The evolving father-daughter dynamic between Sheriff Jim Hopper and Eleven becomes touching focal point in Stranger Things 2, but a subtle detail included in both seasons hint that their relationship could be more important than we previously thought.
At the end of Season 2, Dr. Owens handed Hopper a birth certificate for a “Jane Hopper,” effectively making Eleven his legal adopted daughter. Fans no doubt remember that Hopper’s original daughter Sara died of a terminal illness long before the events of Season 1, as told through flashbacks in one of the final episodes.
An eagle-eyed redditor noticed a visual cue that even more directly links Hopper and his two daughters, convincing everyone just how much he loves his dangerous, telekinetic child: Sara Hopper’s hair elastic.
When we first meet Hopper, he’s hungover and shirtless on the couch, wearing a weird blue bracelet. It’s the same blue hair elastic that Sara wears before she becomes sick and loses all her hair.
Hopper starts wearing it while she’s in the hospital, and he wears it throughout Seasons 1 and 2 — his long-sleeved uniform often hides it.
Hopper reminded viewers about Sara when he told Eleven about her while they were on their way to the lab to close the breach. And in the final scenes of Stranger Things 2, we see Eleven wearing the same exact bracelet at the Snow Ball. Aw!
This being Stranger Things, there’s still a lingering mystery lurking behind the scenes just like the Shadow Monster.
We all assume Sara died of lung cancer because she was shown gasping for breath and bald in hospital scenes. But last year, actor David Harbour answered a slew of questions after the Stranger Things Season 1 debut via a Reddit AMA.
One redditor asked if Harbour knew what killed Hopper’s daughter. The actor said, “yes, but its a secret we may explore in s2, so don’t wanna say right now.” Clearly, they did not explore that secret in Season 2, so what does it all mean?
Was Sara’s illness related to the Hawkins Lab or even the Upside Down in some way? Her panic attack did seem a bit strange, almost like she might be experiencing some kind of “episode” — or your run of the mill panic attack.
Will we learn what really happened to Sara in Stranger Things 3? We hope so.
Stranger Things 2 is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.