Sunday, December 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Runaways' - The Runaways Rally to Once Again Save Someone They Love in 'Cheat the Gallows'

Hulu's Runaways - Episode 3.10 "Cheat the Gallows"

Splintered by the battle with Morgan, a new configuration of the Runaways is forced to face the past.

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 season finale of Hulu's Runaways.

"Cheat the Gallows" was written by Quinton Peeples and directed by Ramsey Nickell

The climatic battle with Morgan and Gert's death happening in the penultimate episode of the season basically guaranteed that some grand twist was going to happen in the finale. That's exactly what occurs here. The show simply embraces a somewhat new tone and genre in order to reverse what happened while still saving the world. This is hardly the first time that time travel has been incorporated into the Marvel cinematic universe. It was the basis for Avengers: Endgame as well. That helped several of the film superheroes come to their fateful conclusions. This also happens to be the end for Runaways on Hulu. This was the final season of the show. As such, it's hopeful that the final image is one of the Runaways reunited and ready to take on the threats of the world together. The setup of this finale shows that they all went their separate ways after Gert was killed in battle. Everyone rallies together only because it's what's necessary to bring her back to life. They are united in that mission. Of course, there is also weirdness thrown into the proceedings with the Runaways from 2022 needing to stop a version of Alex from 2028 who wants to kill them. It's a lot of time travel nonsense. In fact, it may only be setting up future plotlines that the show can unfortunately never deliver because of the cancellation. That's disappointing and ensures that this finale doesn't exactly feel like the sendoff the show probably deserves. Again, it's incredibly rousing to watch as everyone rallies behind the idea of saving Gert even though it will wipe them from existence. The future versions of the characters will stop existing because they took this action. That would have happened even if 2028 Chase was the only one who returned to this battle. He created time travel with Alex because he was determined to rescue the love of his life. The season started with that image. At the time, it was simply a fantasy. It was a narrative Gert would have railed against because it played into misogynistic tropes that lessened the power of an entire gender. She was always fighting back in order to create change and equality in the world. Gert and Chase may have always been a random couple. They were off and on with their respective feelings for each other this season. However, it all ends with them fighting to be together. They succeed in that endeavor. Morgan fails the same way as she did before. That once again points out that she may have been powerful as a villain but was blinded in some key ways that guaranteed failure every time. In this version of events, 2028 Chase is the one who completes the sand circle to trap Morgan. Sure, Gert still has her heroic moment where she speaks up about the importance of standing against the forces trying to control the world through despair. She does so not knowing that this Chase will fade away as soon as the battle is over. That gives him the luxury of being in the crossfire and taking a direct hit. Of course, everyone believes that Chase has just been killed. Instead, he is just unconscious on the second floor. That means everyone essentially becomes aware of time travel in the present. They know that the events of this fight were changed somehow. But that just comes with the peace of knowing they still get to be strong together. Their future selves helped them be victorious in battle. That may make them believe they would have failed without that assistance. That isn't true at all. The Runaways always prevailed over Morgan. They have the powers and skills to win even though they master those skills in the years since Gert's tragic death. They may still have that opportunity now. Their future looks bright. Again, it's an uplifting final image even though it too offers a warning that Alex was always destined to turn evil. That remains difficult to track because Alex has been such a one-note character thrown around at the whims of the plot this season. That's unfortunate and problematic. It makes it hard to truly connect with all the time travel related twists. It helped created some powerful images showcasing his future villainy. However, that will never come to pass considering the show is done. The Runaways rallied together and won. That's where the audience should focus its attention at the end of this journey instead of lamenting what could have been.