This article is for the third episode of Runaways, newly airing in Canada. If you were looking for the two-part premiere, which aired alongside this episode in the United States, click here.
This episode starts in a bleak fashion, in a flashback years ago at the joint funeral of Gene and Alice Hernandez. As the couple are carried to the grave by stone-faced pallbearers including Robert Minoru, Victor Stein, Geoffrey Wilder, Dale Yorkes and Frank Dean, the rest of their families trail behind: Tina Minoru with daughters Amy and Nico, Janet Stein with her son Chase, Leslie Dean with Karolina, Catherine Wilder with Alex in tow and an inconsolable Stacey Yorkes with her confused and concerned young daughter Gertrude. As her parents are lowered into the ground, a young orphaned Molly Hernandez sits blank-eyed in her wheelchair, stuffed elephant on her lap and pink cast signed by all her friends.
As the other kids play Uno and Molly sits alone, Janet pours a drink for Catherine. They lament about what a terrible loss this was; the Hernandez’s were good people. At least they left little Molly well off. Elsewhere, Geoffrey confronts Robert, saying they were supposed to be a family. He noticed the burn on Tina’s hand. Robert says she burned it on a frying pan, and promises Tina wouldn’t do this. Geoffrey doesn’t believe him. In the kitchen, Dale is panicking. What if the PRIDE realizes that they spoke to Gene and Alice that night? What if they come after them? Stacey calms him. They go outside to talk to Molly. In a heartwarming scene, they ask Molly to live with them so she can have a normal life.
Cut to present day, where Molly is stressed. She can’t find her hair clip. Her eyes glow and she tears a drawer out of the dresser. Gert shows up and tells her to look for her dumb clip later, and Molly says that it’s not dumb; her mom gave it to her. Gert apologizes and Molly admits that she thinks something is wrong with her. Gert tells her she is just having a panic attack – she has them too. She’d say they’re hereditary, but they aren’t actually related.
In her bedroom, Karolina is practicing some good old-fashioned Gibborim meditation to the sermons of her mom, when her mom enters. She says it was nice seeing all the kids together again last night, but Karolina is distracted by her would-be rapists Brandon and Lucas sending photos of their bruised faces and proclaiming Chase a dead man. Karolina off-handedly says it was nice to see them again, and they’ll see if they stay in touch. Leslie leaves, and Karolina smiles as she gets a text.
The gang meet up at the beach the next morning: Alex, Nico, Gert, Molly and Chase. Nico wants to get this over with, but Chase thinks they should wait for Karolina. Suddenly, Karolina runs up with good – albeit confusing – news. She shows the group her text: A photo of Destiny, happily in London on a trip. Nico isn’t sold, pointing out it could be Photoshopped. They argue the possibilities, somehow getting sidetracked and wondering if their parents are furries, and then they decide to split up and investigate, with Gert and Chase together so they can study for Spanish after. Molly wants to investigate the monster in the Yorkes’ basement, but storms off when no one believes her. Karolina stops Chase and confronts him about the text from Brandon and Lucas, and he says it was over a dumb lacrosse joke and he will call her later.
In his lab, Victor Stein is tinkering away, clearly lacking from sleep. A grimy Destiny calmly asks him to let her go free, promising she won’t tell anyone, but when he turns, no one is there. Again, Destiny says his name, and he turns to find his wife Janet reminding him about the charity auction they were supposed to attend. She asks if he has been down here all night, and asks if he is okay. Yesterday, when the box wasn’t working, it seemed like it was about more than the box. A bit deranged, he angrily asks why he wouldn’t be okay, and says that she is supposed to be on his side; he carries this whole family. He leaves.
At Synnergy Labs, Stacey Yorkes is telling Dale about her terrible nightmares after killing Destiny last night. On the plus side, they never need to see Tina Minoru again. They open the door the break room and – surprise! – It’s Tina and Robert Minoru, congratulating them!
But for what?
It turns out, their new Synnergy serum, which appears to erase bad memories, made the cover of an upcoming issue of an experimental science magazine. Since Robert and Tina invested in the company, they are expecting a pay-out – even though Dale thinks it would be best to sell the serum to DARPA to help with PTSD victims. They promise to make good with the Minorus.
Exiting the building, Tina reminisces about the dates they used to go on to a crappy sushi restaurant. She asks to go out on a date that night, to try to repair their relationship. Robert reluctantly avoids the question and says they should bring Nico along. Ouch. At home, later, Nico didn’t get their text about the reservation – her phone was off. She suggest they go on a date without her, to the satisfaction of Tina. As soon as they leave, Nico tries to find out how to extract the Staff of One from the case on the wall.
In Victor’s lab, Chase is looking for clues while a bored Gert is lookout. She notices Victor’s patented X-Ray Specs and tries them on, having read about them on WIRED. She uses them to not-subtly check out Chase naked and gets caught. They then find the casket that Destiny was being held in. Gert urges him to open it, but Chase is afraid that Destiny might still be inside. Gert checks with the Specs and determines the coast is clear, but Chase still doesn’t know how to open it. Either way, Destiny is probably safe in London. Wanting to spend more time with Chase, Gert decides they should check out her house; what if Molly was right about the thing in their basement? What if it is Destiny? Chase agrees to investigate.
At the Wilder’s, they conclude that the hair clip is, indeed, Molly’s. Geoffrey errs on the side of the kids: This doesn’t mean Molly found the staircase or saw anything. The flash of light could have been the breaker blowing. Catherine, being more suspicious, decides to use the Synnergy serum on Molly. Geoffrey asks her not to, pointing out what it did to Frank Dean, but Catherine needs to know. She finds Molly at a café, playing it up as a coincidence, and returns her hair clip. She starts asking her about why she was so far away from where the kids were, and Molly says she was having womanly changes. She excuses herself to the bathroom, where she rips the toilet from its plumbing and uses it as a stand to tear the barred window from the wall, escaping. Catherine knocks on the door, asking if Molly is okay, but an annoyed woman tells her to get in line. Outside, in the back alley, Molly needs a little power nap.
Arriving home, Alex prepares to open the secret passageway in his dad’s study, when he gets a text saying that he is on his way home. As Alex opens the passage, he calls Geoffrey, asking if he can pick him up food on the way back, and if they can talk about girl advice when he gets home. Geoffrey says that he is in the kitchen; he sent that text half an hour ago. Panicking, Alex tries to close the secret passage with no success. As Geoffrey looks through the house for him, Catherine calls Geoffrey and tells him that Molly escaped; she definitely knows something. She just needs to find her – when she does, passed out against a dumpster. Alex shows up and Geoffrey takes him into his study to talk about girls, and Alex realizes that the passage has somehow closed. Phew.
Molly wakes up in Catherine’s car, and again Catherine tries to grill her about why she was in the study. Molly admits that she lied earlier – she said she was there to spy on their parents. Catherine grips the serum tighter, but relaxes as Molly spins a yarn about how she was sent to check if the parents were still in the study so they could raid the liquor cabinet. She said they made her do it because she’s the youngest, and then instantly brings out Catherine’s maternal instincts by complaining about how no one takes her seriously because she’s young adopted girl nobody wants. Catherine reassures her that the Yorkes love her and promises, now that she is older, to tell her about her parents one day.
Robert and Tina’s date seems to be going well (at first). They are enjoying their sushi and sharing it with each other. Tina says she missed this, just the two of us, and Robert doesn’t reply. A little more forward, she takes off her underwear from under her skirt and stealthily places them in his hand, telling them she booked a room five minutes away. Robert is startled, and Tina jokes that it worked for Dakota Johnson. Robert gets upset, saying they aren’t characters in a movie; they are in a real marriage. Tina can’t just shut him out for two years and then come at him 100 MPH. He gets up and leaves their date.
At home, While searching for a key to open the case, Nico finds Amy’s diary in Tina’s desk. She is distracted by accessing the manual override switch for the case. She grabs the Staff of One and accidentally pricks her finger, activating it. She then returns to the diary, reading through it, emotional. She examines a paper snowflake Amy had cut out while holding the staff, and suddenly it begins to snow in the house, to Nico’s astonishment. She calls Alex over, hoping he is able to help her make it stop. Alex refuses to believe it is magic, thinking it has something to do with their smart home system. He takes the staff from Nico and it deactivates, and the snow stops. Suddenly, Nico’s smart home notifies them that her mom will be home soon.
At the Church of Gibborim, Karolina tries calling Destiny but her phone is disconnected. Her mom’s assistant Vaughn (named after comic creator, Brian K. Vaughan) shows up and says he hasn’t seen Destiny since the day before, when she got on the bus to leave for London. He starts scratching his bracelet, saying it makes his eczema act up, and she asks if he ever takes it off. He admits he does occasionally. She asks if he say the colors, and he thinks she means tan lines and takes it off to examine. Karolina is then distracted by a painting her grandfather did of a glowing, rainbow-skinned angel.
At a food truck, Dale and Stacey order food for themselves, and then like 60 burritos for the deinonychus in their basement, to celebrate not having to hurt people anymore. Their work with PRIDE is finally done. They also discuss whether or not they should tell the kids their secret plan to run away to Yucatán with their prehistoric guard dog.
As Robert and Janet meet up and have an affair, Tina Minoru heads home. Alex and Nico scramble to replace the staff and diary and clean up tons of snow and ice, finishing just in time. Trying to think of an excuse, Nico takes off her shirt and straddles Alex as Tina walks in. Thinking the obvious, Tina kicks Alex out. As Alex leaves, he thanks Nico for inviting him instead of anyone else, and kisses her. She tells him it was an all an act, and he questions the validity of that statement. She walks away and smiles.
Post-coitus, Janet asks where they are staying, and Robert drops a bombshell on her: it’s their place. He put a down payment on it. He’s ready to tell Tina and take the next step in their relationship. Janet, however, is not. She’s concerned about Chase, and what the PRIDE will think. She leaves, needing time to process.
Chase and Gert make their way to the Yorkes house, and from the outside, Chase is able to see that Destiny is not in the basement with the X-Ray Specs. They decide to investigate further and enter the basement, finding the door still off the hinges from Molly. They have a small fight about feminism and double-standards when Gert’s anti-x-ray apron doesn’t allow Chase use the goggles on her like she did to him before, when they hear strange noises from the “KEEP OUT” room. Chase uses the goggles, but is unable to see through. Despite Gert’s protests, Chase opens the door and lets the deinonychus out.
(I will refer to the dinosaur as Old Lace from here on out. We don’t know it yet, but that is her name. Perks of reading the comics.)
Chase uses his goggles as sees Old Lace behind some cages, and decides they should run. Before they get the chance, Old Lace stops them and Gert starts having a panic attack. Thankfully, the calming technique she uses seems to calm the dinosaur as well. Hearing cars upstairs, Old Lace sprints away.
In her private meditation room, Leslie is concerned that the-crusty-thing-that-may-or-may-not-be-her-father is not getting better; it doesn’t usually take this long. She leaves the room, and Vaughn stops her. He says Karolina was asking about Destiny, and wants to confirm she is on the London trip. Suddenly, Leslie gets an urgent phone call from Tina. She says to turn on the TV. On the local news, the body of Destiny Gonzales has washed up on shore and police are urging for tips. Tina says that Victor won’t pick up his phone, and suspiciously, neither will Robert or Janet. Leslie tearfully realizes this means that they need another sacrifice.
Hoo boy, a tense episode with great moments like Alex with the secret passage, and Molly and Catherine. Emotional, too. Even though the Runaways haven’t – you know – ran away, Marvel is really killing it with their first drama series that doesn’t even try to pretend it’s an action show. Lots of great nods to the comics and I’m really excited for where this show is going – even if my love of characters and storylines that haven’t been introduced yet makes it feel like it is moving a bit too slowly.
I think for this series, I will do away with numerical ratings. Who needs them? So far I am loving every episode equally and feel no need to rank them.
Bring on more Runaways!