A “refraction” is when light changes directions. The definition is more extensive than that, but it’s enough to start discussing this week’s episode of Runaways. A pinball machine of direction changes, Runaways likes a big event to build its episode around but uses that occasion thinly when all is said and done.
The open house at Atlas Academy, along with the chance to hold the kids accountable for their schoolwork, is something the comics couldn’t have done, and a chance for the show to carve its own path. The kids needn’t have worried too much. Any concern their parents would find out about their slipping grades goes away, like Victor’s desire to meet Chase’s physics teacher. Suddenly he’s threatening the lacrosse coach instead and the school is just a backdrop for the same old, same old Pride hysterics.
What isn’t the same is Victor, who undergoes a personality change after Jonah’s cancer cure. What was advertised as a drug to heal his tumor starts acting like marijuana when Dale (Gert’s dad) accidentally gets high on the stuff. Side effects, like Victor’s personality overhaul, prove temporary, but does that mean the tumor would’ve come back as well, or did it ever go away in the first place? Janet shoots Victor, possibly fatally, making Jonah’s end game for him unknown, but less unclear are his plans for Karolina’s dad, Frank Dean.
Frank Dean’s going to be a scapegoat. Jonah’s show of regard with the healing gloves? Set-up for the fall when Frank goes down with the Church of Gibborim. Jonah wants Leslie and Karolina all to himself and is throwing around his weight in ways Leslie didn’t see coming. Talking to Frank later, she says she’s ashamed of her relationship with Jonah. This doesn’t necessarily sell with what we’ve heard from her in the past, but Frank’s a tough nut to crack as well. The stereotypical actor in him comes out when he flaunts the gloves, but he also knows the history of every object in the church’s inventory without having to refer to a list. He at least takes the religion somewhat seriously and the news about Karolina will devastate him.
Other thoughts on “Refraction”:
- So, we still don’t know Nico’s mom’s password, and with Nico giving Alex every opportunity to come clean about it, that’s becoming more and more of a problem. She shouldn’t let up, but why is he sticking to his original answer?
- The show has fallen into a bit of a rut, with pairing up the same characters (the double date arrangement, as Gert would call it), which is why it’s exciting to see Karolina and Molly together for a change. There’s not enough teaming up and taking down the dance team as I might’ve hoped, but hopefully this isn’t the last we see of their friendship, as they adjust to flying/glowing/being strong at the same time.
- Everyone gangs up on Molly for saying too much to Catherine but they’ve all been making pointed remarks to their parents these days that could set them on their trail.
- Another issue that’s making the school feel distant is we don’t know anyone outside of Pride. Since the kids have been estranged for a while, you’d think there’d be some other students they say ‘hello’ to in the halls.
- In the comics, numerous attempts to shield Molly from what’s going on backfire when she’s used as bait. Sending Molly away (‘for her safety’) on the show could launch a similar situation, but why are the Wilders suddenly helping to protect her? Why did they warn Gert’s parents instead of ratting Molly out to Tina, or Leslie?
- Was having Chase’s warning to Victor in the same episode of its consequences too soon? The time machine feels a bit throwaway and maybe if we’d had time to forget the warning, the ending would have come as more of a surprise.
Marvel’s Runaways streams Tuesdays on Hulu.