Sunday, December 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Runaways' - Cloak and Dagger Guide the Runaways Through the Dark Dimension in 'Devil's Torture Chamber'

Hulu's Runaways - Episode 3.08 "Devil's Torture Chamber"

When two strangers come to town, Nico takes advantage of their expertise to help search for a missing Runaway.

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.

"Devil's Torture Chamber" was written by Warren Hsu Leonard & Stu Selonick and directed by Jeff Woolnough

This season of Runaways and the second season of Cloak & Dagger have both articulated just how thin the barrier can be better the Dark Dimension and real-life. Sure, it can be hard to enter or leave either dimensions. However, figures in the Dark Dimension can certainly influence life elsewhere. That can have a profound effect on the various actions that people do without even being aware of it. Morgan was reaching out from that realm in order to influence Nico. And now, she has risen with her eye towards world domination. This episode lays out that she wants to implode these two dimensions to ensure that she lords over both of them with her powers. That is her grand ambition. As such, the Runaways have a lot of work cut out for them in order to save the world once more. And yet, the priority remains saving Alex from being tortured in the Dark Dimension. He is presented with a choice. It seems rather easy in the grand scope of things. All he has to do is kill in order to be accepted amongst the beings that exist in the Dark Dimension. After that, they will fully allow him to return to the hostel with his friends. That's the only hurdle he has to overcome. He refuses to do so until he sees his friends in danger. As such, he once again feels responsible for killing his mother while she's being bars. It's symbolism to really drive a point across in a blatantly obvious way. He is partly responsible for her dying the first time. And now, he's the one who actually kills her in this dimension. Of course, it's hard to keep track of Alex's character arc because it's unclear if he is in control or the alien invader is. That suspicion comes roaring back into the picture at the conclusion of this hour. This episode is most notable for featuring the two title characters from Cloak & Dagger. That drama has been cancelled since Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph filmed these appearances. All of this proves that the Marvel universe is connected in some grand way. In this hour, it truly does feel like a throwback crossover from a comic book. Cloak and Dagger show up for one specific adventure. There is certainly reason for them to stay in Los Angeles to help their new friends. They have faced dangers in the Dark Dimension before. They know just how terrifying that prison can be. It should be agonizing to think that the barriers between worlds could be breaking down. That may help motivate them into going on this journey with Nico. However, the show embraces the broad outlines of these characters and their abilities. When Tandy touches someone, she sees their hopes. When Ty touches someone, he sees their greatest fears. It doesn't occur every time they physically interact with someone. But it does happen quite a bit in order to put things into context. It's most telling when it comes to Alex. When Tandy has that interaction with him, she sees that he wants to possess all of the superpowers that his friends have. That's a terrifying and devious sight. When Ty and Tandy arrive in the hostel, they are overjoyed to learn that there are other teenagers who have abilities. Sure, it's a big joke that most of the Runaways are powerless in the Dark Dimension. They don't exactly have the skills to be effective in battle. That ultimately forces Alex into making his fateful decision to kill. But again, the audience has to wonder if this truly is Alex. His friends suggest that he is mostly because he makes a reference to Magic the Gathering. However, they were fooled by the alien once. He is a deceitful charmer. The Runaways may not worry too much because all the other aliens left their human hosts upon entering the Dark Dimension. The same could be true of Alex. This vision of his hopes could highlight some deeper insecurity about how he feels powerless in contrast to the rest of his friends. That is exaggerated in a broad and necessary way. But again, it lacks clarity because his character story has seen numerous starts and stops this season. Instead, it's more tantalizing to see the coven manipulating Molly and her powers. While the Runaways have been enjoying this team up with Cloak and Dagger, their foe has only been getting more powerful.