Marvel’s Runaways – “Refraction”

 

Victor
Source: Hulu. Marvel’s Runaways. Gregg Sulkin as Chase Stein, James Marsters as Victor Stein.

This is the recap for the seventh episode of Runaways. For a previous episode, check here.

After the revelations of the PRIDE gala (which didn’t go as swimmingly as all parties involved hoped), both the PRIDE and Runaways are thrown for a loop. How will they react? How will they recover? Let’s find out!


 

Our episode starts in a retrospective look on the life and relationships of Victor Stein. First, twenty-five years ago, Janet and Victor meet after class in University. Victor introduces himself like all us suave men do; explaining the possibility of time travel. (It’s worthy of note that Ever Carradine’s cousin Sorel plays young Janet, and the resemblance is uncanny).

Roughly eight years later, Janet gives birth to their son Chase. Victor holds his newborn baby and proclaims that he understands why people say that their kid is everything.

About ten years after that, Chase is waiting after his lacrosse game with his trophy and throws his stuff in the back of his dad’s car. Victor tells him he is supposed to put it in the trunk, then comments that Chase appears to have won. Chase angrily asks why his dad wasn’t there when he won the championship, and tells him he “doesn’t know shit about shit”. This is the first time Victor hits his son.

Roughly seven years later, we are in present day. Victor is asleep in his lab, when he gets a message on the device he made – the one that is supposed to project messages from the future. On it, an older, bearded Chase with glasses is telling his dad an urgent message: Don’t pick up the Fistigons.

At the Wilder house, Alex is showering so his parents Catherine and Geoffrey are tidying up his room – AKA snooping to find if Molly told him anything about the PRIDE rituals. Alex steps out of the shower as Geoffrey is telling Catherine about Alex’s ‘thing’ with Nico. They talk about the Minoru’s relationship issues, they remind Alex of the Open House they have at school tonight, and Alex closes his laptop and leaves right before his mom snoops and finds the decrypting Wizard documents he stole from the gala.

In Victor’s lab, he is lost in thought staring at calculations on his whiteboard. He doesn’t even notice Chase come in. He tells Chase he is really excited to meet his physics teacher at the Open House tonight, which surprises him – he has never gone to an Open House in the history of ever. But Victor Stein is a changed man! He hugs his son, helping Chase notice he hasn’t showered in like forever, and Janet shows up to tell Chase it’s time for school. She is also concerned about Victor’s erratic and sudden personality change. Chase calls Janet out on cheating on Victor, and she says that Robert was an escape if there is any chance of them being a happy family again with the new Victor, she isn’t going to stop that.

Nico Minoru is getting ready for school in her room, when her dad Robert enters. Trying not to be emotional, he tells her that he will be at the Open House, but he won’t be there when she gets back from school. Nico hugs her dad and tells him to try to work things out with Tina, but he admits that this isn’t what he wants anymore. Nico realizes that he is in love with Janet Stein.

At a hospital (or very possibly a medical wing of the definitely-not-qualified Church of Gibborim), pastor Leslie Dean is reading the farewells to an elderly man while his family weeps. She tells the doctor to take him off life support, when her husband Frank bursts in, orders Leslie to step aside and makes everyone leave the room. Suddenly, his hands start glowing and the elderly man awakens. He saved his life. In the hallway, he removes his glowing gloves – a gift from Jonah. Leslie warns him that this is dangerous – people will call him a savior. He tells her that he is counting on it.

At school, Nico and Alex are talking about Nico’s parents splitting up, and he asks if there is anything he can do to help. All she wants to know is the truth about how he knew her mom’s password. Before he can respond, to Nico’s frustration, Chase and Karolina show up, followed by Gert and Molly. Nico mentions the Janet/Robert affair, and Chase tells her Janet is breaking it off. Gert is grumpy and roasting everyone, particularly Karolina, about kissing Chase the night before. They question if their parents know that they know and Molly has to come clean. She tells the gang that Catherine suspects her, and they are upset that she didn’t say something sooner. She snaps, saying that no one ever listens to her because she’s the youngest, and leaves the team.

In the Yorkes’ lab, they are studying Jonah’s serum. They are impressed – it seems to work the opposite of regular genetics. When stretching the molecules, it doesn’t break them down; it heals them. They are excited about the breakthrough, but want to keep it a secret. Dale accidentally spills some serum on his arm, and feels light-headed but otherwise fine. Stacey leaves to get him some Thai food, but when she comes back, Dale is erratic as Victor after taking the serum. He is in love with everything, hyperactive, and fascinated with the possibilities of the serum. As Dale trips out, Stacey gets a video call from the Wilders. They want to talk about Molly. Recognizing it isn’t a good time, Stacey asks to speak at the Open House instead.

Speaking of Jonah, he confronts Leslie in her room. She is upset with him for giving Frank the healing gloves, but he tells her that the “authority he undermined” is the authority he gave her; it may be her father’s church, but it is his religion. He warns her that the religion is going to crash and burn anyway, and PRIDE is the only thing that matters. He asks her to reunite them as friends. Nothing bad has happened; at least, not yet, anyway.

Karolina’s bully Eiffel is coaching the cheer squad, and they aren’t doing their job to her liking. Molly watches, fascinated, itching to get in there and dance. Once the routine is over, Molly asks Eiffel is they have any spots open. She assigns Molly as the team manager – she has to wash uniforms and get them water. They all throw their towels at her as the session is dismissed. Karolina sees this and talks to Molly, who believes this is what she deserves for screwing everything up. Karolina tells her that her greatest asset is her positive attitude, and assures her they are still friends – what is the point of having superpowers if you have no one to talk about them with?

Frank and his new voluntold assistant Vaughn explore the old storage room of the Church of Gibborim. Frank seems intent on taking over, whether his wife wants him to or not. He fawns over the old chairs, and the original altar from the old church, when he finds the desk of David Ellerh. This was the very desk where he wrote the Book of Gibborim. Inside he finds a photo of Leslie from the 8th grade – standing next to Jonah, looking exactly the same age as he is now. He remembers his vision of Leslie and Jonah making love in the restricted room and is deeply disturbed.

The Open House!

At the Atlas Academy Open House, Gert and Molly are embarrassed while Dale Yorkes sleeps, Alex Wilder is bored, Robert Minoru, hangs out in back to not cause a scene, Leslie and Karolina Dean are concerned that Frank is not there, and Victor Stein impatiently asks if they will get an opportunity to meet the teachers. They disperse. Gert finds Molly with the cheer squad, and Molly tells her that Eiffel respects her, unlike them. Eiffel shows up and asks “Maria” to refill her water bottle. Gert then finds her “Undermining the Patriarchy” group staged a coup and removed her. Meanwhile, there is no Gibborim booth this year, but Frank Dean shows up anyway to write autographs.

Nico talks to Robert at the food table, and he is gushing about his new life with Janet. Nico asks if he has talked to her about it. From the balcony, Tina and Leslie watch. Leslie asks Tina to reconsider splitting with Robert; Jonah would appreciate it very much. She tells Tina that the affair is over. Tina agrees that family is the most important thing. Leslie then finds Janet and has her confirm that the affair is over, and asks her to tell Robert that. Robert shows up, and Victor stops him before pulling him into an aggressive handshake for “taking care of Janet when he couldn’t”. Before they can throw down, Janet reminds Victor that they have to meet Chase’s physics teacher.

Dale is in a foul mood, and wonders how Victor Stein is feeling – if he had such highs and lows from a small dose of Jonah’s DNA, Victor must be scary. Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder stop them and pull them away to talk about Molly. They tell them that Molly knows, and they speculate on how many of the other kids know. Catherine hands the Yorkes’ an unseen copy of Molly’s parents will. At first, they refuse to comply; how would that make Molly feel? They all agree it’s the only way to keep her safe.

Chase and Karolina see the Yorkes’ and the Wilders talking and assemble the gang. They realize that their parents are on to them, but once they decrypt these videos, it’s out of their hands. Their parents will face the justice they deserve.

As Chase’s coach locks up for the day, Victor shows up and strangles him against the wall, demanding his son be reinstated on the lacrosse team. The coach agrees, calling Victor crazy.

Leslie texts Jonah that order in PRIDE has been restored when Frank shows up and surprises her. He shows her the picture he swiped from the desk and confronts her about it. She admits that Jonah came to her father many years ago, and is The Being – the person in David’s writings who saw the Full Spectrum. The Book of Gibborim is about Jonah. She also admits her affair with Jonah and how ashamed she is of it.

Alex is sitting, trying to decrypt the files. It’s going at a snail’s pace. Nico sits down with him, and for the last time, demands that he tells the truth; how did he know her mom’s password? It was not “password” and he did not guess.

Robert finally meets up with Janet, and asks why he hasn’t been answering his calls. She says it has been a difficult time, and admits that Victor has been getting better. She wants to try and fix things and stay with her husband. Robert is heartbroken; Tina hears the whole thing.

Molly arrives home, and the Yorkes’ are packing her things. They tell her that they are sending her to Mexico, to live with her second cousin Graciela to learn more about her birth parents. Molly is very upset, thinking that she is being given away again. Gert confronts them about this being Molly’s worst nightmare, but Dale puts his foot down. He can do this, and will. Molly is about to use her super-strength on him, but Gert pulls her away. In Gert’s room, Molly starts sobbing that she doesn’t want to leave, but Gert reassures her they will always be sisters – but now that they know she knows, it is best if she leaves.

In Victor’s lab, Chase is working on the Fistigons. Victor shows up, but he isn’t the cheerful, strange Victor we have seen – he’s the moody, dangerous Victor from before. He starts chastising Chase again, and Chase thought they had moved on from his dad being an asshole. He punches his dad, and his dad does what he was warned not to do: He puts on the Fistigons. He blasts Chase through the window, and then gears up to finish off his son. Suddenly, Victor is shot. Janet enters the lab holding the pistol Robert gave her for self-defense.

Damn!


This episode was maybe a little weaker than the others. It felt like it had less of a focus. That ending though!

How will this play out next week?

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Author: Jesse "The Clairvoyant" Rolufs

Film star. Chemical engineer. Dancer. Comedian. I am none of these things. What I am, however, is a huge geek hailing from the frigid wastes of western Canada. I couldn’t even tell you when it started - I’m told the first words out of my mouth were “I swing my +2 DEX war axe and attack the dragon.” My name is Jesse (also known as “The Clairvoyant”) and I am a big nerd when it comes to video games, board games, movies, anime, TV, RPGs - and I am possibly the one of the world leading experts on comic books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Joss Whedon. You can find me on twitter as @JesseRolufs. Don’t be afraid to check out my informative Joss Whedon-themed podcast @whedoncast, and my hilarious bargain-bin-movie-bashing podcast @BlindBuy!

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