Season 3 brought ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ to a close, tying up its major loose ends to give its fans a sense of closure. Even so, a few threads were placed in its finale.
“Cheat the Gallows” — giving its fans just enough clues to speculate on what a hypothetical Season 4 would look like while tying the future of the ‘Runaways’ to its current comic incarnation.
The final episode of the season involves a fair amount of time jumps, but the very first one happens the old fashioned way, as we find out that it’s been three years since the death of Gertrude Yorkes (Ariela Barer).
The Runaways have all moved on with their lives in different ways. Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) has, of course, been obsessed with time travel, setting up the episodes shenanigans, but Karolina Dean (Veronica Gardener) has notably moved on from Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okana), dating someone new.
She’s also pursuing a major in psych, which should be familiar to fans of the current ‘Runaways’ comic series by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka, which also picks up a fair amount of time after the Runaways were last seen together.
At the start of that series, Karolina Dean is living in her college dorm, dating someone new — Julie Powers, a former child superhero from the Power Pack. While no mention of the Power Pack is made, Karolina’s girlfriend is referred to as “Julie” — a definite nod to the comics.
The episode also introduces a darker version of Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), from the future. Comics’ fans have been waiting for a darker Alex for a while, now, as his betrayal of the Runaways team was a major plot point of the first ‘Runaways’ series, by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.
This Alex also namedrops Victor — another nod to the comics that was reiterated in one, final note that Future Alex gives to the Alex of the present, containing three, simple instructions, the last two being the most revealing: Infiltrate Wilder Innovators, hide Mancha, kill Nico.
Victor Mancha is a character who joins the Runaways after discovering that he’s not human, but an android created by Ultron. Victor is trying to avoid a dark future in which he becomes the superhero Victorious, who kills most of the Avengers, and a future version of Gert Yorkes.
The instruction to kill Nico could mean two things — on one hand, it could be to eliminate her as a threat, as Nico is one of the Runaways most powerful members.
On the other hand, it could be to fully unleash her powers — shedding blood unlocks the Staff of One from within Nico, but her death in ‘Avengers Arena’ spilled enough blood to unlock the Staff’s true potential.
There’s a lot of time travel involved, but ultimately, the Runaways of the 3-Years-Later timeline are able to save Gert from her death at the hands of Morgan Le Fay (Elizabeth Hurley), and in doing so, prevent the 3-Years-Later timeline from ever happening.
They fade away, and with the timeline changed, the future is once again open to interpretation. Most importantly, however, it’s a future where the Runaways are together, which is as hopeful a series ending as the team could hope for.