REVIEW: Marvel's Runaways Season 2
I just binged all of season 2 of Marvel's Runaways all in one sitting. I always know if I like a series if I am compelled to keep watching. And that is how I felt this season.
Unlike the first in which episodes were released weekly, season 2 came out in one bingeable drop. I think that worked well for this series as I would have gone crazy having to wait.
I really enjoyed the first season, but I felt this season was a giant step up. This is mainly because we now see the kids as Runaways and they have to figure out how to survive on the streets. And, remember, these kids had been estranged from each other until the events of season 1. So, they not only have to learn to trust each other, but also learn how to work with each other.
The other reason why this season excels over the first is that we actually get to see their powers and a whole lot of action scenes. I also liked that they continue to flesh out the parents who only want their kids back. At the same time, while the kids recognize their parents' murderous way, they can't help but try to connect with them because they did raise them and, up until recently, felt loved by them. This is a departure from the comics in which the parents were stereotypical super villains favoring the focus more on the children.
If you haven't watched the series yet and don't want any SPOILERS, I would end here until your're able to do so.
Again, this is your SPOILER ALERT.
One of my favorite scenes was when Nico (Lyrica Ocano) emerges from the hole, looking all bad ass with wind swirling around her as the Staff of One glowed. They kept cutting over to Tina's (Brittany Ishibashi) face. While Nico and her mom have had a strained relationship, you could see Tina's look of pride, impressed by her daughter's use of the staff.
I just really enjoyed the fact that each Runaway, while hating their parents, still couldn't help but interact with their parents. Karolina (Ginny Gardner) is too curious to find out what and who she really is and sneaks out to see her father Jonah (Julian McMahon). Alex (Rhenzy Feliz) is disgusted with his parent's killing his girlfriend's brother-in-law, yet saves his father from a certain death at Jonah's hands. Chase (Gregg Sulkin) is concerned about his father's health and is drawn back home. All of this creates trust issues among the Runaways which I enjoyed this exploration as trust is tantamount for a strong team.
The nice thing about this season is that we didn't have to wait so long to learn about who Jonah and Karolina really are and what is going on in the hole at the construction site. And, I liked how the season seems like it is divided with Jonah and the ship apparently killed and, while the second half seems like its about the parents stepping up their efforts to get their kids back, it appears that the Gibborim have taken over Victor Stein (James Marsters), Tina Minorou and Stacey Yorkes (Brigid Brannagh). I have to say that it was nice seeing Brannagh play evil as her character's personality swings are the widest which made for some hilarious, yet intense, interactions with Dale (Kevin Weisman).
While I watched the season, I was particularly keeping an eye on Alex who, in the comics, ended up being a traitor to the group by teaming up with his parents. But, it ended up being Chase as the traitor. But, their motivations were completely different. Chase did not want to betray them, but he ended up getting caught between a rock and a hard place when the parents threaten to mind wipe the Runaways. I like that Chase's position is not irredeemable, which will make it easier for him to rejoin the Runaways.
I wonder about the true origin of the Staff of One. In the first season, Tina tells Nico that its based on science. But, in this season, there are things that happen that really make me doubt that its science based. Occasionally, Nico would seemingly become possessed by the staff and her eyes would become dark and scary, similar to Kaecilius and his followers from Doctor Strange. Is she drawing from the Dark Dimension? Tina said that she had seen this before when she witnesses her daughter turn dark. Could there be more back story of her time as one of the Masters of Mystic Arts as we saw that she was in the Doctor Strange Prelude comic? I would love to see more of this connection revealed in the third season.
I really enjoyed seeing more of Old Lace in this season. I think she looked incredible and appreciate them using a combination of CGI and practical puppet.
I think it interesting that this season really went full out with the super powers, yet also pulled back on some more fantastic elements. For example, in the comics, Topher (Jan Luis Castellanos) is actually a vampire that has lived for over a century. In the show, Topher is similar to Molly (Allegra Acosta) in that he seems to have developed the same powers from the radiated rocks Molly gets her power. But, he ends up using the rock as a drug, which causes problems within the group of Runaways. I would have loved to have seen him be a vampire, but, at the same time, I understood why they went the way they did. Not only did they tackle the drug issue, but they made Topher a much more sympathetic character where he could ultimately redeem himself in his demise. It also hooks to the theme of trust among the Runaways. For Molly, this was a person she could relate to and she defended him against the majority.
The other surprise change to me was not making Xavin (Clarissa Thibeaux) a Skrull. We've learned that Skrulls do exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as they are a major alien race featured in next year's Captain Marvel. In this, she is from a race called Xartan who stowed away on the Gibborim ship. I wonder why they didn't just make her a Skrull. Maybe it's because they wanted to feature them first in Captain Marvel. But, I did enjoy Xavin in this series. She still serves as Karolina's betrothed, creating the love triangle.
To me, between this season and the third season of Daredevil on Netflix, it feels like Marvel Television is finally starting to deliver the super hero television we want to see. I look forward to a third season!