Stranger Things season 4: What is The Nina Project?

STRANGER THINGS. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

* MAJOR SPOILERS from Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 below

I’m sure many of you die-hard Stranger Things fans have binged your way through the first part of Stranger Things season 4. But, for those of you who might still be making it through, you might be wondering what The Nina Project is.

The first half of episodes from the fourth season have been great! Though they’re longer – all over an hour long – it doesn’t feel like the story is dragging. The Duffer Brothers, aka the geniuses who created the Netflix hit, and the creative team have really managed to balance everything out.

We’re introduced to The Nina Project in season 4’s fifth episode, which is titled with the very name. Though we don’t get all the answers about what Nina refers to in episode 5, we get hints as to what it is.

What is The Nina Project in Stranger Things season 4?

At first we think “Nina” refers to a person, as one of the agents Dr. Sam Owens had stationed with Mike, Will, and Jonathan was trying to tell them with his dying breath. He gives them some digits, but it’s not a phone number.

We find out Nina is a computer that is placed in the remote desert in Ruth, Nevada. That’s where Owens built a secret science lab, working with Dr. Brenner aka Papa. I never wanted to see him again, but it turns out he might actually be able to help.

Though Brenner doesn’t reveal in the fifth episode his theory on why he thinks Eleven lost her powers, we find out in the next episode. He thinks similar to when someone suffers a stroke, the brain’s signals become scrambled. And, he believes that’s what happened to her when she defeated the Mind Flayer at the end of season 3.

Enter The Nina Project. If El unlocks suppressed traumatic memories she has, she’ll be able to gain access to her powers once again. The project involves her using the big machine, Nina, in a huge sensory deprivation tank. Brenner also has recordings of everything from the lab, and uses the tapes that contain El’s suppressed memories to play above her in the tank.

What are El’s suppressed memories in Stranger Things season 4?

We’ve always wondered who the other kids at Hawkins Lab are, and we got the answer. They meet their unfortunate end thanks to One.

He was a guard at the lab, and he also has powers just like El and the rest of the kids there. But plot twist – he’s also Victor Creel’s son Henry and Vecna! Our little heroine banished him to The Upside Down–at least that’s what we think. It’s not 100% clear whether Eleven sent him to the other dimension, or if she actually created it–after he killed all the kids and guards at the lab, and basically created One into the monster he is.

All seven episodes of Stranger Things season 4 volume 1 are now available to stream on Netflix.

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