RUNAWAYS “Gimme Shelter” review

Runaways (Marvel/Hulu)

Marvel’s Runaways stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, James Marsters and Ever Carradine.

The series is available to stream via Hulu in the US.

Synopsis

The kids struggle with their new lives as Runaways, but they find a hideout; Alex goes to work for Darius while PRIDE plots to kill Jonah; Jonah initiates a plan to build a new box.

Review

Marvel’s Runaways was a surprise hit of 2017/18 for me. Having been left cold by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and disappointed by the cancellation of Agent Carter my Marvel TV slate had been rather lacking outside of Netflix.

In came Runaways with a surprisingly compelling enough mixture of teen drama and comic book storytelling to have me binge watching the first season. It’s unconventional for a Marvel series and that unique angle is certainly its selling point.

Here in “Gimme Shelter” (a great song by the way) we pick up alomost directly after the end of season 1. The kids are on the run, implicated in the murder of members of The Church of Gibborim. They have finally lived up to the name of the series in a more literal than metaphorical sense.

The pacing of Runaways is easily one of its standout factors for me. It’s not quite a slow burn but the story also doesn’t move with breakneck speed. There’s time for story beats to settle and breathe which other Marvel shows (and comic book shows in general) could learn from. That is no doubt down to the show streaming via Hulu.

Thinking back over the first ten episodes a fair amount happened to these kids. But by no means are they a fully formed superhero team. It all just feels natural.

The writers have been very clever in crafting this second season. Picking up from the cliffhanger we’re instantly thrown a curveball when it comes to PRIDE. The so-called evil parents, a great metaphor for the struggles of teenage life, are suddenly not quite so evil.

There are many interesting parallels to real life. Despite the short amount of time that has passed we, as viewers, could equate the new found grey area surrounding PRIDE as part of growing up. Whilst there is undoubtedly still some evil amongst the group the episode clearly signposts that their villainy is not as straightforward as we believed in season 1.

In many ways “Gimme Shelter” is like a second pilot. But I’m very much of the mind that each new season should start this way. Re-contextualise your world. Show what has changed since the previous season and cement your plans for how this latest season will be executed.

My only fear going forwards is going to be how the series deals with such a large ensemble. The parents will clearly all have more to do this year so the writers need to find a wall to balance that against the stories of the group of teens.

There’s going to be a lot of balls in the air for this thirteen episode second run. Certainly in this episode Runaways is able to balance all those elements with ease.

Underneath all of the bells and whistles this series works because it has a charismatic cast and well written characters. It’s never more apparent than is episodes like “Gimme Shelter” where characters are so key to the development of the outlandish plot.

Verdict

Runaways returns strongly. Developing on the world of season 1 and pushing it in to new territory. It advances its own story in the most organic of ways without sacrificing what made it such an enjoyable show to begin with.

Onwards and upwards with chapter 2…

7/10


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About Neil Vagg 2143 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG