Patrick Wymore/Hulu
December 19, 2017 at 08:00 AM EST

Marvel's Runaways

TV Show
Teen Drama
run date
Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta
We gave it a B-

The open house gets underway, and Dale is already fast asleep after his manic, serum-induced episode. How awkward! Also awkward: Robert showing up and waving sheepishly to Nico, who’s parked next to Tina. Oh, and Victor, who’s up front with Chase and Janet, eagerly asking to meet with Chase’s instructors. Ugh, parents.

After the lecture ends, the families stroll outside to look at the club booths. There, Gert confronts Molly about abandoning the Runaways, but Molly defends herself, even as her new “teammates” fail to respect her. Gert finds that her patriarchy-smashing club has abandoned her after the one time she rebuffed them, and Karolina finally spots Frank, who’s arrived late to the party and is eager to find Leslie. Robert tells Nico that they’ll figure out a solid arrangement, in which Nico can visit his and Janet’s place every now and then. Nico, having heard Chase talk about his mother’s decision to continue being with Victor, advises Robert to talk to Janet about his plans.

Tina watches over her daughter and her husband, brooding just as Leslie arrives. The two leaders of the Pride — well, Leslie’s like the management, and Tina the enforcer — talk about their responsibility to a well-ordered Pride. And so, Leslie tells her to compartmentalize her anger and pain, and instead to take Robert back, especially given how Janet and Robert are ending their affair. Leslie’s sure of it, even though she’s only just told Janet to move on from her affair and watched as Janet uncomfortably dragged Victor away from crushing Robert’s hand.

Back by the booths, Dale is struggling with withdrawal — he says he feels as if he’ll never feel good again — when the Wilders finally corner both of the Yorkes and relay their message that they have to “handle” Molly. They decide not to hurt her, of course, but perhaps to quarantine her as the best course of action. Dale and Stacey refuse at first, but they fear what Jonah can do more.

Other uncomfortable conversations also go down around the school: First, Frank finds Leslie alone, shoves the photograph in her face, and asks her to explain exactly what Jonah really is. She relents this time, telling him that he’s the being that confirms her father’s religion, the being of light, and that she’s ashamed of her relationship with him — a fact Frank already knew but is devastated to hear confirmed. Second, Janet officially breaks up with Robert, telling him that she’s been ignoring him because, for better or worse, she’s Janet Stein, and must return to her family. After Janet walks out, Robert wells up — and Tina sees. And finally, Victor begins to show his violent streak again, this time nearly strangling the lacrosse coach as he orders him to let Chase back on the team.

Aaaaaand that’s not all. Even after the open house, more tense one-on-ones happen away from the Academy. Nico asks Alex again how he knew what her mother’s password was, and before he can answer, the scene cuts away. (C’mon, Runaways, that’s just an annoying device to stretch things out! Zero points.) At the Yorkes’ home, Molly walks into her room to find Dale and Stacey packing her things and giving her a BS explanation that it’s time for Molly to stay with her second cousin far away from Los Angeles. Molly, rightly, sees through the plan and nearly uses her powers when Gert stops her and talks her down. Gert tells her she’ll always be her sister and that they’ll find a way to save her, but for now, Molly has to go to protect the rest of the team.

And finally, Chase works on his fistigons back in the lab, only to hear Victor behind him, standing in the shadows and reprimanding him for being in the lab alone. Chase is confused — Victor had been so accepting of him being there — but this is the new Victor, the one who’s going through withdrawal from the serum. (At least, that’s what this episode has implied with Dale’s changing personality.) Victor tries to beat Chase, but when Chase punches him, Victor snatches the fistigon and points it at his son. He knocks Chase out of the lab and into the car, badly wounding him, before pointing it at him again. Just then, a shot rings out: Janet’s pulled out her gun and shot her husband to protect her son. Victor falls, bleeding on the ground, and Chase just gapes at his mother as she slowly puts the gun down.

It’s a jaw-dropping ending to an other slow-moving episode packed a little too full of clunky dialogue. Runaways has been mostly consistent with moving the plot forward, but here, as much as we needed Frank to end up in the loop and for Robert and Janet to move on, the additional strands overshadowed what should have been the central story: that of Molly confessing her guilt and realizing the consequences of it. The Gert-and-Molly scene in the final act landed well, but it felt less exciting than it should have — but then again, maybe Molly’s exile will mean the Runaways become the team they’re destined to be. And that’s very exciting.

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