Marvel's Runaways official poster

Adventures in Binging: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’

I know this post is way past due but it’s finally here: I watched all of Marvel’s Runaways earlier this summer. Just in time to get ready for the second season, which officially comes out on Hulu tomorrow.

If you don’t already know what this show’s about, it’s about this group of teenage friends who discover their parents are supervillains. They use a fake charity called PRIDE as a cover to kill someone once a year. After they see their parents kill someone in a strange ritual, they plan to expose them and figure out why.

Then they all run away, hence the name of the show. It’s based on a newer Marvel comic story that I haven’t read much of yet, but I wanted to watch this before binge-watching Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (which I’ll get to eventually, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself) because there’s going to be a crossover that I’m really excited to see. Before we get to that, here’s a review of the first season of Marvel’s Runaways.

The Main Characters

Each character brings something interesting to the series. They all have something to bring to the friend group, whether it’s their powers, weapons, or skills. They’re all connected because of their shared curiosity and disappointment in their parents’ actions over the years. The more they learn about their parents, the more disgusted they become. Which ultimately strengthens their friendship.

Alex Wilder

Alex Wilder (played by Rhenzy Feliz)
  • Alex Wilder becomes the unofficial leader of the friend group. He doesn’t have weapons or powers, but rather tech-savvy skills and curiosity with PRIDE. Surprisingly, however, Alex is the one that tries to give their parents the benefit of the doubt at first. Later, he ends up despising his own parents more than the rest by the end of the season.

Nico Minoru

Nico Minoru (played by Lyrica Okano)
  • Nico Minoru has a staff as her weapon of choice, that is seemingly a strange mix of magic and technology. Her mother, Tina, initially created it for herself, but it works for Nico too. Despite the cool weapon, her family isn’t in the best place. Her sister’s (alleged) suicide has damaged her relationship with her parents and her dad, Robert, is having an affair with Chase’s (another one of the runaways) mom. But despite how complicated it all is, she finds solace with the other runaways. She initially getting close to Alex but then realizes she actually likes Karolina. I suspect that this confusion is partly because of the story in the comics. In the comics, Karolina has a crush on her, but Nico is with Alex. Overall, it’s an interesting twist that the showrunners have put on the original Runaways plot.

Karolina Dean

Karolina Dean (played by Virginia Gardner)
  • There’s Karolina Dean, who’s able to shoot energy bursts and have some kind of rainbow glow. However, she’s also struggling with her identity, for multiple reasons. For starters, her parents are the faces of PRIDE, which to the public, is a religious organization. She also realizes, or at least accepts, that she’s lesbian. She struggles with whether or not her religion should be valid or not because of her parent’s (or technically, just her mom’s) actions. We also find out that her dad, Frank isn’t really her dad. Her biological father is actually Jonah, the show’s main villain. She also has a crush on Nico, which, fortunately, ends up working out in her favor.

Chase Stein

Chase Stein (played by Gregg Sulkin)
  • There’s Chase Stein, the jock of the group. He, unfortunately, has a pretty rocky relationship with his father. His father is a super genius, but also an abuser. Therefore, Chase finds himself struggling with simultaneously trying to distance himself while trying to please him. His weapon of choice is a tech gauntlet he made himself, which proves he’s not the idiot jock everyone assumes he is. The season starts with Chase having a crush on Karolina, but eventually falls for Gert, another runaway.

Gert Yorkes

  • Gert Yorkes is kind of the outcast in school, but in the best way (at least in my opinion). She knows what she believes in and is much more intuitive about society than I was in high school. Despite her intelligence, she still is a teenage girl who becomes infatuated with the stereotypical jock, AKA Chase. She’s very aware of her crush and thinks is weirdly ironic (because it is). They finally hook up at the end of the season but don’t really get the chance to talk about it because they’re a little busy trying to stop their parents. Oh yeah, and she has a pet dinosaur named Old Lace that her parents created in their lab, so that’s essentially her weapon.

Molly Hernandez

Molly Hernandez (played by Allegra Acosta)
  • And lastly, there’s Molly Hernandez, Gert’s adopted sister whose parents tragically died years prior. She’s the youngest of the group and struggles with trying to be acknowledged and respected by the group. Karolina’s mom killed her parents in a large chemical explosion because they were planning on exposing PRIDE. Molly happened to be there when the explosion went off and gets powers of super strength. Unfortunately, however, exerting her powers makes her really tired, causing her to take a nap afterward.

The Main Plot

Jonah, Karolina’s actual dad, helped all the parents out in one way or another and somehow tricked them all in to help him. It’s his idea to kill someone a year, and they all owe him so they begrudgingly do it for him. The reason behind why is still unclear; it’s either so he can either live on forever or give him powers or both. It also has something to do with digging a big hole in the ground to get something that would eventually stop the sacrifices. Whatever it is, it’s certainly for selfish reasons.

It became pretty clear later on in the season that the parents weren’t inherently evil. They’re just coerced into doing something evil once every year. Frank, Karolina’s step-dad, also isn’t a part of PRIDE, but wants to be included, but doesn’t know what they’re really doing.

Because he’s the outcast, Karolina goes to him, tells him everything she knows and asks for his help. And he betrays her by helping out Jonah instead! So, that was frustrating. Then after that, there’s a big standoff between the kids and the parents, where the kids finally run away.

Final Thoughts

Marvel's Runaways Season 2 Promotional Poster

The first season of Marvel’s Runaways is primarily about introducing the characters and giving us a lot of background information. Unfortunately, the first half of the season seemed slow just because there was so much to get through before we get to the action. But by the end of the season, it gets exciting as we find out more and more about PRIDE and Jonah. Then, the kids are able to formulate an actual plan of exposing them.

Despite the slow start, the show really excels at executing stories about teen drama and family issues. The action is what makes the abundance of information worth it. The first season had this big love triangle or pentagon technically because it involves everyone but Molly. Basically, Chase initially liked Karolina but Karolina likes Nico, who Alex has a crush on. Furthermore, Gert realizes she has a crush on Chase, who realizes later that he likes her back and Alex ultimately ends up alone, like Molly. So, it’d be an understatement to say there’s a lot going on. But it’s fortunately very typical for a teen drama that also happens to have supernatural elements.

The cast of both Marvel' Runaways and Cloak & Dagger sitting on a set of indoor stairs of a big house

I’m really excited to see what happens in the second season for two major reasons: the trailer looks great and the Runaways/Cloak and Dagger crossover. It looks like we’re going to get to see a lot more action in season two, which was the best part of the first season.

What did you think of the first season of Runaways? Are you as excited as me to see the second season? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @mzsnguyenthai.

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