Action-packed. Intense. Full of teen angst.
Marvel's Runaways Season 2 delivered another thrilling year of superpowered drama and heroic moves.
But, where it differed from Marvel's Runaways Season 1 was that the development this time focused on being fast-paced with grander plots. A lot happened to the Runaways during their sophomore season, which benefitted their progression into becoming heroes. However, the focus bounced around too much.
Right from the season premiere on Marvel's Runaways Season 2 Episode 1, the story centered on the dynamic between the teens. This theme had been the strongest plot point from its freshman run, and it's a theme that thankfully stayed present onwards.
So much time had gone into developing the bonds between the characters, it would've been a shame to lose that. In this case, their relationship naturally progressed to the next phase. The Runaways were no longer friends, but they became a family.
Throughout most plots, the Runaways relied on each other to either complete a mission or seek advice about their lives. But, the most powerful moments came in the form of the scenes when the teens supported one another like a family.
In one particular scene, the group goes above and beyond to throw Molly a quinceanera.
We're talking a pink dress, party supplies, and the most stunning visual use of falling pink confetti I have ever seen on TV. With the exception of Alex doing the Floss (seriously, this dance needs to stop!), the night was a smashing success. You could feel the love from the teens putting the party together for Molly.
The same tone was also felt during the sad times, like when the emotional drama kicked in AFTER the party. Each bad decision that affected the group tugged at the heartstrings since it was an emotional betrayal.
Molly: Can’t I just have one day? Can I have one day where I don’t have to have everything bad happen?!
Alex: Woah. What’s going on? Why aren’t you using my bed?
Gert: Chase is leaving.
Karolina: What? Where are you going?
Chase: I’m going home.
Molly: He’s leaving us?
Nico: What? You’re leaving?!
Molly: Chase, you can’t do this.
Alex: Dude, come on, man. Don’t leave.
Chase: I’m sorry. I really am. Look, I don’t expect you guys to understand. But when I walked into this place, I was a dumb kid. But because of everything that we’ve been through, I grew up.
With an increase to 13 episodes, more time was given to the characters to explore their individual plots post-running away.
Alex received the biggest focus during the first half of Marvel's Runaways Season 2. His involvement with Darius and his growing relationship with Livvie provided him the clarity to look past the sheltered life he once had and see the world in its true form. He became the man that he needed to be.
At times, Alex's story established deep thought into the sharp difference between Darius's/Tamar's/Livvie's current world and the world his parents ran. The problem, however, was that plot ultimately led nowhere.
Alex's parents still ended up on top, Tamar didn't get the revenge she sought, and Livvie spurned Alex for making a deal to get revenge. Unless Catherine and Geoffrey Wilder are kept in jail, the time spent on these side characters would amount to being filler.
Part of Molly's story focused on her wanting to grow up quickly and be a hero, which tied to the quinceanera mentioned above.
She's the youngest member of the group and she wanted to use her powers for good to help people. This push seemed natural since she loved her powers and she's naturally good-hearted.
However, the theme of family also ruled her progression.
Molly sought out any familial connection she had left in the world, and this soul-searching led her to more pain. We lost the incredibly witty Graciela due to the villainy of the parents, and Molly saw hope in the mysterious and powerful "teenager" Topher. Ultimately, she lost him too.
Molly's need for a family fueled the undercurrent of the Runaways' character development. This motley crew protected each other, supported one another, and despite their arguments, they loved each other. The times when they did come together were for Molly.
Her path of self-discovery led her to recognize her new family.
Also, it reaffirmed her sisterly bonds with Gert. Even though they weren't sisters by blood, they would always be sisters to the bitter end.
The same can be said about Chase, Gert, Karolina, and Nico.
Romance encapsulated their plots, but at the core of their conflicts, each one sought the importance of a connection. Any connection, in fact. They needed that one person they could trust and depend on above all else. When they were wronged, it like was the world ended.
Sure, this attitude could be classified as teen angst, and it essentially was teen drama. But, the displaced anger furthered proved what each Runaway wanted at their core: love, security, and trust.
With the loss of their base foundation (i.e. their family), they found someone they could create that missing piece.
Nico: I was actually scared of that Staff.
Karolina: Maybe your darkness is you. Your power. Like, how my light is for me.
Regarding Karolina's development, her progression overarched all of Marvel's Runaways Season 2.
Her paternity drama with Jonah, conflicts in the Church of Gibborim, on-again-off-again with Nico, and the truth of her alien heritage served as the underlining thread that connected the main plot. Part of it was Jonah; his presence was so powerful that it was felt throughout most facets of the story.
However, her alien story established the growing threat that tied all the parents together. And, it's what was used as the direction for where Marvel's Runaways will go for the future.
Even with the grand battles and alien threats, at the heart of it all, it was family.
Karolina was the one character from the Runaways who ended up with the biggest personal growth. Before running away, she knew barely anything about her heritage. Now, she has a better sense of her past and has a confident reassurance of who she is as a person.
Karolina can make the choices about her future and family without any doubts.
Speaking of families, the downside of Marvel's Runaways Season 2 was the conflicting tone of the parents and their overabundance of scenes.
Marvel's Runaways is an action-packed TV show with a massive cast. We have the story focused on the teens and we have the equal story focused on the parents. Bouncing back and forth between both sets felt like a tennis match at times.
Gert: What’s going on with PRIDE?
Tina: They’re declaring war. On you. New weapons, the whole shebang.
Even though the actors did an incredible job in their portrayals of the villainous-yet-concerned parents, the pacing would have worked better with fewer scenes. The parents had a presence that competed against the Runaways.
That's not to say they didn't deliver. Brittany Ishibashi (who played Tina Minoru), Ever Carradine (Janet Stein), Ryan Sands (Geoffrey Wilder), and Brigid Brannagh (Stacey Yorkes) to name a few added new layers to their characters and delivered some great performances.
Still, the focus needed to be reined in.
Victor: It’s your future.
[The wall opens to reveal Command Central]
Victor: Everything we’ve built is for the next generation. For you.
Janet: It’s your birthright.
Chase: I told you, I don’t want anything to do with PRIDE.
Catherine: It’s true, we have done many things that we’re not proud of.
Robert: Under duress from Jonah.
Tina: And nothing we say or do will bring those kids back.
Stacey: We’ve all done a lot wrong, but we did one thing right: you kids.
Dale: Well, and a genetically engineered dieinonychus, just to say it.
Catherine: You can use PRIDE’s resources to make up for what we have done.
Geoffrey: Think of it. With all this money, tech, power, you could change the world.
Chase: And I’m supposed to believe that, what, you’re all just gonna walk away from this?
The number of scenes wouldn't have been bad had the tone stayed consistent.
Marvel's Runaways bounced back and forth between making the parents sympathetic characters who wanted to protect their kids and as criminal monsters who would hurt them. Sometimes the shift would happen within the same episode making it even more confusing.
I've stayed on the train that the parents are monsters. They preached a big game about protecting their kids, but at the drop of a hat, they quickly resorted to killing, kidnapping, bribing, and doing whatever it took to win.
Marvel's Runaways needs to settle on whether the parents are full-blown villains or parents who can be redeemed. With a new alien enemy on the horizon, the lines have to be drawn somewhere.
Last Runaway Thoughts:
I LOVED the two new sets! Command Central and the underground mansion both looked visually stunning, and the extra touches made to the mansion gave it so much life and history.
Old Lace put in a great acting job with all the noises. (You try telling the dinosaur otherwise!)
Lieutenant Flores will be missed. His brand of witless enforcer had a charm to it.
If Frank Dean were to be written out now, I wouldn't be too sad. His character got a full arc and ended in the perfect way to finish his main story. It could be fun to see him return as a guest villain, though.
We should all be a little worried about Nico and her natural abilities with the Staff of One. I was getting evil Willow vibes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6.
- The fight scene between Nico and her parents in the PRIDE headquarters has become one of my favorite fight sequences ever. Kudos to the choreography team and the actors!
Now, over to you, Runaways fans!
What did you think of Marvel's Runaways Season 2?
Which teen do you think is the host of the remaining royal alien? Will any of the parents ever get their comeuppance? Which of the Runaways was your favorite plot?
Share your thoughts in the comments below and let us know what you think.
Marvel's Runaways Season 2 is now available to stream on Hulu.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.