Friday, December 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'Runaways' - Janet Makes a Vital Choice to Break Chase and Karolina Out of the Algorithm in 'The Great Escape'

Hulu's Runaways - Episode 3.02 "The Great Escape"

The Runaways spring a trap to rescue their missing friends from Jonah and his family.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's Runaways.

"The Great Escape" was written by Warren Hsu Leonard and directed by Philip John

The priority at the start of the season has truly been reuniting the Runaways. Karolina and Chase are held captive by the aliens, who are plotting their escape from Earth. This episode does establish that when their rescue arrives it will wipe out all civilization. That establishes some huge stakes for the season. It embraces the same core conflict that has been a part of the show since the very beginning. The Runaways escaped their parents after seeing them commit murder. The waters were muddied after it was revealed the parents were coerced into helping Jonah achieve his grand goal. Some of the parents are more complicit and villainous than others. The kids even want to hold out hope that they can reach out to their parents' humanity before it's too late. That is literally a tactic they have to do in order to bring the human back out after an alien has taken over the body. Molly succeeded in that regard with Stacey. She makes it to Dale and Gert in time to warn them about what's coming. It's a dire warning that ends with Jonah's wife emerging and attacking them. Gert can't reach her mother in the same way that Molly did. However, she is powerful enough to dampen this threat for the moment. That means Jonah and his daughter are at the house lording over Karolina, Chase and Janet. The three humans are still trapped in the algorithm. That wasn't a premise that could be sustained for a long period of time. The premiere already established that the barriers of that world were breaking down because the system was overloaded. It couldn't handle the minds of three people. They eventually have to work together in order to escape these constraints. The pressure is amplified by Jonah torturing Chase in order to get Nico to come out of hiding. That leads to the devastating moment where the Staff is destroyed. That object has given Nico so much power to wield. Her mother designed it for herself. However, Tina now has a much different function in the world as she is controlled by an alien. Her human side hasn't come out lately. She hasn't had any interaction with her daughter who could potentially speak to her. Nico fears her power though. She believes that she may be the fourth alien because she is having these vivid dreams and hallucinations. Sure, that doesn't exactly track with Elizabeth Hurley appearing as the presence trying to get her to embrace the darkness. Yes, it does come across as an evil she should be extremely weary of. However, it doesn't signal potential doom from an alien. So, that means the question is still open-ended as to who has become the fourth alien. The show isn't pointing to any obvious clues like it did with Victor, Stacey and Tina last season. They started acting strangely. That contributed to the reveal that more aliens now operate in this world. The fourth has chosen to be stealthy. That may amplify his threat to what everyone is hoping to achieve. The more he is talked up though the more pressure it sets for the show to follow through on those expectations. As such, it probably shouldn't be a mystery for too much longer. The Runaways can't forever be afraid of each other. The team may not trust Chase at the moment. But that comes from his betrayal last season. Molly is more than wiling to welcome him back knowing that he is their family. He has just lost both of his parents as well. Victor seems unable to wrestle control away from Jonah. That body is fading away fairly quickly too. Meanwhile, Janet sacrifices herself in order to save Karolina and Chase. That is a bold and tragic moment. One that showcases just how noble some of the parents can actually be. They do have genuine love for their children. She wants to protect Chase and forever live in a realm full of the life they used to have together. But again, it's an open question of whether or not this family can reunite and function. The Runaways want to believe they can relax now. They probably can't because the threat is still out there. Xavin pointing that out is absolutely the right thing to do even though they are all exhausted from their recent adventures and fights for survival. At least there's no fake out that doubts the intelligence of the audience in this episode. That makes it an improvement over the premiere.