The ‘Stranger Things’ Creators Defend Season 2’s Most Polarizing Episode

[Spoilers for Stranger Things season 2]

Too often when it comes to Netflix shows, there’s the season premiere, the season finale, and everything in between. It’s a side effect of the streaming service’s binge-friendly model that episodes 2-9 tend to blend together — you might remember moments (“Oh, this is the one with the CGI handjob reenactment!”) but not the episode itself. (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of my favorite shows. I couldn’t tell you the title of a single episode.) That’s why BoJack Horseman‘s “Fish Out of Water” is generally considered the best episode of the series: it’s different. Stranger Things also tried to do something different in season two. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as successful.

In episode seven, “The Lost Sister,” Eleven (or is it Jane now?) travels to Chicago to find her “sister” Kali. She succeeds, but she also runs into her band of one-dimensional punks. “Lost Sister” tells us little that we don’t already know about Eleven, and it comes after one of the most exciting and funniest (“So, Jonathan, how was the pull-out?”) episodes of the season; it stops the action cold. Co-creators Ross and Matt Duffer don’t see it that way, though.

“Whether it works for people or not, it allows us to experiment a little bit. It’s important for Ross and I to try stuff and not feel like we’re doing the same thing over and over again. It’s almost like doing a whole little other pilot episode in the middle of your season… But it was really fun to write and cast and work on. Our test of the episode was we tried to pull it out of the show just to make sure that we needed it because I didn’t want it in there as filler — even though some critics are accusing us of doing that. But Eleven’s journey kind of fell apart, like the ending didn’t work, without it. So I was like, whether this works or not, we need this building block in here or the whole show is going to collapse. It’s not going to end well.” (Via)

Ross compared Eleven’s journey in the episode to The Empire Strikes Back, because “just like Luke Skywalker, she needed to go off on her own and learn something about herself.” Which makes Kali… Yoda? Anyway, “The Lost Sister” might not be the best episode of Stranger Things (in fact, fans think it’s the worst), but it was almost worth it for this scene.

Eleven was Avril Lavigne-y before Avril Lavigne was born.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)