Stranger Things fans have gone nearly a year and a half without any new episodes since Season 2 back in October 2017, and the wait for Season 3 won’t be over until July. The good news is that Netflix finally started releasing some clear content from the upcoming third season, with a trailer that introduced Hawkins’ new monster. Some new photos released as well, and they reveal a detail about Eleven that is touching rather than terrifying or badass. Take a look and see if you can spot it:
No, I’m not talking about Eleven and Max enjoying some ice cream in what appears to be some girl time without the guys of the group, although that’s touching in its own way. They didn’t exactly get off to the strongest start. The touching detail worth noting in this image is what El has on her left wrist.
That’s right! Everybody’s favorite telekinetic teenager is still wearing the blue hairband bracelet she debuted at the Snow Ball in the Season 2 finale. Normally a hairband is just a hairband, and they can be found on the wrists of folks with long hair everywhere. This hairband is much more meaningful for Eleven, however. It originally belonged to Sara Hopper.
For the full first season and most of the second, Hopper wore the hairband on his own wrist as a reminder of the little girl he’d lost. David Harbour referred to it as “a security blanket for him.” He stated that “the death of his daughter is his grounding place for reality,” and the hairband represented his connection to her.
His decision to give the hairband to Eleven — which technically happened off-screen, but still counts as touching — showed both his development since Season 1 and his acceptance of Eleven as his adopted daughter rather than just his responsibility. El debuted it on her wrist at the Snow Ball, and the photos from Season 3 prove that it’s not just a hairband for special occasions.
Take a look at another glimpse of El with her hairband bracelet:
This shot of Eleven with the bracelet is a little harder to make out, but it certainly gives the impression that El rarely if ever takes it off. She’s wearing a different outfit as she kneels in Dustin’s room with Dustin, Will, and Mike.
In fact, given that she seems to be wearing a shirt about 14 sizes too big for her, my money is on this scene happening before El and Max head to the mall. I would wager that the girls go shopping to get Eleven some clothes that aren’t Hopper castoffs, although that does sound a little happy for Stranger Things. Maybe they’ll encounter an Upside Down monster or contagion while on their way to get ice cream!
There’s still one more shot of Eleven in a different outfit with the bracelet:
The hairband is even harder to spot in this photo, but it’s there! Of course, the point of this scene is undoubtedly going to be on whatever creepy catastrophe brings the group to the emergency room. There are some key characters missing from the shot. Could Hopper or Joyce have been injured? Or Dustin or Steve? Steve isn’t looking too good in the trailer. Or could it just be somebody random who has been mauled/infected/overwhelmed by something sinister from another world?