Posted October 29, 2017 by David Ratcliffe in Reviews

REVIEW: Stranger Things S02E03 – The Pollywog

Episode: S02E03– The Pollywog

Air Date: October 27, 2017
Executive Producers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Dan Cohen, Shawn Levy, Iain Paterson

Created by: Matt and Ross Duffer Written by: Justin Doble
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Cara Buono, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, Linnea Berthelsen, Joe Chrest.

Stranger Things 2 The Pollywog Dart

© Netflix

D’Artagnan or Dart brings the upside down to Hawkins, via Will. It seems that the Upside Down creatures can last in the real world. One thing Stranger Things does better than most television shows is juxtaposing and connecting its various storylines and time lines which allows them to call back to them at a later date…though…Barb…BARB!? It is clear that they have long term storytelling in mind and it is a gripping joy to want to watch the next episode.

“Friends don’t LIE!”Cue food everywhere. The odd couple is emotional and sweet as Hopper clearly wants to protect Eleven from the Government whilst she clearly wants to see Mike. The theme of this episode is friendship requires work and can conflict like any relationship with other people though it is always stronger together. Hopper creating his cabin in to his home juxtaposed with flash forwards to the present where Eleven proclaims to be “Not stupid” was a particularly funny highlight of this episode.

© Netflix

Hopper and the police “dipshits,” Hopper’s terminology,  continue to try and figure out the decay from the farm in Hawkins. Police detectives on television can be idiots, and having the police chief be the smartest one seems a refreshing change in trope from normal detectives who in the first series would have scoffed at any thoughts of supernatural activity and ignored it. Not Hopper. Possibly the greatest television policeman? He’s definitely up near the top; flaws and all.

The conspiracy deepens as someone listens in to Nancy tell Barb’s mother about something she needs to know about what happened to Barb. Joyce sees the animal Will has been drawing on the Halloween video. Max tries to fit in with the lads in the search for Dart after Mike nearly kills him as he and Will hate anything from the Upside Down.

© Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown is great at conveying emotion without saying anything and the scene where she sees Mike and Max and displays jealousy is particularly touching. Though after risking detection and wanting to see him why did she not go in? Its not like there were teachers around or anything? Perhaps just fear of new people which after what Eleven has been through is understandable but still…

The idea that our fears can be overcome through sheer confidence, determination, and belief in yourself makes the last sequence particularly chilling.

The narrative threads; Jonathan and Nancy not satisfied and looking for Barb, the impending doom monster, the decay of Hawkins presumably from the Upside Down, Will’s torment, and Eleven and Hopper are all here. Dealt with in a way that every episode so far has been a fast paced emotional joy to watch.

The whole series can be binged at your leisure now on Netflix.


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David has an undergraduate degree in Drama and first showed symptoms of a mind blown by cinema after watching The Godfather too many years ago to remember. He enjoys binge watching TV shows because that is the only way to watch them, right? The West Wing, The Sopranos and The Wire rank among his favourites of all time; the list could go on but changes the more he watches. Books, comics and games are also enjoyed in different moods. Finishing that novel is a life ambition.