A Wave Of Questions After “Tsunami” – Marvel’s Runaways Episode 8 Review
by Rachel Bellwoar
“You can’t keep the circumstances of my sister’s suicide a secret and then blame my lipstick.” – Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano)
Rodney Barnes and Mike Vukadinovich wrote this episode and, if you judged “Tsunami” on the strength of its dialogue, they deliver the goods (another favorite line: “I know you might have missed a string of action movies I did in the early aughts for the Chinese market, but my martial arts training is very real, and I don’t want to hurt you”).
The hitch is the reason they’re able to coin these colorful phrases. Runaways‘ plot has gotten ridiculous. The situations they’re in are comical. There’s a phrase: “If I weren’t laughing, I’d be crying.” When you think about the despicable behavior on display, it’s easy to want to retreat from this show and its unwillingness to let the kids run away.
Last week, it seemed like Molly leaving was the worst thing that could’ve happened to her, but her storyline’s become the show’s best, proof that running away is the answer. I had missed some of the details of where Dale and Stacy were sending her (and “Tsunami” doesn’t remind you) but Graciela (Marlene Forte) knew Molly’s mom and is Molly’s second cousin. This is a new reason to be angry at Dale and Stacy, since they should’ve been introduced sooner, but Molly’s better off cut off from Pride.
If this were the comics, all the kids would be spending some time apart from their parents, but with Chase breaking Alex’s computer, any momentum the series was building in that direction seems lost once again. My first thought, when Old Lace popped her head out of Gert’s car, was that they had everything they needed to cut and run. It looks like they’ll be returning home after all.
While Chase is shut out from any news of his dad’s condition (Victor was shot by Janet in “Refraction”), Runaways takes this episode to look back at Amy’s death and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it. A reminder that Nico went through the same thing, when her mom forbade her from calling 911, Pride is sequestered in Chase’s basement. He has no clue what’s going on. Nico’s response to her grief was to withdraw, change her wardrobe, and internalize her anger. Chase follows his father’s example, and starts to become violent.
And yet he’s handling pressure better than any of the parents. Told by Jonah they need to sacrifice Janet in order to revive Victor, nobody suggests that maybe they shouldn’t. Turning on each other, finger-pointing, and offering alternate victims, sacrifices have become their solution to everything. They barely flinch unless it’s their name on the chopping block. Janet’s concern for Victor ebbs and flows with concern for her own life. Leslie’s taking off her earrings to go a round with Tina (Runaways: Glow Edition). Robert’s going shirtless to offer himself in Janet’s place (you knew he was being too silent during the ‘kill Janet’ witch hunt). They’re losing it, and while there’s an amusing side to this exaggerated panic, their awfulness runs deep. The kids are still living with them, tons of people know the truth, and everyone’s allowing Pride to continue. It’s a sweep of ugly silence that no one has shown themselves willing to break.
Other Lingering Thoughts and Questions After Watching “Tsunami:”
- Is Alex lying again? He told Nico he watched the footage from Wizard Labs, but in the flashback to the first Pride meeting, they went over being blackmailed. Alex claims the tapes had nothing to tell about their motives. That shouldn’t have been the case.
- With his healing gloves now kaput, is it safe to say Jonah is the worst medicine man ever?
- Who sent Amy (Amanda Suk) the text message to get out of the house the day she died? Considering Robert’s revived affection for Tina, my vote is Tina. She’s a character who’s always two steps forward, three steps back when it comes to doing the right thing, and I could see her trying to put Pride first before having second thoughts. Robert was ready to sacrifice his life for Janet because she shot Victor to protect her son. If he learns Tina had anything to do with Amy’s demise, they’re permanently over.
- Would a teen Molly’s age not be able to recognize a VHS tape?
- Also, a question of believability: would Amy’s backpack and cell phone have been in her room this whole time? Tina kept Amy’s room under tight surveillance, but Nico’s broken in before.
- How much was Karolina able to tell her dad about Pride, and where did Frank go? He didn’t leave with his daughter (which he probably should’ve, if she got into the nitty gritty). He didn’t return downstairs, and with Leslie preparing to sacrifice him, that’s fortunate (was that an act for Jonah, her offering him up, or was last week’s regret the lie?). So what role does Frank play in these season-ending episodes?
- If it weren’t for the show obscuring his face, I’d say Jonah was the man who showed up at Amy’s door, but then why leave it open for an upset?
- Favorite Part of “Tsunami”: The episode’s focus on bilingual families. Molly gets to speak Spanish with Graciela while Tina and Robert speak privately to each other in Japanese, after Tina saves his life.
Marvel’s Runaways streams Tuesdays on Hulu.