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    Five Thoughts On Runaways‘ “The Broken Circle”

    By | January 17th, 2020
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Runaways is back for season 3! It’s bigger! It’s bolder! It’s…ending. But that won’t hold us back from having a great time watching. This show has been one of Marvel’s strongest for two years now and this season seems like it’ll be bonkers in all the best ways. So watch with us! We’ve got group spellcasting, sorceress standoffs, and family bonding to spare.

    1. Marvel’s Runaways Reaches its Final Form

    It’s a shame that this in the next to last episode of this show that we’ll ever get because this episode, more than any other in the season, shows what a strong, clear sense of identity Runaways has developed. Season 1 was a strong teen show that could’ve leaned harder into being a comic book adaptation. Season 2 more clearly lived up to the show’s title and comic book origins, taking the team away from their families and leaning harder into the magic and science fiction of it all but there was still a search for a clear identity going on. In season 3, things have finally come together in impressive ways but episode 9 saw every element of the show gel perfectly. After 3 years of hard work, just in time for cancellation, Runaways became exactly what it wanted to be.

    2. The Parents Become True Heroes

    The first major plot point of the episode is the parents’ mission to save a brainwashed Molly from Morgan le Fey and her coven. Geoffrey, who’s been snapped out of his own brainwashing somehow, leads a gathering of the Pride for one last mission. It’s a nice culmination of the (surviving) parents’ arc to see them do some genuine good to protect their children. Even when they were villains, the parents were driven by a desire to protect their children and guarantee a better future for them; the glaring flaw in their actualization of this desire was the whole teenage sacrifice to uplift an alien invader thing. Over the course of the series, though, smart writing has made the parents more human than they ever were in the comics. We’ve gotten to see them as flawed characters going through complex redemption arcs, developing interesting relationships with their children and with one another. Here, they’ve come out on the other side, saving Molly from Morgan, specifically leaving the Runaways out of it in the interest of their wellbeing. It’s a delight to watch the group move as a (semi)cohesive unit, especially during the hilarious portion when they pose as CDC officials to protect people from experiencing the fallout of Morgan’s spell to break down the barrier between the dark dimension and the normal world. Trying to choose an MVP is nearly impossible, especially in this sequence, which really gives each and every character a moment to shine. Overall, this episode is the best closing argument the show could give for making the parents prominent, fundamentally decent characters.

    3. Gert and Chase Watch

    Yes, this couple gets their own full thought despite the fact that they only get one scene together. Gert and Chase’s relationship has been one of the most consistently strong threads of this show; they’re total opposites but inexplicably, intensely drawn to one another and they compliment each other in beautiful ways. It’s been tough to see Gert try to push Chase away this season. Her anger has been justified, but their chemistry is too good and their bond is too strong for this relationship not to happen. After a few episodes of buildup, things finally come together as Gert walks into Chase’s room and monologues to him about her feelings for him, looking away as she speaks. As she prepares to say those 3 magic words to Chase, Gert looks up to find him staring at a tablet. He’s not ignoring her for *ahem* adult content, despite her immediate accusation, though. Chase has been researching late registration for Smith College, Gert’s dream school, and he wants her to apply and live the normal life she’s been dreaming of. It’s a nice, quiet moment that demonstrates what a thoughtful, caring guy Chase is and it leads to the kiss we’ve been waiting all season to see. Gert and Chase are finally together, just in time for the final battle with Morgan le Fey.

    Continued below

    4. The Calm During the Storm

    After the parents intercept Morgan and her coven’s incantation to save Molly, Tina magically clears Molly’s mind and the whole group heads to the hostel. As a magic lightning storm rages above Los Angeles, the Pride and the Runaways plot to take down Morgan le Fey. Chase, Victor, and Alex figure out that if they disrupt LA cell towers, they can disable Corvus phones, and significantly depower Morgan. That won’t be enough to stop her, though. They need to take Morgan down by surrounding her with a circle of magic salt, which will allow Tina and Nico to send her back to the dark dimension. As everyone prepares for battle, there’s a steady stream of parent/child heart to hearts. Alex and Geoffrey speak about Alex’s newfound stoicism and reinforced views on doing what needs to be done. Leslie and Karolina kind of have a normal conversation about relationships because they don’t have much to talk about that they haven’t already. Victor introduces Chase to a digitized Janet and the trio figures out how to take down the cell towers. Dale gets a weird subplot where he plans on using Karolina’s DNA to essentially immunize all Angelinos against Corvus phones but mostly it exists for the sake of two plot points. One- when he injects Gert, it comes with the risk of her telepathic link to Old Lace being severed, which leads to a tearful goodbye to, and caging of, the dinosaur. Next, all of the Runaways but Chase get the injection. Just before he’s supposed to get his, he finds a box with a Corvus in it, immediately putting him into a trance. Karolina is able to inject him, but only as Morgan le Fey suddenly appears in the hostel. The whole sequence is full of strong character work that reinforces how well developed everyone on this show is. It also gives us the perfect amount of space to breathe, even as vital plot points are happening at a breakneck pace. It’s a perfectly balanced portion of the episode, teeing up an explosive conclusion to the episode.

    5. A Tragic Boss Battle

    When Morgan arrives, the Runaways are ready to stand against her. A MASSIVE amount happens here, but there’s really one main event. After the Steins have ruined Los Angeles cell service, Morgan and the Runaways have a standoff. She successfully takes most of them down with a well timed magic blast, but as she approaches Karolina to deliver a killing blow, Gert, who was just thrown into a chandelier, intervenes. Gert walks in a circle around Morgan, monologuing at the sorceress, calling her a power hungry oppressor with her usual wit, and secretly sprinkling that magic salt as she does it. It’s a great, heroic moment for Gert, who never gets to be at the center of big battle like this one. After Tina runs in and sends Morgan back to the dark dimension, though, it becomes clear that something is wrong. Gert staggers, then falls. Chase runs and cradles her, only to find that she’s been bleeding out after being impaled by the chandelier. She dies in his hands and everyone stares in shock. The episode ends as Old Lace escapes the room she’s being kept in and roars in agony. It’s a heartbreaking moment that comes as something of a shock. In the comics, Gert’s death is a major event in the Runaways’ story, but with so much of this show being so different from the source material, it was easy to get comfortable with such a wonderful character. Gert’s death is gutting to watch; she’s been one of the best parts of this show since the first episode and it’s hard not to get sad thinking of the cast without her in it. Massive massive kudos to Ariale Barer, who consistently gave one of the best performances in the series, as well. She made Gert feel like a full real person, one who could be hard, but was ultimately admirable, kind, and principled. Where the show’s final episode will go is uncertain, but I hope you’ll stick around for one more review.


    //TAGS | runaways

    Quinn Tassin

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