Marvel’s Runaways Review – Season 1, Episode 9: “Doomsday” Is Here At Last

by Rachel Bellwoar

Following computer-gate last week, the children of Pride take a hard look at what they hope to accomplish if they stick together as a team. It’s not enough to go up against their parents. They’re braced for sabotage from their own side. If that’s how it’s going to be, every time they get close to proof, why go through the trouble?

Allegra Acosta, Lyrica Okano and Ariela Barer (Photo by: Greg Lewis/Hulu)

You know what’s a real bonding experience? Running away. I am absolutely harping, and I am sorry for that, but if there are any Twin Peaks fans out there reading this review, waiting for the kids to run away on Runaways is like waiting for Dale Cooper to appear on “The Return”. After recalibrating my expectations, Twin Peaks was incredible. What’s stopping me from letting go at this point on Runaways is the way the pacing’s leaving the kids in limbo.

While I was prepared for them to take off on a whim last week, it wasn’t until Chase’s pointed goodbye to his mother that I realized “Doomsday’s” school dance was for more than destroying Jonah’s dig site. The kids are leaving home. What that says about how they expect events to play out is pretty bad. They don’t see themselves being welcomed back and, since Victor’s not around to fix his inventions, this is going to kill Pride’s “renewable energy source” plan. Their parents won’t be pleased, and that’s with the kids not being aware Tina destroyed the other coffin. Their teen sacrifice ring’s toast, so where does that leave Pride? Are they running other scams, or is this it?

Is this the end of the world? Talk about the show being willing to do anything to stop the kids running away (just kidding!) but it’s possible LA’s day of reckoning is near and, as befits a teen drama, carpe diem shows its face in Runaways‘ romances. Chase and Gert decide to consummate their friendship on the chance they’re all about to die. Afterwards, when they’re back to trying to prevent Doomsday, Gert forces Chase to agree their affair was a one-time thing.

Both have feelings for each other, so this is mutual panic talking, but while there’s a lot about Gert’s reaction that makes sense when you break it down (the end of days was their reason for having sex and if they stop it, they’ll have to discuss their feelings), Gert could’ve waited to have this discussion. This is TV’s fear of couples getting along pushing conflict and abusing the belief that teens have no impulse control (or chaperones at their school dances to prevent them finding a private room).

What’s really exciting is the show interjecting the possibility of Nico reciprocating Karolina’s feelings. I think it’s fair to say she didn’t see the kiss coming, but she does return it, and that’s not what happens in the comics as far as I’ve read. Even if Nico doesn’t ultimately feel the same way, they’ll always have that first kiss.

One change from the source material I’m not sure what to make of: both Molly and Karolina’s origin stories are changed from the comics, so their powers aren’t inherited from their parents (mutant and alien, respectfully). Following a long tradition of superheroes gaining their powers in freak accidents, Molly’s are now linked to the glowing rock samples her parents collected and she was holding when the bomb that killed them went off.

Julian McMahon and Annie Wersching (Photo by: Greg Lewis/Hulu)

Leslie (who set off the bomb — not an accident) is claiming she didn’t know her daughter could glow, but Karolina’s bracelet and that scene in episode four, where Leslie glows in bed with Jonah, say otherwise.

As for the man Karolina thinks is her dad, Frank blabbing and selling out his daughter was always a possibility, but a majorly disappointing one. You keep waiting for him to show the same intelligence Chase has, but Frank’s a kid in an adult’s body. As much as Karolina talks up his plan to her friends, she’s as dubious as they are that he can actually help them.

Other thoughts on “Doomsday”:
  • The environmental twist to Pride’s business with the school grounds is very 2017 but makes their cover story seem weak (but then Jonah doesn’t need it to last long, if he’s planning on setting off earthquakes).
  • Speaking of flirting with earthquakes, what were the kids hoping to accomplish, by Molly moving the truck? They send Karolina to help, but it’s Molly doing the pushing and, in the end, they drop it into the hole. Did they think the hole would be filled? Did they mistake how deep it was, or did they think they’d be able to determine how far it went?
  • There’s some really elegant editing going on this episode (when Chase smiles at Gert for the first time with romantic inflection, there’s a soundbite of Tina asking Robert, “Why are you smiling?” before the scene cuts to them), and shots, like Amy’s name coming up on Alex’s caller ID, that make you go through twenty emotions at once. When Jonah calls Dale with an unknown number, you can’t help but think of the text Amy received, the night she died, but that’s not exactly incriminating when any phone can be set to do that.
  • Chase’s awareness of where he stands with Karolina is much more advanced than I expected. Maybe it’s too fast for him to be realizing his feelings for Gert but I’m glad there won’t be any pining.
  • Prize for Longest Sustained Conversation of Unreassuring Understatements: Chase and Janet, with her, “The man who’s taking care of him is very invested in his recovery,” in reference to Jonah and Victor. If you call being ready to kill her invested, sure, Jonah’s swell.

Marvel’s Runaways streams Tuesdays on Hulu.