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Ships and Plot Make for the Best Runaways Yet

Finally. Runaways finally did it. For half the season now I’ve wondered when this show would kick into gear. Now it finally happened and it was awesome.  This was the episode I’ve waited for ever since our teenage mutant wizard heroes first witnessed a Pride sacrifice. The path to get her has been frustrating, but hopefully now Runaways can be a better show moving forward. If this episode was any indication, we’ll at least get a cool finale.

Recap

You know what Runaways likes to start episodes with? Flashbacks! This is the best one yet, though, as it shows Molly’s parents informing the Yorkes about the contents of Jonah’s dig site, some weird alien rocks, while Molly plays nearby. The door to the lab locks and a bomb goes off, killing everyone while Leslie walks away, clearly responsible. Or would have killed everyone, except Molly seems to have gained her powers from one of the strange rocks.

Back in the present, the woman Molly was sent to live with is found missing.

Nico’s father interrupts her retrieving Amy’s phone and it turns out he moved back in and is sleeping in Amy’s room. She’s unable to retrieve the phone. Meanwhile we see Karolina having explained everything to Frank while he asks them to step away and give him a few days to do something about it instead.

Chase gets ready for school while listening to a press conference explaining Victor’s “disappearance” from public life as the result of cancer treatment. He is still angry at his mother until she makes clear the threat to him personally if he finds out about Pride. She insists on not telling him anything else. Chase promises to be careful. When he gets to school everyone shows him sympathies for his father.

Well, everyone except Alex and the other teens, who are still angry over the smashed laptop. Nico remains angry at Alex as well. They have no plan now and aren’t sure what to do, but insist they remain together. Alex suggests “the Runaways” as their group name and everyone else rejects it. Outside the school the head cheerleader is selling tickets to a dance and gives condolences to Chase while insulting everyone else. Gert angrily buys tickets for everyone so they can go together.

Robert and Tina drive somewhere together while Robert talks about finally escaping Pride and rebuilding their lives. Turns out they’re starting the dig mentioned throughout the season. Tina says they can’t recover everything they lost and thinks back on Jonah making a threatening visit to a young Amy. Later we see Jonah start the dig while everyone else watches on. He also replaces Geoffrey’s security staff with his own.

One of the security guards reports to Geoffrey’s old gang friend, who is still trying to take the site from him, or whatever Geoffrey is hoping to find there.

Molly shows up at the school to show everyone else the VHS her parents left. On the tape they find a message from her parents telling them Jonah’s dig will hit a fault line causing earthquakes, methane explosions, and potentially some kind of terrible virus or fungus.  Guess we know what happened in that shot of future LA earlier this season.

This tape creates newfound resolve and determination for the teens to stop their parents. They decide to attend the dance as cover to eventually get to the dig site and stop the drill. Meanwhile, turns out Frank is a traitor and tells Jonah about the teens’ knowledge of Pride.

Alex gets a call from Nico on Amy’s phone. She shows Alex the warning text message from the end of the previous episode. They discuss who sent the text until it’s time to go to the dance. Nico makes clear she’s still furious and using their dance “date” as cover. When the Yorkes call Graciela, she tells them Molly left and she didn’t trust them enough to say anything since Molly’s parents left the locker key with her. The Yorkes take it pretty well and discuss what the key would be for until Jonah calls requesting a meeting.

Next everyone arrives at the dance (including Gert’s dino). Gert goes inside to find Chase. She talks to him about being invisible to everyone. Chase shows no regret over losing the popular life he used to have. Then they sneak off to have sex. Holy hell, it happened. Good for you, Gert.

Nico asks Karolina to help her look for them. When they get inside, Karolina kisses Nico, who kisses back briefly. Gert and Chase stumble into view still straightening their clothes. Hey, that’s a double ship Bingo!

At Jonah’s meeting he tells everyone what Frank told him. He reasserts his authority over them. Everyone goes checking on their kids and find the wand, dinosaur, Fistigons, and construction site access card missing. The teens arrive at the site and are found by a Gibborim guard. Karolina uses her father as cover and Frank provides, though he’s in a car heading that way with Jonah.

The teens go to work destroying the drill and closing the hole, with bonus insecure bickering from Gert and Chase. Their parents arrive to interrupt and the teens make clear they are willing to fight. Each readies their weapons, including Karolina and her rainbow powers.

And that’s it. What a cruel, cruel cliffhanger, Runaways.

Review

Really, I have so little to complain about here. Runaways’s potential has always lingered on the edges, struggling against the frustrating choices stalling this moment from happening. The teens would be interesting one week, but struggle against a boring parents plot. The parents finally hold up their end of the bargain last week and the teens don’t. They could never come together to form a cohesive, compelling whole.

This, this right here, is what Runaways should have overwhelmingly been throughout the season. Just about everything worked.

There is so much to like. We finally saw the teens come together and make their move, acting on the information they’ve learned throughout the season. As an audience, it was also cool to see so much finally revealed, even though key questions still remain for next week. The plot finally kicked into gear and Runaways handled it pretty damn well.

So I suppose the questions left now are what exactly Jonah really wants from this hole Pride dug and how much the parents know. I thought the flashback made it pretty clear they don’t know about this fault line and all the negative consequences Molly’s parents discovered. Considering Molly’s parents had to research to figure it out, I don’t expect Jonah was letting anyone know. The Yorkes certainly didn’t talk like people aware of what might happen if this drill hits the fault line.

This first season has gone to great lengths to humanize the parents and paint them in shades of grey. Will this culminate in the parents also siding against Jonah? Or some split in Pride placing them in opposition? There’s no way I can imagine the Yorkes siding with Pride against Gert and Molly. Hell, I don’t think any of the parents would side against their children when their main reasoning for remaining seems to be threats against their children. I think Leslie would side with Jonah.

For all my complaints about the focus on parents, they may begin to justify themselves if the endgame all along involved the teens and parents teaming against Jonah. I’d still rather the focus remain on the kids, though. This episode handled the balance perfectly. The parents had plenty of attention but all in the name of their children.  I hope that continues if the parents end up siding with them.

I already rolled my eyes at Frank wanting a leadership role in exposing Pride, and I’m glad he betrayed them instead. The show is called Runaways, and is about the kids. It should focus on them, even when focused on the parents. I hope this trend continues.

This episode also finally, FINALLY cut the crap love quadrangle between Karolina, Chase, Nico, and Gert, and did so in the best of ways. I love how Karolina and Gert drove the hookups in this episode. It was nice to see the relationships focus on they wanted. We’ll see where they go from here. I’m not sure Nico holds any attraction to Karolina and Gert feels understandably insecure about Chase. I was still happy to see them make these choices, and for the narrative to focus on their choices. So now we’ll see how the other sides choose.

Plus the whole episode managed a delicate balance between uniting everyone without sacrificing the tensions this season created. I worried that everything would go forgotten when the plot movement finally began here at the end. While they certainly came to an immediate understanding, Nico still remained upset at Alex while Alex and Chase remained distant following the smashed laptop. Understandably, as these were not small issues between any of them and should carry into next season.

However, what complaints I have do relate around a lot of the stalling this season has done. Chase definitely showed interest in Gert early in the season, but that attraction was dropped like a hot potato afterwards as he solely focused his romantic interests on Karolina. Karolina’s reprehension about her feelings was kind of randomly dropped and the kiss out of nowhere, even though the reasoning made perfect sense. The reasoning behind the sudden plot movement involved nothing that couldn’t have happened 3 episodes ago.

The problem with routinely stalling your show to save big moments for the end of a season is how inevitably character motivations and traits end up muddled and inconsistent. This ends up especially true if you do it season after season. Is Tina the cold, loyal right hand of Leslie or a woman desperate to have her family back? Who exactly does Robert want? These kinds of questions have popped up far too easily and only increase with every decision made just to stall the plot.

Hopefully we get more episodes like this one. Runaways finally made its move and did so in style. Despite all my frustrations I’m very excited for the finale, and hopefully the finale keeps me invested for season 2. I still think this show has potential to be something pretty good.

Runaway Thoughts:

  • I’m glad everyone crapped on the name Runaways just because of how horribly it was brought up. Clearly that was the point, but it is the name of the show, so you kind of went at the name of your show?
  • Knowing what Jonah did with Leslie makes the scene with Amy REALLY disgusting. He’s potentially grooming toddlers.
  • Speaking of the pervert, sounds like he made a deal with Frank to give him leadership of the Gibborim church.
  • Why would Molly’s parents leave this tape for her? I get they don’t trust the others, but what exactly did they expect she could do about it?
  • On that note, Graciela kicks ass.
  • Not only does Pride not have a surgeon, they don’t have a Wolf to clean up.
  • I got a kick out of the captions for the music at the dance saying “nondescript romantic music”.

Images Courtesy of Hulu
Bo
Written By

Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and feels slightly guilty over his love for Villanelle.

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