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Runaways - Hostile - Review: "Running Away - At Last"

11 Jan 2018



As usual, don't forget to check out Sam's spoiler-free preview of Hostile here if you haven't seen the episode. This contains plenty of spoilers, so don't read any further unless you've already seen the episode!

Runaways 1.10 - Hostile - Review:
Directed by Marc Jobst & Written by Quinton Peeples

The final episode of Runaways illustrated perfectly the problems with the season as a whole. It's too slow to where it's going. It quickly became apparent that, following in Preacher's footsteps, the first season is more or less a prequel to the main saga, because those of us who have read the comics will know that the kids actually run away from home in the first issue of the series. Not the case here - we have to wait to the season finale to watch them do it. It's kind of frustrating, but the slow-paced nature of the series isn't exactly an alien concept to Marvel fans who have seen the Netflix shows. The focus on the parents too, this season, has also prevented the show from reaching its full potential. Whilst the focus on the parents at least to a certain extent is a good thing as it gets to develop their characters beyond one dimensional villains that they would otherwise be, I kept feeling like it was a case of too much time spent with the parents, because the kids, the true stars of the show, were often left to the side multiple times and as a result it doesn't feel like we've spent a whole season with them, with several relationship developments feeling rushed and uneven. A better balance was needed, and we didn't need this long to get to where we're now headed. The first half of the season at maximum should have been enough to put us in this position.

The episode itself picked up from the rather exciting climax of last week's cliffhanger, seeing the kids prepared to do battle against the parents. Whilst they had the more flashy toys than the parents, with Chase wearing the fistigons, and Gert bringing Old Lace into battle, they lacked the skill, knowledge and power that Jonah and Tina had to bring to the table, with both characters quickly putting the kids in their place. Jonah himself had to be talked out of killing the kids, as not every parent was as keen to go through with the plan. It turns out that Jonah still has an interest in Karolina, because after all, she's his own daughter, and Karolina volunteers to turn herself in in exchange for the rest of the kids to escape. This resolution to the cliffhanger felt kind of underwhelming, and as a result, the showdown didn't feel as climatic as it should have done, especially as this is what we've been building all season to get towards. It's like the writers felt like they had to get it out of the way quickly to move onto the next big thing, which never comes.

The cast however has been on fire all season, and the casting department really picked these actors well. Lyrica Okano was the standout from the kids this season as Nico's relationship with Karolina continues to be one of the highlights of the show, and this relationship is handled so well it's a miracle that the Chase and Gert relationship is actually on the same show, because that falls short when compared to this in almost every angle. The soundtrack that the show uses as well remains fresh and different, not always going for the obvious song choices - with “Friends” by Francis and the Lights (ft. Bon Iver and Kanye West) proving a nice addition to the Nico and Karolina scene. It's also worth noting that Okana is able to sell even the less consistent parts of the script well, with Nico seemingly flip-flopping back and forth between her decision making, one moment highlighting that they need to think about each other, only to reject going back for Chase when he says that no matter which of them was captured, they'd want to go back for them.

One big weak link this season has been Jonah as an antagonist. He almost undoes everything that the show has been trying to build over the course of the season, complex, nuance and well developed bad-guys in the form of the parents. He feels onenote and clich├ęd, and once again is an example that the writers are so much better when it comes to dealing with the show's quieter moments rather than those on a grander scale. Alex's character development also took an interesting turn in the finale, with everybody hooking up around him and his fallout with Nico meant that he doesn't really have any connections inside the group the same way that the others do, being more or less the odd one out. They still like him however, but it's interesting to see him take a divergent path than the rest of the group after suggesting that leaving Karolina behind might be a possibility. He heads off to meet his father's enemy, Darius, proclaiming that The Enemy of My Enemy is my friend, striking a deal in the process.

The parents' roles were reduced in this episode but they still played a significant part in their decision to ditch Jonah, drawing the line at working with him any further due to his involvement in Amy's death, as she was seemingly killed for knowing about the existence of the Pride. Although the group don't take kindly to Leslie's admittance of her role in Molly's parents deaths and the fact that there's an inner-circle within the inner-circle, they put the importance of their kids first and foremost, and would pick them over Jonah anyday. Leslie knows that she's the only one who can get them close enough to take down Jonah, which is one of the main reasons why she's not killed in the basement there and then. However, not everyone is willing to play along, as Frank is very much on Jonah's side it seems, not playing the long con after all. He only cares about Karolina rather than the rest of the kids, and that gives Jonah an advantage. He also may have another potential ally in the form of Victor, who will lead to interesting developments once he's back on his feet.

For now, Hostile was a slightly underwhelming but at the same time promising episode that put all the pieces together for season two. The cast has been fantastic and it's been interesting to see them get the most out of the script, which hasn't always been great, and the added momentum that the show will have going into season two will no doubt be interesting for sure, especially with the kids (finally!) on the run, having been framed for the murder of Destiny Gonzalez, the first sacrifice we saw on screen and the one that started it all. There's still plenty of questions that we don't have the answer to - like for example what is hiding behind the hole in the construction site, but for now, Runaways ended its first season on a note full of promise. Let's hope the show will continue to the follow the same route as Preacher and deliver a much improved second season.

What did you think of Hostile and as the season as a whole? Let me know in the comments below!