Stranger Things has a new mysterious creature this season, and it's... kinda cute? What, that can't be right, can it? After Dustin finds a new little buddy early on in Season 2 of Stranger Things, the group has trouble determining whether the tadpole-looking creature is a friend or foe. So what do we know about the presumed pollywog d'Artagnan in Stranger Things Season 2? Let's see if we can demystify this strange new addition to the series a little bit. Spoiler alert: This post will discuss details from the first 3 episodes of Stranger Things Season 2. The rest of the episodes will not be spoiled in this post, so fear not if you still haven't finished the whole season.
OK, so Dustin first finds the little slug-like creature in the trashcan outside of his house at the very end of Episode 2. It looks pretty harmless, so Dustin sneaks it into his room and decides to keep it, removing his turtle from the terrarium to make room for his mysterious new pet. After Dustin realizes the creature has a taste for 3 Musketeers bars, he decides to name it d'Artagnan after one of the names on the candy wrapper — Dart for short.
The next day, Dustin sneaks Dart into school to get Mike, Will, Lucas, and newfound friend Max's take on the little guy. Probably the more appropriate response, Dustin's friends are much more wary of the new creature than Dustin is. Like, remember how there's a portal to an alternate dimension full of evil monsters in this town, Dustin? Maybe when you find some undiscovered species outside your house, don't take it in as a pet. But in Dustin's defense, Dart does seem harmless right now — the crew even passes him around between one another with no issues.
After checking out seemingly every book in the library about reptiles (remember those pre-Internet library trips?), Dustin posits that he thinks Dart may be a pollywog, which is an umbrella term for the larval stage of any amphibian. The theory seems to hold up for the most part, since it does resemble a pollywog. Dustin also discovers that there are a couple of pollywog species that aren't wholly aquatic and can walk on land, like Dart. But there are a few things about Dart that separate it from known pollywog: Most notably, it hates light whereas most amphibians are drawn to light, and it feels warmblooded rather than coldblooded. Also, the only species of land-walking pollywogs that Dustin could find are indigenous to India and Brazil — a long way from Hawkins, Indiana.
The most unsettling thing of all, though, is something that only Will and us viewers know. Seeing Dart triggers Will's memory of that slug-like creature we saw him cough up into the sink in the last seconds of Season 1. I mean, we knew that creepy final scene was going to have to be addressed this season, right? For some reason, Will doesn't tell his friends about that slug thing, but it certainly seems like that creature hitched a ride in Will, escaped into his sink, and grew up a bit to become Dart. So like... that's not great.
Even more concerning is when the crew discovers that Dart went missing while they weren't paying attention. When they all split up to try to find it, Dustin finds his bud in the bathroom and realizes his pollywog theory holds weight when it sprouts hind legs right in front of him. But Dustin's bond with Dart seems to override his common sense when he decides to hide his new pet under his hat and not tell his friends that he found him. Hmmm, I wonder if that decision will come back to bite him...