Five episodes into Runaways and they still haven’t run away. I’m keeping count. However, by completely going its own way, this might be the best show Marvel has given us to date. This episode makes the lives of all these characters even more complicated with pasts revealed and a big twist at the end. Let’s jump into this but be warned, there are spoilers throughout.
1. The Past Comes To Light
“Kingdom” wastes no time jumping right into who kidnapped Alex. It’s no surprise it was Darius but what we’re shown is fairly surprising. Geoffrey Wilder’s past is shown to us in a flashback that takes place 18 years ago. Geoffrey was in jail for shooting someone and he was serving time at the same time as his best friend Darius. Darius is on his way out of jail and Geoffrey is looking at 10 years in prison unless his lawyer (Catherine, Alex’s mom) can get him a better deal. When he goes to his meeting with Catherine, a different person is there. Someone still unnamed played by Julian McMahon. Here’s a lesson for you. When you see Julian McMahon in something, know that he’s only going to bring trouble. He’s great at playing villains. I love him. We’ll get into this character more later on.
This new character tells Geoffrey and Catherine he will pay him $5 million for a piece of land he owns. He doesn’t tell them why it’s suddenly valuable but it is now and he wants it. Geoffrey wants more. He wants to a partner in whatever this guy is up to but he can’t do that while he’s still in jail so he approached Darius with an offer. He wants Darius to admit to the shooting and Geoffrey will ensure his family is always okay. Darius takes this deal but Geoffrey doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain and that’s why they are at odds now and that’s why he’s taken Alex. He shows Alex just who his father was and still is to a degree and this forces Alex to finally see exactly who his dad is despite what he already saw. When he’s being held hostage, he meets another kid named Andre who is living the kind of life Alex could have easily led himself. When Geoffrey arrives on the scene a shootout happens and Andre gets shot by Alex. I will get into this more but what’s become my favorite thing about Runaways is the very real realization all the kids are coming to – their parents are real people and not just mom and dad. Alex gets a hand from his friends but Andre’s story won’t end as well.
2. Finally United
The coolest thing about “Kingdom” is the coming together of the official team. Nico, as team leader, gets Karolina, Gert and Molly to help her follow Alex with help of the Staff of One. The staff gives her a heat signature of the car he’s in and they follow. When they finally track him down, they use their collective super powers to save Alex. Molly raises up the car with her super strength, Chase (who gets there late) uses his fistigons to push Darius, Karolina uses her real form to use light and distracts the group and then Nico uses the staff to create a shield. I actually said out loud “look at these babies using their powers.” I was emotional watching this and it finally felt like they were a team and more importantly, a family.
3. They Still Love Them
One of the things this show is doing well is building a very complicated tension between the kids and the parents. Our parents are real people and have their own histories, their own flaws, their own lives and when we realize that, we don’t always like what we see. Of course, in this show, all that is heightened but still applies. One thing also remains in all of this, these parents love their kids. We see very special moments between Victor and Chase and Nico and Tina. Even Geoffrey and Alex share something even though it isn’t as positive. Despite what they’ve done and do, they care for their kids and are trying to fix what they’ve done and mend these relationships. We can probably safely assume these relationships won’t be mended anytime soon but one of the strengths of this show so far is the character work.Continued below
4. What’s Right, Isn’t Always What’s Easy
Remember how the Pride needed a sacrifice? Well, they found it – in Andre. Still bleeding and weakening from his wound, Geoffrey Wilder takes him and uses him as their sacrifice. The kids, knowing this is going to happen, do their best to try and stop it by going to the place they saw their parents take Destiny. Unfortunately, that’s not where he was taken. He was taken to the Church of Gibborim because they needed somewhere private and on short notice. This is the first real heroic step this group has taken. They are doing something selfless despite how hard it would be. It would be the fuse that sets off the powder keg because it would reveal to the parents the kids know but they were ready to do it anyway. They wanted to prevent more death and that’s what makes them better than their parents. They haven’t run away just yet (hopefully before the season wraps) but they are ready to do the things that need to be done to stop their parents.
5. Oh Hi Julian McMahon
So, remember how Julian McMahon showed up and how he’s probably up to no good? Well, that old wrinkly person in the bed inside of Leslie’s meditation room is not some old guy. He’s an immortal and he’s basically powered up by the sacrifices and when he’s back to his better form, he’s Julian McMahon and the last look in Leslie’s eyes signal he might not be all that good. In the comics, the Gibborim are literally cosmic giants who want to destroy the Earth. Leslie and Frank Dean are Karolina’s parents and they are not human. There is no church and the sacrifices were done to keep them powered as well. The show is seemingly detouring from that entirely as Leslie and this still unnamed man are clearly a “thing” and we see them embrace when he’s recovered through Andre’s death. He says to Leslie he can’t wait to see “her” and I took to mean Karolina. We know Frank Dean hasn’t been allowed to “go ultra.” In fact, he fails the test again in the tail end of this episode and we know the Yorkes’ serum was used on him and it messed him up. Is this man Karolina’s real father? If he is, what IS the Church of Gibborim? I have so many questions after this ending and I’m eager to get them answered. Runaways is really becoming a must watch show and it’s blown me away by what it’s been thus far.