WARNING! Spoilers below for “Stranger Things” Season 2.
As Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) made a harrowed search for her lost son throughout Season 1 of “Stranger Things,” Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) was reminded of his lost daughter.
The next season allowed him to mend some of those wounds when Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) needed shelter from Hawkins Lab. Although the circumstances ― too dangerous to even open the curtains ― made their living space rather difficult at times, Hopper found himself stepping into his dad shoes once again to make sure his little fugitive ate her mushy peas. By the season’s end, the police chief we first met as he recovered from a hangover was handed a birth certificate: first name Jane (Eleven’s real one) and last name Hopper. (Aw.)
But a sharp-eyed Reddit user spotted something else that indicates just how much Eleven means to Hopper. It appears he gave her the little blue band he wore around his wrist from the very start of the series ― an accessory that likely belonged to his daughter, Sara.
Details on Hopper’s past have been scarce. Through flashbacks and snippets of dialogue, we know he was once married, but the couple divorced after Sara seemingly died of cancer as a child. (There are those who believe, thanks to a cryptic comment from one of the show’s creators, there may be more to the story. But for now, that’s all we know.) Hopper had been serving on the Hawkins police force for four years when Season 1 kicked off, having moved back home from “the big city.”
In Episode 1, passed out on the couch in jeans but no shirt, he isn’t looking too great. But notice the band around his right wrist:
The band, a light blue, occasionally changes sides throughout the montage, but it appears Hopper doesn’t even take it off to shower.
Later, in the Season 1 finale, “The Upside Down,” a flashback reveals a scene of Hopper, his wife and their daughter playing together in a park before her illness. When Sara begins inexplicably hyperventilating, her worried parents try to find out what’s wrong.
All the while, her hair is pulled back in pigtails by two blue elastics.
In another flashback after Sara had lost her hair in treatment, Hopper reads to her in the hospital, where he sports a blue band that looks a lot like one of her old hair ties.
The band pops up in other scenes throughout subsequent episodes, too, like the one where Hopper realizes the Demodogs aren’t staying put in the Upside Down.
Fast-forward to the Snow Ball. In Season 2′s finale, “The Gate,” Eleven makes a surprise appearance at the school’s winter formal. She’s wearing a dress, her hair is pulled back in a clip ― and, next to a gold bracelet, she has a blue band around her left wrist.
Is it the same little blue band? We can’t be certain.
Sara had at least two of them, so Eleven might be wearing a different one, identical to the one Hopper has been sporting all this time, or it could indeed be the exact same band. He might have thought it just matched her dress, or given it to her as more of a symbolic gesture.
Is it creepy to give your adopted daughter an item that used to belong to your dead daughter? Maybe. Is it coming out of a good, warm-hearted intention? As fans of Hopper and “Stranger Things,” we like to think so.
The Hopper family surely won’t be the most conventional, anyway.
“Stranger Things 2” is now streaming on Netflix.