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Posted November 22, 2017 by Katelyn Barnes in Comics
 
 

REVIEW: Runaways S01E01 – Reunion

Aired 11-21-2017
Executive Producer: Rodney Barnes
Created by: Brian K. Vaughan (Comic), Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage
Starring: Rhenzy, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi

Going into the pilot episode, “Reunion”, I knew nothing about Hulu’s Runaways. I mean, I knew it was a comic series, one with Brian K. Vaughn at the helm and I love his work, but nothing else. I’m glad I went in blind. I got to be surprised and say things like, “FACE SUCKER!” and “JAMES MARSTERS!” and “SATANISTS?” Add to that, the diversity of the cast, the post-punk soundtrack, and the bright neon colors of a Veronica Mars or a Chuck (another Josh Schwartz show, one I miss deeply) and you’ve got a show worth watching and definitely a show for me.

The Comic (Vol 1): By Adrian Alphona , Takeshi Miyazawa , Brian K. Vaughan © Marvel

The show opens, sensibly enough, on a runaway. Destiny (Nicole Wolf) is newly arrived and penniless in LA, when she runs afoul of some gangsters. Or thinks she does, anyhow. As the men cry in Spanish, “we’re trying to help you!”, a white van pulls up and door slides open to reveal a woman and, like, fifteen teens all in white. “Join us,” the woman says. “Is this a cult?” says Destiny. “Oh no,” says the woman. And Destiny jumps in. The van pulls away, Church of Gibboron emblazoned on its side. The men sit in the alley. “She would have been safer with us!” says one. When the credits roll, it’s all palm trees and mansions and high, cult-like walls. Something’s off here, folks.

It’s months later and Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz) is shut in his room playing video games. When he comes down to breakfast, his parents are concerned. It’s been two years since the death of his friend, Amy, and he should really try to reunite with his friends. He could do it tonight, his parents have their Pride meeting, after all. Alex makes a snippy comment about charities but thinks about it.

Elsewhere, his former friends are also reckoning with their mornings. Amy’s sister, Nico (Lyrica Okano), a full-on eighties goth, is looking for a suitable pair of black tights and when she can’t find any in her own room, heads to Amy’s pristine bedroom to look for a pair. Down in the kitchen, her mother (Brittany Ishibashi) notices the intrusion on the security camera (!) outside Amy’s door (!) and goes to stop Nico. In the ensuing argument, Nico accidentally breaks one of Amy’s trophies and her mother all but shuts down.

© Marvel / Hulu

In a house nearby, Chase (Gregg Sulkin) is working out before breakfast. When his sister calls him down to the kitchen, he is resistant. Is his father there? Oh yes, and he (JAMES MARSTERS!) is a straight-up dick. He all but threatens his son if the teen doesn’t raise his Spanish grade. What fun

In a creepy white “chapel”, Karolina (Virginia Gardner) is watching her mother (Annie Wersching) the same woman from the van, give a morning sermon. She is all smiles, but when Karolina tries to get her mother to sign a permission slip allowing Karolina to visit the Art Institute in San Francisco, her mother refuses. They have a photo shoot about the “church” for some big publication! Karolina needs to be there!

School is just beginning when Gert (Ariela Barer), her younger, adopted sister Molly (Allegra Acosta), and their parents pull up outside. Molly has period cramps. Her parents give … advice to help with the pain. Gert can’t forget her antidepressants. And off they go, school has begun.

The next third of the episode follows their day at school, and for the most part, is concerned with establishing where their friendships stand now, two years after Amy’s death. When Alex tries to get everyone to agree to a party at his house, they all blow him off and/or find reasons argue with him. But it’s clear the connection with the group still exists in some form. Gert is willing to help Chase with Spanish, Karolina and Nico sort of comfort each other when they each find the other crying in the bathroom. It’s all pretty run of the mill teen show stuff. That is, until Molly, suffering from extreme cramps, accidentally bends a metal chair with her hands in some form of pain relief. Oh, and her birth parents died in a fire? So, if it’s genetics, the girl knows nothing.

OH! AND! KAROLINA’S MOM HAS AN OLD DUDE (HUSBAND??), COMATOSE AND WEARING A FACE SUCKERY BREATHING MASK, IN A SEALED OFF BEDROOM OF HER HOUSE.

But hey, she’s all smiles during the photoshoot. And Karolina is committed, that is until Stephanie comes up, fully cult-ed and full of praises of her mother, and then, Karolina gets a taste for that fabled mystery, rebellion.

That night, she and Chase end up at the same houseparty (so long, Gert and Spanish lessons!). Karolina wants to rebel. She accepts a suspicious pill, and starts to dance. She even takes off her “church” bracelet, and in that moment, her arms begin to glow. Then, she passes out. Chase catches two guys, his bro-buddies, carrying her upstairs, and he follows, suspicious, and it’s a good thing he does, because his bro-buddies were about to rape Karolina. He beats the crap out of the bro-buddies.. Then, he snaps Karolina’s bracelet backs on her, she immediately wakes up, and they leave. When Karolina mentions her glowing arms, Chase says it was the drugs, but Karolina never did take that pill…

Meanwhile, Molly is at home, alone, and testing her strength. She can lift a van when she’s scared enough, but she falls asleep almost immediately afterwards. She wakes up when Gert texts her to please feed “the pets.” The pets, turns out, are cages of lab animals in the basement. And some kind of freaking dinosaur monster behind a huge metal door, because sure. When Molly rushes out of there and demands Gert takes her anywhere else, they end up at Alex’s. Everyone is there, too. Even Nico, who just spent a very depressing night recreating that beach scene from The Craft, in an attempt to call her sister back to her.

The friends spend a few awkward minutes dealing with their distance and Amy’s absence, before Chase decides they need alcohol. Alex is nervous. The Pride meeting is happening in the kitchen and all their parents are there! But, when they go to the kitchen, there are no parents. So, they go to Alex’s dad’s study, where the good booze is, and that too, is empty. And then, Alex tries to pick up a coaster and a bookcase moves to reveal a hidden lair, y’all!

Chase is all like, wine cellar! And so down they go. And down and down, until they see their parents, behind a protective, sound cancelling barrier, dressed in red robes and sacrificing! Stephanie! to some kind of glowing coffin!?! When Molly attempts to take a picture with her phone, the flash goes off. The kids take off. Alex’s father turns. “What the hell was that?” he wonders.

And boom! End of episode. I don’t know what’s coming, but I’m excited. Aren’t you?

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Katelyn Barnes is a fast-talking, karaoke-loving, geek of all trades. If she isn’t belting out the best of Foreigner, then she’s got her nose in a book. She often does both at once. She is also a true devotee of all things geeky in television. It began, long ago, with Buffy, and now encompasses the best sci-fi and fantasy shows television has to offer. Born in New England and raised in the American Midwest, Katelyn has earned degrees in English and History. She spends much of her time writing and traveling to as many new places as she possibly can.