Season 2 streaming on Netflix as of 10/27/17
***WARNING: Recap may contain spoilers***
“I am on a curiosity voyage and I need my paddles to travel; these books, these books are my paddles.” – Dustin
At the end of “Chapter 2: Trick or Treat, Freak,” Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) made an interesting discovery in his trash can. When “Chapter 3: The Pollywog” begins, Dustin’s new pet resembles the slimy blob Will (Noah Schnapp) threw up in season one. When Dustin feeds the little creature some of his “Three Musketeers” Halloween candy and nicknames it “D’Artagnan…Dart for short,” I was immediately reminded of the movie Gremlins.
So, after everything Dustin witnessed and experienced with the “upside down,” doesn’t it seem odd that Dart doesn’t like heat or water? And why doesn’t Dustin wake up when Dart makes frightening squealing noises as his tail grows? I don’t understand boys sometimes. Dart is not cute at all. He looks like a nasty mucus ball…with appendages and a tail.
Dustin brings Dart to school to make the introductions but this is not a harmless “pollywog;” Dart is dangerous. After Will tells Mike (Finn Wolfhard) what he thinks Dart might be, all hell breaks loose. Dart, now with four legs, disappears and the boys – Mike, Dustin, Will, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) – along with Max (Sadie Sink) search the school to find him before something happens. Dustin’s misplaced loyalty to Dart is sweet but irresponsible and will surely come back to bite him.
As this season’s episodes progress, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to not binge watch them all. “Chapter 3: The Pollywog” presents a few new challenges and some intriguing developments in the storyline for the scientists at Hawkins Lab. Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) makes a discovery of his own and it’s no coincidence that the lab is at the center of all the dead pumpkins and trees…literally. Hopper connects the dots of all the areas with the toxic foliage and right in the center of it all is Hawkins Lab. Of course, Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) tries to deflect Hopper’s accusations but he’s also curious about the spread of the “upside down” outside the containment area.
Good old Bob (Sean Astin) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) seem to be moving along in their relationship. When Bob conveniently offers to take Will to school in the morning (*whispers* because he spent the night, *wink*), they have an interesting conversation about a nightmare Bob had when he was a child. Bob has good intention when he tells Will how he stood up to his nightmare clown, but what Bob doesn’t understand is Will’s visions aren’t simply a bad dream; they’re real.
During a lunch break, Bob tells Joyce about the video camera he loaned Will on Halloween and that the tape shows older kids picking on him. When Joyce watches the tape, maybe too conveniently, she sees an outline of the “shadow monster” Will has been drawing. Side note, it’s Bob for the win with the bologna sandwiches. I loved bologna sandwiches when I was a kid.
Eleven aka “El” (Millie Bobby Brown) struggles with her necessary confinement. Hopper isn’t trying to keep her locked up for good; he’s trying to protect her from Dr. Owens and the scientists. In a flashback, we see El revealing herself to Hopper, who has been dropping off food in the woods for her. His own daughter died so he takes El under his wing, taking her to his grandfather’s old cabin. Back to present day; after their argument on Halloween, Hopper tries to bribe El with a “triple-decker Eggo® extravaganza.” But the bribe only works for a moment. “Friends don’t lie,” she says. Hopper’s well-intended attempts to explain she’ll be able to see her friends soon lead to a very heated discussion. “Soon; you say soon on day 21. You say soon on day 205. You now say soon on day 326. When is soon?”
There is another flashback to when Hopper tells El about the “don’t be stupid rules.”
- Always keep the curtains drawn.
- Only open the door if you hear my secret knock.
- Don’t ever go out alone, especially in daylight.
Well, after their high calorie argument, El decides she is done with the rules and violates rule number three. You don’t need a crystal ball to figure out where she’s going. She wants to see her friend Mike. Unfortunately, it’s not a great time to visit.
It broke my heart when El sees Mike in the gym with Max. Confusion and jealousy set in but if she only knew how much he misses her.
Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Steve (Joe Keery) finally have a sober heart-to-heart about her drunken antics and the things she said. But even after all the “bullshit,” she can’t seem to say those three little words to him. Does Nancy not love Steve? Did she ever?
Nancy talks to Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) about the party and him taking her home. But the conversation quickly switches gears when she asks him to skip school. I applaud Nancy for not taking Barbara’s (Shannon Purser) death lying down. No matter what the Feds say, she will not let them get in the way of the truth.
Will finds Dart in a bathroom stall, but when Will tries to coax the slimy little guy out, Dart makes another loud, terrifying, squealing sound causing Will to have another vision of the “upside down.” As he runs into the field to escape, Will recalls the story Bob told him and tries to stand up for himself against the “shadow monster.”
As dark billows of smoke from the monster penetrate every single cell of Will’s body, the only thing running through my mind was – is Will OK? “Chapter 3: The Pollywog” has one of those grandiose endings so captivating, you have to know what happens next immediately. So, naturally, I had to watch “Chapter 4: Will the Wise” right away. Because I needed to know what the hell happens next! I will try to refrain from watching episode five…but it’s not easy. All I’ll say is, Dustin will soon find out Dart is not the kind of pet anyone should have.
What did you think of “Chapter 3: The Pollywog?” Leave me a comment below and tweet me @judybopp.
Stranger Things Season 2 is now available on Netflix. For more on the show, go to the official site.
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© 2017, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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