eleven he'd consider fixing the television if she cleaned up the mess she had made the night before. As she was sweeping, Eleven discovered a hidden storage compartment beneath the floorboards. There, she found a box containing documents from Hawkins Lab. Looking through the files, she discovered the existence of her mother, Terry Ives. She located Terry, who was able to recognize Eleven as her missing daughter, Jane. Just as Eleven tried to reach out to Terry, she vanished.
Eleven hitchhiked to the Ives residence where she was initially dismissed by her aunt, Becky. Only after Eleven had used her powers to unlock the door and demanded to see her mother did Becky allow her in. Eleven tried to talk to Terry, but she received no response. Instead, Terry stared blankly at the television, repeating a sequence of words and phrases: Breathe, sunflower, rainbow, three to the right, four to the left, and 450.
As Becky showed Eleven the room Terry had kept for her, the light in the hallway began to flicker. Following the flickering lights to the living room, Eleven realized it was Terry trying to speak to her. In her mental void, Eleven saw several of Terry's memories, the first being the day Terry had gone into labor ("Breathe", as told by the doctors) and subsequently waking up to learn her daughter had been taken (with a vase of "sunflowers" on the side table). In the second memory, she witnessed Terry retrieve a gun from a safe (with a combination of "3 to the right, 4 to the left"), and proceed to break into the lab. Terry eventually found Jane in the rainbow room along with another young girl, but was captured soon after. In the final memory, Brenner instructed one of his workers to give Terry "450" volts of electricity to the head, causing significant brain damage.
Pieces of the memories then began to play on a loop (which Eleven dubbed a “dream circle”), matching the sequence of words that Terry had been repeating. Because the dream circle kept focusing on the girl in the rainbow room, Eleven believed Terry wanted her to find the girl. Looking through Terry's files of missing children, she recognized the girl, named Kali, in a newspaper article. Eleven attempted to locate Kali twice, succeeding on her second attempt. As she was going to tell Becky, Eleven overheard her on the phone with Florence over at the Hawkins Police Station. After stealing money from Becky's purse, she boarded a bus to Chicago. Once in Chicago, Eleven managed to track Kali to an abandoned warehouse. After showing each other their tattoos, the two recognized each other as sisters.
The next day, Kali instructed Eleven on how to better control her powers, asking her to move a railroad car. When Eleven was unsuccessful, Kali suggested channeling her anger and pain in order to make her powers stronger. Using Kali's advice, Eleven succeeded in moving the railroad car.
Bringing her to a room with several images of their targets tacked on a wall, Kali asked Eleven if she recognized any of them. She recognized one, a now retired scientist named Ray Carroll, as the person who had electrocuted her mother at the lab. After giving Eleven a punk makeover, the gang set out to pursue Ray. Before heading to their destination, the gang stopped at a convenience store for supplies. As the store employee was distracted by one of Kali's illusions, Eleven and the gang began stealing from the store. The employee soon found out, and threatened the gang with a gun. When Kali was unsuccessful in convincing him to let them go, Eleven slammed him against the wall, knocking him unconscious and allowing the gang to get away.
Arriving at Ray's residence, Eleven, Kali, and the gang broke in and began threatening him. Ray tried to barter for his life, saying he could bring them to Brenner. Not believing him, Eleven began to strangle him with her powers. As he was being dragged across the floor, Eleven noticed a picture of Ray and his children. Feeling guilt, Eleven could no longer go through with killing Ray and showed him mercy. When Kali pulled out a gun and attempted to kill Ray herself, Eleven used her powers to throw the gun out of her hand. As the police arrived, they quickly fled.
Back at the warehouse, Kali told Eleven that she had a choice to make: to either go back into hiding, or to fight and face Brenner again. When Eleven insisted that Brenner was dead, Kali made one of her illusions appear before her in the form of Brenner. The illusion urged her to confront her pain, otherwise it would spread and kill her.
As police began to surround the warehouse, Eleven became emotional reminiscing Mike and Hopper, and used her abilities to locate Hopper, who was overseeing an expedition into the subterranean tunnel system beneath Hawkins. While observing him, Eleven suddenly saw Mike, desperately trying to warn Hopper of the Mind Flayer's trap. Eleven tried to reach Mike but failed as the police broke through the warehouse. When Kali and the gang prepared to flee in their van, Eleven refused to go with them and reminded that her friends were in danger and she could save them. Resolving to save her friends, Eleven left the gang and boarded a bus to Hawkins.
Returning to Hawkins
As the Byers' house was being attacked by a pack of Demodogs, Eleven arrived and eradicated them, tossing one through a window. She became amazed to see Mike and had an emotional reunion with him and the rest of her friends. Together, the group created a plan on how to defeat the Mind Flayer: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would attempt to exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will while Eleven and Hopper would return to the lab and close the Gate. Before leaving, Eleven promised Mike that he would not lose her again. In order to buy time for everyone, Mike and the others would distract the Demodogs by burning the tunnels beneath Hawkins.
While reaching the lab, Eleven revealed that she visited her mother, though she admitted she shouldn't have left. In return, Hopper apologized to Eleven and told her that it was his fault and that he was sorry for everything, as he thought he would have lost Eleven just like he'd lost his daughter. They both forgave themselves as they held hands.
At the lab, Eleven and Hopper found Dr. Owens, wounded but still alive. Hopper patched him and revealed that he had been keeping Eleven for a year and convinced him to help her live a happy, normal life. Finally arriving at the Gate, they were surprised to see the Demodogs fleeing from the Gate's entrance and received the signal from Jonathan to destroy it.
Closing the Gate
After being lowered down to the Gate's underground entrance, Eleven began closing the Gate with Hopper providing protection. Now aware of her presence, the Mind Flayer attempted to stop her by sending the Demodogs after her, as well as attacking her directly. By channeling her anger, as Kali had taught her, Eleven became powerful enough that she overcame the Mind Flayer's attacks and was able to close the Gate, killing the remaining Demodogs in the process. As Eleven grew exhausted using her powers, Hopper embraced and commended her for her bravery as they both returned.
A month later, Hopper met with Dr. Owens. Hopper received a forged birth certificate with the name “Jane Hopper”, indicating he had taken her in as an adopted daughter. Though, Dr. Owens advised him that Eleven should still lie low for another year to ensure their safety, Hopper managed to convince Owens to give Eleven a night out to attend the Snow Ball with her friends.
The Snow Ball
On December 15, Eleven attended the Snow Ball school dance along with Mike and their friends. After they reunited again, Mike stated that she looked beautiful and asked if she wanted to dance. She agreed and they danced together to the song “Every Breath You Take” and shared a kiss.
On Christmas Day, Eleven received a Hungry Hungry Hippos game from Hopper. The two then travelled to the Byers house to celebrate Christmas. There, Eleven was gifted a walkie-talkie from Radio Shack that the gang had all saved their money for. Will and Jonathan then revealed that they had collected several Christmas specials in VCR form to help make Eleven's first Christmas celebration extra-special. The gang then took turns in explaining the plot of each VCR special to Eleven. Dustin then began to insist that there was a creature outside in the snow, referencing Dart, which left Eleven confused. Eventually, Dustin managed to convince the whole gang to trek into the woods to find the creature he claimed to have seen. Mike then brought up how she had spent the last Christmas in the woods, asking her what she had eaten. Eleven implied that she had eaten a rabbit. Shortly after, the gang found the creature which turned out to be a rabbit caught in a trap. Eleven was glad to see the rabbit still alive and picked it up with her coat, bringing it back to the Byers household. There, Joyce Byers attended to the rabbit and shortly after, they all sat down to watch the Christmas specials.
As El and Mike were making out in her room, Hopper tried to intervene prompting El to close the door. When Hopper entered the room, they tried to act innocent, though he was thoroughly unconvinced. Mike left soon after in order to go meet with the rest of the Party at the Starcourt Mall. While riding away on his bike, Mike spoke to her via walkie-talkie, telling her that he’ll see her first thing the next day.
At the Henderson house, El assisted in the Party’s welcome back surprise for Dustin by using her powers to manipulate several of his electronic toys. The surprise ended in catastrophe when Dustin sprayed Farrah Fawcett Hairspray in Lucas's face. Dustin presented many of his inventions from summer camp, including Cerebro, a powerful ham radio he created to contact his girlfriend, Suzie. However, in order for it to work, it had to be located in a place of high elevation. While on their way up a hill to assemble the radio, El and Mike created an excuse to leave so they could spend time together.
That night, the couple were having another make-out session when Hopper interrupted them with the intent to have a “heart-to-heart” about boundaries. He failed, instead coming up with a lie about Mike’s grandmother being sick in order to get Mike to leave. As Hopper drove him home, he told Mike to start spending less time with El, otherwise, he would stop allowing them to date.
Friendship with Max
When Mike was late the following morning, El called him asking why, unaware of Hopper’s threat. Mike told her he couldn’t see her that day due to his sick grandmother.
Suspecting him of lying, El sought out Max for advice, who confirmed her suspicions and advised her to break up with Mike should he not explain his reason for lying. Max then took El to the Starcourt Mall where the pair had a fun-filled shopping spree. As they were leaving, they unexpectedly met Mike, Lucas, and Will, who had also been shopping prior. El confronted Mike about his lie, and when he failed to explain himself, she broke up with him.
That evening at the cabin, the girls decided to spy on the boys via The Void. While eavesdropping, El overheard the boys talk about how they were incapable of understanding girls’ and that they were a “different species”. Afterward, they decided to play a spin the bottle-esque game on who to spy on next, landing on Billy as their target. When she found Billy, he was sitting on the ground as a person she was unable to perceive screamed desperately for help. Sensing El’s presence, Billy suddenly turned toward her direction and disappeared.
Believing something was wrong with Billy, El and Max traveled to the Hargrove house to see if they could find any evidence of sinister activities. While searching Billy’s bathroom, they found a bathtub full of melted ice water, a fanny pack from the pool, and a lifeguard whistle covered in blood. The pair then went to the Hawkins Community Pool where they were informed that the fanny pack belonged to Heather, who had not come into work that day. Using a photograph that she had acquired from a bulletin board, El sought Heather out in the Void where she was found in a tub full of ice, pleading for help. El then watched helplessly as the tub dissipated and Heather fell through the bottom of the Void into the abyss.
When they arrived at the Holloway residence, they found Billy and a seemingly normal Heather having dinner with her parents. When they inquired about Heather being absent from work, Billy responded that she had simply felt sick and decided to stay home, with Heather assuring them that she “felt so much better”. Confused, El and Max departed from the residence and returned to the Hargrove house. While El was still wary that something was wrong, Max assured her that everything was fine.
Threat of the Mind Flayer
El and Max awoke the next morning to Mike, Lucas, and Will calling them about a code red situation. In the Wheeler basement, Will proposed that the part of the Mind Flayer that had possessed him the year prior was still in their world and had attached itself to a new host. When El relayed all that she had seen, they began to suspect that the new host may be Billy. While spying on Billy at the pool, the group came up with a plan to trap him in the sauna to confirm his status as a host. When El entered a supply closet to retrieve a swimming mannequin for the plan, Mike followed and attempted to talk to her. But El rebuked him, stating she should spend time with her “own species”.
Once the pool had closed and Billy was alone, the group enacted their plan, luring him into the sauna. Once he was trapped, the group looked on as Billy became more and more unstable due to the increasing heat and the Mind Flayer’s influence. When Billy was fully under the entity’s control, he escaped the sauna. While El was able to hold him off initially, he managed to overpower her, grabbing her by the neck and strangling her. She was saved by Mike, who struck Billy in the head with a weighted barbell. When Billy tried to go after Mike, she retaliated by throwing him through the wall, which resulted in Billy’s escape. The Party then returned to the Wheeler house.
Using her abilities, El sought out Hopper and discovered that he and Joyce were headed to Illinois. When Nancy and Jonathan arrived, Nancy disclosed what she had witnessed at the hospital the night prior: Doris Driscoll had exhibited behavior identical to Will’s when he was possessed by the Mind Flayer. When they confirm that her behavior happened at the same time as the sauna test, they concluded that Doris had also become “Flayed”-- a host to the Mind Flayer -- and suspected there were potentially several more. El then realized that Heather had also become a host; this realization allowed Nancy and Jonathan to deduce that Tom Holloway (Heather’s father and Nancy and Jonathan's boss) was one as well.
Returning to the Holloway residence, they found that the inhabitants had consumed several household chemicals. When they investigated further, they surmised that Heather’s parents had been attacked, tied up, and taken to an unknown location where they were flayed. Will then proposed that they use Driscoll to find the source--the location where the flaying was taking place.
At the hospital, Mike and El finally reconciled. Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan had gone to see Doris. They were instead met by Tom and Bruce Lowe who brutally attacked them. While they were able to defeat their respective assailants, the battle was not over; Tom’s and Bruce’s bodies melted and fused to create a gruesome creature. When the creature cornered Nancy in a room, El burst in using her abilities and threw the creature out the window. Outside, the group witnessed the creature escape through a grate into the sewers.
After scouring the Void extensively in search of the Flayed, El eventually found Billy, sitting in his room. While everyone agreed it was a trap, El made the decision to return to Billy in the Void in hopes that she could view his memories to find the source. She succeeded, viewing a memory from Billy’s childhood of him spending a day at the beach with his mother in California. After searching through several other memories of his abusive childhood, El finally located the source: Brimborn Steel Works. When she tried to leave the Void, she was instead trapped in a hallucination induced by the Mind Flayer. There, she was met with the mental projection of a possessed Billy who warned her the Flayed now know her location and that they would eradicate her, her friends, and then “everyone”. Meanwhile, the Flayed were congregating at the mill under the Mind Flayer's influence, to form a gigantic entity, the Spider Monster.
Seeing that the Spider Monster was headed toward the cabin, the group prepared for battle. The Spider Monster infiltrated the cabin using several of his mouthed tentacles, all of which were successfully stopped by El. Suddenly, the monster burst through the ceiling and grabbed El by the leg with a tentacle protruding from his mouth. After being freed from the creature’s grasp thanks to Lucas cutting off the tendril with an ax, El severed the Spider Monster’s head in half, temporarily incapacitating him and allowing the group to escape.
The group went to Bradley’s Big Buy to fix El’s wounds and gather supplies. When they were alone together, Mike confided in El about his feelings for her. Just as he was going to tell her how he felt, he was interrupted by Dustin calling on via the Supercom. However, the signal kept cutting out due to Dustin’s Supercom having a low battery. After El located Dustin, the group headed to the mall where they arrived just in time for her to save the Scoops Troop by telekinetically throwing a car at the Russian soldiers.
Shortly after reuniting, El collapsed due to her leg, it was revealed that a piece of the Spider Monster was still lodged under her skin. After Jonathan attempted to cut it out with a knife, El opted to do it herself. Using a tremendous amount of power and force, she was able to remove the piece from her leg and throw it across the room. The piece was subsequently stepped on by Hopper, who had just arrived with Joyce and Murray.
Battling the Spider Monster
Once everyone was briefed on the situation, the group came up with a plan: Hopper, Murray, and Joyce would infiltrate the Russian bunker to shut down the Key and close the Gate with the aid of Dustin and Erica, who would be driven to Cerebro by Steve and Robin, while Nancy, Jonathan, and the remaining Party members would seek shelter at Murray’s warehouse in Illinois. El said goodbye to Hopper before leaving.
In the Starcourt parking lot, Nancy discovered that the car wouldn’t start due to the car missing its ignition cable. With Billy blockading the mall’s parking lot, the group was forced to retreat back into the mall. While trying to get in touch with the Scoops Troop for emergency transportation, they realized they could use the ignition cable from the car El had thrown before. When El tried to move the vehicle so they could retrieve the component, she found she was unable to do so. Instead, they were able to retrieve the cable with a plan Mike came up with involving physics.
Shortly after, the Spider Monster crashed through the glass roof into the mall. After successfully evading the creature, El, Mike, and Max managed to escape through the back doors located in The Gap, while the remaining group managed to escape through the front out to the car, distracting the Spider Monster in the process. When the trio made it to the front, they were intercepted by Billy, making them turn back the way they came and alerting the Spider Monster of their presence. Billy eventually caught up to them and knocked all three unconscious. He then kidnapped El and brought her to the Spider Monster, which had returned to the mall, so that the Spider Monster could kill her.
Moments before he could do so, he was stopped by the group pelting him with fireworks. Meanwhile, El tried to escape, only to be prevented from doing so by Billy. Once the fireworks had run out, the Spider Monster tried again to possess El, only to be stopped by Billy, who was able to free himself from the creature’s control due to El reminding him of his time with his mother. However, the Spider Monster stabbed and brutally wounded Billy with his tentacles. At the same time, in the Russian base, Joyce activated the key which destroyed the Gate machine, resulting in the Gate being closed and Hopper apparently disintegrated. As a result of that, the Spider Monster’s link with the Mind Flayer severed and the monster ultimately meet his demise. El and Mike shared an embrace before comforting Max who mourned the loss of her stepbrother.
Following the arrival of the US military, El as well as her friends were treated and escorted to the mall’s parking lot. Outside the mall, El noticed Joyce returning back but without Hopper. As she looked at Joyce, she realized that Hopper didn't make it back and become devastated.
Farewell & moving out of Hawkins
July 5 - October
Following Hopper's death, El was taken in by the Byers family.
Three months later, in October, El and the Byers began preparing to move out Hawkins. Although she was still unable to use her powers, Mike consoled her, telling that they will return. El and Mike then shared plans to visit each other at Thanksgiving and also at Christmas, since it would be fun opening their presents together on Christmas Day. El then recalled how Mike confessed his feelings for her back at the cabin, and kissed him, telling him that she also loves him.
While packing their belongings, Joyce gave El the heart-to-heart speech written by Hopper. As she began reading the letter, she came to tears upon learning how deeply Hopper cared for her. Outside the Byers house, El shared tearful hugs with her friends, Mike, Max, Dustin, Lucas and bid farewell before heading out of Hawkins along with the Byers.
Eleven, alongside Joyce, Jonathan and Will, moves to California. El attends school for the first time in her life.
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Six: The Monster"
- Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
- "‘Stranger Things’ Finale: Duffer Brothers Talk Cliffhangers, Death and Season 2" Variety. July 18, 2016.
- Stranger Things: Six Issue 2
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Four: The Body"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Seven: The Bathtub"
- Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Eight: The Upside Down"
- Stranger Things Season 2: "Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak"
- Stranger Things: The Bully
- Stranger Things Season 2: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"
- Stranger Things Winter Special One-Shot