Marvel’s Runaways season 2, episode 5 recap: Rock Bottom


Molly puts her trust in the wrong person in this episode of Runaways.

“Rock Bottom” has the Runaways put their plans to stop their parents on hold when their group is betrayed. We pick up right where the series left off, with Nico confronting Topher regarding his vial of drugs. He’s forced to answer to the group for this, but mainly Molly who still believes this is her brother.

Warning: Spoilers for the Runaways comics below.

Readers of the comic book know that Topher is actually a vampire who manages to infiltrate the group. However, the television show has decided not to go that route, which makes sense because Runaways won’t even say Nico is officially magical. However, in the comics, Topher is caught by the group when he and two companions are robbing a store. He makes up an elaborate story claiming the other two are his parents who forced him to become a criminal. This sob story immediately wins over the other kids because they can empathize with evil parents.

On the show, we get a similar story of parental neglect. This time around, Topher claims he grew up in the suburbs with abusive parents who forced him to the streets. When dumpster diving, he finds a terrarium full of the magical rocks Molly’s parents had found. The power made him feel alive, and he’s been using it to continue getting high. Knowing the “truth” all of the kids agree to give him a second chance.

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However, now that Molly is back to trusting him, he easily takes advantage of her. Topher convinces Molly to tell him everything about the dig site and the rocks there, not to mention, shows him a map. Runaways season one forced Molly into the young kid role she plays in the comic. She’s eleven years old there, which would make it understandable why she’s so trusting. Yet on the show, she’s fourteen and insufferably naive in this episode.

Karolina also gets to meet her family at the bottom of the dig site in “Rock Bottom”. Turns out, what’s causing the earthquakes is Jonah’s spaceship. It has an anti-gravity function and will destroy California if it lifts off. Right now, she’s ignoring this little fact since Jonah introduces her to her “brother”. A glowing hand presses against hers and she’s no longer as committed to destroying the dig site. Arriving back at the Hostel, she tries to fry Alex’s computer before Nico walks in. Playing dumb, Karolina convinces them she just wanted to help out.

That situation is put on hold when it’s revealed Topher has taken off. Molly thinks Nico is to blame (seriously?) however they all point out he stole the map and notecard about the rocks. Gert had been hoping he had gone to get some medication for her since he had previously offered. Worried that Topher might blow their plan by going to the dig site, the Runaways are forced to act.

Meanwhile, the parents are beginning to get on edge. Dale and Stacey report their serum was successful but caused the earthquake. They also announce Karolina and Jonah were there but believe Leslie knew this already. She’s upset the Yorkes didn’t call her so she could rush down there but they had bigger matters to deal with. Jonah witnessed the Yorkes escaping the dig site. He’s definitely tipped off regarding PRIDE’s current goal which is weird because the Yorkes are still alive.

They also get one step closer to learning about their kids’ goal. The favor Eiffel asked for in the previous episode was a selfie with Chase to get some Instagram likes. She will answer their questions in exchange for immunity (from nothing but the parents play along) and reveals “Alvin” needed his special laptop. However, the facial reactions from Annie Wersching and Ever Carradine when Eiffel says she goes “imaginary shopping” is one of the funniest moments from Runaways yet.

Jonah has his own problems in “Rock Bottom”, with his sickness progressing quickly. He demands Frank go pick a new sacrifice for the box or he can kiss his place at the Church of Gibborim goodbye. Not to mention, Leslie comes storming in after she learns about Jonah’s meetings with Karolina. It’s one of Leslie’s greatest scenes on the show yet when she angrily confronts him about his secret. She’s been going crazy wondering if her daughter is even alive, something Jonah has been aware of. It’s cruel of him to keep that secret from her, even if he tries to pretend like it was to keep Leslie happy.

After talking with Jonah, she storms out to find Frank looking worried. He can’t pick a kid to sacrifice and announces he won’t do this for Jonah. Leslie, inspired by his sudden spine, holds his hand and rests her head on his shoulder. Could their marriage actually be saved after all of the betrayals?

At the dig site, Topher manages to get the rocks but injures workers in the process. After stealing a car, the Runaways chase him down to a small house nearby. He’s screaming at his family because he wants to move back in. However, his sister tells him he’s no longer allowed to after he accidentally put his father in a wheelchair.

Yes, that story Topher told earlier turns out to be an entire lie. He was actually a janitor at the lab where Molly’s parents worked and stole some rocks from there after the explosion. Which means he lied about his origin but also his age. This does fall in line with comics since Topher had been an immortal vampire as well. Molly tries to force him out of the house, but it leads into a full fight. She refuses to let Nico use her staff on him, but she does end up interfering. When Topher throws a dumpster at the kids, Chase uses his Fistigons to fire it away.

Unfortunately, it gets sent flying towards Gert, who stayed in the car. Topher saves her at the last minute, which results in him getting crushed. The Runaways need to leave before the cops come but Molly is still devastated. They take the rocks back to the Hostel and Molly claims Nico is to blame again. She says Nico is becoming like her mother, possibly the cruelest thing one could tell Nico. The group disbands, with Karolina comforting her girlfriend. Nico doesn’t wallow for long and the two sleep together in a room full of lights.

Gert also offers her empathy to Molly and lets her know she already has a family. While Molly acknowledges her belief that Topher was her brother was dumb, it doesn’t exactly make up for her actions in this episode. Hopefully, Runaways has her act a little more mature moving forward.

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Chase and Alex also bond, with the former indulging some of his relationship woes to the latter. He’s worried Gert has stopped caring, but Alex tells him they’ve just settled into a relationship. Unfortunately, Gert does take off at the end of “Rock Bottom” so she can go to the hospital and get medicated. Runaways has done a great job of showing what it’s like to deal with anxiety, and it’s hard to fault her for realizing she needs help.

As for PRIDE, the get one major setback in this episode. Robert seems to have finally stopped Jonah but he gets taken down by two Gibborim followers. Jonah drops off a knocked out Robert to PRIDE headquarters, as a clear threat to the group. Will they be able to stop him?

What did you think of “Rock Bottom”? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!