This Marvel’s Runaways review contains spoilers.
Marvel’s Runaways Season 1, Episode 10
They finally did it! They ran away! It only took 10 episodes and an entire season to get there.
I’m glad Hulu renewed this show for a second season because, for everything that has happened so far, it feels like it is just getting started.
“Hostile,” the season finale, picks up where the penultimate episode left off: with the teens facing off against their parents at the dig site that could spell the end of the world as we know it. It’s all fun and games, with both sides unwilling to get fatal in the face off… until Jonah shows up. Then, all bets are off, demonstrating just how scared for their kids’ lives the members of Pride are. Their fear is valid. Jonah blasts Molly away and it’s only Karolina’s choice to sacrifice herself that allows the others to escape.
It’s a choice that costs her, too. Despite being Jonah’s biological kid, she still ends up in need of medical assistance, which she gets from the weird, private chamber at the church where Jonah was convalescing for the first part of the season. Alex wants to hightail it out of Los Angeles, get away from their parents for good, but Nico especially is unwilling. She won’t leave Karolina behind, and the others agree.
A rift seems to be forming between Alex and the rest of the gang. Now that he has fallen out with Nico, he is the odd man out. Chase and Gert like each other. Nico and Karolina kiss again and fall asleep in each other’s arms. Molly and Gert will always be sisters. While everyone loves Alex, he doesn’t have a confidante in the same way the others do—at least not at the moment.
It’s not just Alex’s argument to leave Karolina behind that puts him on the outside. While the others are making camp in the Hollywood Hills, he leaves to meet with Darius, securing money from his father’s biggest enemy (if you don’t count Jonah). Alex’s unilateral leadership may be helpful in the short term, but it feels like it’s going to become an issue with the others in the long run.
The kids end the episode as a team, but one with fewer options than ever before. Not only are they on the run (with a pretty obvious dinosaur), but their parents have framed them for Destiny’s murder, seemingly as an attempt to find them and keep them safe. It’s a dick move, but not one without strategy—too bad the streets of L.A. are pretty much the least safe place to be right now…
The final shot of the episode and season lingers on a newspaper with an omen of oncoming earthquake apocalypse. We’ve seen future Chase and future L.A. Unless these kids do something, the city will fall. While the parents are busy trying to save the lives of the people they love, the teens are this show’s true hope. They are trying to save the lives of everyone.
So what are the parents up to in the season finale? Basically, dropping truth bombs all over the place.
The Yorkses figure out that there is something living down the construction site hole. (Please say it’s a dragon!) Leslie admits that she not only blew up Molly’s parents, but knew about Amy’s murder. She tried to warn the girl—that’s who the text was from—but not hard enough. We still don’t know for sure what happened, but it seems like Jonah killed her for what she might have known about Pride.
This is the final straw for the parents. They’re cool with killing other people’s kids, but Jonah’s apparent murder of one of their own is enough to put them on the offensive. These people may have more secrets than a confessional, and dislike one another for the terrible things they have done and the ways they remind each other of their own failures, but they are united in a common goal: protect their kids.
It’s a goal that seemingly saves Leslie’s life. “If we killed you tonight in this basement, no one would ever know,” Tina tells Leslie in a cold, even voice that makes you believe she would do it. But Leslie points out that she is the one who can get them close enough to Jonah to take him down.
But it’s not Leslie who Jonah is confiding in these days; it’s her “beard,” Frank. Frank started out the season as The Nice Parent, and he’s making up for lost time. Not only was he the one who told Jonah what the kids know, putting all of them in danger, but he feels totally comfortable continuing to stand by Jonah’s side after seeing what he is capable of.
It seems that Frank doesn’t care so much about the lives of these other kids he saw grow up; he only cares about his kid, and he knows Jonah won’t hurt her. It’s a nice subversion of the jealous male trope where Jonah and Frank could have fought for Karolina’s affections, and it’s one that gives Jonah a minion in the battle against the rest of the ‘rents.
Ultimately, the season finale was a bit anti-climactic after the build-up of the penultimate episode. This show has chosen to go the slow burn route, but it didn’t do enough character work in this first season to totally justify it. It’s OK to slow burn on the plot, but it feels like the relationships and dynamics in this show were on the slow burn, too.
I would have liked to see more domestic, non-superhero scenes to show just how much these parents care about these kids and just how much these kids care about one another. Give me more scenes of them playing Twister together, or goofing off at the dance. Not every scene needs to be about the oncoming apocalypse or the parents’ supervillain team.
Speaking of the parents’ supervillain team, it seems like the show is officially trying to make the ‘rents more sympathetic than they were in the comics, an effort that took up a lot of narrative space in this first season and wasn’t totally worth it, in my opinion. We have enough stories about people who do the wrong things for the right reasons, or anti-heroes with shades of grey. I would have liked to see Marvel’s Runawaysdouble down on the parents’ villainy.
While the season ender felt a bit anti-climatic, filled with people learning information that we already knew (or strongly suspected), it also reminded me of how much there is to like about this show. It’s ensemble, while unwieldy, is ambitious. It has a real sense of real-world setting, unlike many of the superhero shows on the air.
Most of all, it gives us a diverse group of kids whose ambitions to become superheroes, in some sense of the word, is less about being cool or fulfilling some kind of destiny, and more about wanting to fix the world their parents have screwed up. If there’s anything young people can relate to today, it’s that. Keep running, Runaways. I’ll follow.
Additional thoughts & quotes.
“Not Gert… she’s just a regular kid.” — Dale, before Gert’s dinosaur saunters out.
“If it were me in Karolina’s place, I’d want you to go.” “If it were you in her place, we would go.”
“She loves me, and he loves whatever the hell is in that hole,” says Frank about Jonah. But what is in that hole? Is someone else like Jonah? And what’s going on with Jonah’s flakes? I thought he was supposed to be all cured from the dead teenagers.
The gang runs away in the most rich kid way possible and it is adorable. They go shopping for disguises at a trendy thrift store, which Nico defines as: “Brentwood’s finest, wearing crap other people threw away.” And camp out in view of Griffiths Observatory.
“I have to keep her fed, or I honestly don’t know what will happen next.” This is Gert-speak for: Old Lace will eat people.
Whenever Gert has a scene with Old Lace, it feels like we’re in an 80s Spielberg flick.
“Be friends with a mountain lion, OK?” — Gert’s advice to Old Lace
Loved “Yawn”‘s subplot in tonight’s episode. What a faithful square!
“You get to believe your parents are heroes.” — Chase, to Molly
“It’s also my first day without my personal dino support, so…” — Gert
It feels like Alex’s deal with Darius will come back to haunt him in some way. Did he promise Darius something specific?
“If nothing else, someone should come out of this with a healthy relationship.” Nico ships Gert and Chase.
Who is Jonah texting with following Karolina’s escape? Leslie? Frank? Someone else?
“Trust level is pretty low right now.” — Stacey
“Our future together is going to be very bright.” Apparently, literally. Jonah and Frank have these conversation in front of a very bright backlight.
“Does Arizona like brown pople? I don’t think they do.” Molly has good instincts.
“Get them to safety. Then, we go to war.” See y’all in Season 2!