‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: The Pollywog

Dustin makes a new friend. Eleven rebels against Hopper. Will faces his worst fear.

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There’s no question that ‘The Pollywog’ is the most intense episode of Stranger Things‘ second season yet. While the show is still filled with hilarious and adorable moments, Hawkins seems to be getting back to the cold, heartbreaking place we all know and…well, have mixed feelings about. Things aren’t looking good for our favourite Hawkins residents, and with six more episodes to go…well, I’m worried. If you aren’t yet caught up, check out the recaps for Episodes 1-2 here! But for now, let’s talk about Chapter Three! Sit back, relax, and let’s recap!

What Was In Dustin’s Garbage?

Episode 2 ended with Dustin finding something shocking in his trash can, but we didn’t know what! It had to be a monster, right? From the Upside Down? Well, if this is a monster, it certainly isn’t a threat yet. What Dustin finds is some kind of slimy creature that fits easily in the palm of his hand. It’s actually kind of cute! Dustin bonds with it immediately, and decides to name him D’Artagnan (seriously, read The Three Musketeers, it’s amazing). He calls him Dart for short, and Dustin is convinced that he’s discovered a new species. Of course, he doesn’t even fathom the idea that it’s not from our world.

Can We Trust Dart?

When Dustin shares his discovery with the group, it’s Will that knows the truth. Dart isn’t from this world, he’s from the Upside Down. Likely, he’s the same slug-like creature that Will coughed up after returning from the Upside Down. Anything from that place, that we have encountered up until this point, has never been good. In fact, it’s been unarguably bad. Maybe Dart is cute and harmless now. But what if he grows up to be dangerous? What if he’s exactly like the demogorgon?

Dustin points out that just because the Upside Down is a bad place, doesn’t mean everything that comes from it is bad as well. It’s a fair argument. The Laboratory is certainly bad, but Eleven is definitely not. Doesn’t that mean we should give Dart a chance? Ethically, yes. But logically? It’s hard to say. But I’m sure once Dart grows a little more, the answer will become more clear. Though he isn’t the only potential threat…

Eleven Rebels Against Hopper

Eleven and Hopper have their heated arguments, like any family does. Hopper has continuously promised her that she’ll be able to leave the house and see Mike soon. But he’s been saying ‘soon’ for over three hundred days. And as Eleven points out, friends don’t lie.

While Hopper’s at work, Eleven decides to break all of his rules and walk to the school, determined to find Mike. It becomes a game of cat and mouse, though neither knows for certain that the other is there. We’re on the edge of our seats, begging him to slow down and her to move faster. And eventually, they do. But it’s at the most inopportune moment.

Mike is in the gym with Max, and at first they’re arguing. He clearly has a problem with her (and while it’s unfair, I get it). But by the time Eleven sees them, they’ve warmed to each other a bit. Mike’s even cracking a smile, letting out a chuckle. And Max skates around him, smiling too. The jealousy radiating from Eleven is palpable, even from the screen, and she uses her telekinesis to throw the skateboard out from underneath Max’s feet. Mike rushes to her side to make sure she’s okay, and she nods. She describes it as feeling like a magnet pulled her skateboard, even though it sounds nuts. And at that moment, Mike knows. He looks down the halls, but there’s no sign of her. It doesn’t matter, he still knows she was there. And no doubt he can guess why she left.

While it kills my soul, I really shouldn’t be surprised. None of us should be. While there is no doubt in my mind that Eleven and Mike will be reunited, it couldn’t happen easily. This is a friendship, a relationship that must be hard-won. It’s part of why we love it so much. But it’s also extremely relatable. Yes, Eleven has amazing, superhuman abilities and doesn’t understand social constructs. But truthfully, she’s just a regular young girl. She likes Mike, and he liked her, but now she feels forgotten about. And if we had powers at that age, who’s to say we wouldn’t have done the exact same thing? And speaking of relationships…

Nancy And Steve Are Not In A Good Place

It turns out that Nancy was just as drunk as she seemed. Not only did she forget the things that she said to Steve (namely that they both killed Barb and that she doesn’t love him), she thought it was Steve that took her home. And when she found out it was Jonathan, she didn’t believe it at first. Then she asked what exactly she said, and Steve told her all of the “bullshit”, that she told him. And as hurt as he is, he understands she was drunk. So, he asks her to tell him that she loves him. Not an unreasonable request, especially all things considered. But Nancy doesn’t speak, she doesn’t even move. And it’s because she can’t be sure there isn’t some truth in the things she said.

They aren’t officially broken up, but they aren’t doing well either. That being said, Jonathan is being the perfect gentleman we know him to be. He defends Steve, but also tells Nancy to ease up on herself. To be honest, Jonathan seems like a pretty fantastic friend to have. And not only does he offer great advice, he and Nancy are up to another one of their schemes. What it is exactly, we aren’t sure. But it involves Barb’s parents, most likely telling them the truth about what happened to their daughter. How they plan to get around the government…well, that’s a different story.

Will Faces His Worst Fear

Bob and Joyce are still going strong, and in an effort to bond with him, Bob drives Will to school. During the ride, he tells him about when he was a kid. He was at a carnival when he was approached by a creepy clown. And for months that clown terrorized his nightmares. Every night he would run from the clown, and the dreams would continue to get worse and worse. Until one night when he didn’t run. In his dream, he stood his ground and told the clown to go away. And the clown did. Now, facing your fears, especially in context of dreams, is excellent advice. But what Bob doesn’t understand is that Will isn’t having nightmares, he’s actually walking in a different dimension.

And so, when Will falls into another episode and sees the Shadow, he runs. At first. He then stops and turns to face the horrendous, looming threat. He screams at it to go away over and over again. But the Shadow keeps coming until it envelops him, seeping its way into every crack and crevice of his body, until it consumes him entirely.

Is Will Dead?

I wouldn’t worry too much. While Stranger Things likes to break our hearts, it’s just bad business to bring a character back only to kill them off again a few episodes later. Skilled writers don’t make rookie mistakes like that, so it’s doubtful that this is the last we’ve seen of Will. But I’m sure the writers will leave us on edge for a little while longer.

What an intense episode! Now that Will has fully seen the Shadow, and now that Joyce believes that it exists, things are only going to get worse from here. Buckle up, kids. It’s going to be a bumpy one.

1 comments on “‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: The Pollywog”

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