Stranger Things: Season 3, Episode 2 “Chapter 2: The Mall Rats” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 2 Chapter 2 The Mall Rats
91.3% (10)

As Billy becomes a pawn to the Mind Flayer, Dustin helps integrate Robin into the crew. Also, El comes to Max about boy problems.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) The Duffer Brothers
Writer(s) The Duffer Brothers
Air Date 7/4/2019

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Recap

Raving Rabid Rats: Nancy, Jonathan

With Nancy far from satisfied making coffee and getting lunch, she drags Jonathan to investigate a lead on local rats. Which, at first, is weird but seems like a dud. However, after uncovering one of the rats and seeing how it bounces about, the opinion changes. But, what Nancy and Jonathan don’t see is the rat become goop and seemingly evolve into a Demogorgon.

Stupid Boys: Robin, Dustin, Steve, Max, El, Mike, Lucas

After Hopper scares the daylights out of him, Mike decides he shouldn’t be spending that much time with El. This, as you can imagine, messes with El since Mike is pretty consistent. Not only that, after the events of the first two seasons, Mike became one of the people she trusts and loves the most. So, him suddenly becoming secretive and unable to hang out? Red flag. Leading to El turning to Max since it isn’t like she has anyone else to talk to.

El dumping Mike.
El: I dump your ass.

Problem is, when it comes to Max, she is off and on with Lucas so much she probably isn’t the best one to go to for advice. But with El is disarray, Max considers that to be more than enough of a reason for them to go shopping. With whose money? I don’t know. However, El gets some nice things, and after spending the day with Max, when she sees Mike, she dumps him when he can’t answer her questions and tries to defend himself with lies. You know, rather than just saying Hopper threatened him.

And while there is drama in the group, Dustin is making the most of his time with Steve – his only true friend. Someone who joins him in trying to translate the Russian message but not without much difficulty. Making Robin helping immensely awesome, especially since it seems she is now part of the crew. Maybe even a potential love interest for Steve, after Nancy cheated on him.

It’s Something I Needed To Do: Joyce, Hopper, Billy, Mr. Clark

Hopper is having a hell of a summer. On top of his daughter making kissy-face with some boy on a regular basis, he can’t even get Joyce to commit to a dinner thing, not date, and show up. For with there being an issue with magnets, she instead decides to hang out with Mr. Clark, the local science teacher. Leaving Hopper embarrassed and this is after a day of cleaning up the mayor’s petty mess.

But, you know who may really have it bad? Billy. Whether he thinks the devil is talking to him, or he is possessed, he finds himself unable to focus, even unable to flirt. So it seems, to calm that evil inside of him, he kidnaps his co-worker and offers her up to the Mind Flayer. Making it so the Mind Flayer will soon have the army it desires.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Were Max and El spending Max’s money since I don’t think El was ever taught the concept of cash?
  2. Does Billy think he is working with the devil, an alien, or what?

Highlights

How Essential Dustin Is To The Show

Perhaps it is just me, but it seems Dustin often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the show. Yet, I’d submit he is the most essential character. Take note when new characters are introduced, usually, Dustin is involved with helping them get acclimated. Also, look at what he did with Steve. He turned Nancy’s ex into a lovable babysitter.

Dustin and Steve at his job.

Also, in terms of the weird things which happen on this show, outside of El, who was one of the first to usually experience and interact with such things outside of the upside-down? If this were a game show, Dustin would be the host and while, yeah, the contestants ranging from El and Will to Billy might have bigger storylines, but who is the one who gets things going? Much less, not only gets things going but makes them interesting?

The Diversity Of The Girls On The Show

From El to Robin, no two girls are the same on this program, and you gotta love it. Granted, most of them are on the thin side, we don’t have a new Barb type, but at least they aren’t all like Nancy right? Max, while a tomboy, still likes to be girly at times, as shown by her shopping/ mall day with El. Then with Robin, she is just different. You can’t really box her for she, currently, doesn’t fit an archetype. Robin is simply a person who happens to be a girl.

On The Fence

El & Mike Going Back And Forth

With Max having the influence she does, so comes El thinking going back and forth, in and out of a relationship, is normal. Which honestly is going to suck not in terms of shipping Mike and El, but because the point of the back and forth is to remind you these two are kids. Yet, who knows, maybe this could lead to someone new approaching El? If not us getting to actually see Max and Lucas as a couple more?

Plus, the big thing to think about here, if El is single that means she will get more girl time with Max. Leading to maybe them talking about life and having conversations the boys won’t get. For, up until now, El has solely been surrounded by guys and formerly saw Max as a threat. So with that no longer being the case, it opens a whole new world. At least if Kali never comes around.

Heartbroken Hopper

Hopper is at his best when he is being put to use. So while it will take some time for him to get involved in Billy’s mess, unfortunately, we’ll likely be stuck with him moping about. Here is hoping, with only 8 episodes, things pick up for Hopper soon.

Nancy Drew

In my mind, Nancy is just boring, and with Jonathan being a lovesick puppy following her around, it doesn’t help things at all. Heck, even considering she is likely to end up part of the season finale battle, there is no hype here. Nancy is just another character, similar to the parents of the kids, minus Joyce and Hopper, who don’t feel essential but we get stuck with her more often than the rest.

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