“Gimmie Shelter,” the first episode of Marvel’s Runaways second season, picks up right where season one left off, and hits the ground running. The episode opens with PRIDE reuniting with their children, or so they believe since the children that the police apprehended turn out to be nothing more than vague look-a-likes. The first scene with the titular Runaways has them being robbed by a bike riding rogue. Chase has his ‘Fistigon’ gauntlets stolen and Alex realizes the thief has also stolen the group’s money, prompting Nico to say, “Man, we suck at being runaways.”
The Runaways struggle to adjust to their new status quo, trying to find a way to live on the street while also avoiding any security cameras to avoid being found by their parents. That ends up being a good decision as it is revealed that Tina and Robert have set up a control center that monitors all the CCTV and social media activities in the city, searching around the clock to locate the children. But that isn’t the only problem the Runaways have to deal with. Tensions rise between Alex and Chase because of the robbery, Gert has increasing anxiety because she now lacks access to her anti-anxiety medication, and the team is still without money.
Alex leaves to get more money, though he won’t say how and just wants the group to trust him. The rest of the Runaways then watch a news report in which Graciela, Molly’s last living relative, reveals that she has proof that PRIDE is evil in the form of the videotape Molly’s parents left for her. The group decide to go to Graciela’s to retrieve the tape. Unfortunately, PRIDE has already seen the news and decide to pay her a visit. Dale and Stacey visit Graciela and ask for the tape, but when Graciela brings out a gun and shoots the tape, Tina comes in and kills Graciela. The Runaways arrive shortly thereafter and find Graciela’s body, giving them a reminder of how cruel their parents really are.
Meanwhile, Alex has met with Darius looking to get more money. Darius offers him a job but says Alex won’t like it. Darius leads Alex to believe that he’ll have to kill someone but reveals that it was a joke and he just wants Alex to paint the room for his unborn child. Alex then meets Darius’s pregnant girlfriend, Tamar, and her sister, Livvie. Even though he’s helping Alex, Darius seems to have plans for the boy. This one episode gives Darius, in my opinion, more depth than the entirety of season one. Showing Darius with a family he cares for and protects, and having secret plans involving Alex makes Darius out to be much more than just the gangster with a grudge against Geoffrey that he was in the first season.
That night, the Runaways arrive at an encampment and hold a memorial for Graciela. Nico recites a Wiccan prayer as the group leave offerings for Graciela, followed by other people in the encampment leaving offerings as well, in solidarity. After the memorial, Nico and Karolina share a moment when Karolina consoles Nico, who is in tears trying to reconcile how their parents can be such monsters, and they share a kiss. Chase and Gert also share a moment. Gert is disappointed in herself for not having the strength to be there for Molly when it counted. Chase consoles her well enough but can’t help feeling that she hates him. Molly wants the group to act to bring justice to Graciela, and Alex finally returns and has brought tents.
It is revealed that Chase’s father, Victor, has been placed in a healing algorithm, a place for his mind to exist while his body recovers from being shot last season. Jonah visits Victor’s mind and reveals to him that he is aging again and wants Victor to build another healing box. PRIDE, meanwhile, learn that the hole they dug contains something living. Having realized that Jonah is an alien and they’ve helped him dig up more aliens, PRIDE plots to kill him. The next day, the Runaways encounter the thief from the beginning of the episode again and, after chasing him down, recover the stolen gauntlets. During the chase, Karolina accidently discovers an abandoned mansion which the Runaways make their new home. The episode ends with Karolina secretly meeting with Jonah, demanding answers as to who and what she is, when an earthquake interrupts them and Jonah saying, “It’s starting”.
Season one of ‘Runaways,’ while engaging and well-crafted, felt more like a slow burner, using the entire season to introduce and get to know the characters, and set up the conflict, with the season ending just as the main cast finally become the Runaways. Season two wastes no time in living up to the show’s title. The group of affluent, privileged teens are now homeless, and struggle to adjust to their new lives, Gert especially. Gert spent much of season one touting her views on inequality and social justice proudly, but upon seeing the inequality at a homeless shelter firsthand, it hits her harder than she expected. Having Gert adjust her views after seeing them from the lens of her privilege would make for excellent characterization going forward. Gert also must deal with living without her anti-anxiety medication, and her increasing anxiety is portrayed realistically. PRIDE is just as conniving as ever, though why they spent years murdering teens for Jonah without ever questioning why seems a bit strange. All in all, this episode was a great way to start the season, and the multiple plot threads started in the episode are sure to keep the characters busy for the rest of the season. 8/10