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Runaways S2: A Halfway-Through Theory

Posted in TV on January 10, 2019

SPOILERS HEREIN for the first half of the second season of Hulu’s Runaways, but even bigger spoilers for the original comic it’s based on. Beware.

I have a theory about Runaways that I want to lay out here, halfway through S2. It’s based on very little evidence, and even the “evidence” I have is, I admit, quite possibly nothing more than a huge reach of reading-too-much-into-stuff-iness. It’s verrrry possible that watching the back half of S2 will disprove everything I’m supposing here, but I want to write it down before I watch any more so I can see how it plays out.

My theory goes a little something like this:

Jonah’s not gone, that much is obvious, right? He’s the Big Bad, for starters, but even from a story perspective, he’s a very powerful, advanced alien who’s been alive on Earth for thousands of years or more. It’s going to take more than Nico Minoru plowing her magic stick through his chest to get rid of him; if he were that easy to kill, he’d never have managed to live as long as he has.

So we’re agreed: it’s not the end of Jonah (though I’m a little fuzzier on if it’s the end of Julian McMahon; I’ll come back to this question in a minute).

My very-early-and-entirely-to-this-point unsupported belief is that the entity that is “Jonah” left the body he’d been inhabiting and has instead taken control of Alex Wilder as of the end of Season 2, Episode 7.

OK, well, maybe not taken control, exactly, but his consciousness (or whatever you want to call his alien presence) is in Alex’s brain. When Nico “killed” him, there was a very clear implication that Jonah left the body he’d been inhabiting; he’s an alien, after all, a being of light, so how else could he have had a human body except by possessing one? After Jonah “died” – when he seemed to be a confused Australian man instead of a wrathful alien demigod – the next shot we saw was Alex looking startled and bathed in a blue light. This is where the “reach” part of my theory comes into play; of course Alex was looking startled, since his crush just straight-up murdered her girlfriend’s dad. The blue light also makes sense given the fantastical lighting of the big final fight.

BUT. But.

Sparkly boy!

I think he “possessed” Alex. Maybe Alex was closest, maybe Jonah chose him for a reason. But whatever the reason might have been, he’s now inside Alex’s head, and will be able to start subtly (or not so subtly) steering him to doing the things he needs him to do to get Jonah (and Karolina) off the planet. It’s the perfect Trojan horse. He’s done with the parents, who failed and betrayed him – see what the kids can do.

He’s definitely not gone, and having him live on inside of Alex for the next couple of seasons lets the writers do the Alex Wilder’s Betrayal storyline in a way that makes sense for the show’s reality and adds an entirely new level of intrigue to the character interactions, both between the kids and between Alex and the adults. It would also let them keep Julian McMahon around, even if the only person he would really interact with would be Alex. If that’s indeed what the writers did, I think that’s maybe a kinda brilliant idea – depending on the execution, of course.

And if they didn’t go in that direction, well then I’m brilliant for thinking of it!

I’ve been wondering if the writers/showrunners/Hulu would have the courage to kill off one of the six main kids, especially Alex, who’s frequently been framed as the “main” character, or at least the viewpoint character. He was the first one we met, and the fact that he’s the only one of the Runaways without powers makes him even more of an audience surrogate. Killing Alex was one thing to do in the comics – and I remember it being pretty damn surprising and gut-punch-y there – but if they follow through with doing that on the show, that would get them a lot of attention, both positive and negative.

I’ll be watching the rest of S2 and the upcoming seaons (which I’m not positive but am hopeful we’re getting) to see if Alex’s behavior starts to change. If th show’s doing this, they’ll want not to overplay their hand too early, I wouldn’t think – but I’m going to watch for a more sinister side of Alex to start to come out before eventually getting to the big OMG JONAH reveal at some point.

I plan to follow up on this post-that’s-probably-only-for-myself as we get through the rest of S2. I’m fighting like hell the urge to go read more theories and speculation. I fully expect to be proven wrong, but holy shit would that be awesome if I’m right.

(Jonah said something strange as his body passed; I need to go back and see what that was.)

Allison Holt spends her days wrestling with code and her nights wrestling with her amazing wife, three fantastic children and her big goofy rescue dog. You can find her at any of the social media links below, or you can email her at

All wrestling referred to in the previous paragraph is metaphorical.