She has hair! But what does this mean for the plot? Well, I have one real theory and one kinda out-there (shall we say…upside down?) theory.
It was pretty clear in season one that Eleven’s hair was kept closely-cropped by the creepy shadow government scientists who did experiments on her brain. They were always putting that net of electrodes on her, so it makes sense that they’d shave her head. Which means that if this new look isn’t a wig (always a possibility), then Eleven has been successfully evading those men (by eating Eggos in the woods with Hopper) for long enough to grow her hair out. Go, Eleven!
Now, here’s the part I might be reading way too much into. Eleven’s curly hair and overalls remind us of another badass ’80s lady: Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) from the Alien franchise. The Duffer Brothers (the twins who make Stranger Things) don’t just reference iconic ’80s sci-fi in their show; they straight-up borrow from it. In season one, Eleven was Firestarter meets E.T. with shades of Carrie, and her friends were modeled on the gang from The Goonies.
One of the previews showed those same boys dressed up in Ghostbusters jumpsuits, which led fans to think they’re going to do more fighting against the paranormal, a la Peter Venkman and his cohort…
…which brings us to Eleven v. The Domogorgon (or next season’s baddie, whatever it is), in an Alien-style face-off. The original Alien came out in 1979, when Will Byers and his pals were like nine, so they probably didn’t see it in theaters, but maybe Nancy or Jonathan did and told the younger kids about it. The specific Ripley look that Eleven appears to be copying (below) is actually from the Alien sequel, Aliens (yes, the second movie is just the plural of the first movie, I don’t know what to tell you), which didn’t come out until 1986. Stranger Things season two takes place in the Fall of 1984, so maybe I’m stretching here.
Even if it’s not a conscious style cue, though, it could just be one of the many references we’re sure to find packed into the new season. And Sigourney Weaver also appeared in the original Ghostbusters, so it’s still connected. There you go, I solved it, Stranger Things season two is going to be all about ghosts. I figured it out, I solved the mystery, you are welcome!
In any case, Eleven continues to be scary and adorable. I just want her to be safe and warm!