DISCLAIMER: This Runaways recap contains more spoilers than the number of times Gert has (probably) protested something. You’ve been warned. Beware of The Pride, and enter at your own risk.
Welcome, students of Atlas Academy! Runaways made its much awaited seasonal debut today on Hulu. Marvel seems to have its tentacles in all the cookie jars (streaming sites, that is) lately. Anyway, this pilot was all about establishing characters, and building up to that cliffhanger. Yes, you know the one. While the pacing was a tad on the slower side, I appreciated the time spent on said character establishment. It’s important to know who to root for. And, as of right now, I’m 100% Team Runaways. Teens forever.
Alright, ready to delve into “Reunion?” Just be sure to ace that Spanish exam first. You know Mr. Stein won’t accept anything less than an A-.
We open with a darkened Metro bus in sleepy Los Angeles. A woman (who we later discover is named Destiny, played by Nicole Wolf) is cruising the streets solo. She exits said bus and calls a relative on a pay phone, which strangely still exists in this day and age. After wordlessly hanging up the phone she’s stalked by a duo of Latino men who rattle rapid-fire Spanish in her direction. They appear to be harassing her. Suddenly, a white van pulls up beside the young woman. Two women, also clad in white, usher her inside the vehicle. We hear the men, in Spanish, explain that they were trying to save Destiny from the white van. Uh oh. Someone’s in trouble.
Flash forward time! Six months have passed since that night. We’re now in the lavish Wilder residence. Geoffrey Wilder (Ryan Sands) is attempting to connect with his son Alex (Rhenzy Feliz). Alex has been aloof since his friend tragically passed, finding solace in video games. Then, Geoffrey and Alex join Mama Wilder Catherine (Angel Parker) for breakfast. Both parents stage an intervention for their son out of genuine concern. Alex insists he’ll make friends when he gets to college. The Wilders are throwing a dinner party for their non-profit organization that night. Perhaps Alex could reunite with his childhood friends there?
Meanwhile, we see Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano) methodically preparing for her day at school. She’s dressed head to toe in black, black and more black. She might be my soul sister. Nico is a Gothic teenage dream. Then, her mother Tina (Brittany Ishibashi) catches Nico in her deceased sister’s room borrowing black stockings. Tina ushers her daughter out in a rage, furious that Nico would even consider trespassing on sacred ground. Clearly the wound from the death is still fresh. Nico silently heads to school.
Next, we meet Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin), who’s lifting weights in his room in a very shirtless-esque manner. Yes, we’re introduced to bare pectorals prior to getting a glimpse of Chase’s face. Jock guys, unite! Anyway, Chase ventures downstairs for breakfast at his mother’s behest and finds his father Victor (James Marsters) at the table. Spike! It’s so weird seeing Marsters in a project other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the change is welcome nonetheless. Victor is terrifying in a boot-shaking way, thus solidifying Marsters as a truly underrated talent. He comments on Chase’s average grade in Spanish class. Mediocrity is death, my boy!
Then, we meet Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner). She’s the face of the Church of Gibborm, alongside her pastor mother Leslie (Annie Wersching) and father Frank (Kip Pardue). Karolina is avidly watching her mother sermonize in front of a large, eager church body.
Later, Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer) and her adopted sister Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) are dropped off at school by the Yorkes parents. Stacey (Brigid Brannagh) and Dale (Kevin Weisman) are your typical free-loving, Phish-loving hippie parents you’d expect to live in SoCal. I am officially obsessed with them and currently petitioning to have this fictional couple adopt me. Plus, Gert has already risen through the ranks as my favorite sister in feminism.
Next, after the character introductions, we see how they interact at school. Well, by interact I mean not interact. Chase initially brushes off a clearly love struck Gert by being a stereotypical jock. Nico sits alone, reading, while Alex works up the courage to speak to her. Karolina also roams alone, the picture perfect, holier than thou church girl.
Then, Alex calls his mom after making an executive decision – he will invite his old friends over while their parents meet for their charity dinner. We see he has a photo including all the characters we were just introduced to. Aw, they used to be friends! Of course, the death of Nico’s sister may have had something to do with their split.
Meanwhile, Leslie is paying a visit to a bedridden man with a severe case of eczema. Well, it appears to be that anyway. She giddily informs him that his time is swiftly arriving. Time for what? Anything that vague can’t possibly harbor good.
Later, Gert is petitioning for her classmates to join her after school group. She hopes to instill change in the way things run. Of course, no one likes a Social Justice Warrior (insert intense sarcasm here). Afterwards, Alex vocalizes his proposition regarding their potential group hang at the Wilder residence. Everyone brushes it aside, not paying the idea any heed. Poor Alex. He just really needs some TLC from his friends.
Next, we see Molly audition for the school dance team. Everything seems peachy keen until she’s stricken with a bout of menstrual cramps. Aw, first periods! Yay! Anyway, she immediately heads over to the nurse’s office to breathe through the pain in peace. Maybe the next tryouts will be the lucky ticket.
Meanwhile, Chase is speaking with his Spanish teacher regarding his average grades. Gert follows them closely, eavesdropping on the conversation. She clearly only has eyes for the jock. Then, she offers to tutor Chase in Spanish. He heartily agrees to the arrangement and thinks a cafe would be suitable for his tutoring needs. Studying over coffee? Get it, Gert!
Then, Alex finally attempts to talk to Nico. Of course, Nico has her headphones in and feigns not hearing him. However, we know better. She heard every word but chose not to respond. I hope these two can get their friendship back on track.
Later, we see Karolina crying in the bathroom because someone defiled a photo she posted on social media, calling her something akin to a religious freak. Nico is also crying int he bathroom post-Alex interaction. Bathrooms are terrific crying spaces. Thank you Runaways for recognizing this. Both girls chalk up their tears to seasonal allergies.
Meanwhile, a cramping Molly is sitting in the nurse’s office, suffering in Menstrual Hell. While the nurse is away, something unusual happens. Molly’s eyes glow a golden color and she grips the bottom of her seat. We see said seat folding, bending under her hands. She leaves massive dents behind, ingrained in the metal. Could her period have unlocked her superhero powers? I like this idea.
Next, Karolina meets Destiny as she’s doing an interview on behalf of Leslie. Destiny has changed for the better since being pulled off the street. She mentions her rebellious faze, which catches Karolina’s attention. She too yearns for her rebellion! No more Miss Good Girl.
Later, Molly arrives to an empty house. She decides to test run her powers on their Volkswagen in the garage. With quite a bit exertion on her part she’s able to push said Volkswagen up an incline. After a successful push she cheers, ecstatic. Never do we meet someone in TV who’s happy to gain powers. How refreshing.
Then, we see all the parents of our teens gather together for a meeting of The Pride. Time for charity wining and dining! Alex is disappointed because no one showed up on his end. Thus, he’s sentenced to eat six large pizzas alone. Hey, that actually sounds heavenly.
Meanwhile, Gert is left waiting in the wings while Chase ends up going to a party. Don’t leave my girl hanging! Karolina decides to shirk her good girl image for the night and arrives at said party. Chase will be in for a surprise. So, Karolina promptly steps inside and receives a pill containing a copious amount of drugs. She contemplates taking it but instead unclasps the wrist band she’s currently sporting. This unlocks something never before seen. Her arms and hands begin changing colors, sparkling under the dark lighting. Said effect makes her faint, however. Then, a duo of horny boys drags the unconscious Karolina upstairs, with a worried Chase in tow.
Next, Molly ventures downstairs to fed the Yorkes’ many pets. Of course, it was Gert’s turn, but you can’t win them all. What she discovers is, quite frankly, prehistorically astonishing. She finds a real, authentic dinosaur sequestered away in her basement. A dinosaur! Then, she frantically calls Gert and begs her sister to pick her up. Dinosaurs are scary when resurfaced.
Then, Chase walks in on the horny boys unfastening Karolina’s belt. He fends them off successfully and clasps Karolina’s bracelet back on. She instantly wakes up, not able to recall what happened before. So, she must have a power that’s controlled by her bracelet. Interesting. Chase and Karolina hop in an Uber together and speed away from the calamity of the party.
Later, we see Nico on the beach performing a spell. She’s attempting to summon her deceased sister, but said attempt is unsuccessful. Nico breaks down in tears. My poor Goth baby.
Next, our gang finally comes together. We see Chase, Karolina, Molly, Gert and Nico standing on the threshold of the Wilder residence. Alex greets them. Reunited and it feels so good (mostly awkward). They discuss why Alex didn’t attend Nico’s sister’s funeral. Her death caused a ripple effect – it completely severed the bond our core group had with one another.
Then, after some persuading by Alex, our group decides to stay. But first, alcohol. Chase follows the scent and discovers where Alex’s father stashes away the booze. He apologizes to Gert for standing her up, but she can see that Karolina was more important. Please do not hurt my Gert any longer, Chase. Suddenly, while riffling for a coaster, Alex turns a stack of fake coasters to reveal a secret passageway. Now we’re talking!
Our protagonists venture downstairs, where an entire basement level exists. They stumble upon their parents decked out in red robes. An invisible force field has been enacted to prevent sound from traveling inward or outward. Thus, our kids can react loudly without disturbing the scene. We see Destiny emerge, clad in white. The Pride tower over her, and place her body on a slab of rock. Suddenly, she disappears. Uh oh. That’s not good. Our group rightfully, collectively freaks out. Molly attempts to snap a photo of the scene, but the flash on her phone is seen by their parents. Caught in the act! Geoffrey Wilder gazes up at the spot where the flash used to be. Our kids scamper off. “What the hell was that?” Geoffrey asks, bewildered.
Guys, I can appreciate the slight lagging on Runaways. As I said before, we needed to establish our large cast of characters first. Honestly, the actors portraying the teens definitely rank as a highlight for me. Talented little buggers, they are. Plus, each character is so different that I’m getting some serious The Breakfast Club vibes. And ending on that cliffhanger is most certainly enough to keep me watching.
Do you think The Pride will discover their children were spying on them? Can Alex and Nico mend their friendship? Do any of the other Runaways have powers besides Molly and Karolina? How is the Church of Gibborm related to The Pride, and what the fork is a “Gibborm?” Join me as I continue to recap Runaways weekly, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Runaways airs Tuesdays at midnight on Hulu.
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