Runaways Season 2, Episodes 1-13 now streaming on Hulu
Warning:This portion of the review will be an overall impression of S2. There’ll be a spoiler warning that will dissect the ending.
Runaways, for all intents and purposes, hits the ground running in its sophomore season. The gang is finally on the lam from Pride and they learn firsthand that leaving everything behind is easier said than done.
Away from home
The uptick of quality between season 1 and 2 is tremendous. The scope gets wider, the stakes get higher and the pace gets quicker. The team dynamics are a lot more fleshed out. Alex, Gert, Molly, Chase, Karolina and Nico are all forced to grow up in a hurry in order to survive outside of Brentwood’s walls. They also learn how to be a family.
Gert (Ariela Barer) has a lot of trouble adjusting to her new life on the run, her relationship with Chase (Gregg Sulkin) and her untreated anxiety threatens to damage her psyche. Ariela gives Gert a new dimension to Gert’s caustically witty personality by showing a newfound vulnerability that wasn’t present in Brian K. Vaughn’s two runs.
Coming into their own
Molly (Allegra Acosta) relishes the chance to become a vigilante “Get with the times, who runs the world?” she asks as she stops a crook from hurting a woman. Alex (Rhenzy Feliz), for the most part, makes some rather questionable choices throughout the season (working for Darius), he’s still loyal to his friends and believes that it’ll lead to the right outcome: putting Pride down for good.
Karolina’s (Virginia Gardner) also stuck in the middle between her friends, her budding relationship with Jonah (Julian McMahon) that could provide answers to the Church of Gibborim and her relationship with Nico (Lyrica Okano).
Lyrica Okano is by far the show’s MVP in a season full of strong performances across the board. Nico has a lot of the best moments (including her version of Thanos’ snap!) and she’s the voice of reason and there are times where it looks like she’s becoming more like her mom, Tina Minoru (Brittany Ishibashi).
Lesser of two evils?
On the flip side of the coin: The Pride are fighting a battle on two fronts: getting out of Jonah’s reach and bringing their kids back home. Victor Stein (James Marsters) sits out early on and there’s scenes with him in letterbox form that visually echoes something out of West Side Story. Jonah has a greater presence and his plan threatens to destroy California.
The visual effects have stepped up. Old Lace steals the show every time she’s on and there’s more action sequences than ever. There’s one in an airport is very fun when all the kids combine their skills and episode 7 has the most epic scene in the show so far as both parents and kids join forces to stop Jonah.
Runaways also throws some new faces into the mix as Topher (Jan Luis Castellanos) and Xavin (Clarissa Thibeaux) make their live-action debuts. The show smartly changes those characters as Topher is a Latino with a skill-set similar to Molly’s and Xavin’s shapeshifting powers are intact…BUT, she’s not a Super-Skrull (NB: There’s some red tape involved. You’ll see the Skrulls in Captain Marvel). There’s also some sweet easter eggs that ties the show into the greater Marvel mythology.
(SPOILERS AHEAD! Turn back if you haven’t finished!)
Out of this world!
The dynamics of the show change dramatically by the end. Chase, knowing that the gang’s fighting a losing battle, decides to reunite with his parents. Runaways has a heel turn in the comics where one of their own has switched sides. The show toyed with my expectations about the mole’s identity.
Initially, I thought it was Karolina, then it switched to Chase. Jonah, thought to be dead by episode 7, has found new hosts for himself and his “family.” Tina, Victor, Stacey Yorkes and one other has possessed them. Chase, his mom Janet and Karolina are captured for a sacrifice.
Gert and Old Lace are trapped with her dad, Dale and they’re off on a road trip. All that’s left standing between them are a witch, a shapeshifter, a super-strong 15 year-old, a strategist and a very pregnant Leslie Dean (Annie Wersching). Nico wasn’t feeling like herself…could she be the fourth alien?
What started off as parents vs kids has become an intergalactic war. Runaways Season 2 takes a dramatic turn. It remixes the comics to create something different where it pleases the diehards and the casual fan that hasn’t picked up an issue. It’s faster, louder and smarter than ever and it sets the table for a potential Season 3. Go watch it!
…I better see the Leapfrog next time!
all images are provided by Hulu/Marvel
featured image: Hulu/Marvel