“Secrets only live in shadows and there are no shadows in the light.” – Frank Dean (Kip Pardue)
Karolina’s dad wasn’t thinking about Pride or the Church of Gibborim when he used those words to try and save his acting career, but it’s a literal light that breaks up Pride’s meeting when Molly leaves her camera on flash. The kids may not understand the minutiae of their parents’ secret, but the lid’s been blown enough for them to grapple with its connotations, and feel, in their gut, that whatever’s coming to light, it’s bad in the worst ways.
Episode 2, “Rewind” gives the parents a chance to tell their side of the story, turning back time on episode one, to see what they were doing the day of their human sacrifice. It doesn’t always feel like you get enough new material to justify stalling the plot. Many of the couples are in strained relationships, and almost all of them wish for an excuse to get out of attending the Pride meeting. Chase’s mom, Janet (Ever Carradine) sounds like she’s having an affair with another parent. While Chase can speak freely with her, she’s staying in a marriage where both she and her son have been abused.
Geoffrey is (Ryan Sands) consumed with the construction of his new, community school. This will eventually become important for reasons besides education, given how unforgiving he is with the build schedule, but it’s a hard storyline to get excited about in its formative stages. A modern update has crime become tech-savvy, with members of Geoffrey’s old crew using their chat to steal information off his phone. These aren’t the burners of The Wire anymore, and while you can feel for Geoffrey later, when he asks whether he’s left his criminal past behind, “Reunion” already introduced this conflict.
What you don’t get this episode, which would’ve warranted spending an hour with the parents, is motive. Why are they doing this? How did these couples come together? What are their allegiances? Nico’s mom, Tina (Brittany Ishibashi), and Gert’s mom, Stacey (Brigid Brannagh) don’t agree about brie, but how do the others get along?
Complete answers would’ve been a lot for episode two to divulge, but anything would’ve been nice to explain why we needed to break from the kids so quickly. In the comics, moments were stolen to spend with the parents, but these weren’t overdone. Runaways doesn’t need the detour and the range of guilt we see across the parental board is hard to read when we don’t know how they’re justifying their actions.
What ‘Rewind’ Does Accomplish
- Confirms that they’ve done this before (human sacrifice), and that all the victims were seventeen.
- Lets us know Destiny (Nicole Wolf) has a three-year-old daughter, and that Leslie (Annie Wersching) wasn’t aware of this when she chose her for the sacrifice. She goes through with the plan anyway but for their interests, as well her guilt, does it hurt their ritual to know Destiny’s not a ‘pure’ virgin?
- If Destiny’s murder was more ambiguous on the show than it was in the comics, that’s because she’s not dead! Chase’s dad, Victor, failed to mention his box wasn’t working properly, and ends up with a very alive sacrifice. This is a complete departure from the comics and I have no clue what it means for Destiny or the plot, but from the moment they used a box, instead of a knife, her death was going to be messy, not clean.
- This is “Rewind’s” best deviation from the source material. Where Destiny’s death was quick and random in the comics, ‘Rewind’ makes us live through every horrible moment. It reminds me of how David Lynch made viewers go through everything with Laura Palmer on Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me. Seeing it from the parent’s perspective, rather than at a distance with their kids, makes you come to hate them. There’s no sugarcoating what they did.
Other Thoughts On ‘Rewind:’
- We already saw their red robes in “Reunion,” but in the comics the parents wear couples costumes, and that’s what makes Alex immediately peg them for supervillains. Since the robes make them cult-ish, and apparently sexy (I’m just calling it as the weird, music-laced scene of them getting changed plays it), will supervillains be their final identity, or is that not who they are anymore?
- Parent Out Of The Loop: In my ‘Reunion’ review I mentioned numbers were important to the comics. They take another punch in “Rewind” when Frank isn’t a member of Pride like his wife. This probably could’ve been detected in episode one, but as much as you wouldn’t want to bring a guy like him into the fold, he seems like a dangerous character to keep on the outs. Frank is a slime ball, realizing his commitment to the church after his agent drops him as a client for acting jobs. While Destiny gets offered ultra status (it’s a trick, but still), he’s begging to be given more power in the church and digging up dirt when refused. The one thing that’s nice is nobody’s falling for his schemes–not his wife, her employee, or his ex-agent. We’re used to seeing guys like him as threats, but maybe Runaways knocks them out.
- What’s with the old man in the box that looks identical to the one Victor designed for the sacrifice? Are these boxes connected? Is that Leslie’s dad, who’s supposed to be dead?
- Favorite image taken from the comics: The Runaways playing Twister to hide the fact that they just saw their parents murder Destiny.
Marvel’s Runaways streams Tuesdays on Hulu.