In its season finale, Marvel’s Runaways finally lives up to its name. The kids run away, drive away, then run away again. The parents run away in spirit, as they plot rebellion and revenge against Jonah. The cast is separated into three camps, the kids, the Pride rebellion, and Jonah and his minions, including former best parent Frank, who’s been seduced by Jonah’s power into betraying his wife and child. Alex turns to gang leader Darius to act as their sponsor and surrogate parent. It’s a sad day when the least dangerous choice for guardian is the lifelong member of a notorious gang, but that’s where we are.
The battle is on. The kids power up themselves and their gadgets in readiness. Catherine notices that everyone but Alex has a little something extra. Dale says that Gert’s a regular kid, too, just as Gert’s psychically linked dinosaur runs up to stand beside her.
Dale shoots Old Lace with a tranquilizer dart, causing the kids to attack back. Chase fires the fistigons and Karolina fires her light beams, but Tina uses the staff to deflect them. Molly tries to throw a heavy barrel at the parents, but Jonah appears and fires his own light beam at her. She drops to the ground. The parents yell at Jonah to stop and tell their kids to run. Jonah sends out an energy pulse that throws the kids backwards in a pile. Darius watches through the construction site fencing.
Defiant, the kids get up and get back in position. Karolina tells the rest to leave. Jonah wants her, so she’ll keep him busy while they escape. Reluctantly they go. Nico doesn’t want to leave her.
Jonah turns on his pure white body glow, and Karolina becomes Rainbow Brite. The parents watch in horror as they aim matching light beams at each other, which meet in the middle, forming a ball of supercharged energy. It eventually breaks free in the form of an EMP, taking out all of the electronic devices in the surrounding area, including Gert’s car and the kids’ phones.
The kids wonder what happened to Karolina. Nico goes back to look through the fence and see if she get tell. She discovers that the parents are about to come looking for them. They run.
Hours later, it’s dawn and they’re still wandering the streets, with Old Lace hiding in a shopping cart. When a passing police car slows down to get a look at them, they realize they need to get off the streets. Alex looks up and sees the Griffith Observatory surrounded by trees in the Hollywood Hills, home to fictional teenage rebels for generations. It’s perfect.
Next they argue about whether they should leave town right away, or find Karolina first. Alex wants to get out fast, Nico wants to find her, and the rest have mixed feelings. After a few minutes of intense discussion. they decide that they should stick together as a group.
The parents other than Leslie and Frank meet up and share some secrets. Tina reveals that Leslie killed Gene and Alice. They realize that something must have happened to Molly in the explosion to make her strong. Stacy and Dale decide to use Gene and Alice’s equipment to run more tests at the dig site. Geoffrey and Catherine decide to talk to Karolina to find out how much the kids know.
Karolina is in Leslie’s private room, unconscious and wearing the black breathing mask Jonah wore when he was flaky. Leslie accuses Frank of betraying herself and Karolina. Frank says she betrayed him first when she slept with Jonah. I think they’re missing an important point here, which is that they have a common enemy.
Jonah comes in and tells them that there’s no need to worry, Karolina’s healing is coming along nicely. He’s the kind of father who believes in tough love.
He encourages Frank and Leslie to leave him alone with Karolina, insisting that she’ll be safe with him.
Nico, Chase, and Molly shop for disguises at a high end thrift store. They can’t believe that they’re already reduced to buying used clothes. Nico and Chase discuss their new love interests. He tells her that he really likes Gert. He’s also not upset about Nico and Karolina, but he is happy that Karolina had a good reason for rejecting him. 😉
Molly finds a green wig for Gert and a funky outfit for herself. Meanwhile, Alex has been scouting out the area, which is full of real homeless people and low rent businesses. Gert went food shopping at Whole Foods so that Old Lace could eat. She tosses the dinosaur a whole chicken.
Alex tells Gert that she has to leave the dinosaur behind from here on out. They’ll be moving around too much to keep her hidden, and she’s too dangerous if she gets hungry. Gert argues, but no one supports her. She says goodbye to Old Lace, and sends her off into the woods, telling her to make friends with a mountain lion.
I understand the group’s reasoning, but I don’t agree with the decision. Old Lace is part of the gang, too. She understands how to stay out of sight and be quiet. It’s a comic book show. I’m sure they can work out the logistics.
Gibborim super assistant Vaughn orders a coffee at Timely Coffee and argues over the mispelling of his name as Yawn. Nico slips in and takes it, leading him to talk to the kids. He refuses to believe that anything shady could be happening at the institution or that Jonah has taken charge.
Karolina wakes up to find Jonah waiting for her. The first thing he does is make sure she knows that he’s her father. He’s excited that they’re together now, because neither of them has to feel alone any more. Since Karolina’s only known she was different for a couple of weeks, and she’s been surrounded by friends the whole time, she doesn’t look like it’s traumatized her much yet.
The kids enact Karolina Rescue Plan B, having Chase and Molly picked up as runaways by the Church of Gibborim.
Stacy and Dale bring Gene and Alice’s equipment to the dig site. As they’re setting up, Leslie confronts them. They deflect, but stop when they get a test result indicating that there’s something alive in the hole. All three are shocked. Stacy takes great joy in pointing out that Jonah keeps secret from Leslie, too.
The kids go to the church for their rescue mission. Vaughn has changed his mind and escorts Chase and Molly to Leslie’s private room. It’s locked, but Molly breaks the code by pulling off the door. They’re stopped on the way there by Leslie’s creepy minions, but they let Vaughn and the others pass after a moment.
Vaughn takes off when Molly breaks the door. Chase and Molly help get Karolina out of the room, then make their way through the public hallways. The minions spot them before long, and call security.
They hide in a small side corridor until the coast is clear, then make a run for it. Chase uses his Xray goggled to decide when it’s safe to run. He sees Jonah as a being of light, but doesn’t understand what he’s seeing.
Outside, Alex finds and steals a Gibborim get away van, while Nico and Gert keep watch. Gert is showing signs of increasing anxiety, because she left her pills at home, and her emotional support dinosaur was left behind. Nico tells Gert that Chase really likes her.
Catherine and Geoffrey visit the church so they can talk to Karolina about the other kids. Jonah is dismissive of them, to the point of acting threatening by the end of the meeting. The Wilders decide to work alone until they figure out what’s going on and get Alex back.
Vaughn tells Leslie that the kids got away, just like she wanted. She thanks him for his loyalty. He asks if Jonah is really in charge? Leslie tells him no, not at all.
Jonah gets a text from an unknown number, saying, “Mission accomplished. Let me know what’s next.”
After overhearing his parents leaving Gibborim and talking about getting him back, Alex asks Nico if she thinks she’ll ever talk to her parents again. Nico says she has nothing to say.
Nico thanks Karolina for protecting the group, then kisses her. When she’s done, she notices that Alex is gone. She assumes that he’s gone to call his parents, because she can’t remember the brave, caring guy that brought the group together again and lead them through danger and adventure, now that she’s moved on to her next crush.
All of them have had moments of weakness concerning their parents. Alex gets to have his turn, just like Chase did when he smashed Alex’s computer. And he probably just saw her kiss Karolina.
But he’s not calling his parents, anyway. He called Darius, who meets him on a street corner. Alex convinces Darius that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and Darius agrees to see what they can work out.
Stacy and Dale brainstorm about Jonah and the life form in the patented Marvel Very Big Hole. They develop a theory that Jonah and the life form are related, and they happen to have Jonah’s DNA in the brain tumor serum. They decide to work on developing that into a weapon that will kill both Jonah and whatever’s in the hole.
The doorbell rings and the rest of the parents, except the Wilders, shuffle into the house for a meeting called by Leslie. Most aren’t interested in listening to her.
Stacy: Trust level is pretty low right now.
Tina: It’s less than zero. And I’m not just talking about me and Janet.
Leslie wants to team up to go after Jonah. Stacy points out that Leslie’s been sleeping with the enemy. Leslie says that what he did to the kids at the construction site was the last straw. Janet is worried that Jonah holds Victor’s life in his hands. The others don’t think he’ll hurt Victor, because he needs Victor too much.
Leslie confesses to killing Gene and Alice, and to knowing that Jonah killed Amy. Jonah got the Wizard alarm that Amy’s hack set off. Leslie was the one who sent the last two texts. She was too into Jonah and their goals to give them up at that point. Amy didn’t know about the Pride tapes. She was killed for nothing. Tina threatens to kill Leslie right there, but Leslie notes that she could help them get close to Jonah.
Jonah stands in silhouette in a dark room with a bright window. Victor’s box is there. He tells Frank that he’s glad that Frank got past his anger, since they’re working toward the same bright future. Once Victor’s back, things will get interesting. Jonah raises his sleeve slightly to rub at his wrist, which is flaking and peeling again already. There are flakes floating in the air.
Alex returns to the campsite late that night, after everyone else is asleep in the van. Nico hears him and wakes up to talk. He reassures her that he didn’t call his parents. He’s brought back a gun, and a thick wad of cash.
Geoffrey stares at his phone. He’s going to make a call that will change everything, but will get the kids to safety. Then, they go to war.
The kids assemble at the bus station. It’s time to leave town. Gert waits outside, and hears something rattling around in the dumpster. Old Lace has followed them there, in stealth mode. If she can manage that, she’s earned the right to come with.
Gert runs inside to tell the others that Old Lace is there. They’re debating which city to buy tickets for. Suddenly, an Amber Alert comes up on the news for Molly, saying she was kidnapped by the other five kids, who are now also wanted in connection with Destiny’s murder.
A guy who’s watching TV in the bus station turns around and recognizes them. The kids realize that it’s time to run away for real. They disappear down a back alley with Old Lace bringing up the rear.
The final shot is of a newspaper headline: Earthquake Watch- Is LA next?
Alex is keeping himself a bit separate from the group, and trying to make the tough emotional decisions. He also probably feels betrayed, having been treated harshly by the others twice in the last few days. First, Chase destroyed his laptop, the source of his personal power, when he was going to have a difficult time replacing it. Nobody cares that he might have files and apps on it that are difficult to replace, and now he can’t go home to get his back up drive. Hopefully he has back ups in the cloud, too, though his parents could lock him out. But, the team depends on his computer skills, and showed no appreciation for them or concern about his loss.
Instead, they followed Nico in being angry or ignoring him and forgiving Chase. Nico was close to him, and they had an understanding that they were considering dating. When Amy died, he was a kid who was in over his head, and didn’t know if telling Nico what he knew would make things better or worse. When Nico made herself unapproachable, he felt the decision had been made for him. He didn’t have enough information to understand the situation or the maturity to understand his mistake at the time.
But Nico is judging him as if he were a full grown adult with all of the information they have now. She dropped him like a hot potato and transferred her affections to Karolina without a word to him. It would be normal for him to feel a little used and jealous. He probably wanted to leave Karolina and Old Lace behind because of his feelings of loss and betrayal.
People have pointed out multiple times that Alex is a normal kid while everyone else brings powers or gadgets to the group. He has multiple reasons to feel insecure about his place in the group, even though he’s clearly the member with the leadership skills, in addition to his computer skills and resourcefulness.
No one else has thought about what being runaways really means for them yet. They are all very sheltered, spoiled rich kids who have no idea how the middle class lives, never mind street people, and they can be snobbish about it. They’re in for a rude awakening.
But Alex has already begun to confront the need for cash, starting with his encounters with Darius and Andre. They made him realize how difficult the real world can be. The writers showed us the conversations between Andre and Alex for a reason. Both guys had similar hacker skills, so Alex knows that Darius likely has an opening for a hacker. Between the information Alex can sell him, and the jobs he can do, Alex can make himself useful immediately. Eventually, Chase can use his engineering skills, and Molly can make money using her strength, but Alex is the only one who has contacts he can use now. He is essential to the group, and I hope the others realize that before long.
[Slight spoilers for the Netflix Marvel shows and The Gifted.]
When Stacy and Dale say that whatever is in the hole is alive, do they mean the rocks that might be Gravitonium, or the fungus/virus that Alice and Gene told Molly about, or something else? The Netflix Marvel shows are obsessed with dragons in their caves and pits. The dragons’ skeletons are used to grant immortality. Is that what Jonah is looking for? Is there a living or dead dragon trapped down there? Does it’s life essence change the rocks somehow? The Gifted just introduced a mutant that shapeshifts into a dragon, so it would bring Runaways further into the MCU to have them share the dragon theme along with the deep dark hole and powered people on the run themes.
What happened to the rock samples that went through the lab explosion? Molly was holding one, so we know at least one came through unscathed. Those should have been taken to another lab for investigation.
Why is Jonah flaking so badly already? He used to go a year between sacrifices. Is it because he was in such bad shape before they sacrificed Andre? It looks like that flaking should itch. Next season, I want to see him giving orders from his scented oatmeal baths.
He must be planning to use the renewable energy source from the giant hole on himself. How does he know it’s there? Does he know about the fault? Does he know what the life form is? I don’t think the life form is as simple as Dale and Stacy think it is. How ancient is Jonah? Could the underground mass be his crashed spaceship?
Is Jonah planning to use the rocks to bring Victor back? I didn’t like the way he told Frank that their future together was bright. Frank’s going to be going into the light as soon as Jonah has no immediate use for him and Victor can build a new box. Jonah won’t put up with competition as Karolina’s father or Leslie’s lover for long.
If Jonah isn’t an inhuman or an alien, he could be a lost member of the Hand, and this is how his powers manifested. He has a similar personality and obsessions to the Fingers (leaders), and they were/are powerful beings. Their lives are recharged in containers similar to Victor’s boxes, using the Substance, made from Dragon skeletons.
As far as I know, HULU can’t use the terms mutants or Xmen, so that explanation is out.
Who sent Jonah the “Mission accomplished” text? My guess is Vaughn, who can’t be as dumb and innocent as he seems, but it could theoretically be Leslie or Frank. Someone planted the keys in the Gibborim van to make sure the kids got away. There’s an outside chance that Jonah revealed himself as the being of light to the two Gibborim recruiter bots, and now they’re his loyal slaves.
Who issued the Amber Alert on Molly, and had Destiny’s case reopened so that the other kids would become suspects? That had to be Geoff and Catherine. She’s an attorney and it’s been implied that he has frequent dealings with the police in his role as a “community organizer”. Detective Flores, the cop that Pride has in their pocket, was specifically mentioned in the broadcast as the spokesman who’d commented on the case. Putting an APB out on the kids is just the sort of heavy handed move that Geoff would think was a good idea, but wouldn’t think through. He wouldn’t understand how it would make the kids feel or what their reactions might be.
The parents are ending where they began, not particularly liking or trusting each other, but working together for the greater good. Some of their true feelings and betrayals have been revealed, but that’s about it. I expect there will be more secrets that come out next season. Victor didn’t even get to take part in the Truth or Dare sessions. Or, well, I guess he got taken out in the first couple of rounds for being too truthful and too daring. I hope they bring him back quickly next season. His dry, sarcastic wit was definitely missing during the last few episodes.
I think that having Victor spend an entire episode bleeding out on the floor while the great geniuses and humanitarians of Pride stood around and watched was one of the funniest things this show did all season. If showing every single one of the parents refuse to call an ambulance because someone might get arrested, or call Jonah because he’d get mad at them, while they left Victor on the garage floor, not even putting him on a table with a blanket on him, didn’t show who they really are, then nothing will. Happily, my girl Stacy at least jumped in and tried to do some kind of emergency surgery, though obviously calling an ambulance would have been better.
The kids have restored their former closeness and trust, though not back to the level it was at before Amy died. Their lives are too complicated by romantic attraction and danger to go back to the way it was in simpler times, but now they know that they need to fight to stay together. They’ve chosen each other rather than being thrown together by their parents. There are still factions and shifting loyalties within the group to threaten its cohesiveness next season, and they’re still teenagers with mercurial emotions.
Grade for the season= A-