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This article is about the episode. For the experimental government program, see The Nina Project.

"Chapter Five: The Nina Project" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of Stranger Things and the thirtieth episode overall. It premiered on May 27, 2022, being the fifth episode of the first volume, and was directed by Nimród Antal.

Synopsis[]

Owens takes El to Nevada, where she's forced to confront her past, while the Hawkins kids comb a crumbling house for clues. Vecna claims another victim.


Plot[]

Nina Project - desert entrance

After escaping Jack Sullivan's men, Mike Wheeler and Will and Jonathan Byers attempt to save Harmon from his gunshot wound. He insists that they need to warn Sam Owens and that Eleven is in danger, uttering "Nina" before dying. Will notices a car following them and shouts for Argyle to get off the main road. Jack Sullivan and his men search the Byers household, and he finds Eleven's note for Mike, and he orders the wounded Wallace to give up her location. Twelve hours earlier, Owens and Eleven are dropped off at a door in the middle of a desert, which turns out to lead to an underground missile silo made to house "NINA", a large machine. To Eleven's horror, she is approached by a scarred Martin Brenner, having survived the demogorgon's attack. He promises to help get her powers back, but Eleven, overwhelmed by her memories of his abuse, tries to run, but is sedated. Brenner promises that "everything's going to be alright" as she passes out.

Having been returned to Kamchatka, Jim Hopper is beaten by guards for escaping and dragged through an arena with a blood-soaked weapon on the ground. He is thrown in a cell with Dmitri Antonov and several other prisoners. Antonov explains that he was sold out by Yuri Ismaylov and convinces Hopper not to kill him. Defeated, Hopper asks after Joyce Byers. A restless Eddie Munson calls Dustin Henderson's supercom to ask for beer, and Nancy Wheeler picks up, ignoring him when she notices Max Mayfield has vanished from the basement. She and Dustin go upstairs to find her eating breakfast at the table, listening to "Running Up That Hill" and drawing what she saw in Vecna's lair. As she wonders how she got into his mind, Dustin muses that hiding from him for so long granted her access to his mind, and that the key to defeating him may lie in the drawings. Nancy realizes that Max is drawing the Creel house. Eleven awakens with a shaved head in Hawkins National Laboratory, much to her horror. She traverses the halls and finds herself back in the Rainbow Room, with all of the children still alive and a younger version of herself in the mirror. Disoriented, she runs into a strange orderly who reminds her not to be late for lessons. She runs through another door, only to end up back in the Rainbow Room with the orderly again. Eleven is revealed to be inside NINA, which is a powerful sensory deprivation tank. Owens expresses worry that she may die, but Brenner insists she will survive.

S4E5-Mike asking who Nina is

The California group buries Harmon's body in a junkyard while Argyle expresses horror at the situation until Jonathan tells him to go smoke. Mike again expresses regret to Will about how he handled his and Eleven's fight, Will agreeing that it is tough to "say how you really feel, because what if they don't like the truth?" Argyle tries to make a headstone with Harmon's pen, only for Mike to realize it does not work because it is a container for something, finding a phone number inside. As Russian guards clean out human remains from the arena, Antonov tries to get Hopper to help him bribe a guard, only to find him unresponsive. Hopper recounts his experiences mixing vats of Agent Orange in the Vietnam war, musing that its effects on children of those affected marked Sara Hopper for death, but he had her anyway.

S04E05 Official Image

After meeting Eleven and Joyce, he realized that he needed them, but by asking for Joyce to save him, he has marked her for death as well. He concludes that "I wasn't cursed, I am the curse." Antonov listens as a demogorgon snarls from a gate behind the arena. Owens' men search Wayne Munson's trailer, noting a strong signal of energy coming from the fissure in the ceiling. They order him to leave the area. At Chrissy Cunningham's funeral, Patrick McKinney hallucinates a grandfather clock. Jason Carver pulls photos of the Hellfire Club from the school yearbook, proving Lucas Sinclair's involvement with them and concluding that they are hiding Eddie. Jason gives the group a list of all the locations the members have been seen at, and a teammate notes that he should add Rick Lipton's house, as two fishermen spotted someone inside despite Rick supposedly being in jail.

11 and Brenner 1979 - The Nina Project

Joyce and Murray Bauman have been tied up in Yuri's plane, who explains he is selling them out to provide for his mother. During the flight, Bauman repeatedly requests to go to the bathroom, and Joyce realizes Yuri cannot hear them over the sound of the engine. She kicks a box of peanut butter jars until they shatter, and Bauman grabs a shard of broken jar with his foot to cut their binds with. Eleven continually tries to escape, but always ends up back in the Rainbow Room with the orderly. Brenner contacts her over the intercom, explaining that the name of NINA is based on an opera of the same name, about a woman whose lover was killed, so traumatized by the incident that she buried it in her memories.

Eleven realizes she is in her own repressed memory and asks to be let out, but Brenner tells her she must find her own way. The orderly again approaches her, and this time, Eleven succumbs to the memory instead of running, allowing it to progress. Her memory of Brenner enters the room, and she and the other children follow him out. In the real world, Owens warns Brenner that Sullivan is closing in on them. The California group calls the number, only to find that it leads to a dial-up tone. Mike realizes they are calling a computer, and they decide to seek help from Suzie Bingham to figure out where they are calling. Jason, Patrick and Andy investigate Rick's house, forcing Eddie to hide out in the boathouse and frantically call Dustin for help.

Creel House 1986

The Hawkins group breaks into the Creel house. Max finds the grandfather clock from her visions. As the group explores the house in duos, the lights on the ceiling flicker. Steve Harrington finds mummified black widow spiders under the floorboards, only to get spooked by a live one. He and Nancy share a moment together, as do Lucas and Max. The latter two notice the lights flickering in a pattern and begin following them throughout the house.

S4E5-Finding the grandfather clock

In Eleven's memory, Brenner tests the psychic abilities of Two with a machine that lights up when energy is put into it. Eleven goes next but fails despite her best efforts, and realizes her hands are covered in blood. Everybody in the room vanishes, and she walks down the hallway, now the day of the massacre. In the real world, Eleven has a seizure inside NINA. Yuri catches a freed Joyce trying to cut Bauman's rope, and Bauman frees his hands and fights him while Joyce gets his gun. Bauman knocks him out, leaving no one able to fly the plane, and it crashes in the woods.

Eddie finds Jason

The Hawkins group regroups and conclude that Vecna's presence is signified by the lights, turning off their flashlights so they will turn on automatically when he is near and track his presence. They follow him up to the attic, despite Dustin's protests. They find Vecna stationary under a lightbulb, revealed to be the spot in the Upside Down where he connects to his tendrils and stalks the minds of people. As Jason notices the boathouse light, Eddie decides to go out on the water in hopes of escaping. Patrick hears the clock again, but is interrupted by Jason, and they catch Eddie trying to start a boat's motor. As they start to swim towards him, Eddie resorts to rowing away. Just before they can catch up to him, Patrick freezes and is pulled underwater by Vecna, before shooting back into the air and being killed. The flashlights and lightbulb explode as he dies, and his body plunges into the water as Jason and Eddie watch.

Eleven is resuscitated and immediately tries to run but is stopped again by the guards. She incapacitates them with her returned powers. Brenner praises her for her progress as the door behind her opens, but wanting to regain her powers in full, she chooses to stay. Brenner addresses her as "daughter" and she nods, taking his hand and walking back towards NINA.

The Nina Project - final shot

Cast[]

Starring[]

Also Starring[]

Co-Starring[]

Music[]

Soundtrack[]

  • "Travelin' Man" by Ricky Nelson - Yuri takes off to Russian with Joyce and Murray tied up in the back; transitions to two fishermen taking notice of movement inside Reefer Rick's house.
  • "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)" - Max listens to her Walkman in the Wheeler's kitchen; later listens to it while investigating the Creel House.
  • "The Hitcher - End Credits" - Hopper reveals the truth behind Sara's death.
  • "David Searches" by Arthur B. Rubinstein (Wargames Soundtrack)
  • "Time’s Up" by Arthur B. Rubinstein (Wargames Soundtrack)
  • "Quand Le Bien-Aime Reviendra" by Nicolas Dalayrac - Eleven agrees to stay at The Nina Project and takes Dr. Brenner's hand. Plays into end credits.

Original score[]

  • "Fancy Bomb" - Dr. Owens introduces Eleven to the Nina Project.
  • "A Memory within a Memory" - Eleven is sedated and put to sleep as she passes out in Brenner's arms.
  • "Kills You In Your Dreams" - Dustin, Max and Nancy discuss what Max saw in Vecna's realm.
  • "Stained Glass Roses" - Nancy pieces together Max's drawings and realize that the Creel House is connected to Vecna.
  • "Sleepyhead" - Eleven is horrified to discover she is back in Hawkins Lab, her head shaved and being approached by a friendly orderly.
  • "Looking For A Way Out" - Mike grabs Agent Harmon's pen and opens it to discover a piece of paper with a number on it.
  • "Portal Drill" - Enzo hears the imprisoned Demogorgon.
  • "It's Just A Clock, Right?" - Dustin, Nancy, Steve, and Robin gather around Max as she stares at a grandfather clock in the Creel House.
  • "This Isn't You" - Nancy helps pick out cobwebs in Steve's hair and begin to reconnect with one another.
  • "Making Contact" - Brenner encourages Eleven to push herself farther after the other numbers laugh at her.
  • "Planck's Constant" - Jason and Patrick find Eddie on the lake and swim after him.
  • "Flashlights, Flashlights" - Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Steve, and Robin gather around the lightbulb with Vecna's presence.

Influences and references[]

See also: Influences & references

Films[]

  • Ghostbusters (1984)
    • Dustin has a "I've Been Slimed!" button on his backpack.
  • The NeverEnding Story (1984)
    • When Mike points out that the only hacker he knows lives in Utah, Will jokingly reminds Jonathan who he's referring to by singing the movie's theme song, causing Jonathan to cringe. Argyle joins in by remarking that the Nothing from the film scared him.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
    • Dustin compares Vecna's style of killing people to Freddy Krueger. He begins telling a curious Holly who he is, only to be shut down by Nancy due to him scaring her.
  • WarGames (1983)
    • When Mike calls NINA's number on the phone, he puts the phone to Will's ear, asking if it reminds him of anything, causing Will to comment it sounded like the movie. The soundtrack is used as Mike laid out a map to Utah.

People[]

  • Madonna
    • Owens tells El that the scientists at NINA treat her like a celebrity, saying she's bigger than Madonna to them.

Toys[]

  • Lite-Brite
    • Holly plays with the toy while Max, Nancy, and Dustin sit at the breakfast table.

Gallery[]

View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see The Nina Project (episode)/Gallery.


Notes[]

  • The title of the episode was revealed on November 6, 2021, on the occasion of Stranger Things Day.
  • For years, David Harbour had wanted to deliver a monologue about Hopper's backstory in Vietnam, which finally occurred in this episode.
  • During the episode’s initial release, the phone number that Mike dials is different from the one listed on the note. The note lists the number as "202-968-6161," but Will tells Mike to dial "202-564-9087".
    • The episode was later updated to correct the error.
  • As of this episode, Eleven is back to having the buzzcut she was first seen with in the first season.

References[]


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