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The scene made it feel like the Mindflayer, or the piece of itself that it injected in her, did something to her to reduce her powers. The Mindflayer also seems to recognize her as a threat the moment it sees her, as if it understands how her powers work. In this case, it seems to make sense that the Mindflayer somehow absorbed and drained her of her powers.

But then in season four, Brenner seems to be confident he understood why 11 did not have her powers any more. I don't get why that is. Brenner and the other scientists don't seem to have a very deep level of understanding of the upside-down or the creatures that live there. So how could he possibly know why 11 lost her powers? But then again, in season 4 Brenner does manage to get some of 11's power back with his exercises, and the last few episodes of the season do seem to imply that it was just fatigue, and with enough practice in a proper controlled environment, 11 would have got all her powers back.

So what exactly is the reason for 11 losing her powers in season 3? Was she just weak and tired of her injuries, or did the Mindflayer do something to drain her power?

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  • Brenner was familiar with her getting "depowered". Basically the same thing happened after she banished One to the Upside Down.
    – Mithoron
    Mar 9, 2023 at 19:28

1 Answer 1

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There's a clear indication that MindFlayer Billy did something deliberately to El/Elle/Eleven. From S3E7: The Bite (transcripts from here)

ELEVEN: He said he was building something. That it was all for me.
(snip)
LUCAS: So, he's building an army, just like we thought.
MIKE: Yeah, but he's not building this army to spread.
WILL: He's building it to stop Eleven.
MIKE: Last year, El closed the gate on him. I have a feeling that really pissed him off.
LUCAS: Like, royally.
MIKE: And the Mind Flayer now knows that she's the only thing that can stop him. But if she's out of the way --
LUCAS: Game over

When they confront the Mind Flayer, the Mind Flayer grabs Eleven's leg and leaves... something in her (the titular "Bite"). That takes us to S3E8: The Battle of Starcourt

EL is SCREAMING in pain. WILL, LUCAS, ROBIN, STEVE, MIKE, MAX, DUSTIN, ERICA, NANCY and JONATHAN are struggling to help. El’s leg starts BUBBLING.
ERICA: What is that?
MIKE: There’s something in there.

Eleven has to basically pull that piece out

As everyone looks on, El begins to use her powers to draw the thing out of her leg. She struggles. Her nose begins to bleed. The thing comes closer and closer to the surface of El’s leg.
JUST THEN, El SCREAMS! The GLASS WINDOWS of THE GAP STORE SHATTER.
The thing is a CHUNK OF THE MIND FLAYER.

That's the last time we see her able to use her powers. Eleven tries to crush a can before the big fight with the Mind Flayer in Starcourt and it's clearly not working from there on out.


The problem with the "Eleven was tired" theory is we've seen her weakened before from being tired. She usually bounces back in short order (I mean, she closed the gate in S1, which was clearly taxing, and did not lose her powers).

The implication is the Mind Flayer's bite did something to Eleven (they named a whole episode after it, which calls attention to it). This is furthered by the fact that the Mind Flayer directly sees her as its greatest threat and goes to great lengths to neutralize that threat. They only beat the Mind Flayer when they destroy the Soviet portal to the Upside Down.

What about her powers returning slowly? It's probable the Mind Flayer only got part of what it wanted with her powers disabled temporarily so it could kill her. It's unlikely it had any plans beyond that.

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  • "It's unlikely it had any plans beyond that."? Did you watch 4th season? The enemy had a different plan.
    – Mithoron
    Mar 9, 2023 at 19:15
  • This is a possibility, I'm not saying this is wrong, but I dont think this explains why Brenner was so sure he could get 11's power back
    – user13267
    Mar 10, 2023 at 0:27
  • It was because he already helped her get her powers back before when she lost them after the Henry incident. Jun 11, 2023 at 16:13

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