“Cheat the Gallows” brought Marvel’s Runaways to a fitting close with a fun time-travelling finale to undo past mistakes.
This recap of Marvel’s Runaways Season 3, Episode 10, “Cheat the Gallows”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In case the episode’s title didn’t make things obvious enough, the Marvel’s Runaways Season 3 finale opens with a scene that makes things quite clear: Chase is attempting to harness the two most powerful forces of love and time to atone for past mistakes and what happened to Gert. He then disappears, and we rejoin everyone three years after the end of the previous episode.
Karolina has a new girlfriend. Molly is a cheerleading coach and is about to graduate. Chase, now sporting a mad scientist beard, is living and working in the Hostel, where Old Lace still lives. Alex is running Wilder Innovators, a hip technology company, and you can tell because he dresses in that laidback Millenial rich-guy way. Geoffrey works for him and is remarried, though I don’t believe “Cheat the Gallows” confirms who to. Probably Tamar.
Nico has returned after three years of self-imposed exile during which she mastered witchcraft to the extent that she floats when she meditates. Alex knocks on her door, surprising her since she hadn’t told anyone she was back, and he shoots her. Luckily she magically eats the bullet and is saved from further shots by Chase, who claims to be from the future, and that the trigger-happy version of Alex is too.
Because the audience needs a primer on what the show is up to here, Marvel’s Runaways Season 3, Episode 10 has everyone gather at the Hostel, where we get some basic time-travel rules and some handy exposition. Future Chase can’t interact with his past self, and neither can Future Alex, in order to avoid a paradox. He explains that in the future, he and Alex figure out time travel with help from the Abstract. But one of the group tries to kill Alex by putting a bomb in his office, but he survives and seeks revenge. However, he doesn’t know who planted the bomb, so he’s after everyone, having come back to this day because it’s the one when Nico brought everyone back together on the anniversary of Gert’s death. If Future Alex can’t get to one of them, he’ll go after someone they care about, like Julie, Karolina’s new squeeze.
And thus “Cheat the Gallows” cuts to Julie, being confronted by Future Alex and his evil facial hair. He pulls a gun on her and knocks her out, but the kids turn up in the nick of time, though Future Alex is able to time jump. Future Chase is able to track him back to the day before they all became friends; when they were most divided and at their weakest. He gives them all personal time machines. They’re going back to high school.
The mini time machines are watches, and they’re only good for four jumps. Anyone or anything you’re touching when you jump goes with you. The ground rules are no messing with reality and no interactions with past selves. This sequence is especially fun to see how far these characters have come from the archetypes they began as in the first season.
The problem for the characters is that they all get to see Gert and be reminded of what they’ve lost; Future Chase can’t help but awkwardly defend her from bullies. They spot Future Alex and are able to chase him down to a school bus, but Past Alex is there too, creating a problem. Future Alex says Future Chase isn’t telling them the truth, and that they should ask him about his scar, but Nico mindwipes everyone and Future Alex is taken to the empty gym before anything else can be discussed.
Present and Future Alex argue about the decision that was made in killing Catherine in the dark world jail cell. Soon everyone arrives, and Future Chase talks Present Alex into jumping back to the present to avoid a paradox. Then Chase reveals his ultimate objective: He wants to go back and save Gert. Future Alex is understandably worried that doing so might wipe out everything that happened after her death and as a consequence of it. Chase thinks there’s still a chance that it could remain more or less the same, just with her present for it, so Future Alex, Future Chase, Karolina, Nico, and Molly all return to the final battle with Morgan (they took evil Future Alex because of the limited number of jumps.)
For all their efforts, the retread of the final battle is a bit of a mess, temporally speaking. Nico talks with Past Nico, trying to cryptically prevent her from making a mistake. As the scenes progress, certain minor tweaks affect events which leads to a cascade of changes, one of which being that Future Chase dies rather than Molly. This erases him and the present versions of Molly, Nico, and Karolina, who fade away. But the past versions all survive the final battle, meaning that they can make a new future, together. However, as they’re on their way for breakfast, Alex finds a note suggesting that perhaps that future won’t be as happy or uncomplicated as they think. Still, with the show now cancelled, it’s easy to imagine that everything worked out just fine.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.