TV Reviews

Marvel’s Runaways Season 1 Episode 1: Reunion Review

Hulu has officially joined the world of Marvel with the addition of it’s new TV show. Based on Brian K. Vaughan’s Marvel comic, Runaways, is about a group of teenagers who find common ground in an enemy–their parents. After the death of a friend, this group parted ways, unable to maintain their friendship as a result of the loss.

Synopsis: A group of six Los Angeles teens, fractured by a tragic loss, reunite only to discover that their parents may be hiding a terrible secret that turns their world upside down. (TVGuide) 

Writers: Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage

Director: Brett Morgen

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 53 minutes

The premiere episode dives into the intricacies of the characters as they are now, and gradually introduces us to the central plot of the show and their eventual reunion.

The episode opens to a young girl on the run from home, when she is aggressively harassed by two men. Managing to get away, she is greeted by two elderly women who ask her to join them. The situation feels ominous as she leaves with them in a van marked, “Church of Gibborim”.

A flash forward of six months takes us to, Alex (Rhenzy Feliz), a young teenage boy who has a strained relationship with his wealthy parents.

Next, we meet Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin), a handsome, rich jock. Chase plays on the high school football team but finds himself struggling in classes.

The mystery surrounding the mysterious “Church of Gibborim” is slightly revealed as we meet Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), a cute, church-going, “follow the rules” type of gal. Her parents are the head of the church, and lead a very pious and strict life. As the episode progresses, we learn the church is not what it seems, and may be the source of something more sinister.

Gert (Ariela Barer) and Molly (Allegra Acosta) are the next two characters the show introduces. Gert is a feminist, while Molly is going through the growing pains of puberty. The episode reveals Molly’s character possesses some sort of super-strength power.

Last but not least, we meet Nico (Lyrica Okano), a hardcore goth and the sister of the girl who died. Watching her introduction and struggle through the first episode was vital to the overall story, as we saw her heartbreakingly cope with the loss, even two years later.

The story dove deeper into each character’s life and how this tragedy has affected them. The dark and mysterious tone of the episode sets the mood for what happens later. For what appears to be the death anniversary of their friend, Amy, Alex tries to get the group together, just like old times but struggles in his efforts.

An interesting turn of events reveals that the girl from the beginning of the episode is now a part of Karolina’s church. Remember, Church of Gibborim? Her role becomes important as the episode goes on.

Eager to shatter the negative church-going image her peers have given her, Karolina sets off to party. This backfires on her when she falls to the ground unconscious, only to be almost taken advantage of. Lucky for her, Chase was at this party too and came to her rescue. The mystery surrounding this “culty” church gets weirder when we realize Karolina passed out not from drugs, but because she removed her church bracelet.

The parents all meet for a PRIDE meeting at Alex’s house. While the parents mingle, Alex makes a last-ditch effort to bring everyone over. He succeeds in doing so, but it doesn’t go as expected at all. At each other’s throats after all the time that has passed, Chase decides they need alcohol. The search for alcohol leads them to the study, where they accidentally stumble across a hidden passageway when Alex tries to reach for coasters. What they discover next changes their lives forever.

As they walk down the passageway, they see all of their parents draped in red clothing with a capsule in front of them separated by a strange barrier. Moments later, Karolina’s mom brings out a girl, the SAME girl from the beginning of the episode, who appears to be some sort of sacrificial lamb for the ritual they are doing. Shocked and frightened, the group tries to process what is happening when Molly accidentally sets off the flash on her phone. This startles the parents causing them to become alert of a disturbance.

The introduction of the six characters was executed phenomenally. The episode did a great job of making the audience feel engaged and invested in characters they just met, feat that is quite difficult in a premiere episode. The story played out mysteriously with a dark tone, pulling in the audience and leaving them wanting more. Overall, the first episode does NOT disappoint and delivers a strong series premiere. And if its any indication, Runaways will be a series worth following.

Score: 7.5/10

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