It’s no wonder Hulu packaged the first few episodes of Runaways together to premiere: Episode 2 immediately follows the thrilling end of the premiere, but also takes a breather to go back to the beginning of day and follow the parents’ point of view. The result fills in the necessary blanks, like a second pilot if this show were more a drama about a group of crazy adults and their meddling kids.
PREVIOUSLY: Runaways series premiere recap: ‘Reunion’
Let’s start with the Wilders. Geoffrey has moved on from the gang he used to be a part of, but at the construction site of the school he’s building as part of the Pride’s plans, an old associate named Darius shows up wanting money in exchange for, well, not murdering Geoffrey’s workers. Geoffrey retaliates by bringing proof that he could hurt Darius’ family easily, forcing Darius to back off, but not before he tells Geoffrey he has no honor anymore now that he’s turned his back on the community by trying to gentrify it. And though he’s lost, Darius appears to have another trick up his sleeve: In his car, a minion of his announces that he’s managed to download all of Geoffrey’s data off his phone. Uh oh.
Janet Stein, meanwhile, spends the morning trying to talk Chase down from his anger about his father. She says some inane things like, “It’s the price of having a mind like his,” but it doesn’t seem like she believes what she’s saying. After all, Chase points out that Victor never lets her have any friends — so it’s curious when she does get a call and happily answers. It can’t have been Victor, obviously: In his lab, the inventor is toiling away with his metal box, which has failed to dematerialize a rat and also causes headaches for him. When Janet suggests that he should ask for help, he lashes out again, this time nearly hurting her in the process.
Leslie Dean, however, is the dominant member of her marriage. At the church, Frank has barely any power. And now that his acting career has waned because of how much he’s devoted to the church, Frank loses his manager Phil, who points out that it’s been a long time since he-who-could-be-a-long-lost-Skarsgard-brother has been on posters adorning the walls of every teenage girl in the country. It’s time to move on from Hollywood for Frank — and maybe move into Leslie’s realm.
Leslie, though, isn’t having it. Her day has already been tough enough without having to deal with her annoying husband, who has nothing to do with Pride; she’s spent the time after her sermon that morning convincing Destiny not to leave the church. She’s shocked to learn that her protegée has a daughter she didn’t tell the church about, but it’s far too late to pick another candidate for that night’s Pride meeting. So, teeth gritted, Leslie lies to Destiny and tells her she’ll “go ultra” that night.
As for Robert and Tina Minoru, well, after Nico stormed out of Amy’s room that morning and accidentally broke one of Amy’s many trophies, Tina closes herself off again. She tries to seal Amy’s room off from the world using her staff, but Robert bristles at her extreme actions. He tells her he knows she misses Amy, too, and that they need to work on being there for Nico. She agrees — for now.
Finally, Dale and Stacey Yorkes banter over bran bars, green cars, and, oh, Victor Stein being the worst. (The Yorkes, so far, are the best.) They’re the two who completely hate Pride meetings; Dale even forgot there was one scheduled for that evening.
Sorry, Dale: There’s no way anyone’s getting out of this Pride meeting, which, if all goes smoothly, is supposed to be the last one. Leslie has everyone approve of Destiny as their sacrifice — Geoffrey would rather not think about it, and Dale is also into using denial as a coping mechanism — before they retreat to the secret chamber and don their red robes. Leslie makes a call back to the church, and the dying man in the white room is now placed in a metal box, just like the one Victor was preparing in his lab.
Then, she leads Destiny out. Destiny’s confused almost immediately — going ultra is supposed to take place in the desert, and also who are all these people?! — but Leslie talks her down as Stacey hands her a disgusting drink “to purify” her. The rest, up close, is very uncomfortable to watch: The adults crowd around her and undress her while she pleads for them to stop, and they force her into the metal box, crying all the while until Leslie tells her not to be afraid, lying straight to her face that she’s going to be okay. At the last second, Geoffrey tells Destiny he’s sorry, but it’s too late. The box is sealed, the light glows, and…she’s supposedly gone.
And then the camera on Molly’s phone flashes, and we’re all caught up. (NEXT: Fake it ’til your parents take it…)
Panicked, the kids barely make it out of the chamber. Without knowing how to push the door back open, Molly powers up and pushes the wall away, leading all of them to collapse on the floor outside the secret passageway. They make a mad dash back to the guest house, but Alex pauses and concocts a plan to distract their parents. He shuts off the lights and makes it look like a circuit blew, allowing them some time to think of a plan.
Good, because thinking of a plan at the moment isn’t easy for any of them. Karolina’s in denial that her mom could have done anything to hurt Destiny, Chase thinks that maybe his father was experimenting with time travel, and Gert says that maybe her parents were conducting a harmless experiment. Only Nico states the obvious: “I think our parents killed that girl.”
Whatever the case may be, they know now that their parents were up to something very, very illegal, and so they pretend to have been hanging out in the guest house the whole time when the Wilders arrive to check that they didn’t see a thing. They manage to convince them they were nowhere near the sacrifice, and the Wilders walk away pleased. Not that they should be: Back downstairs, Victor, who’s cleaning up alone, discovers that Destiny didn’t dematerialize. Instead, she’s still in the box, begging for his help. And at the church offices, Frank is doing some snooping on Leslie’s schedule, discovering that she spends an inordinate amount of time in “private meditation.” He tries to investigate the white room, but gets stopped. As one of Gibborim’s followers tells him, “With all due respect, Mr. Dean, you’re not Mrs. Dean.”
So for now, the party’s over — for Frank, and for everyone at Alex’s. The parents gather back with their kids, who have now agreed to act normal before reconvening the next day to figure out what to do about Destiny, and Alex even coaxes Nico out of the bathroom to help her go back home. He tells her she’s not alone. Everyone’s now involved in whatever is happening with their crazy parents.
Nico, back at her house, spies on her mom putting the staff away. Chase works out after riding in Victor’s Leapfrog — a self-driving SUV he made with extra-large trunk space — while Karolina contemplates her bracelet and the secrets behind what it does to her. She sends Destiny a quick text, asking if she’s okay. The two had exchanged numbers earlier that day, but for now, we don’t see a response…
Molly crawls into Gert’s bed that night, scared. She explains that something weird is happening to her on top of all the weird things going on, and then asks Gert to sing her the song. It’s a sweet lullaby that, as Gert sings, travels through the vents down to the lair of the dinosaur, Old Lace, who perks up at the sound of Gert’s voice.
Back at the Wilders’, Geoffrey is still rattled by the events of the meeting. Catherine finds him drinking alone, wondering whether what they do is right. She’s convinced that it’s all for the greater good; he points out that no matter how far he gets away from his gang, he’s still killing. (Hey, look, some supervillains do have moral compasses!) He may bring valuable ties to the Pride, including relations with politicians and policy-makers, but what he also brings is his past.
Even so, Catherine tells him that it’s better not to worry about all that for now. They’re done with Pride, they’re done with today, and they’ll move forward tomorrow. And yet…just as Geoffrey starts exiting his study, he steps on something bright pink: Molly’s pink kitty pin, which must have fallen from her hair after the kids stumbled back out of the secret chamber. Geoffrey peers at it, confused — and once again, suspicious. Uh oh.