Friday, December 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'Runaways' - The Runaways Test Each Other to Find the Mysterious Fourth Alien in 'Lord of Lies'

Hulu's Runaways - Episode 3.03 "Lord of Lies"

The Runaways become suspicious of one another with a traitor among them. Catherine takes responsibility for her past. Leslie seeks help protecting the child growing inside her.

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.

"Lord of Lies" was written by Kirk A. Moore and directed by Allison Liddi-Brown

Alex could read the Abstract. That should have tipped everyone off to the fact that he was the fourth alien. Of course, he did a much better job at hiding it than Victor, Stacey and Tina did. The show wanted to maintain a sense of mystery. Now that the truth is out, it will be more obvious just how devious his intentions have always been. But again, the show does a solid job in making it feel like Alex has his own sense of agency even though he is isolated from the rest of the Runaways here. The hour opens with everyone being suspicious of each other. Yes, there is the amusing beat of Molly teaching Xavin how to sleep. That is delightful. However, it's also paired with the panic that comes from Nico not knowing what's going on with the darkness swelling around her. She destroys the Staff here. However, that may have just unleashed the new evil that has been lurking around her this season. The show is certainly evoking some malevolent imagery through the inclusion of crows. That signals that Elizabeth Hurley's newcomer may not be the friendly and welcoming presence she wants to be accepted as. Nico never really buys into that narrative. That fear and paranoia though may be the precise tool that leads to this new threat entering the world. Of course, that could also muddle the narrative as well by introducing one too many nefarious threats that the Runaways have to be aware of at all times. Right now, they just want to focus on the simple mission of identifying the fourth alien. The hour does mislead the audience a little bit by suggestion that Leslie is actually the host. She does proclaim that this new baby is different than Karolina. As such, it feels like the threat is more significant now. The narrative won't have to wait until this child is a teenager for its powers to start complicating things. It will be dangerous right away. But again, all of this pivots around Alex and the upheaval in his life. It's unclear just how much is Alex versus the alien. The relationships with his friends have played out in similar ways to how they have in the past. He visits Catherine in prison because he understands the criminal exposure he may be in thanks to her. She has to threaten him in order to get him to see her once more. It turns out to be the last conversation they have. He leaves by telling her to go to hell. There is nothing she can say that can make him see her as anything other than a psychopathic killer. He turned on his parents for a reason. Catherine can respect the choice that he made. It was also clarifying for her because it made her realize that she doesn't want him to turn out just like she did. She was once corrupted by an alien. And now, the same is also true of her son. He has an emotional reaction to learning that she has been killed in prison. That too is just a false tease to convince the audience that he is reaching out to a maternal figure for comfort. Instead, he kidnaps Leslie in order to bring her to the rest of the aliens. That confirms the notion that he is more nefarious and mischievous than the rest of his family. He could adapt to the technology of this world in a way that Tina just can't. That's impressive. All of this also proves that the narrative wants to trim back a little this year. Again, it's adding too many threats to see the drama as anything but busy. However, this is the second episode in a row to kill off one of the parents. As such, it's clear that the uncertainty and damage is only rising because of what's happening in this world. Sure, Janet is still seen in the flashback to Amy's funeral at the top of the hour. But she is no longer a character the show actively has to invest in. Now, it can just be a tragedy that some of the parents are gone. The Runaways wanted that at one point. They wanted to rely on their friendships instead of their actual families. They have a new family bond now. However, those old relationships are difficult to move past. It can be devastating when they are lost for good. Some find redemption. Catherine was hopeful about her family reuniting in the future. That just wasn't destined for her. Now, Alex's friends will have to do their best to save him even though Xavin insists that the hosts cannot expunge these alien invaders.