How did Eleven lose her powers in ‘Stranger Things’ season 3 and will she get them back in season 4?

Eleven - Stranger Things Season 3
Screengrab via Netflix

In a world like Stranger Things, you need every advantage you can get to survive. As we gear up for the release of season four, one can’t help but wonder how the Hawkins nerds will fare now that Eleven, who has protected them since season one, has lost her powers.

When you couple that with the fact that season four will be bigger than any previous season, from the runtime to the cost, it’s no wonder fans are practically itching with anxiety. Toss in all the unanswered questions we were left with at the end of season three, and you have a formula for what might be one of the most talked about shows of the year.

Perhaps one of the biggest unanswered questions we were left with after the Battle of Starcourt was how Eleven lost her powers and if she would ever get them back. After all, there wasn’t much time to address the issue, as everyone was busy ducking and covering from the Mind Flayer or trying to close the gate to the Upside Down. However, now that we’re only weeks away from the first volume of season four, it’s time to refresh our memories. 

How did Eleven lose her powers in season three?

If you’ll remember, the Mind Flayer was hard at work possessing the town folk of Hawkins in season three. The reason being that it wanted to melt them into goo and absorb them so it could create the corporeal body of the Spider Monster. By the finale, the monster’s stature was enormous. Because Eleven and the nerds knew the Mind Flayer had also possessed Billy, they tried to telepathically locate him thinking it would lead them to the Upside Down where they could then close the gate and thus sever the connection between the Mind Flayer’s brain and the Spider Monster’s body. However, things quickly went south when the Spider Monster showed up at their doorstep.

Eleven and the nerds fought the monster off, but not before it yanked Eleven through the roof by her leg, causing her to sustain a nasty gash to her leg. And that’s not all – a piece of the Spider Monster’s flesh also lodged itself inside her open wound.

Mustering every bit of strength she had left, Eleven used her powers to extract the piece of the monster from her leg. This comes after a full season of her locating, fighting, and killing off the Spider Monster multiple times, as well as telepathically locating and fighting Billy, which means the reason for her loss of powers could very well be from overexertion. 

As we’ve learned, Eleven can only use so much of her powers before it takes a toll on her, evidenced by the bloody nose that usually follows every act of mental exertion. That is one possible reason for her loss of powers. The other reason she lost her powers could be that the Mind Flayer absorbed them when it lodged itself inside her open wound. This is a popular theory among fans, but has yet to be confirmed. 

Will Eleven get her powers back in season four?

Not much is known about season four other than what we can gather from the official plot, and nothing of Eleven’s powers are mentioned. Six months will have passed since the Battle of Starcourt; our group of nerds will not only be separated for the first time, but also navigating high school; there will be a mystery in need of solving; and to top it all off, a new supernatural big-bad will emerge.

In the clip above we see Eleven being bullied by a group of students at her new school. When she tries to retaliate against them – which we hope she gets to properly do at some point – she still can’t manage to muster her powers. You’d think six months after recharging, as it is referred to in the show, she would be able to at least mentally shove someone over. Did the Mind Flayer actually absorb her powers, or does she just need more rest?

All of our questions will hopefully be answered when Vol. 1 of Stranger Things season four premieres May 27, 2022 on Netflix.