Stranger Things: Chapter Three: The Pollywog
October 27, 2017 7:19 PM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Dustin adopts a strange new pet, and Eleven grows increasingly impatient. A well-meaning Bob urges Will to stand up to his fears.
posted by Fizz (53 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It’s frustrating to keep Eleven from the rest of the kids, romantic comedy style. But her and Hopper are so great. He can’t bear losing another daughter. Paul Reiser, so smarmy! And do any of you trust Bob? I sure don’t trust Bob.
posted by rikschell at 7:49 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


I reallllly did not like using a relationship with Mike as El's motivation for being distanced from the group. Overall enjoying the season, though.
posted by codacorolla at 7:51 PM on October 27 [2 favorites]


oh dang man this is a new 80s trope they have not yet explored: “kid adopts a weird creature and everyone falls in love with it.” I hated this as a child, even E.T., the original. They were always such creepy, unlovable things, made of terrible slimy practical effects or zipper suits. I like that here we’re supposed to dread the creature.

I think Bob is precious, but I also think he’s either a government plant or not going to live through the season.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:09 PM on October 27 [10 favorites]


boy it's a hell of a world when a young girl just striking out on her own has to choose between eating squirrels outdoors and listening to Jim Croce indoors.

and yeah on Mike being like that about Max. meeting El didn't make him stop being superior about girls, it just made him stop being superior about his own private special girl. other people's girls are still no good. it's terrifically realistic characterization for a villain but we are under showrunner orders to like this kid for some reason.

what I wouldn't give for Max to have found a bunch of disreputable loser friends who are girls. like all the boys are too good for girls until they meet that one terrific exception, but none of the girls feel the same way from the other side? in real life pre-adolescence, boys don't just hate us, we hate them back! especially in 1984.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:02 PM on October 27 [15 favorites]


Oh right, this is the one where Sean Astin does his Mikey/Dave/Samwise shtick. But it worked!

I don't especially like Sean Astin, but I like Bob.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:09 PM on October 27


meeting El didn't make him stop being superior about girls, it just made him stop being superior about his own private special girl. other people's girls are still no good.

Maybe I'm being charitable or something, but I read it more as Mike seeing Max as replacing Eleven in their little band, and resenting that. It's not all girls, just the one the rest of his group has invited in basically without his input.

Also, Dustin is an idiot and the D'Artagnan thing makes no sense. It's a nearly year after the events of S1 and only now does the thing that came out of Will end up in his trash? What was it doing in the interim? Plainly, not eating, it would seem. And Dustin, upon discovering it, decides to evict Yertle and start feeding what is obviously a baby monster? Ugh.
posted by axiom at 9:16 PM on October 27 [14 favorites]


Dustin's initial reaction to Dart super, super bothered me. I don't believe his reaction would have been one of friendliness coming off the events of a year ago. I also find it unfair that he was portrayed as being super smart while being very stupid. People do stupid stuff all the time but none of the kids would have had a good reaction to a slimy creature after last year. I do believe he would have said, "holy shit" and then gotten on his head set for assistance. I understand why the Dart thing was put in and why it was written the way it was but it made me roll my eyes.

I don't mind Bob. What I do mind is being asked to believe that Joyce would be about totally normal, kinda boring Bob. Joyce is your friend who gets involved in toxic relationships. We have all had or been that friend.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:36 AM on October 28 [9 favorites]


Spent the entire episode yelling at Dustin not to pick up or feed or coddle the obviously creepy baby monster. Did he not see Gremlins?! (And poor evicted Yertl. Kicked out of his terrarium for a creepy monster and creepy monster doesn't even have the decency to want his heat lamp. Worst creepy monster pet ever.) I still love Mr Clarke though.

And yeah, I totally think Bob is a plant. Instant adorable boyfriend who brings sandwiches to work? Color me suspicious. The sandwiches may be suspicious on their own without the entire "her kid was held hostage in an underworld brought about by sketchy government psychic experimentation" backstory. I mean who does that? Got my eye on you, pal.

Spent some time admiring the choice of the building they used for the Hawkins National Lab. It's a good choice that really captures that postwar government brutalist despair (and I'm tickled to find out it's at Emory University, because it really reminded me of the postware brutalist despair at my olde undergradde home, UIC's Netsch campus).
posted by sldownard at 1:04 AM on October 28 [6 favorites]


The casting for Dustin's mom is just PERFECT.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:30 AM on October 28 [11 favorites]


Season 1 was such a perfect, enclosed thing. The existence of a season 2 means cutting away at the edges of that perfect thing and tacking more on. The kludginess is worth it to spend more time with these characters, I think. The 80s tropes get a little looser, the characters open out into unlikely places (which can be true to life, in a way), but the tone is right. MBB is so compelling to watch, I want her to be in every scene. Dustin taking more of a starring role is good: so fun to watch him go. I want more Lucas. And when do we get more of Eight?
posted by rikschell at 3:54 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


I didn't like Mike in the first season and it isn't getting better in the beginning of this season. More Eleven/Dustin/Lucas/Max please!
posted by Pendragon at 5:36 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


What's the money on Dart being a baby demogorgon?
posted by Jilder at 5:39 AM on October 28 [7 favorites]


Also, Dustin is right. 3 Musketeers is top 3!!? Nougat and all!?! I'll fight you on this. It's one of the better bars.
posted by Fizz at 7:20 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


More Eleven/Dustin/Lucas/Max please!

Pendragon, you nailed it. Mike is very much growing to be my least favourite character. He's every bossy friend I've ever had in my life who refuses to accept that people can like other things and that it doesn't mean the other thing you like is any less awesome.
posted by Fizz at 7:21 AM on October 28 [5 favorites]


Hopper dancing to Jim Croce made me laugh but because I love seeing awkward folk try to get down.

Also, I adore Mike Wheeler. I don't know what the hell is wrong with you people.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:32 AM on October 28 [12 favorites]


Static monster in the video:

"That's fuckin' great!"

El hearing Mike and Max:

"YOU TROPEY MANIPULATIVE SHITS DON'T YOU DO THIS"

End:

"!!!!!!!!!"
posted by curious nu at 7:50 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Man, that Gremlins thing is spot on. This is all taking place around Halloween 1984 and Gremlins came out on June 6, 1984 (the day before Ghostbusters).

I bet they didn't bring it up because Lucas pointing out the similarities to Dustin would have totally convinced him and the whole story would fall through.

(Also agreed on the admiration for the Hawkins Lab building. I love brutalist architecture.)
posted by elsietheeel at 8:35 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


OMG Bob's name is literally Bob Newbie.

(Okay fine, it's Newby, but still!)
posted by elsietheeel at 9:02 AM on October 28 [11 favorites]


Okay I'm watching Beyond Stranger Things (I started it simply for Jim Rash, but it's actually really interesting - we should have a FanFare post for it!) and Gaten Matarazzo just said that 3 Musketeers is actually in his top three candy bars (along with Charleston Chew - flavor unspecified - and Reese's FastBreak...weird kid).

And this is my third comment in a row so I'm going away for a while now.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:04 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


Dustin: I'm on a curiosity voyage, and I need my paddles to travel. These books... These books are my paddles.

I agree that it doesn't make much sense for Dustin to be so enthralled by 'Dart' after all they went through last year, but I did love that it gave us "curiosity voyage".

I didn't think to be the least bit suspicious of Bob until you all said it. Now I'm wondering if his vampire Halloween costume is a foreshadowing homage to Edward Herrmann in the Lost Boys.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:09 AM on October 28 [8 favorites]


But didn't Bob go to high school with Hopp and Joyce?
posted by cooker girl at 11:44 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


“Why does he have to kick the door?”

I don’t know if that was an adlib or what but when the deputy asks that when Jim storms out of the station I laughed for a good minute.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:09 PM on October 28 [5 favorites]


I'm going to spend the rest of the series worrying about that bloody cat, aren't I?
posted by Grangousier at 2:13 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Also, yeah, that's usually what happens when you follow adults' advice re: standing up to bullies. Although usually they don't put smoke-tentacles down your throat, they just hit you and laugh.
posted by Grangousier at 2:15 PM on October 28 [6 favorites]


Don't we know that Bob went to high school with Joyce -- so in theory he's a known quantity and not a Hawkins lackey?

Because otherwise he seems a lot like a Hawkins lackey.
posted by HeroZero at 6:56 PM on October 28


It's definitely suggested that Bob went to Hawkins High, or at least in a nearby city. At some point he says she didn't even know who he was in high school, or something like that.
posted by axiom at 7:11 PM on October 28


I don't mind Bob. What I do mind is being asked to believe that Joyce would be about totally normal, kinda boring Bob. Joyce is your friend who gets involved in toxic relationships. We have all had or been that friend.

Bob is exactly the sort of dude Joyce would go for after losing her son for a while and fighting monsters. Someone completely and utterly normal and boring. After toxic and trauma, pairing up with stability, if only for a little bit, is extremely understandable to me.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 7:29 PM on October 28 [16 favorites]


At some point he says she didn't even know who he was in high school, or something like that.

Exactly what you'd want to say to someone to explain why they don't remember you from high school.

Bob is totally a plant .

And Dart is totally a baby demogorgon. And mama's looking for him...
posted by neilbert at 9:48 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Dart was totally the brain parasites from Star Trek II and none of those kids would go anywhere near it without thinking of Chekov and Khan. "These are.... pets, of course."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:43 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


I think it's important to remember that Dustin, Lucas and Mike never saw the Upside-Down themselves (and in this regard I also think it's kind of hilarious that their name for it became the common name used by those who actually know anything about it -- see: Dr. Paul Reiser referring to it as such.)

Dustin is curious and optimistic, and I think we're supposed to get that he sees a tie between Dart and El. Both are (kind of) from the upside-down, but maybe not malevolent?
posted by Navelgazer at 1:00 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


He can’t bear losing another daughter.
I reallllly did not like using a relationship with Mike as El's motivation for being distanced from the group.


This isn't how I read it. She can't be known to the public, and simply having friends and being around normals means she's more likely to be exposed. She doesn't have any documentation, he's not her legal parent, and she can't be integrated into society without ripping the Hawkins Lab game wide open, and Hopper can't afford that. As well as the fact that he knows she'd be re-kidnapped by Hawkins if they knew where she was.
posted by Miko at 9:07 AM on October 29 [10 favorites]


STOP the J word jealousy from killing girl LOVE!

Please let this season pass the Bechdel test!
posted by larrybob at 9:26 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


The static monster in the video! That ending! I'm loving this season so far
posted by rosary at 11:11 AM on October 29


Lots of cars doing good high-speed Y-turns in this one.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:33 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Bob reminded me of the plants/handlers in Orphan Black - regular folks being told it's for a good cause, etc.
posted by monocultured at 1:43 PM on October 29 [7 favorites]


This isn't how I read it. She can't be known to the public, and simply having friends and being around normals means she's more likely to be exposed. She doesn't have any documentation, he's not her legal parent, and she can't be integrated into society without ripping the Hawkins Lab game wide open, and Hopper can't afford that. As well as the fact that he knows she'd be re-kidnapped by Hawkins if they knew where she was.

No, I meant that the obvious thing to happen would be for Eleven to reconnect with Mike, but she sees him with Max, and is jealous, which provides the narrative necessity of distancing her from the main group. There are any number of ways they could've done the same thing without making it romantic jealousy.
posted by codacorolla at 2:22 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


I didn't read it as romantic jealousy so much as the new girl replacing her in the group. Like, Max has just taken her spot with her friends.
posted by Jilder at 7:12 AM on October 30 [7 favorites]


Also, Dustin is an idiot and the D'Artagnan thing makes no sense. It's a nearly year after the events of S1 and only now does the thing that came out of Will end up in his trash? What was it doing in the interim? Plainly, not eating, it would seem.
Dart might not be the same "pollywog" that was inside Will last season. When Will was in the Upside Down in the previous episode, he heard pollywog noises "everywhere." And Hopper thinks there's a leak near Hawkins National Lab. So my theory (not having seen the next episodes yet) is that there are many demogorgon larvae in the Upside Down, and some of them are finding their way to the real world. Maybe all the animals the original demogorgon was hunting became incubators for its offspring. The one inside Will might not even be alive anymore; maybe its incubation was interrupted when they rescued Will last season.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:37 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


functional ghostbusters trap for the fucking win.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:07 AM on October 30 [10 favorites]


And Hopper thinks there's a leak near Hawkins National Lab. So my theory (not having seen the next episodes yet) is that there are many demogorgon larvae in the Upside Down, and some of them are finding their way to the real world.

Remember the scene with the beakers in the lab? It looked to me like thousands of tiny larvae.
posted by Miko at 9:18 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


functional ghostbusters trap for the fucking win.

We were so happy to see another "Crafting with Joyce!" session with the crayons and the video, and now I desperately want a Stranger Things spinoff crafting show.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 5:55 PM on October 30 [10 favorites]


"Crafting with Joyce!" session

Good party theme.
posted by Miko at 7:26 PM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Digging the increased space Lucas is getting in this series, too. He's really good, smart but pragmatic in a way Dustin isn't. I noted a lot of similarities between El and Will, both prisoners to overprotective adults and chafing against it, both in danger from outside forces. El longs to escape and risk those forces, Will can't stop being thrown into danger from them.

I did get annoyed by the Everybody split up and search alone! trope.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:51 PM on October 30 [3 favorites]


functional Ghostbusters trap for the fucking win.

The thing about it is that Dustin is that kid. The kid with a few more extra toys or gadgets than everyone else. They are usually nicer or in better condition, and he always has the extra cool stuff. It's why he's using headphones connected to his walkie-talkie.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:05 PM on October 31 [4 favorites]


What's the money on Dart being a baby demogorgon?

I'm only up to this episode so far, but my theory is that the pollywog is the nascent form of the giant tentacle-monster in the Upside-Down, and that the Upside-Down is actually just a little ways forwards in time from the current moment, after it has grown up into a Cloverfield-sized menace, devastated the countryside, and spawned off the demogorgon.

About Bob, I thought for sure he was a government plant, especially with that whole thing in the beginning where he conveniently "loses" some keys and then uses it as an excuse to drive Will to work / interrogate him. But then they show him just hanging around the Radio Shack being a regular employee, and having Radio Shack skills, and his conversation with Will does seem pretty well-meaning, so I'm a little less sure now.
posted by whir at 10:22 PM on October 31 [1 favorite]


Favourite thing was Mr. Clarke being super impressed by Dustin's functional trap.

I've also really enjoyed the scenes of Mr. Clarke's class this season. He reminds me a lot of my own 7th grade science teacher, with the perfect amount of doofiness that you know the regular kids are rolling their eyes at but the nerds just eat right up. "I need my paddles!"
posted by tobascodagama at 5:54 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


This plot line feels like it belonged in season 1, they didn't have room for it and put it here. It feels deeply fundamentally out of place.
posted by French Fry at 8:35 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's really hard to justify Dustin's behaviour when encountering this bizarre creature only a year after a literal monster terrorised their town.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:40 AM on November 6


My partner observed that Dustin's behavior was out of character, and thought they missed the mark by not making it Max who found and cared for the odd creature.
posted by fings at 7:43 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


While Dustin was often the least courageous of the gang in Season 1, things turned out okay, and his tooth coming in has made him overconfident. I don't think it's out of character for a kid to get a swelled head from that kind of victory against impossible odds.

I also think it didn't take long before Dustin kind of knew this was a bad thing, but he'd already invested too much by that point. When Dustin goes all in, it's very hard for him to admit being wrong (I know this because I'm the same way). The coverup was always a bad idea, because he was only going to hurt himself and his friends. But his newly inflated ego was on the line. This new alignment of Dustin's character is really borne out by the final episode of this season.
posted by rikschell at 11:00 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


I would totally take on and protect a slimy tiny baby monster like Dustin, you heartless monster-murderers. His heart is as big as his adorable smile.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:17 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Lots of cars doing good high-speed Y-turns in this one.

That was actually one of the things that took me out of the moment, that perfectly placed patch of gravel for Hopper to skid off of.

The other things that takes me out is the rampant product placement. KFC in the first episode (including "Finger Licking' Good"), Three Musketeers, and Dr Pepper. Maybe I just have a low tolerance for it now, and I guess it ties into the 80s nostalgia trip, but it's not working for me.

Having said all that, I did crack up at Lucas kicking the door down and being told off by the teacher - just perfect.
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:47 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Also commenting so I can hopefully look back in amusement, on my current "Please to get eaten by the flower vagina monster" list: Max's brother, Bob, Paul Reiser (mostly for being Paul Reiser), the rude lady at the school office and Max's brother twice.

Mike gets his toes chewed off.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:44 AM on November 10


« Older Stranger Things: Chapter Two: ...   |  Blindspot: Back to the Grind... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster