“Marvel’s Runaways” Episode 109 Recap: Kissing Girls at the End of the World

The world is maybe going to end! More specifically, Jonah’s evil masterplan comes into focus a little more clearly thanks to a video from Molly’s birth parents, who discovered that the supposed renewable energy source that Jonah wants to dig up at the Pride construction site is actually something much more nefarious. “We found some really weird stuff,” they say, which is extremely scientific jargon for “shit’s fucked.” Also, unearthing whatever’s down below will set off a series of seismic, catastrophic events. So yes, the world is maybe going to end! What does Karolina Dean do about it? She kisses the girl she wants to kiss.

Yes, friends. #GayKarolinaWatch2017, which recently turned into #GayKarolinaWatch2018, has its biggest breakthrough in “Doomsday.” The teens use a school dance as cover for the fact that they’re going to try to thwart their parents’ plan to let all hell loose, and Gert and Chase end up confessing their insecurities to each other and then having sex. Honestly, I’m pretty mad at Gert for how pushy she has been with Karolina about her crush on Nico. She has not been a very supportive friend! And for someone who likes to talk about heteronormativity, she sure does love reinforcing it by throwing the fact that Karolina and Chase kissed in Karolina’s face and weirdly holding it against her. But Gert admitting to Chase that she used to call him an idiot as a coping mechanism is a very tender and raw scene, and Ariela Barer nails it.

But back to Karolina/Nico! They kiss! On the lips! First Karolina goes in for the kiss, and after a moment of hesitation, Nico then leans in and kisses her back! It’s unclear exactly where Nico’s head is in all of this, but she 100% does kiss her back and appears to be pretty into it. Karolina says that she had wanted to do that for a long time and wasn’t sure if she’d get another chance since, you know, the world is maybe going to end! Also, she just sort of leaves her hand resting gently on Nico’s face, and that small act conveys more intimacy than Chase and Karolina certainly ever had and even more than Nico and Alex have had. This kiss is one seismic event that no one can stop from happening!

Aside from that very thrilling kiss, “Doomsday” also builds to the very thrilling showdown between the parents and the teens that we’ve been waiting for pretty much all season. Because Karolina had a lapse in judgement and told Frank everything, Jonah finds out just about everything. No one should ever trust Frank with anything let alone a massive secret. So Jonah tells the parents that all of their kids have been basically building a case against them for their many murders. Over at the construction site, Chase uses his Fistigons to kill the machine that’s drilling its way to an invisible faultline. And Nico attempts to use her magical wand to fill the hole, and no that is not a euphemism! That’s when Tina swoops in to steal the wand back, flanked by the rest of the very hot Runaways parents, who are pretty shocked to find that their kids are not only a few steps ahead of them but also fully prepared to physically fight them.

“Doomsday” crucially injects both the story and the character development on the show with some much needed momentum and urgency. The relationship dynamics are all tied up in the narrative stakes, and that makes everything much more compelling than, say, last week’s shitshow. Sometimes it takes the threat of the world ending for teens to admit their feelings for one another. Sometimes it takes the threat of the world ending to realize just how far into the darkside your parents have ventured. Just the small tease of a battle between the teens and the parents that we get at the very end of the episode is electrifying. Hopefully both that and Karolina and Nico’s kiss are sparks that catch fire and continue to intensify in next week’s finale.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

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  1. I’ve also found out some things recently.
    1) Lyrica Okano (Nico) was Whitney’s girlfriend on “The Affair”.

    2) She’s been commenting twitter and on Virginia Gardner’s (Karolina) Instagram.

    • My favourite tweet was the reply to the person who said she was worried about Ginny Gardner’s neck after she had to lean down so far for the kiss, and Lyrica said she’d get herself some taller platforms… because that made it sound like this wasn’t a one-off thing! (In the Entertainment Weekly post-mortem, the EPs also said the relationship was on, so… it’s looking good!)

    • I lived for this episode and your comment added so much to the experience haha. Thank you for all your hard work / research / screencaps haha

  2. The episode was a bit clunky, but you know what? I don’t care at all because I’ve shipped Karolina and Nico since I first picked up a Runaways book and somehow after almost ten years I finally get to see them being canon.
    I’m amazed at how well Virgina Gardner managed to play gay… She and Chase have absolutely zero chemistry and her face during those scenes is always a gift.
    I’m excited about the future of this show. I feel like once they run away the plot will become less stuffed, because they did try to pack in A LOT in this first season.
    Also for those reading the comics (this new run)… is it just me or is anyone else getting serious ex-gf vibes with Karolina and Nico??

    • In the comics my reading is the Nico is admitting to herself that she has feelings for Karolina and is sad that she’s apparently in a stable relationship with Julie. Missed opportunities.

    • ^Same as Erin. The Nico/Karolina dynamic in both the reboot and the show is really true to the originals. I always got a bit of a “damn, missed my chance / kinda regret not going for that” vibe from Nico, even before these most recent issues. That said, since a lot of time has passed, I wouldn’t write off that sometime after the series left off and where it picked up something actually happened between them

  3. This episode was such a fan pleaser that I honestly didn’t care about any flaws there might have been. Mainly, I hope the Hernandez couple left more than one VHS tape to their infant? Why the f did the Runaways push the truck into a seismically volatile hole? Why did it take 3 episodes to charge Amy’s phone? Also, come on Chase, you did not “always see” Gert, and Chase’s sudden interest in Gert would probably be really jarring for anyone who didn’t read the comics (for me, I was like, OMG YESSSSSS).

    A lot of other “flaws” people pointed out can be explained imho – while it was frustrating to have Chase destroy the laptop after half the season was built around that, it showed the group went through a logical progression of attempts to solve their predicament: go to the police, find evidence to turn parents in, have doubts about turning parents in, etc. Running away and just not being party to their parents’ sins was really their last / only option – and what the parents should have done instead of been Jonah’s puppets.

  4. I ain’t seen this show, but “Kissing Girls at the End of the World” is gonna be my next song title.

  5. Ah, yay, I’m finally seeing my ship set sail. <3 Lyrica is honestly such a gift to us, fans. Thanks for the recap!

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