Runaways recap: 'Kingdom'
It’s time for the Runaways to accept the fact that their parents are horrible people. What other explanation is there for why they do horrible things?
But even if there isn’t a better, more…acceptable explanation behind why the Pride does what they do, “Kingdom” still tries its best to explain how horrible people are made. Geoffrey Wilder, for example, went down the path he did after he got an offer he couldn’t refuse — and when his greed eventually got the better of him. Eighteen years before the events of Runaways, a mysterious, sharply dressed man played by Julian McMahon visits him in prison and literally hands him an opportunity to become a real-estate mogul, now that some of the land he inherited in South Central L.A. has the potential to turn a profit.
After discussing with Catherine, then his lawyer, Geoffrey decides to go through with it and get out of jail early. He ropes in Darius — the man who threatened him back in episode 2 — to confess to Geoffrey’s crime and promises to make sure Darius’ family is set for life.
Turns out that agreement didn’t work out for either side. Geoffrey is indeed a wealthy man now with Catherine as his wife and a murder library in his basement, but Alex is in deep trouble, having been kidnapped by Darius, who brings him to his nana’s home to illustrate just how Geoffrey failed to elevate Darius’ family. Darius claims that Geoffrey never held up his end of the bargain, before calling Geoffrey and bribing him into bringing more money or losing his son.
Instead of bringing the green, Geoffrey brings gunfire to the meeting point, shooting Darius’ men out of the way and — when Geoffrey’s threatened by Darius’ henchman Andre — causing Alex to pull the trigger on the gun he stole from Geoffrey’s study. Darius grabs Alex anyway and makes it out with his prize still in tow.
Meanwhile, Team Find Alex has concocted a plan. After putting their heads together, Nico, Karolina, Molly, and Gert — Chase is still in the lab with Victor — track Alex via the Staff of One, with Nico wielding the magic, Karolina driving like a madwoman, and Gert calling Chase. When they reach Alex, they combine their powers to rescue him from Darius. Molly finally gets to demonstrate her super-strength to her friends, lifting Darius’ van and forcing him and Alex to exit the car. Karolina distracts Darius’ men with her lights, and just when they need him, Chase arrives and knocks Darius away with his activated fistigons. When Darius gets back up and starts to shoot, Nico commands the Staff of One to create a shield that protects them. Eventually, Darius runs out of bullets and drives away.
The night’s not over just yet: Alex ditches to check on Geoffrey, and finds that Andre has survived the bullet and Geoffrey will be taking him away from the site of the shootout. Geoffrey tells Alex he can’t come with him, however, and Alex knows Geoffrey’s lying to him about the fact that Andre will be okay. After Alex finally walks away, Geoffrey talks to Catherine, telling her that he now has a live sacrifice for the Pride.
That’s good news for Leslie, who’s yet again in the white “meditation” room with Gross Flaky Guy, telling him that their quest for another sacrifice isn’t going well. But it’s bad news for the Runaways: When Alex reports his suspicions about what Geoffrey might be doing to Andre and says they need to save him from whatever happened to Destiny, Gert points out that they have too much going on, too fast. “Many of us have just exhibited superhuman abilities after learning there may be a Chinatown-level conspiracy run by our parents,” she says. “My head is exploding.”
If anything, though, at least now they all know they’re freaks. (Molly reveals Gert’s connection to their basement dinosaur between naps.) Congrats, kids! Now all you need is an official team name. (Next: A ritual and a revelation…)
The Pride has gathered on short notice a second time after their disastrous attempt at sacrificing Destiny. This time, all goes “well”: Dale and Stacey keep Andre alive long enough for them to carry out the ritual, and Catherine even manages to knock Leslie down a peg when Leslie worries about how their sacrifice happens to have been shot. After Victor activates the box — just after he notices how his wife and Robert touch hands while moving it — light emits out of both boxes, and Andre’s body disappears. Leslie assesses the procedure and smiles: “It worked,” she says, before dismissing the rest of the Pride.
And so, yes, the kids have failed to prevent another sacrifice. As it turns out, the Pride weren’t carrying out this ritual inside the Wilders’ murder library — they had been in Leslie’s white “meditation” room the entire time — and when Alex realizes this, he storms out, distraught. Nico follows him to his room to comfort him, telling him that he saved his dad from Andre because in the end, their parents are still their parents. She then kisses him, and just as things get hot and heavy, Karolina interrupts to report that Chase has found a hidden camera inside the murder library.
Alex tries to find the footage but discovers that their parents have hidden their tracks well, offloading all the material onto a server held by Nico’s parents, which means they’ve moved the footage to the most hacker-resistant computers out there. It’s a dead end for now, but Chase says they need to investigate further. After all, there’s gotta be a reason for all this secrecy, right? Aside from the fact that murder is a crime?
There is a reason, and that reason comes in the form of Julian McMahon, who turns out to be the Gross Flaky Guy, only he’s no longer gross nor flaky after the sacrifice. He’s immortal, it seems, but his life depends on annually receiving the life force/energy of a younger, able-bodied person — hence the 15 disappearances and deaths that have happened over the years. Whoever he is, he clearly inspires much more respect from Leslie than her husband Frank does. Frank thought he was going to go ultra, only for two of Leslie’s apostles to tell him that he didn’t pass the test. And Frank won’t be Leslie’s only problem going forward; after they embrace, No Longer Gross Flaky Guy requests to meet “her” — presumably Karolina.
At home, Alex asks Geoffrey about Andre, and when Geoffrey lies that Andre’s fine, Alex can’t take it anymore. He tells his dad he has to protect himself now that he can no longer trust him and decides to sleep in the guest house. Catherine overhears the conversation and tells Geoffrey they can’t keep secrets between them, especially if those secrets endanger their son.
Karolina goes home angry as well, destroying much of her room after trying to read the Book of Gibborim for answers, while Gert and Molly curl up with their basement dinosaur for comfort. Nico, however, winds up in trouble when she tries to sneak the Staff of One back into its case only to be caught by Tina. Tina, though, doesn’t toss her out; instead, she asks for Nico’s trust and tells her that Nico was bound to find it and discover what it could do.
Chase may also be swayed by his parent: When he returns to the lab, he finds Victor, who shows off a time machine — or rather, a time radio that shows them images of the future — he’s been working on for a long time. When the machine fails to work, Victor grows angry again, only to be crippled by another headache.
As he gets back up, he tells Chase that he’s been diagnosed with brain cancer and has been trying to use nano-therapy to treat it, but it’s clearly not working out. Worried, Chase helps his father out of the lab, leaving behind the time radio lying on the floor, emitting an image of Los Angeles in the future. And that image doesn’t look good: L.A. appears to be up in smoke, with a skyscraper falling to rubble right in the middle of downtown.
But that’s the future! That’s tomorrow’s problem! In the meantime, we’ve just seen the kids find out they’re a band of superheroes, the adults revive Julian McMahon, and Old Lace in action as a prehistoric sofa for Gert and Molly to lean on. And that’s enough for me.