There’s a lot of excitement to be had in the penultimate episode of season 1 of Runaways. The kids’ romances finally start to sizzle, Jonah puts the parents on notice, we find out what Molly’s parents died for, Molly gets an origin story, and Jonah’s giant hole and drill are revealed. Why are these Marvel shows so obsessed with giant holes and things going in and out of them? Never mind, it’s a rhetorical question.
Adorable tiny Molly returns in a new flashback! Ten years ago, her parents, Gene and Alice Hernandez, had Molly in their lab with them as they paced nervously and finalized their preparations to flee the country. Gena and Alice get a video call from The Yorkes, and explain that they’ve discovered something important about the new dig projections and rock samples, but they have to tell the Yorkes in person. The Yorkes say they’ll be right over.
Molly is playing with one of the rock samples, which glows from it’s cracks, undulates, wiggles, and moves on its own. After throwing a bomb in, someone slams the lab door closed tight and locks it from the outside. By the time the Hernandez’ see the bomb, there’s nothing they can do to stop it from detonating.
Molly is surrounded by the rock samples when the bomb goes off. She’s protected by the power of the rocks and a set of metal shelves. After the explosion, as she’s holding her stuffed elephant Elian and a large chunk of rock, her eyes glow. She’s acquired her powers.
Leslie walks away from the destroyed lab and calls Tina to tell her, “It’s done. Gene and Alice are no longer a problem.” Tina asks what she means. Leslie says that she handled it. Tina burns herself on a frying pan, the burn that made everyone assume that she planted the bomb. She didn’t, but she was okay with Leslie’s methods.
In the present day, Nico sneaks into Amy’s room to grab the phone that charged overnight. Robert wanders in with coffee and startles her. Tina has taken him back, but not into her bed just yet.
Karolina tells Frank everything about the kids’ suspicions, evidence, and plans, because he seems like the one parent they can trust. Jonah must have left Frank with some sort of loyalty tag so that he would tell Jonah everything. Frank isn’t interested in helping, he just wants to get the details of the story right, though he pretends to promise help.
Leslie interrupts them as Karolina heads to school.
Janet holds a press conference to announce that Victor is seeking treatment for his brain tumor overseas and retiring from public life while he does. Janet and Chase watch the news announcement together. She asks Chase to be careful. She couldn’t bear to lose her son.
The kids gather at school to finish their argument from the night before. Everyone at school is sympathetic to Chase. Eiffel wants him to go to the school dance. Gert buys 5 tickets so they can all go together. When all else fails, we dance.
Tina and Robert drive to the construction site and hope that their commitment to Pride is almost over. Tina thinks about everything they’ve lost along the way and can never get back. She remembers a time when Jonah came to her house to play with Amy and use her as blackmail material. Jonah Von Doom, master of the subtle and not so subtle threat against children.
The Pride gathers at the construction site as they are about to break ground on Jonah’s extra special drilling project. Geoffrey bristles because his security teams have been fired and replaced with elite, very white crews from the Church of Gibborim.
Jonah starts the giant drill, as the neighborhood security guys are dismissed. The one Darius, Geoffrey’s rival, was paying as a spy goes out to report to him.
Molly finds the rest of the gang at school and asks them to help her play her parents’ videotape. Alex says the AV Club has a VCR they can use. The kids are taking this so seriously that they only make a couple of AV Club jokes to tease Alex.
The tape is a recording of Gene and Alice speaking directly to the camera, aimed at the older Molly that’s found it:
(Gene) Molly, since before you were born we’ve been part of an organization called Pride. (Alice) Pride does a lot of good for this city, but that’s not the group’s reason for being. (Gene) They’re planning on digging something up. Something buried deep beneath the city. (Alice) We were told it was a renewable energy source, and it would do good for the planet. (Gene) But now we’re not so sure. (Alice) But even if what’s down there is good… (Gene) There’s a blind fault. You can’t see it from the surface. And if we disturb it, it will cause a series of seismic events. (Alice) Catastrophic earthquakes. (Gene) Hydrocarbons causing explosions and massive fires. (Alice) Not to mention we found some really weird stuff in these rock samples. And we don’t know if it’s caused by a virus or a fungus. (Gene) It doesn’t matter. The point is, if you’re watching this, we failed to stop it. (Alice) Baby, we love you so so much, and there’s so much more we want to tell you. But please know that we’re right beside you, always. You are our greatest joy. (Gene) And we are so so sorry.
Gene and Alice were geologists who were discovering the truth about Jonah’s plans, so they were eliminated before they could share the details with anyone else. If they were smart, they would have given Molly a rock sample and any test results they had along with the videotape. Well, if they were smart they would have given the Yorkes the information over the phone, at the very least, or have made multiple packets with the incriminating results, and overnighted them, along with samples, to as many colleagues, news outlets, and law enforcement organizations as possible, but then there wouldn’t be a show.
The kids are left reeling. Their parents are even worse than they thought. At least Molly’s parents tried to warn the others, and stop the destruction.
Gert: They just went from serial killers to genocidal maniacs.
The kids realize that the Pride school construction is the cover for the giant dig that will end the world. They have to find a way to stop it, even though they’re in way over their heads. The dance will provide the perfect cover.
Alex: Drive separately, dress nice, lie to your parents.
The Runaways rules for living.
Frank meets with Jonah for another one of their little negotiations. Frank says knowledge is power, and he’s feeling very powerful. He ruins the moment by explaining the metaphor, but Jonah is happy to play along.
Chase says a final sounding goodbye to his mom, who’s still cleaning up Victor’s blood. She’s either the worst cleaner in the world, or Victor had vats of blood in him. He tells her that he’s into Gert now, instead of Karolina, by way of sharing all of the interesting things Gert says. Dates are so heteronormative.
Nico calls Alex to come over before the dance. She’s been able to get Amy’s phone back, and the final two texts Amy received were: He found out! Leave the house now!!!! The texts eliminate Tina as the murderer, since they refer to a he. They come from an unknown number, so she wasn’t being warned by anyone she was close to.
The Yorkes call Graciela, who tells them that Molly has been missing since that morning. She warns them to stay away from Molly, because the fact that Molly’s parents left the key with Graciela proves that they didn’t trust the Yorkes. The Yorkes are stunned. Gene and Alice loved them, but they realize that Gene and Alice also thought the Yorkes might fail at protecting the kids, just like they had. It was smart of them to leave another option for Molly.
The kids gather at the dance. Molly finds Gert and Old Lace in her car. Molly has spent the day having adventures around town. Chase has already gone in and left the fistigons with Molly. Gert decides she should go into the dance for a while. Molly tells her she looks nice. She should go after Chase. “Live your truth!” Aw, supportive sisters! 👩❤️👩 💖
Chase is up on a balcony, waiting and watching for Gert like he’s Juliet. He runs right down to her. He looks around the dance and can’t believe they were ever really a part of that scene. Gert says that she wasn’t. No one ever noticed her unless she barfed orange juice on her shoes. Chase might have noticed her that day, but he didn’t otherwise, and she wanted him to.
Chase’s friend Brandon walks in with Eiffel, and Gert says that Brandon has stolen Chase’s life. Chase says he doesn’t mind. At least the life he’s living now is real, he knows the truth, and he knows who his friends are and who his parents are. Gert says the boy just became a man. Chase says it happened just in time, since tonight might be their last night on earth.
Gert wants to dance, if it’s their last chance. They go to a private room and slow dance. Chase tells her that he always saw her. She knows. They start to make out, then get hot and heavy as their clothes start to come off.
The rest of the gang is waiting in Gert’s car. Nico decides to go look for them, and snubs Alex by asking Karolina to help her look instead. They search the halls of the school. Karolina takes advantage of the moment to kiss Nico. Nico is surprised, but responds. Karolina says that she’s wanted to kiss Nico for a long time, and didn’t know when she’d get another chance, especially if they die tonight. They’re all very fatalistic in this episode.
Gert and Chase stumble out of the room they were in, still fixing their clothes. There’s an awkward moment, then they all agree it’s time to go.
Daddy Jonah Von Doom has called the Pride together to ask them, very seriously, “DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?” He informs them that their children are all lying liars who lie and have been lying to them for weeks, about everything. Then he lists the kids crimes, episode by episode. And points the finger at the parents who covered up what they knew about the kids.
He continues with listing the parents sins. When he gets to Stacy, Dale, and the brain tumor serum, Dale lies and says that, no, he’s not running tests on it. Stacy owns right up to what they’re doing, looking Jonah right in the eye, and telling him “yes”, securing her position as my favorite of the parents.
Jonah warns that there will be dire consequences if his leadership is questioned. He finishes by repeating himself. “Where are your children?”
The parents race home to discover that all sorts of special tools are missing. The fistigons, the Staff of One, the construction site access card.
The kids get to the construction site, and find a Gibborim security guard waiting. They tell the guard that they need to do a school photography project and ask him to call Frank. Frank, who’s in the car with his new bestie Jonah, tells the guard to let them in. Might as well make it easy for the Big Bad Wolf to eat your kids.
Alex does a weapons check and pep talk before they go in. The plan is to get in, destroy as much as possible as quickly as possible, and get out. Darius, Geoffrey’s old gang rival, watches from a nearby car. Darius remembers what he saw when he took Alex and the others saved him. He’s determined to find out what’s really going on.
The kids are shocked by the size of the giant hole and drill. I can’t even, with Marvel and the giant, bottomless, dark holes and giant, powerful, loud drills. Just imagine that I’ve done copious intelligent sounding Freudian psychological analysis here, and made a few more sexual innuendos. Or, keep repeating to yourself, sometimes a banana is just a banana. 🤓
Gert and Chase take on disabling the drill. Gert is angry that they had sex a whole hour ago and jumped up to go save the world without talking about what it meant. She might be having trust issues after all of that not seeing her he did for years. She preemptively tells him it was a one time thing.
Chase is still riding his sex high and thinking everything is fine. Suddenly, he doesn’t understand women at all. Luckily, he’s his father’s son and knows how to kill a machine, so he takes care of that first, with the fistigons.
Molly is charged with breaking whatever’s at the bottom of the hole. She uses her strength to push a large truck in. The other kids catch her before momentum sends her following after the truck. Nico tells the Staff of One to fill the hole. A dust storm kicks up and starts sending dirt inside.
Just then, the staff flies out of Nico’s hand, and into Tina’s. The parents have arrived. The kids and parents form two lines, facing off against each other. The parents insist that the kids stop what they’re doing and come home. The kids refuse. They know who the parents really are. The parents say they’ll answer the kids questions at home. Everything they’ve done, they’ve done for their kids.
The kids say they aren’t on the same side as their parents anymore. Stacy says there aren’t sides. They’re a family. The kids say no, they’re a family. Molly says they’ll fight their parents if they have to. She lets her eyes glow, and the parents back up a few steps, shocked.
Karolina removes her bracelet so that her glow is revealed. The parents are shocked for a second time. Leslie says she didn’t know Karolina could do that, but it’s what she was afraid of.
Now we know what causes the destruction of LA that was predicted on Victor’s time machine TV. In the future, Chase must have come to believe that if his father weren’t mostly dead, Victor could have stopped the madness. He sent the message back telling Victor not to pick up the fistigons, so that Janet wouldn’t shoot him.
Capabilities of Gravitonium, from the MCU Wikia:
“Gravitonium possesses unique gravitational properties. A mass of Gravitonium atoms distorts gravity fields within itself, giving itself an undulating, amorphous shape that is akin to liquid. However, when stimulated by an electrical current, the mass of Gravitonium will solidify into a uniform sphere and causes powerful gravity fields to emanate outwardly from it. These gravity fields cause changes in the rules of gravity in various ways within a certain proximity of it. This can range from phenomenon such as levitating objects by reversing the pull of gravity or increasing gravity and shifting the direction/point of attraction.”
(Slight spoilers for Agents of SHIELD, Season 5)
Sounds like something that could be used as a renewable energy source, but could also cause massive earthquakes, no? Gravitonium is currently being used on Agents of SHIELD to power the Lighthouse. 70 years from now the Lighthouse is the last refuge of the humans who survived the destruction of the earth. How the earth was destroyed has been kept a mystery so far, but some of the current population blame an inhuman called Quake, who can create earthquakes. She doesn’t have enough power to destroy a planet, but she could have been involved in trying to stop someone from destroying earth, and earthquakes were involved.
Could we be looking at the first shared storyline between these two shows? They might not do crossovers, but they could refer to events and characters. Or maybe just Quake/Daisy, or just Jonah, could crossover. Or they might just do a thorough Gravitonium storyline on Agents of SHIELD, picking up the dropped threads from season 1, then have guest characters from that arc move to season 2 of Runaways. Franklin Hall, the discoverer of Gravitonium, for example, or businessman-scientist Ian Quinn.
We still don’t know why Karolina glows, but it sounds like she inherited it from Jonah, and Leslie didn’t know if Karolina would. That means Jonah is either a known type of entity, like an inhuman, where the genetic anomaly isn’t always passed on, or he’s something new to the MCU, like the type of alien that the entire Dean family were in the comics- Majesdanians.