Saturday, December 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'Runaways' - The Runaways Face Their Fears in an Alternate Dimension in 'Enter the Dreamland'

Hulu's Runaways - Episode 3.05 "Enter the Dreamland"

The kids find themselves in an alternate dimension that tests their bonds. Not everyone makes it out.

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.

"Enter the Dreamland" was written by Quinton Peeples and directed by Rob Hardy

The Runaways don't remember falling into the Dark Dimension. However, that's where they find themselves throughout this hour. It's startling right off the bat because it doesn't seem like it follows what happened in the previous episode immediately. The teens are trying to piece together the strange things now happening in the hostel. All of this seemingly confirms this season to be one of alternate dimensions and fantasy lives. Chase, Karolina and Janet were trapped in the algorithm for the first two episodes. They were embracing fantasies that could make it difficult for them to want to leave. Chase and Karolina eventually did. Janet stayed behind to embrace a new reality by sacrificing herself for the kids. That was a moment of bravery. She exists on another existence now. Meanwhile, Nico spoke with clarity that the alien threats weren't killed during their final confrontation. They were simply sent to this alternate dimension. The same fate befalls the Runaways. They got caught up in that spell as well. Being in the Dark Dimension has severed the connection between alien and their human hosts though. As such, it becomes a rescue mission to save Victor, Stacey, Tina and Alex. They can revert back to their old selves once more. That may not be comforting. However, it's a mission everyone is devoted to achieving because one of their own is also in danger. But all of this flings the various characters into their individual nightmares that could torture them for the rest of their lives if they aren't too careful. Now, the narrative has to consolidate some of these concerns in order to tell an effective story. Chase and Victor are in the same scenario that highlights the generational cycle of parental abuse. They share the same exact fear which makes it easy for them to ultimately reunite and fight back. Similarly, Nico and Tina share the tragedy of Amy's death. It doesn't matter that Amy may also be in the Dark Dimension helping her family along the way. The past can't be changed. Everything in this world can't be trusted. It may all be an illusion trying to manipulate the humans fighting their way out. Of course, the narrative never really explains what happened to the aliens in this dimension. It's just important that they are outside their human hosts. It's easy to assume that they are now trapped here. The narrative can move on to the new threat from Morgan le Fay. However, some more clarity in that regard was probably more necessary. Plus, some of the parents remain just as devious as before even without aliens taking over them. Gert realizes that her anxiety issues all come from her being drugged by her mother when she was younger. Stacey believes she is always doing what's best to protect her child. However, she caused a significant trauma. Gert proves her strength here. It just comes with a physical injury that extends beyond this dimension. Everyone can rally together. However, it can also be a depressing experience. Molly is forced to accept that her parents were members of Pride. They may have ultimately gone against Jonah and that's what led to them being killed. In the beginning though, they were supportive of killing kids in the pursuit of scientific discoveries. Molly can't embrace the wish fulfillment nature of being an orphan and allowing herself to elevate her parents above the other members of Pride. That's not fair and can be equally destructive to her. These are seemingly important realizations for the characters. They can all rally together against the common threat. Morgan's agenda and interest in Nico is still shrouded in secrecy. It's unclear if the hostel has a unique connection to the Dark Dimension as well. The previous owner is seen trapped here. That could explain why Nico was suddenly more vulnerable to Morgan's persuasions. But the resilience is still strong amongst the Runaways. They have disappeared from the real world for six months as a result of this adventure in the Dark Dimension. They may have also left Alex behind out of fear that their own memories could be lost in the process. But that just guarantees future emotional stakes for the season as no one is particularly giving up on him just yet even though it's likely he'll return as a much different person because of his extended time in the Dark Dimension. That ensures a great personal cost to the storytelling without having to rely on life-or-death stakes to elevate it all. That's very effective.