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Teresa "Terry" Ives is a recurring character in the Netflix original series Stranger Things. Terry is Eleven's biological mother yet she is not her legal guardian. She is portrayed by Aimee Mullins.

History

Background

While in college, Terry took part in Project MKUltra. Under the supervision of Dr. Martin Brenner, she was subjected to experiments involving the intake of mind-altering, psychedelic drugs and becoming sensorily deprived. During this time, she was unknowingly pregnant with her daughter, Jane. According to her sister, she miscarried in the third trimester. In reality, Brenner had kidnapped Jane so that he could conduct experiments on her, and had it covered up as a miscarriage. Knowing this, Terry tried to sue Brenner in order to get her daughter back, but was unsuccessful due to a lack of evidence.

At some point after her daughter's kidnapping, Terry decided to simply take her daughter by force and took a gun to the Hawkins Lab. Storming in, she was confronted by a guard and shot him. As she looked for Eleven, Terry came across a room with a rainbow sticker on the outside and opened it to find Jane along with another child. Overjoyed, Terry attempted to take her away but was captured by the scientists. Strapped to a table, Dr. Brenner had her severely electrocuted. The electrocution fried Terry's brain and locked her in a vegetative like state, alive, but her mind destroyed and running the events through her head on a loop.

Season One

Believing Hawkins National Laboratory had something to do with Will's disappearance, Hopper went to the public library in order to research past newspaper articles concerning the lab. Among the clippings, he discovered that Dr. Brenner had been involved in MKUltra and accused of abusing his test subjects. One of those subjects was a woman named Terry Ives, who had attempted to sue Brenner for allegedly kidnapping her daughter.

After finding out that Will's body had been faked, Hopper went to Joyce to tell her everything he had discovered while investigating. He showed her the newspaper clipping about Terry Ives, and remembered the sighting of a kid with a shaved head at Benny's. He then realized he had been inadvertently tracking down Terry's daughter the whole time. They decided to find Terry, hoping she could shed some light on the lab and help in the search for Will.

Terry newspaper

Upon arriving at Terry's residence, they were greeted by her sister, Becky, at the door. Before letting them in, she warned them that if they wanted to know anything they were “about five years too late.” Joyce and Hopper attempted to question Terry about her relationship with Brenner and the lab, but received no answers due to her being in a catatonic state.

Becky explained Terry's participation in Project MKUltra and the supposed effects it had on her. In hopes of “expanding the boundaries of the mind”, participants such as Terry were given various psychedelic drugs—mostly LSD—and placed in isolation tanks, were they would become sensorily deprived. During the time she was undergoing these experiments, Terry was unaware of her pregnancy.

When asked if they had any pictures of Jane, Becky revealed that Terry had suffered a miscarriage in her third trimester. Leading Joyce and Hopper to a baby room, she told them how Terry liked to “pretend” that Jane was real. For the past 12 years, Terry had kept the room especially for Jane, saying she'll someday return. Not only did Terry believe Jane was alive, but that she was also born with “abilities," such as telepathy and telekinesis, and it was because of those abilities that she was taken to be used as a human weapon by the government.

Joyce wondered if Terry could have been telling the truth about Jane, but Becky informed her there were no records of Jane's existence, with even the doctors having confirmed the miscarriage. Hopper suggested that it could have been covered up, which made Becky remark that he and Terry would've gotten along.

Season Two

Hopper kept the files about Eleven, the experiments and Terry, in the same storage cabin where he used as a makeshift home to Eleven. After an argument with Eleven resulting in a telekinetic tantrum, he coerced her to clean up the mess she'd make, agreeing to consider ungrounding her. While cleaning, Eleven discovered her files and the existence of her mother, as well as discovering her true name.

Eleven managed to discover her mother's home and encountered her aunt Becky, who dismissed her. Proving her power to her, Becky told Eleven what happened to her mother years ago. Eleven also discovered her mother possessed powers as well, as she was guided through the lights to her mother. Eleven managed to mentally connect with her mother and see the events that occurred that led to her current state. While distraught over her mother's condition, Eleven discovered the existence of another psychic child and interpreted that her mother wanted her to find her and used the files on other missing children to find her.

Relationships

Appearances

Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly* The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down

*Terry's picture appears in a newspaper article in Holly, Jolly.

Season Two appearances
MadMax Trick or Treat Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate*

*Terry appears in a flashback in The Gate.

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Jane's Father
 
Terry Ives Family Tree icon 001
Teresa Ives
 
 
Becky Ives Family Tree icon 001
Becky Ives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Ives Family Tree icon 001
Jane Ives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Trivia

  • In the original pilot script, a person named Terry Ives is mentioned, however that Terry Ives was male, implied to be a conspiracy theorist, and had no direct connection to the lab, its experiments, or Eleven.
  • In the room she kept for Jane, there is a baby mobile that plays Brahms's Lullaby. Eleven appears to have a strong reaction to Nancy's music box, which plays the same lullaby. This has led fans to speculate that Eleven's reaction towards the music box was her "recognizing" the melody.
  • She has a lot in common with Vicky Tomlinson, the mother of the main protagonist of Stephen King's novel Firestarter. Both participated in government studies involving the intake of hallucinogenic drugs while in college, and as a result, both gave birth to daughters with preternatural abilities.
  • Her referring to the government as "The Man" could imply she was part of, or at least a supporter of, the hippie movement.
  • Like her daughter, the use of her powers causes her nose to bleed.


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