Stranger Things Review: Happy Halfway

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Is Will Byers long for this world?

That seemed to be the overarching question on Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 2 and Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 3. The kid has been through the mill, so it would not be all that surprising if the show opted to kill him off for good. 

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It would certainly change things up, but I can't be the only one enjoying his interactions with his friends this time around. He was gone from the group for much of Stranger Things Season 1, so it makes sense that he would struggle to reconnect with his friends. 

The only one who seems to understand what he's going through is Mike, and that's partly because he is still holding out Hope that Eleven will return someday. It's sad, but he grew very close to her when they became friends initially. 

That's also why Mike is struggling to connect with Max. He sees her as a replacement for Eleven, and that's not a healthy way to look at things. It was good that they started to connect, but the timing was just off. 

Eleven was jealous, and that's why she sent the poor kid flying off of her skateboard. Maybe Eleven thought he was moving on and forgetting about her, but that's far from the case. It's going to be awesome when the two kids meet back up. 

Hopper will not be impressed that Eleven took it upon herself to go on a venture into the town. He explicitly stated she was to remain indoors, and she clearly has an issue with orders. It must get lonely for her being alone much of the day, but would she rather be in danger?

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The flashbacks proved that both versions of Hawkins are not safe for her. If Mike's parents notice anything out of the ordinary, they will call the agents in, and the game will be up. It is excellent that Eleven is making advances in her speech and understanding of the world. 

We can thank Hopper for that. However, I am getting the sense that he's getting too accustomed to being the father figure to this young girl, and that's probably why the days have turned to months, and he is still saying the outside world is unsafe for her. 

It's obvious the doctor is still sniffing around, and it was not the best idea for Hopper to reel him in to find out what was going on to the crops. The reaction on his face when Hopper got the call about occurrences in town confirmed it. 

Nothing good is ever going to come from the laboratory, and I wanted the dude who went into the alternate dimension to be eaten by the villain. Why? Because these people are no good and they are going to bring the town to its knees. 


All of the stuff with Dart was great, but it was a real shocker that the creature was the same thing Will coughed up back on Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 8. The creature was growing at an alarming rate. 

Is Dustin really raising the alien from the Upside Down? It certainly seems that way, but will Joyce allow the thing to grow for much longer?

The increasing paranoid mother continued to question whether her son was honest with her, and nobody could blame her after what she went through last year. She knows there is no such thing as coincidence in Hawkins and I squealed when she traced the image from the recording. 

Now that she knows the "Anniversary Effect" is coming back to haunt Will, look for her to continue her quest to find out the truth. She will join forces with Hopper and race up to the laboratory, but they will not find answers. 

MADMAX - Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 1

These people in the laboratory are the villains, and they are listening to phone calls and watching absolutely everything. Poor Nancy is probably going to find herself in a lot of trouble. Yes, she is spiraling, but she's going to open a can of worms if she confirms Barb is dead to her parents. 

It's difficult to imagine her coming up with a story that would make sense in their eyes, but stranger things have happened on this show. I would even go as far as saying that Barb's mother will probably mysteriously disappear before the meeting occurs. 

Then again, the villains had no qualms about turning to violence last season to get their point across. 

The two episodes slowed down quite a bit from Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 1, but this show has always been a slow burn. All I really want to know at this stage is whether Will survives. 

Other tidbits from the episode:

  • Billy is the scariest character on the show. They way he was going to kill the kids without a second thought solidified the fact that he is not someone to be trusted, and we should probably fear for everyone in the school. 
  • I nearly died laughing when Joyce put the VHS-C in the VHS player. Her comment about the video shrinking was just as comical. 
  • Hopefully, the red punch dripping down Nancy's face was not a teaser that she's going to die a grisly death before Stranger Things Season 2 is over. 
  • Can someone please find Eleven's mother and send her to Hawkins?

What did you think of all the developments? Sound off below!

The Pollywog Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

I need my paddles!


Hey kiddo, would you like a balloon?