* MAJOR SPOILERS from Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 below
Stranger Things does a very good job of explaining things that not many viewers will know. An example of this is the easy (and fun!) ways the kids describe who the monsters are, which they know from the games they play. The show is also known for referencing real-life elements.
Season 4’s fifth episode is titled “The Nina Project.” And we know what that is. The project involves Brenner trying to recover some of Eleven’s suppressed traumatic memories in the hopes of her gaining her powers back. “Nina” refers to the computer and big machine in the sensory deprivation tank the doctor is using to help El regain her memories.
The use of the name “Nina” wasn’t just a coincidence. There’s a meaning behind why Brenner chose to refer to the project by this name.
Is Nina a real play in Stranger Things season 4?
Brenner explains to Eleven that Nina is the story about a young woman whose lover was killed in a duel. She was so traumatized, she buried the memory as if it never happened. Nina would show up at the train station everyday waiting for her lover’s return. If only she could know the truth – he would never be back.
This is to explain the connection of the story to El’s suppressed memories. Something so traumatic happened to her and from the shock of it, she forgot about it. And I don’t blame her! She and the audience finds out that one of the guards at Hawkins Lab is One, and the little heroine is the one who made him into Vecna! No wonder she buried that memory!
So is the play that Brenner refers to actually real? Yes, it is! Nina, ou La folle par amour, translated to Nina, or The Woman Crazed with Love, is a French opéra-comique in one act by composer Nicolas Dalayrac. It was first performed on May 15, 1786 by the Comédie-Italienne at the first Salle Favart in Paris.
Brenner summarized the play pretty well. Nina is in love with Germeuil, but her father favors another suitor for his daughter. Germeuil and the rival suitor fight a duel. Thinking him dead, Nina goes mad and forgets aspects of the traumatic incident.
Whether this was done on purpose or not, the Stranger Things writers didn’t include one aspect of the real play. In the French act, it turns out Germeuil is alive and that’s when Nina regains her reason. And, her father allows them to marry in the end.
Nina regains her memories, so this was foreshadowing that El would, too! The end of episode 7 revealed to her the truth about One and Vecna. If Brenner’s theory is right then the superhero we love should fully get her powers back in volume 2!
Do you think this theory is right? Do you hope El gets her powers back? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 is now streaming on Netflix.