Stranger Things 2, episode 3 review: The Pollywog

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /
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Our review for Stranger Things 2, episode 3 “The Pollywog” and our grade for the episode.

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What the heck is a pollywog? Dustin’s new pet that he retrieved from the trash can after trick-or-treating looks like a slug, albeit one with a little more color and make some squeaky noises to suggest maybe it’s kinda friendly. He names it D’Artagnan. They bond over their mutual affection for 3 Musketeers bars. This reminds me of the movie Gremlins. The new exotic pet may seem cute and cool, but there could be something sinister beneath the surface. Dustin thinks he discovered a new species but Will has a flashback to the slug he coughed up in his sink when he returned from the Upside Down. Is this the same creature?

Will is convinced it’s from the Upside Down and as a result Will can see into the Upside Down. The pollywog is growing in size and temperament. It’s agitated easily, hates the light and warmth, and doesn’t that sound iike pure evil and not a cute new pet? It’s easy for the viewer to discern that but Dustin is protective of it and doesn’t want any harm done to it, so he protects it and keeps it a secret after it escaped and ran wild through the school.

*****

Hopper learns how difficult it can be to be a parent to a pre-teen as Eleven is growing tired of being cooped up in this shack. She wants to be with her friends and is tired of Hopper saying she’ll “soon” be able to be with them again. Friends don’t lie. We see Hopper and Eleven turn the old shack into a home for her and laid down the ground rules for her to stay safe and hidden. Eleven breaks them and goes looking for the school. Hopper thinks the cause for the crops dying and the weird stuff going on is emanating from Dr. Owen’s laboratory and the tests they’re running. When he and Dr. Owen are at the pumpkin patch, Hopper finds out Eleven escaped.

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Eleven is at the school where she just misses crossing paths with Mike. She does see him in the gym where Max is showing off her skateboarding skills and wondering why Mike hates her. It’s not that he hates her, it’s that seeing her makes him really miss Eleven that much more. Unfortunately, Eleven sees the two together and gets mad and uses her powers to launch Max’s skateboard and sending her for a fall. Mike is suspicious it was Eleven making that happen and runs out to see if she’s near. She isn’t and these missed connections are getting frustrating I’d just like to see this reunion they’re teasing us with. It’s going to happen, but we’re 1/3 of the way through the season so I understand they have to string it along.

*****

Will tries to confront the nightmare he’s living after Bob tells him about the nightmares he used to have as a kid. They only stopped when he confronted what was scaring him so when the Shadow Monster emerges before Will who has visions of the Upside Down after running away from Dart, he tells the monster to go away as tears stream down his face. He’s standing up to his fear, but the monster doesn’t back down and envelops Will as the episode ends.

I think we’re beginning to pick up the pace a bit as I forecasted at the end of the premiere. I anticipated three episodes to lay the groundwork for the new story being told and now that the foundation is set, we can get really into the mystery surrounding the dead crops, what Dr. Owen and his people are doing  and who the people are that are listening in on phone conversations like the one Nancy placed to Barb’s mom.

S2E3. The Pollywog. B+. . Stranger Things

Things are about to get really crazy in Hawkins, Indiana so let’s continue our binge-watch as we move forward to episode 4.