Runaways has returned back for a second season. And it's better than ever.
The Runaways have left their homes (and evil parents) behind and now have to learn to live on their own. As they scavenge for food, search for shelter, and take care of one another, our kids begin to realize that, for better or worse, they’re stuck with each other. And it’s up to them to take down PRIDE once and for all. But someone sent a mysterious message to Jonah… Is there a mole in the Runaways? Meanwhile PRIDE is focused on finding their children, and Jonah has his own dangerous plan in mind.
Runaways returned for a second season on December 21st. Season two picks up right where the finale left off, with the teens still on the run and wanted by police as a result of their parents framing them for the murder of Destiny Gonzalez. The opening scene begins with the teens parents entering a police station with the expectation of finding their derelict delinquents, only to find they’ve been bamboozled. Indeed, their children are still on the run, and the second scene cuts to the aptly named Runaways, running after a dude on a bike who has stolen gauntlets from them. The teens are still in fact, Runaways, though as Nico admitted, they really ‘suck at it’. The line was perhaps an allusion to the first season and the audiences perceptions of them, mainly in regards to how the first season of Runaways fell short of fulfilling all of the promise the show has. The first episode of the second season is an opening salvo in more ways than one, as it hints that the second season will seek to amend those mistakes.
The one area where this is most noticeable is how they confront their privilege when contrasting their former lives with the struggles of being on the run. By making the teens homeless and struggling while on the run, the stakes for the series are immediately raised, as each of the Runaways must struggle to meet their new reality. Some find adjusting to this new reality difficult, most notably with Gert, as she struggles the most with not only her guilt over her privilege, but without the aid of her anti-anxiety medication as well. Ariela Barer should be commended here, as she does a fine job of portraying Gert under these circumstances, without her portrayal coming across as hamfisted, while simultaneously managing to avoid descending into caricature.
Molly also struggles after the lost of Graciella, and rightfully proclaims she has ‘lost everything’ and feels like she has ‘no one’. Nico then reassures her by telling her she has ‘us’. It’s this bond that allows the Runaways to persevere, despite how tentative it might be at times. While this is going on, Alex routinely sneaks off to meet Darius, his father’s former partner, in order to work for him in exchange for the necessary funds needed to buy the teens a few, vital supplies. Alex is not the only one with a secret however, as Karolina herself sneaks off to meet Jonah in order to better understand herself and what she’s become. The latter of which, is one of the better plot points of the show.
Conflict is one of the central themes of Runaways, and the theme of the Runaways against their parents continues, with the contrast being perfectly summed up by Nico who wonders how their parents could be “such monsters”. I mean, after all, they *are* their parents. Karolina reassures her that they “aren’t them”, and that they can “fix the world that they broke”. It is veritable proof that sometimes, the apple falls and rolls far away from the apple tree.
Speaking of which, further foundation for the show’s two main romances continue to be fortified, as Nico and Karolina grow closer through subtle, affectionate touches and flagrantly romantic kisses. Gert and Chase on the other hand, begin a tentative relationship based on hugs and mutual respect. Runaways seems to be at its best when it deals when it intersects the struggle of the Runaway teens with the coming-of-age of moments every teen is subjected to. It is something that makes the show seems like it’s grounded in reality, and all of this is only enhanced by strong cast chemistry.
The first episode ends with the Runaways eventually find a subterranean mansion in Griffith Park, which they go on to christen as ‘The Hostel’. The resting place proves to be a welcome respite from the many nights of uncertainty that they spent on the streets, sleeping among the homeless and where ever they could lay their heads. It is at ‘The Hostel’ where they quickly try to establish a routine and try to find a regain their lost sense of normalcy.
Runaways is a show that boasts a large ensemble cast, with six teens and eleven parents, and like all shows with large casts, it struggles to balance all of them with adequate plot points. Some subplots are more compelling than others, like Alex’s relationship with Darius, and the potential duplicity from Darius in their working partnership. Others have yet to be nearly as engaging, and a prime example of this would be with Topher (Jan Luis Castellanos), who is almost made redundant, given he pretty much shares the same set of powers as Molly does. Time will perhaps tell if he will still be in this rut of redundancy, but for now, it’s hard to see how well he’ll adjust to the story, especially since the other Runaways don’t trust him as well. Heck, even Leslie Dean, who had a child with Jonah, is also wondering what the deal with him is.
And yet, despite all of this, Runaways continues to be quite enjoyable, as it is doing a satisfying job of balancing the sci-fi, action oriented aspects of a superhero show with all of the angst of an adolescent drama. The show also manages to provide us with the all of the comedy that being an awkward teenager can bring as well, thus making it a respite from the usual darkness and grittiness that characterizes other Marvel shows. The show also has its fingers on the pulse of the current times, as it accurately reflects the social consciousness and awareness of today’s teens, and their conflict with their parents generation is perfectly mirrored with the Runaways conflicts with their murderous and scrupulous parents. It is a compelling narrative, and one that will keep you tuned in and watching more episodes, as you root for these teens to break away from their parents legacy, and win.
Runaways Season Two
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 8/108/10