Here are some takeaways from the episode...
- Oh children, how soon we forget. In a world in which exists an Upside Down, monsters, and girls with powers of destruction, I would think a bit more care would be taken with how you'd approach finding a strange frog looking creature (that's clearly not a frog). The kids have seen enough shit in the recent past that first instinct shouldn't be to toss a strange creature into an aquarium and lovingly name it after one of the Three Musketeers. Yet, here we are, one slime creature named D'artagnon later, waiting for something unfortunate to happen. This thing might be the secret that connects everything, but it could also eat one of the kids as well.
2. Hello, My Name is Max
- In the blink of an eye, Max (Sadie Sink) went from prickly, indifferent kid to part of the inner circle, Mike's (Finn Wolfhard) opinion aside. There wasn't a lot of build up to Max latching onto the gang...we went from complete outsider, to awkward latch on kid...to part of the posse in less than three episodes. I'm okay with Max getting an invite to the proceedings, but I feel like we should know more about her and her motivations before she just starts getting matching tattoos and jackets with the rest of them. Of course, Max's presence gives Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) something to do, as she sees Mike and Max hanging out in the school gym and finds out that jealousy is an emotion she is still in tune with. That said....
- Eleven is done living in a state of house arrest, and I can't say as I blame her. Chief Hopper (David Harbour) has good intentions on keeping her safe, but he also keeps dragging out his promises of her being able to go back into the world "soon." The chief scolds her for daring to go outside the house where she can be found, and the following "disagreement" shows a lot of the frustration and anger swelling up inside of Eleven. In these scenes, Millie Bobby Brown is at her best. We feel the sadness and vulnerability in her character, and it's easy to want to take her side. "Friends don't lie" is her mantra, and even though Hopper isn't altogether wrong about the dangers that exist outside for Eleven, he's clearly stringing her along with false hope and empty promises.
2. Joyce Joins the Fray
- Up until now, Joyce (Winona Ryder) has been relegated to paranoid mother, but something clicks with her here while reviewing a VHS tape. She somehow discovers the monster that haunts her son, Will (Noah Schnapp), and even though she doesn't fully understand what she's seeing or how it impacts Will, at least she has something tangible to start wrapping her head around. Ryder was one of the strong points of season one, so it's time to get her more involved going forward.
1. Nancy is Still Feeling Guilty
- I suppose living with knowledge that could hurt someone is a difficult cross to bare, but Nancy's (Natalia Dyer) guilt over Barb's disappearance is suffocating her. Her drunken escapade has left her on the outs with Steve (Joe Keery), so she's stuck teaming up with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), whom I'm still not convinced isn't carrying a serial killer gene waiting to unleash. Nancy decides to go Jason Bourne style informant, asking Barb's mom to meet her at the park the next morning, yet all the while the real secret agents are listening in on her conversation. The conspiracy ramps up, but I hope something more about these shady men in black suits and lab coats reveals itself soon.
Episode Grade - B
Up next, Episode 4, Will the Wise