Runaways “Refraction”

So, here’s the thing about Runaways:  there are way too many characters running around to cover efficiently in these write-ups.  I appreciate the show going out of its way to create fully-realized characters, moreso than the source material does in the case of the parents who are all just generic supervillains.  Here, well, some of them seem worse than others.  But given there are only a handful of episodes left at this point and I have no way of knowing which plotlines are really important, I want to look at one that seems to act as the spine of this episode.

I am referring to what happens with Victor Stein.

See, Runaways has the six kids and five sets of parents, plus that Jonah guy, and that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 main characters.  I can’t even keep track of all their names and thought Nico’s father was named David when I wrote up last week’s until I double-checked and saw it was Robert.  Maybe if the show did something similar to Lost and focused on one major character per episode, with smaller side plots for other characters, it would be a bit easier to keep track of people.  It’s not like I think the show has been doing a bad job.  I just think there are too many characters to really keep track of right now.

Besides, I do dig that the show is making the parents to be, well, not as evil as they might be.  True, some are more ruthless than others, but now that the Wilders know Molly probably saw the attempted sacrifice in the basement, they found a way to get her out of town (preferably before she tells the other kids…oops), not to drug her like Catherine almost did before, or to kill her.  Heck, the reason to move her to a distant blood relative’s house is because they’re sure that if Jonah finds out, he will kill the young girl.  So, yes, Jonah is clearly the villain here, and I’d say Leslie Dean is pretty bad too since she seems to be the most manipulative of the parents, forcing unhappy couples to stay together and thinking that keeping those couples together is for not just their own good, but the rest of the human race’s.

But much of the episode, centered as it is around the open house at the kids’ school (and here is another good reason to make Molly a little older than her comic book counterpart), let’s look at Victor, Janet, and Chase Stein.

First, we start the episode seeing how the Steins met in college.

We see genuine joy as Victor, a couple years later, holds his baby son in his arms for the first time.

Then we go forward a few more years to see Victor hit his son, while the boy is still in grade school from the looks of things, for mouthing off after Victor missed Chase winning the city championship in lacrosse.

Now, Victor was happy due to the drug Jonah gave him, and he’s pleased to be all over the place, looking to hire Chase’s science teacher for his tech company, and sure, that message from the future telling Victor not to put on the fistigons might be worth looking into, but Victor is too happy all over.

And he seems to stay that way at the open house.

But then he threatens Chase’s former lacrosse coach.  Physically threatens.  Ouch.

Oh, and then he turns on Chase at home, reverting to his previous ways when he sees his son, the young man who was just starting to bond with his dad, in the workshop without Victor’s permission.

But it gets worse when Victor hits his son with the fistigons.

And then Janet shoots him.

Sure, a show that didn’t have another dozen characters to devote screentime to might have given more to the Steins for an episode that shows what their relationship was like.  I mean, Leslie tells Frank a bit more about Jonah, and that is definitely important.  If it is vital for PRIDE to keep all the couples together, for reasons that are still unexplained, having Victor bleed out and die is going to cause major problems.

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