Fans Noticed a Subtle Pattern in the Marvel’s ‘Runaways’ Episode Titles

Marvel fans have become quite skilled at picking up details other people would never notice, and one of the most striking examples of that is a Marvel show that is on its way out: The Runaways

Fans were displeased but not surprised when it was announced that the show’s third season on Hulu would be its last. Since this season will wrap things up, fans are being extra vigilant about clues that might point to how it all ends. And one fan found a clue that seems too precise to be an accident or a coincidence: the episode titles. 

The episode titles keep getting longer

Marvel's Runaways cast speaks onstage
Marvel’s Runaways cast and crew | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Hulu

An enterprising fan on Reddit noticed that all the season 1 episode titles had one word. Then all the season 2 episodes had two-word titles. Now, all the season 3 episodes have three-word titles: 

Season 1

  • Reunion
  • Rewind
  • Destiny 
  • Fifteen
  • Kingdom 
  • Metamorphosis
  • Retraction 
  • Tsunami 
  • Doomsday
  • Hostile

Season 2

  • Gimme Shelter
  • Radio On 
  • Double Zeros 
  • Old School
  • Rock Bottom
  • Bury Another 
  • Last Rites
  • Past Life
  • Big Shot
  • Hostile Takeover
  • Last Waltz
  • Earth Angel 
  • Split Up

Season 3

  • Smoke and Mirrors
  • The Great Escape
  • Lord of Lies
  • Rite of Thunder
  • Enter the Dreamland
  • Merry Meet Again
  • Left-Hand Path
  • Devil’s Torture Chamber

That does not appear to be a complete list, as season 3 is supposed to have 10 episodes, so it’s possible the last titles are being held back to avoid spoilers. But the Reddit poster seems to be onto something.

That pattern is too particular for it to be one of the often absurd fan theories that float around Reddit. Unfortunately, we won’t get a fourth season to see if all its episodes would have four-word titles. 

Other shows with unusual naming styles 

The Runaways is far from the first show to have such an unusual episode nomenclature. One of the most famous is from Friends, whose titles all start with “The One With” – the way most people talk about TV episodes where they can’t remember exact details. The only exception to this was the series finale, which fudged the pattern slightly to be called “The Last One.” 

Grey’s Anatomy used a similar trick in naming all its episodes after songs, and probably the ultimate expression of that was the oft-discussed musical episode in Season 7.  

Reddit pointed out that “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit used single word titles for almost all of their episodes (except a few early season episodes until Season 13, when they moved to two-word titles. That trend dies out around Season 18, however.”

The ever-reliable list-maker Ranker has a list of shows with “TV Shows with the Best Episode Names.” Friends, unsurprisingly, came in first. Number two was The Simpsons, which most earn some kind of prize just for the sheer number of episodes, which are now up to a staggering 665.

Ranker praises them as “brilliant, and a cultural encyclopedia — just like the show is.” 

Number three is Psych, with clever titles like, “Spellingg Bee,”  “Woman Seeking Dead Husband: Smokers Okay, No Pets”  “Poker, I Barely Know Her,” “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me, Oops He’s Dead”

How ‘Runaways’ might end

The central mystery of Runaways going into its third season is guessing which of our heroes has been possessed by one of the villains? 

When season 2 ended, our heroes had destroyed Jonah’s ship, but Jonah, his wife and two kids survived by jumping into the nearest bodies at hand – and those included the Runaways. We know what happened to Jonah, his wife and his daughter, but whose body did the son take? The most likely suspects seem to be Nico, Alex and Molly, with many fans thinking it’s Alex because he turned against his friends in the comics too. 

When will we find out? The final season drops December 13.