Marvel’s Runaways Review – Season 1, Episode 5: “Kingdom”

by Rachel Bellwoar

“Alex, my man, you’re about to find out who your father really is.” – Darius Davis (DeVaughn Nixon)

When it rains it pours, and while Alex may be ready to accept his father’s involvement in any bad deed at this point, killing fifteen teenagers couldn’t have been enough? As a twist and practice round for when they’ll have to go up against Pride, having Alex’s kidnappers be from Geoffrey’s past makes sense. It also gives viewers a Geoffrey Wilder more reminiscent of the comics. If you’ve ever had somebody give the, “This is my home,” speech, then you know how petty it sounds. Like Gert’s parents last week, it doesn’t take much for these Pride guys to lose their cool when their kids encroach on the subject of murder.

Rhenzy Feliz and DeVaughn Nixon (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Hulu)

How unrelated Darius Davis is to Pride, though, seems to be undermined by this episode’s biggest reveal. Since chalky guy was the real estate agent whose money offer prompted Geoffrey to ask his best friend to do jail time for him, Darius is very much connected to Geoffrey’s present, however much Geoffrey likes to protest otherwise.

Chalky guy, in case that needs clarifying, is the fellow with the breathing mask that Karolina’s mom, Leslie, has been hiding away at the church in one of Victor’s coffins. He’s also about the most disappointing person they could have made the recipient of fifteen sacrifices. We only meet him this episode. We don’t know that he’s sick beforehand, and his health is restored on the backs of fifteen (sixteen) dead kids. Never mind Leslie’s married and has been using her secret club to restore her lover’s (and possibly Karolina’s real dad’s) health. Leslie is the only person who seems to benefit from this arrangement.

There has to be more to it. The other parents can’t be motive-less in their killing spree, but if the motive ends up being money? If all of this was done so they could be paid off in the millions, like Geoffrey? Nico wants her parents brought to justice more than anyone but, as she says, they’re “still our parents.” You want them to have some case to make for their actions. It won’t be good enough, but anything’s better than textbook greed.

Lyrica Okano, Allegra Acosta, Ariela Barer and Virginia Gardner (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Hulu)

Other thoughts on “Kingdom”:

  • It’s not fair to compare the fight scenes on The Gifted to those on Runaways (the kids are using their powers for the first time), but they do make you realize how haphazard this week’s Runaways fight was, and how easily it could’ve gone wrong. There’s no strategy to their trial and error combat style, and when they’re being shot at with real bullets, that’s throwing caution to the wind.
  • Teenage reactions can be regrettable, especially in retrospect, but Gert lamenting that Karolina glows, on top of being beautiful, is exactly the kind of knee jerk, selfish response, you catch yourself having at the most inappropriate times.
  • One area where having some knowledge of the comics helps: understanding how Nico’s magic staff-slash-wand works (I do love that she calls it that). Runaways gets away with not defining the rules because Nico doesn’t know them yet, but, unless you’ve read the series, there’s no reason for Nico to be flinching every time the staff activates. This seems to be the show’s replacement for Nico cutting herself to use the wand in the comics. The show creators didn’t want to glamorize cutting, and they made the right decision to make changes, just not in leaving the flinches unexplained.
  • It’s not the kids’ fault that they couldn’t find Andre in time to prevent his sacrifice but they’re awfully quick to declare their search lost after realizing the Pride meeting’s moved.
  • Gretchen suffered mental abuse, not physical and mental like Chase, but the way Runaways is seriously addressing abusive relationships reminds of last season’s arc on You’re the Worst, where the fear the abuser insinuated could be triggered at any time. Chase is so happy to be working with his dad but the moment he accidentally drops something, he reverts to fear and the expectation that he’ll be hit.

Marvel’s Runaways streams Tuesdays on Hulu.