In Praise of Linnea Berthelsen’s Character Kali on ‘Stranger Things’
Netflix original “Stranger Things” returned for a triumphant second season last week. It brought back beloved characters and scary demogorgons but the show’s latest addition, Linnea Berthelsen, is the real deal. Her character Kali’s punk-rock vibe and fierceness have quickly garnered lots of attention worldwide.
The 24-year-old Danish actress scored the coveted role of Eight aka Kali on the sci-fi series by sending a self-taped audition that impressed the casting director and creators of the show, The Duffer Brothers. Her character is the “sibling” of Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven aka Jane, with whom Berthelsen shares most of her screen time.
Kali is actually in the very opening scene of season 2. She’s introduced to the viewers as a badass, leading a group of thieves whom the cops are after. She creates the illusion of a tunnel crumbling, stopping the police cars from going after them, which shows us that she also possesses certain powers much like Eleven.
It’s an interesting choice of name for Berthelsen’s character. Kali is the name of a Hindu Goddess who is the destroyer of all evil. It makes sense because, in the show, she is on a quest to get rid of the people who took away her freedom as a young girl. She and her gang exact revenge on members of Hawkins General Hospital who tortured Eleven and Eight when they were younger and conducted experiments on them, which has given them their psychokinesis.
At the same time, Kali is also a kindhearted soul because when she meets with Eleven, they bond and she forms a soft spot for her. She teaches her how to channel her own anger to make the most of the powers she has. She wants Eleven to join her group to help her locate other men who ruined their lives and kill them. In the end, when her sister chooses to return home instead, we see Kali is hurt.
Her sister leaving her to go rescue her friends might just be the emotional turning point for Kali, who has long feared to have a real connection to anyone else. Maybe she goes after Eleven and joins our whole Hawkins crew for their next big fight against monsters and demodogs?
In a short time, she’s already made a huge impact.
Episode seven might seem off to some viewers because it breaks away from the rest of the characters and story but it is a good setup for them to expand on this emotional storyline in season 3. Kali’s introduction has left people wanting to learn more about her just as it’s left us wanting to learn more about Berthelsen.
Matt Duffer has said that there is no closure to her story yet, it’s a dangling thread, especially since she only got one episode. It was a major one for her and Eleven. It looks like a promising reunion is on the horizon and we can’t wait.