Stranger Things S2 EP.3: ‘The Pollywog’ Review
Spoilers ahead, feel free to come back once you’ve seen the third episode.
‘The Pollywog’ begins by revealing what Dustin discovers in the dustbin, a slug-like creature that looks a lot like what Will vomited up on his return from the Upside Down.
Dustin’s immediate and inscrutable attachment to it seems mildly out of character. Even after figuring out Dart’s origins (yes he’s nicknamed it already) from Mike and Will, Dustin lies to keep it as a pet. We find out that it’s scared of the light/heat and it also seems to be evolving, sprouting legs, and resembling the Demogorgon in its infancy. When Will was finally found and rescued in season one, he was found with a tendril down his throat, it seems as if that infected Will from the inside to become a host of sorts. This gives me Alien/Prometheus vibes. Hawkins is in real danger if they’re all evolving like this and we have no idea how many of them are roaming the town, maybe they caused the Pumpkins to rot by feeding off of them?
Meanwhile Eleven is upset with Hopper for being late the night before and it is compounded with her frustration at being kept in the dark on when she can finally see her friends. The ominous ‘soon’ doesn’t cut it anymore. In a flashback, Hopper sets some ground rules for Eleven in order to keep her safe; cut to the present and Eleven breaks them all, leaving the shack to look for Mike. She heads for the school.
Meanwhile Nancy and Jonathan put a plan into motion that includes luring those NSA-type eavesdroppers by calling Barb’s mother and suggesting they will reveal the truth to her but they have to meet in person. This sounds like a bad idea all round and Nancy is clearly acting out of desperation, and of course Jonathan will help her do what Steve wouldn’t. Steve is surprisingly starting to look level-headed and mature next to Nancy who is emotionally impulsive in her grief. The opposite was true for both in season one.
Eleven’s little adventure leads her to Mike and Max in the gym hall at the school; she is clearly heartbroken by what looks like her being replaced with another girl, though with a little context the complete opposite is true. Nevertheless, Eleven’s angst causes her to use her telekinesis to flip Max off of her skateboard and in a self-fulfilling prophecy she sees Mike tending to her fall and Eleven has her assumptions confirmed. Mike has found himself a new girl.
In her quest to protect Will beyond what he is telling her, Joyce takes a look at the video camera he used to film his night of trick-or-treating. This gave us a wonderful scene of her having to call Bob at the RadioShack to figure out how to put the ‘shrunk’ VHS-C into the VCR, an age old technological problem that future generations will surely scoff at.
Anyway, Joyce discovers a clue that proves Dr. Owens nightmare theory wrong. Will’s visions are not simply nightmares, as I have stated before, but happening in real time in an alternate timeline. The many-legged shadow monster’s outline appears on the video camera, and Joyce makes the connection between it and Will’s drawing.
I have a rough idea of where I think the plot is going but I’m still a little confused on how it will be explained. Is the Upside Down converging with the real world, is it becoming a single timeline because of the breach? If so, Bob’s advice of telling the shadow monster to ‘go away’ isn’t going to cut it anymore, as Will learns first hand. With Joyce and the boys now looking for Will, what state will they find him in? Previously, he still regained consciousness after the visions but with how the shadow has engulfed him, this looks much worse.
So far the plot continues to move incrementally and we have yet to get into the meat of the mysteries that surround Hawkins. The flashback scenes are starting to feel non-consequential because they have served their purpose; I hope they won’t be cutting back to them so much moving forward.