The Runaways Review: A Strong Start Despite Not Running Away

Review: 8.5/10
  • Streaming
  • Superhero
The Runaways grow apart, but a family secret brings them back together.
The Runaways grow apart, but a family secret brings them back together. Hulu / Marvel

This review focuses on the second half of Marvel’s Runaways. If you would like to avoid finale spoilers, reroute to our first review.

The Runaways season finale marks a strong start to this Hulu franchise, because it’s clear the story has only just begun. Formatting the show as an informal prequel was a risk that paid off. Not having the kids run away in the first few episodes and instead focusing on the parents was a courageous decision that ended up making The Runaways one of the most unique comic book shows of recent history.

Once I got past the fact that the teens weren’t going to truly run by season’s end, the focus on PRIDE became more satisfying. It was worrisome when the series took the entire second episode to explore the story from the parents’ perspective, but establishing how they were in over their heads just as much as their children was an important change. It would have been an easy cop-out to make them oblivious to their children’s well-being. Focusing on the origins of Pride allowed the show to avoid that clichéd villain situation.

Karolina’s father, Jonah, is the real big bad and the parents are really just being played. But what are they to do? Letting their kids run away is probably the best way to protect them. With that realization comes the best scene of the series: the kids hiking up the hills of Los Angeles with a dinosaur in a shopping cart, looking for a place to crash as their faces spread across the TV news.

With little to no resolution about Jonah’s true origins or agenda, interpersonal relationships are the highlight of The Runaways . Alex is really the odd man out, and the least likeable, through no fault of Rhenzy Feliz. The jumbled tone of his character feels intentional. He’s the only one with nothing extranormal to offer and is even hesitant to go and save Karolina. At this point, he does’t appear to know about Nico and Karolina’s relationship, so it leaves us wondering what feelings about Pride he could be hiding.

Aside from Nico and Karolina, there’s Gert and Chase. And while I’m certainly on that train, we haven’t really gotten any real indication of Chase’s attraction to Gert, despite them hooking up at the school dance. These relationships are one of many reasons Season 2 should be even better than the first. The Runaways need to get out of their element to develop the formidable bonds they share in the comic books. Karolina is incredibly powerful, yet the series still hasn’t really explained how it works or why she has the powers outside of Jonah's’ influence. Molly’s abilities also remain a mystery, aside from having something to do with a sample her parents were studying from Jonah's secret project.

How far, if at all, will these parents go to help their children? That’s going to be an exciting dynamic heading into Season 2, even though the parents were the weakest link in the show so far. Dale and Stacey Yorkes are definitely the most charming and vibrant of the bunch. Aside from Molly’s now-dead parents, they seem like the two most hesitant to blindly follow Jonah. And while the Yorkes may be the most fun, Tina Minoru is also a strong force heading into Season 2. We saw Nico use the Staff Of One; will she and her mother reconcile to share their family’s magic?

The only reason the Runaways doesn’t earn a perfect score is because the first half of the series was oddly formatted with too much focus on the parents, who were far less interesting at that point in the story. Otherwise, The Runaways deserves respect for being one of the only shows to successfully blend source material with a new creative vision.

Marvel's Runaways
Marvel’s Runaways Is The Most Delightfully Offbeat Show On Hulu Since Misfits
Whether you are a fan of the Runaways comics or not, you’ll be hooked on Hulu’s latest original venture by the end of the first episode.
  • Smart and weird enough to escape cliches
  • Stays true to source material
  • So many characters
  • It's still a teen drama
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