Teresa "Terry" Ives, introduced in season one, is a recurring character in the Netflix original series Stranger Things and the protagonist of Suspicious Minds. Terry is Eleven's biological mother yet she is not her legal guardian due to her mental state being destroyed when she attempted to get her daughter back from Hawkins National Laboratory. She is portrayed by Aimee Mullins.
Terry Ives was born in 1951 and lived with her sister Becky and her parents in Bloomington, Indiana. Terry followed her father’s advice of standing up for the truth and freedom, leading to her interest in conspiracies. After her parents died in a car crash, Becky became Terry’s financial supporter. By the late 1960's, she had begun dating Andrew Rich.
While in college in 1969, Terry took part in Project MKUltra. Under the supervision of Dr. Martin Brenner at Hawkins National Laboratory, she was subjected to experiments involving the intake of mind-altering, psychedelic drugs and becoming sensorily deprived.
During this time, she was unknowingly pregnant with her and Andrew’s daughter, Jane, but Andrew died in the Vietnam War before he could find out she was pregnant.
Terry went into labor early in June 1971, and was rushed to the hospital. According to her sister, she miscarried in the third trimester. In reality, Brenner had abducted Jane so that he could conduct experiments on her, and had it covered up as a miscarriage. Knowing this, Terry tried to sue Brenner in order to get her daughter back, but was unsuccessful due to a lack of evidence.
In 1978, Terry decided to simply take her daughter by force and took a gun to the Hawkins Lab. Walking in, she was confronted by a guard, asking for her badge. She shot him in the abdomen, and ran away. In the process, Terry also indirectly let three other experiments escape (Ricky, or Three, Francine, or Six, and Marcy, or 9.5). As she looked for Eleven, Terry came across a room with a rainbow painted on the outside and opened it to find Jane along with another child. Overjoyed, Terry attempted to take her away but was captured by the scientists. Strapped to a table, Dr. Brenner had her forcefully put through what appears to be electroconvulsive therapy (otherwise known as electroshock therapy). The shocks fried Terry's brain and locked her in a vegetative like state; alive, but her mind destroyed and running the events through her head on a loop. Although she is able to speak, she is only able to say words connected to the said events that are on a permanent loop in her mind. (The phrases she repeats are: "Breathe. Sunflower. Rainbow. Three to the right. Four to the left. Four fifty.") Becky became Terry’s caregiver after this incident.
Believing Hawkins National Laboratory had something to do with Will's disappearance, Hopper went to the public library in order to research past newspaper articles concerning the lab. Among the clippings, he discovered that Dr. Brenner had been involved in MKUltra and accused of abusing his test subjects. One of those subjects was a woman named Terry Ives, who had attempted to sue Brenner for allegedly kidnapping her daughter.
After finding out that Will's body had been faked, Hopper went to Joyce to tell her everything he had discovered while investigating. He showed her the newspaper clipping about Terry Ives, and remembered the sighting of a kid with a shaved head at Benny's. He then realized he had been inadvertently tracking down Terry's daughter the whole time. They decided to find Terry, hoping she could shed some light on the lab and help in the search for Will.
Upon arriving at Terry's residence, they were greeted by her sister, Becky, at the door. Before letting them in, she warned them that if they wanted to know anything they were “about five years too late.” Joyce and Hopper attempted to question Terry about her relationship with Brenner and the lab, but received no answers due to her being in a catatonic state.
Becky explained Terry's participation in Project MKUltra and the supposed effects it had on her. In hopes of “expanding the boundaries of the mind”, participants such as Terry were given various psychedelic drugs—mostly LSD—and placed in isolation tanks, where they would become sensorily deprived. During the time she was undergoing these experiments, Terry was unaware of her pregnancy.
When asked if they had any pictures of Jane, Becky revealed that Terry had suffered a miscarriage in her third trimester. Leading Joyce and Hopper to a baby room, she told them how Terry liked to “pretend” that Jane was real. For the past 12 years, Terry had kept the room especially for Jane, saying she'll someday return. Not only did Terry believe Jane was alive, but that she was also born with “abilities," such as telepathy and telekinesis, and it was because of those abilities that she was taken to be used as a human weapon by the government.
Joyce wondered if Terry could have been telling the truth about Jane, but Becky informed her there were no records of Jane's existence, with even the doctors having confirmed the miscarriage. Hopper suggested that it could have been covered up, which made Becky remark that he and Terry would've gotten along.
Hopper kept the files about Hawkins Lab, including the files about the experiments on Terry, in the same storage cabin in which he and Eleven resided. After an argument with Eleven resulting in a telekinetic tantrum, he coerced her to clean up the mess she had made, agreeing to consider fixing the television. While cleaning, Eleven discovered the files and the existence of her mother, as well as discovering her true name.
Eleven traveled to her mother's home and encountered her aunt Becky, who dismissed her. Proving her power to her, Becky told Eleven what happened to her mother years ago. Eleven also discovered her mother possessed powers as well, as she was guided through the lights to her mother. Eleven managed to mentally connect with her mother and see the events that occurred that led to her current state. While distraught over her mother's condition, Eleven discovered the existence of another psychic child and interpreted that her mother wanted her to find her, and later used the files on other missing children to find her.
- Becky Ives - Sister and caretaker
- Andrew Rich - Former lover
- Eleven - Biological daughter
- Martin Brenner - Enemy, experimented on her and kidnapped her daughter
|Season One appearances|
*Terry's picture appears in a newspaper article in Holly, Jolly.
|Season Two appearances|
|Will the Wise||Dig Dug|
|The Lost Sister||The Gate*|
*Terry appears in a flashback in The Gate.
|Season Three appearances|
|E Pluribus Unum*|
*Terry appears in a flashback in E Pluribus Unum.
|Season Four appearances|
|The Massacre at Hawkins Lab*|
*Terry appears in a flashback in The Massacre at Hawkins Lab.
|Andrew Rich||Becky Ives|
- "Breathe. Sunflower. Three to the right, four to the left. 450. Rainbow..."
- In the original pilot script, a person named Terry Ives is mentioned, however that Terry Ives was male, implied to be a conspiracy theorist, and had no direct connection to the lab, its experiments, or Eleven.
- In the room she kept for Jane, there is a baby mobile that plays Brahms's Lullaby. Eleven appears to have a strong reaction to Nancy's music box, which plays the same lullaby. This has led fans to speculate that Eleven's reaction towards the music box was her "recognizing" the melody.
- She has a lot in common with Vicky Tomlinson, the mother of the main protagonist of Stephen King's novel Firestarter. Both participated in government studies involving the intake of hallucinogenic drugs while in college, and as a result, both gave birth to daughters with preternatural abilities.
- Her referring to the government as "The Man" could imply she was part of, or at least a supporter of, the hippie movement.
- 'Ives' may be a reference to Tim Ives, the Director of Photography.
- Like her daughter, the use of her powers causes her nose to bleed.