Emmy episode analysis: Millie Bobby Brown (‘Stranger Things’) breaks all the rules in ‘The Pollywog’

Last year Millie Bobby Brown became one of the youngest Emmy nominees in history. At the age of 13, she nabbed a nomination for Best Drama Supporting Actress for playing Eleven, the child with supernatural abilities wanted by the government, on Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” This year not only is she back but should she win she would become the youngest Emmy winner in history beating out Roxana Zal (“Something About Amelia,” 1984). For her episode submission this year, Brown has chosen the third hour of the second season, “Chapter Three: The Pollywog.”

Eleven gets into an argument with Jim Hopper (David Harbour) about how long she’s going to have to remain inside the old house, noting that it’s almost been a year. Hopper says she’ll be able to leave soon but El gets angry over his lack of a definitive answer and storms into her room. After Hopper leaves to go to work, El opens the door of the shack and walks outside, eventually finding a woman in her backyard pushing her daughter on a swing. El asks the woman where the school is and then creates a diversion by making the empty swing wrap around the top of the swing set, allowing her to escape. El makes her way over to the school and finds Mike (Finn Wolfhard) in the gym interacting with another young girl, Max (Sadie Sink). Becoming jealous, she telepathically knocks Max off her skateboard and then disappears before Mike can see her.

Throughout the episode are flashbacks to how Hopper came to care for El. After the events of the first season, Hopper finds El out in the snow. To protect her, he takes her to an old shack that used to belong to Hopper’s grandfather. Working together, they fix up the shack but also board up the windows, install several locks and set up a trip wire to prevent anyone from getting to El. Hopper also introduces El to his three rules for El’s protection: Never open the curtains, don’t open the door unless she hears Hopper’s secret knock and don’t step outside by herself, especially in the daytime.

Can Brown claim an Emmy victory on her second try? Here are the pros and cons that her episode bring to the table.

PROS

Brown got to show El going through trauma last year at the hands of the government but now she’s experiencing something that’s not quite trauma but still damaging and, like before, it’s at the hands of someone who is supposed to be protecting her. Brown does a great job of capturing the tolls of El’s confinement and her subsequent rebellion that occurs because of it.

In this episode, it’s easy to pick up on El’s story without having to know the rest of what’s going on with the shows other characters. The fact that El’s story here doesn’t impact the other characters means it can stand on its own and not potentially confuse any Emmy voters who haven’t yet seen the second season.

CONS

Brown has some good material but other episodes could have been better for her in terms of her performances including “Chapter Five: The Dig Dug” where she visits her mother and “Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister” where she finds another girl with special abilities. The latter did receive mixed reviews at best but did have a solid performance by Brown.

The Emmys are not quite fond of rewarding younger performers as only two people have claimed victory before entering adulthood. The only other young winner, besides Roxana Zal, was Kristy McNichol who won two Emmys in this category at the ages of 15 and 17 for the show “Family” in 1977 and 1979.

PREDICT the Emmy winners now; change them until September 17

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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