So, Dustin found a new pet - it’s slimy and looks kind of like a tadpole and is general awful. Very very awful. It’s slimy and nasty
After dodging his mother, he evicts his tortoise to give it a home and starts feeding it American chocolate. Clearly he wants it to suffer.
The next day he researches his pet monsters and then grabs the gang to show off his monster - including Max - and explains his rather impressive research (he thinks it’s a terrestrial tadpole or “pollywog”) but everyone is kind of freaked out by it because it’s nasty. Dustin thinks he’s got a new species though and is spying fame and fortune. They convince him to show it to their very supportive science teacher…
Until they’re interrupted and stopped by Mike and Will - because the monster has caused Will to have flashbacks. It’s from the Upside down. It’s rapid transformations seem to confirm that. Will is firmly on the side of kill it, kill it dead while Dustin insists they don’t know it’s an evil monster (it so is) and protects it. This leads to a scavenger hunt through the school to find the monster and Dustin hiding it while Will falls into another flashback
We see some wonderful flashbacks of El and Jim, how he moved from leaving food for her to inviting her to his grandfather’s abandoned cabin which they then fixed up, secured and turned into a home: complete with security measures. And rules - don’t open the curtains, don’t open the door without Jim’s special knock, don’t go outside in daylight. It’s all extremely sweet and full of d’aaawww
But that was nearly a year ago. Now El is losing patience. She wants to see Mike, she’s increasingly angry that Jim keeps saying “soon” after hundreds of days. Even bribes of eggos don’t thaw her - and El acting out involves telekinesis which is slightly concerning
She decides to see Mike and when Jim is out breaks all of Jim’s rules and makes her way to the school - but not before being noticed first - but at the school she sees Mike and Max together. Mike doesn’t like Max, in some odd and I can’t help but think sexist way, thinking her a replacement for El (room for one girl?) and Max tries to win him over - and El uses her telekinesis to know Max off her skateboard. Mike notices but doesn’t see El and she’s gone before he can reach her - but this is definitely worrisome.
Jim’s day job involves more tracking down of the weird slimy plant deaths and demanding that the scientists at the Ominous Lab do some tests because the slime seems to be centred on their facility. They deny it but Jim is tough and won’t budge - he demands they test and they test. Because Jim may be a big melty teddy bear around El, but is generally quite tough