DISCLAIMER: This Runaways recap contains more spoilers than the number of times Molly has physically destroyed something with her bare hands. Hey, puberty is rough, especially when you’re developing super strength abilities. You’ve been warned. Prepare for The Pride ceremony and enter at your own risk.
Welcome back, Pride members! Runaways is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only were we blessed with the pilot episode of the Hulu freshman series, two more installments followed suit. It’s like an early Christmas gift! So far, so good. While Runaways is making a conscious decision to slowly build their world, the puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place. For me, character development sometimes takes precedence over story. How am I supposed to know who to root for if I don’t know who to root for? I also wholeheartedly believe, with a cast this massive, we need to understand who everyone is and how they fit in the overall narrative. Thankfully, Runaways has a penchant for details.
Alright, ready to delve into “Rewind?” Just be sure to compliment Stacey Yorkes on her brie cheese. If anything, it’ll irritate Tina Minoru and quite frankly, I’m all for that.
We open right where we left off: our teenage Runaways running, well, away. They just witnessed their parents sacrifice poor Destiny Gonzalez (Nicole Wolf) for some unknown cause. Alex (Rhenzy Feliz), being the leader that he is, attempts to quell everyone’s panic. Collectively the gang realizes they closed the door to the secret lair behind them. Big mistake. Thankfully, after Chase (Gregg Sulkin) struggles with opening said door, resident Strong Woman Molly (Allegra Acosta) steps in to provide the muscle.
Next, Alex hatches a plan to distract their now approaching (and suspicious) parents. He promptly shuts off all the lights. Thus, Molly’s flash from her phone may appear to be a power surge of some sort. Good thinking! Meanwhile, the remaining members of our protagonists convene in the game room to collect their thoughts. They must act as if everything is normal. Everything is normal, right? Every teen thinks their parents are super villains. It’s really a rite of passage into adulthood.
Flashback time! We now see the events leading to The Pride meeting from the perspective of its active members. Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker) and husband Geoffrey (Ryan Sands) have just witnessed Alex drive off to school. Of course, things with their son haven’t been the same since Amy’s tragic passing. Catherine reminds Geoffrey that everything must go according to plan for The Pride’s gathering. The ritual at hand must start promptly, with everyone present. Now I see who really drives the ship in the Wilder residence. Girl power!
Meanwhile, Janet Stein (Ever Carradine) is talking all things Victor with Chase. She tries justifying her husband’s behavior, marking it as “genius.” He’s chock full of unbridled brilliance, hence why he sometimes strikes Chase. This is typical abusive behavior (Victor, that is), and I sincerely hope we fully address it at some point. Then, Janet’s phone rings and she answers it. She coyly talks about her presence at that night’s impending Pride meeting.
Then, we see Victor (James Marsters) in his lab, experimenting with the very pod from the pilot episode. You know, the one Destiny vanished into. He places a mouse inside said pod and closes it gingerly. However, the mouse fails to disappear. Janet pops in for a visit and is greeted with a distraught Victor. He takes his rage out on her. Seriously, Victor is one scary guy.
Later, Frank Dean (Kip Pardue) meets with his agent Phil (Larry Miller) after a ceremony at the Church of Gibborim. Phil reticently announces that he’s ending his professional relationship with Frank. After twenty years of representation in the acting world, the tie is being severed. Frank does not handle this well. Phil shifts the focus to the church Frank started with wife Leslie. They’ve garnered an outstanding amount of wealth from their little religious start up. Why continue acting? Frank reveals that the church is in Leslie’s name, as was decreed by her father prior to his passing. Phil urges Frank to approach Leslie and attempt to coerce his piece of the pie. A piece of that Gibborim pie, that is. Uh oh. This will surely end well.
Meanwhile, after Nico (Lyrica Okano) leaves abruptly for school, Tina (Brittany Ishibashi) decides to utilize her circular magical scepter for magical purposes. It’s the anniversary of Amy’s death as well as the day of The Pride meeting, so I can put two and two together. She demands her husband Robert (James Yaegashi) vacate the premises while she does this. He’s inside Amy’s room, reminiscing. Tina enacts the scepter and a force field materializes, preventing Robert from exiting. I wish I had one of those. Anyway, Robert tries to convince Tina to make amends with Nico, otherwise she’ll be lost forever as Amy already is. Tina relinquishes said force field and frees her husband. Tina is really just a grieving mother, after all.
Next, we’re given a glimpse into the life of the Yorkes. Stacey (Brigid Brannagh) and Dale (Kevin Weisman) are driving home after dropping Gert and Molly off at school. They discuss painfully mundane things, which makes it difficult for me to believe they’re villains. If anything, their only crime is loving Phish. Anyway, the scene ends with a snap on Stacey’s tablet of a dinosaur tail. You know, the very same creature Molly saw in the Yorkes’ basement. Dinosaurs are back, baby! Or, perhaps, they never left…
Meanwhile, a construction site looms into view, courtesy of The Pride. We see the workers are building a school. Suddenly, a swarm of cars roll up. A gang infiltrates said site, guns brandished. A man named Darius (DeVaughn Nixon) demands the foreman contact Geoffrey Wilder. Uh oh. Perhaps Geoffrey’s criminal past is beginning to catch up with him?
Then, Geoffrey receives a phone call from his foreman. He urges the man not to contact the police – he’ll take care of Darius. Catherine nonchalantly asks her husband to dispose of Darius. Nothing can interfere with this day. I like Catherine, if anything, for her bad*** attitude.
Later, we see Leslie Dean (Annie Wersching) intercept an escaping Destiny at a bus station. Apparently, the young woman discovered she had a daughter out in the world. Leslie was hurt that Destiny failed to leave a note or say goodbye. She convinces the latter to stay, at least so she can ascend in the church. Yes, Leslie is promoting Destiny to that coveted Ultra status. Gibborim be praised, am I right? Unfortunately, we all know how said promotion will end. Destiny, dazzled by the prospect of seeing what’s behind that elusive Gibborim curtain, decides to stay.
Next, Geoffrey meets with Darius at the construction site. He procures a briefcase for his former gang member. Darius is incredulous that the case actually contains 50 thousand dollars. Geoffrey reveals a camera hidden inside the briefcase. It’s a shot of Darius’ grandmother’s house. Geoffrey lays on a thinly veiled threat. Should Darius continue to meddle in Geoffrey’s affairs, the latter will make sure that Nana B will exist no longer. Message received. Darius leaves, and we learn that one of his crew members extracted an overabundance of information from Geoffrey’s cell phone. Technology, right?
Meanwhile, Frank finds Leslie in her meditation room. He admits that he hasn’t fully given himself to the church, but he’s ready to do so now. Gibborim be praised! Frank wishes to ascend to Ultra status, as Destiny will soon be doing. He wants to attend The Pride meeting with Leslie that night. Leslie promptly discourages him from said meeting, but encourages him to continue thinking about his potential ascension. She leaves, while Frank protests that he’s ready now. Frankie boy, you just want a piece of the Gibborim pie.
Later, we see all the parents gathered for The Pride meeting. Leslie introduces Destiny, their next ritual sacrifice, via photo. Geoffrey is reticent about the whole matter. He hopes this is the last time they meet so they’ll never have to kill again. Here’s hoping!
Next, the crew dons their ceremonial crimson robes for the occasion. They enter the secret villain lair. Tina brandishes her scepter, and Victor brings his vanishing box. Destiny is ushered out via Leslie, dressed all in white. She begins questioning the whole ceremony, under the impression that the Ultra ascension took place in the dessert sans people. Destiny is given a chalice filled with a mysterious liquid courtesy of Stacey. Once she consumes the liquid, her limbs go numb. Destiny begins to panic as Leslie and the others disrobe her and shove her inside the pod. I would freak out too. Once the lid of the pod is closed, Destiny’s cries cease. Leslie sheds a tear for the girl.
Suddenly, the flash from Molly’s phone disrupts the ceremony. All of the parents are on high alert now, but due to the force field enacted by Tina’s scepter, they’re unable to see the cause of said flash. We see the kids running away. Alex is now at the breaker box, shutting off the power. The Pride are in their normal clothing, and on the prowl. Alex meets with the gang to hatch a plan to distract the parental units. But first, someone needs to wake up Molly. Hey, utilizing your super strength can be tiresome.
Then, the Wilder parents discover the kids enmeshed in an intense game of Twister. See, everything is hunky dory! Even Molly is awake and alert! Nothing is amiss here! The Wilder parents leave the kids to their fun and games, convinced now that their children didn’t witness the ceremony.
Next, we see Frank is snooping around the church offices. He attempts to access Leslie’s computer files to glean more information on what exactly his wife is hiding from him. A regular ol’ Nancy Drew, this one.
Later, Victor hangs around the lair so he can pack up his magical vanishing pod. Suddenly, he hears a pounding noise from within. Victor opens the pod and a pair of arms shoots up toward him, coupled with verbal pleas from Destiny herself. Well, s**t. That didn’t work out as planned. The failed mouse experiment should have been a red flag.
Then, our kids are intermingling with the parents for a post-meeting wrap up. Everyone is gleefully saying their goodbyes. Nico disappears into the bathroom, not ready to leave just yet. Alex plops down beside her. He reminds her that, in spite of living alone with her parents, she’s never truly alone. He’ll be right beside her through this trying ordeal. You know, when you discover your parents are super villains. She finally leaves the Wilder residence in better spirits.
Meanwhile, resident church monitor Vaughn (Cody Mayo) discovers a meddling Frank as he attempts to break into Leslie’s private meditation room. Within said room is the decrepit old man who appears to have a severe case of eczema. His breathing is assisted via mask, and now I’m starting to suspect that this is Leslie’s father. You know, the one thought to be dead. These sacrifices are meant to support his life. Anyway, Vaughn catches Frank in the act and ushers him away, reminding him that Leslie has these rooms quartered off for a reason. No boys allowed!
Later, we see Molly climb into bed with Gert (Ariela Barer), unable to sleep. She urges her adopted sister to sing her to sleep. Gert begins singing, and we see her voice is lulling the dinosaur under their house.
Then, Karolina (Virginia Gardner) decides to send Destiny a text. She notices that her message was read by the other party, and Destiny is currently in the midst of responding. She’s alive!
Next, Geoffrey admits to his wife that meeting with Darius put things into perspective for him. He’s personally come a long way since his gang days. However, tonight’s sacrifice took a mental toll on him. Catherine reminds him that he’s still a better person than he used to be. She urges him to come to bed. Then, Geoffrey stumbles upon Molly’s cat beret, which means perhaps the kids did see more than they let on…
Runaways keeps getting better and better! Yes, the slow burn may be a turn off for some, but I’m enjoying the quiet intensity thus far. We needed to see things from the parents’ side, otherwise we’d just blindly paint them as villains. Not everything is black and white. However, Victor Stein is a villain. Of this I’m certain. And maybe, just maybe, the killing is over. But, since this is Marvel, probably not.
Do you think the sacrifices from The Pride are meant to keep Leslie’s father alive? What is the purpose of the Yorkes’ dinosaur? How did the Minorus inherit that awesome scepter? What in the world happened to Destiny, and did Victor let her escape alive? Be sure to continue watching this space as I recap Marvel’s Runaways, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Runaways airs new episodes Tuesdays at midnight on Hulu.