What Is Eleven's Mom Mumbling On 'Stranger Things'? The Meaning Behind Her Words Is Heartbreaking
Warning: Episode 5 spoilers ahead! Last season on Stranger Things, there were a few hints about Eleven’s backstory before she became a permanent guinea pig for Hawkins National Laboratory. But Season 2 finally confirmed what we long suspected: Terry Ives is Eleven's mother. But when they finally reunite, Terry is unable to communicate, aside from repeating a few words over and over again. But what is Eleven's mom mumbling on Stranger Things? Its significance is hard to ignore once you understand what it all means.
Throughout Eleven's visit, Terry kept repeating the same phrases on a loop: "Breathe. Sunflower. Rainbow. Three to the right, four to the left. 450." And while initially these words sounded like absolute gibberish, the meaning of what Eleven's mom was mumbling on Stranger Things became much clearer by the end of the episode.
"Breathe" is what Terry remembers her sister telling her as she went into labor, while "sunflower" was the first thing she saw when she woke up after giving birth. "Rainbow" signifies what was on the door to the room where she, presumably, saw a toddler-aged Eleven at Hawkins Lab, and "three to the right, four to the left" refers to the combination of the safe she opened in order to get the gun to bring to the lab. And sadly, "450" is the amount of volts of electricity that Dr. Brenner ordered Terry to have while administering her with electroshock, therapy.
When Eleven psychically "visited" her mom in Episode 4, she saw her sitting on the chair saying the same thing, but some of the details about Eleven’s real family actually came out in Season 1 when Hopper and Joyce visited Terry’s sister Becky and she revealed the truth about where Terry had been and what happened to her when she was experimented on at the Hawkins Lab. Even though Terry claimed that her daughter Jane had been taken from her by Hawkins Lab, the story was disregarded as the rambling of a madwoman who lost her baby during childbirth. Many fans immediately figured Jane must be Eleven's real name, though it was never confirmed in Season 1.
But after seeing Eleven’s mom on Stranger Things Season 2 again, it’s now more clear than ever that Eleven is Jane, as fans had thought all along. Unfortunately, Eleven’s reunion with her mom wasn’t met with sobs, tears, hugs, and then a happy ending. Terry seems to be permanently damaged by the electroshock therapy. But since we now know that Terry also has some psychokinetic abilities, she's still able to interact with her daughter in some way, which I suppose is better than nothing. Perhaps this is meant to signify that she could get better some day with Eleven's help?
On IMDB, Aimee Mullins, who plays Terry, is listed for at least three episodes of Strangers Things Season 2, which could mean that she manages to come out of her catatonic state long enough to be present with Eleven and potentially aid in taking down Hawkins Lab. Being that her history with the laboratory began long before Eleven was born and involved training and testing for Project MKUltra, there’s nothing to suggest that Terry couldn’t have some knowledge to help the fight against the organization, especially since it was revealed that she may share some of Eleven’s abilities. Hawkins is in more trouble than ever, so having two psychokinetic people on the good side certainly couldn’t hurt.
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