Maybe what Runaways needed was more time. I rarely feel like shows need more episodes in a season, but in this case, the show wrapped up at a point that felt far too abrupt and unsatisfying.
After a season overstuffed with mysteries — what does Jonah want? Can the remaining members of the Pride move past their failures? How will the kids survive? What happened Amy? What’s so special about Karolina? — the titular super powered misfits’ ultimate showdown with their villainous parents only yielded more questions than answers, and the lack of resolution came off more frustrating than thrilling. The plot, to me, has never felt more scattered.
There were highlights, to be sure: I loved the way their getaway played out, the way the cast embodied their print counterparts, and the way the series developed a solid origin story for a super-group, without diminishing any of the core six, but…is this really it for the first 10 episodes?
Guess so. At least it started off strong: In the opening scene, the six-some (plus Old Lace) face off against their parents in an epically shot sequence where everyone fires everything they’ve got, only for Jonah to arrive and literally light the way for the villains. He glows, fires a beam at the kids, and knocks them out; recognizing him, Karolina offers to stay behind and fight so her friends can escape. (And so Frank and Leslie can just…watch this melee happen, I guess?) Father and daughter have a, um, bright showdown, which releases an EMP that fries everything in their vicinity and leaves the rest of the kids (Nico most of all) worried for Karolina. Eventually, they return to the construction site, only to see that everyone’s gone.
The next day, they wander the streets of L.A. They’re hungry, they’re tired, and they’ve got Old Lace hidden under a blanket in a shopping cart. Yikes! What’s a group of five teenagers and a dino to do? Alex says to relax, and the team decides to get off the streets, and to the woods surrounding Griffith Observatory, where they bicker over whether they should go back for Karolina. Nico obviously wants them to help her out, and the team, in the end, agrees to take a risk for their friend who risked herself first.
The Pride, meanwhile, has fractured. They accuse each other of how much they knew about their kids’ abilities. Turns out: None of them had any clue. And so, in the spirit of parental kinship, they decide to put all their cards on the table, with Tina revealing that she had nothing to do with the Hernandezes’ death, but Leslie did, and that she’s sorry it happened. Leslie explains that she didn’t know Molly would be there, but that somehow, they must have found out what happened to Molly’s parents, pieced it all together, and gone to the dig site. They agree that their next move as the new Pride should be to track down Karolina and figure out where the rest of their kids are hiding.
It won’t be easy for them to get to Karolina, even with Leslie’s help. She’s in Leslie’s private meditation room with a mask on her face — the same one Jonah had on back when he was Gross Flaky Guy — and though Jonah insists that Karolina’s healing nicely, Leslie is outnumbered as Frank wholly agrees with Jonah and is glad he betrayed the rest of the Pride. And when Jonah later wakes Karolina up by removing her mask, he tells her he’s her father, and how he’s happy he’s giving her the gift of feeling less alone. It’s cryptic, and it unfortunately doesn’t shed any more light (heh) on what exactly he wants from her.
The kids, still hiding out, form a plan as well, while also getting some of their secrets aired out. Nico asks Chase about his hookup and Chase nudges her about her and Karolina, while Molly snags a disguise for Gert and puts together a cuckoo look for herself. Alex tells Gert she has to leave Old Lace behind (no!) as dragging a dinosaur along will only slow them down. Gert reluctantly obeys, telling her service dino — she finally names her Old Lace after seeing an ad for Arsenic and Old Lace in the paper — that she’ll find her in the woods again someday.
Once ready, they confront Vaughn, the Church of Gibborim follower, and ask for his help in getting Karolina back. They tell him about what’s really been happening to Leslie’s runaways, and how Karolina could be next, but Vaughn refuses to listen to their tales. He tells them that Gibborim is his family, and he’d never turn his back on the Church.
Which is why Chase and Molly wind up posing as runaways and sneaking into the Church of Gibborim themselves. Vaughn, though, spots them right away — but instead of giving them up, he lies to the two scary recruiters who stop him and tells them that Chase and Molly are clearly “special runaways” who must be taken care of immediately. They believe him — for the time being. (Next: Thanks, Yawn — er, Vaughn…)