Marvel's 'Runaways' recap: 'Refraction'


A helpful reminder that we do NOT miss parent-teacher conferences

“Refraction” — episode seven of Marvel’s Runaways — begins by showing us the calm, gentle version of Victor we never got to know.

In a flashback, we see Victor and Janet first meet in college. They initially hit it off by talking about science and time travel, Victor making the extra effort to show a much more sensitive side. Years later, they’re married and have Chase. Victor tells his wife that this is “the only thing that matters.”

The happiness doesn’t last long, however. Another time jump brings us to Chase’s teenage years, when he tells his dad that he’s upset he missed his lacrosse game. Victor, who’s clearly seen some things by now, responds in his typical abusive manner and we’re left wondering where exactly this transition came in.

Cut to the present and Victor, asleep on the lab, is awakened by a voice. A voice that just so happens to be coming from the time-travel device he thought didn’t work. And who else would it be then his son, communicating a message.

credit: YouTube

That message is: “Dad, I hope you get this in time. It was a long shot, and I always screw a lot of things up. I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of it. Now please, whatever you do dad, don’t pick up the Fistigons.”

We don’t get long to culminate over what, exactly, that all means as we then check up on the Wilder household. Catherine is searching Alex’s bedrooms, looking for any indication that he knows the truth about PRIDE. Geoffrey comes in and they talk about how much the Runaways might know, and Catherine eventually comes up with a plan that involves Dale and Stacey.

Tonight, however, is parent-teacher conference night at school and all of the Runaways are preparing to deal with the fact that their parents about to come intrude on their lives even more. Chase finds Victor still in a remarkably good mood after Jonah healed him with his voodoo powers, while Nico is dealing with the fallout of her parents affair. Robert tells his daughter that he’s in love with Janet and plans to move out, which Nico isn’t thrilled about.

Frank and Leslie’s marriage is having problems as well — as Frank has decided he’s fed up with the Church of Gibborim. He interrupts his wife in the middle of a ritual, using healing gloves given to him by Jonah to finish the job Leslie had started.

credit: YouTube

Frank, however, has had a lot to deal with as of late. After investigating the church’s storage room, he found an old photograph of Leslie. She’s in 8th grade, but the man standing next to her is middle-aged. Middle-aged and just so happens to look exactly like Jonah, that is. It’s clearly him, and the image alone trips Frank into another series of foggy flashbacks of his wife sleeping with Jonah.

The Runaways are only faring slightly better. Gert is still angry about everything that went down at the Gala and that she hasn’t hooked up with Chase yet, but the real focus is on Molly. She comes clean about her conversations with Catherine, causing everyone to lose their minds. She’s more or less kicked out, and Molly goes storming off — with Karolina being the only one to follow. Later, Molly tries to join the cheerleading team, but Karolina more or less talks her out of it and the two share a bonding moment.

Then there’s the Yorkes. Dale and Stacey are experimenting with the serum Jonah gave them, noting it has some kind of healing properties, when a drop falls on to Dale. He pretends like nothing happened, but a couple minutes later and he’s suddenly bouncing off the walls in a crazed, lunatic-like fashion. Unfortunately them, it’s then that Catherine decides to pay them a visit.

Luckily, they’re able to play it off cool and everyone heads to the parent teacher conferences. Most of the Runaways are clearly uncomfortable, especially Nico when Robert unexpectedly shows up. Victor, however, couldn’t be more excited about the event. He repeatedly asks questions and appears interested, much to everyone’s amazement.

credit: Patrick Wymore, HULU

Yet, we also see that Dale is coming down on the serum that went into his bloodstream — meaning Victor’s come down isn’t going to be far behind.

The conferences then open up to an open-house in which everyone is free to walk around. Gert confronts Molly about abandoning the Runaways, but Molly holds her ground. Robert tells Nico that he’s going to move in with Janet, but Nico fires back by saying Janet most certainly won’t be into that. Leslie and Tina also share a moment, discussing their roles of leadership in PRIDE.

The big confrontation, however, comes when the Wilders finally corner the Yorkes. They force Dale (who’s now at rock bottom) and Stacey to acknowledge the fact that Molly definitely saw something that night in the basement, and they have to figure out how to “handle” it. The Yorkes want no part in this, but they reluctantly agree when reminded what Jonah would do if he knew.

credit: YouTube

Things escalate from there, as everyone decides this is a keen time to confront other people with uncomfortable conversations. Frank asks Leslie who Jonah really is, and Leslie tells him that he’s “a being of light.” Robert asks Janet to move in together, but Janet straight-up rejects him and returns to her family. Nico also asks Alex how he knew her mother’s password at the Gala, but the scene cuts away before we get that answer.

But we do see Victor — the Victor we all know and fear — return. The serum clearly has worn off, as he aggressively attacks his son’s lacrosse coach and orders him to put Chase back on the team.

The conferences end and everyone goes home for the night disheveled and upset. Dale and Stacey decide the best thing for Molly is to send her away, so they start packing up her stuff — which is right when she walks in. They try to explain it to her without actually giving any information, but Molly sees right through their plan. She’s about to unleash her powers when Gert comes in and calms her down. She says the best thing to do right now is go through with it, and the Runaways will find a way to come save her later. So now Molly is headed off to a second cousin who lives in Los Angeles, or something.

Our big cliff-hanger happens back over at the Stein’s, though. Chase is working in the lab when an angry Victor comes. He starts chewing out his son for working there without his permission, when Chase decides he’s had enough of this wishy-washy attitude. He winds up punching his dad in the face, to which Victor doesn’t respond kindly too. In fact, he’s so pissed that he grabs the fistigon and fires it as his son. Chase is shot flying backwards, and Victor begins pointing at him, ready to fire again.

credit: YouTube

He’s cut off, however, when Janet fires a gun of her own — a real, actual gun aimed right at Victor. Victor falls over, bleeding, as Chase (and the audience) is in shock of everything that just happened.

What could possible happen next? Surely Victor can’t be DEAD dead (can he?), meaning this likely isn’t going to end well for Janet. And how are the rest of the Runaways possibly going to find a way to get Molly back?

Things are certainly heating up in these final episodes. Check out the newest chapter in Marvel’s Runaways every Tuesday on HULU, and read our Runaways recaps to stay up to date in the meantime.

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