Old Lace

Still trying to catch up with Runaways, we meet one of the most expected (and loved) characters in the comics, and probably in the series also. In episode 3, Destiny, we get our first proper look at the “monster in the basement” that terrifies Molly: the genetically-engineered dinosaur Old Lace. In the show, Old Lace has been created by Dale and Stacey Yorkes to be the family’s “guard dog”, in their plan to rebel to The Pride and escape. Apparently, she obeys to Gertrude…just like in the comics, albeit there this is not an “unexpected side effect”, but the dinosaur’s main purpose. Let’s see together.

This genetically-engineered Deinonychus (though at first she was mistaken for a Velociraptor) was created in the 87th Century in a secret, most likely illegal lab, commissioned by the time-traveling criminals Dale and Stacey Yorkes. The dinosaur was implanted with some specific characteristics, such as the instinct to protect (and obviously never harm) any member of the Yorkes family, and an empathic, quasi-telepathic bond with Gertrude, the Yorkes’ daughter. The Deinonychus, in fact, was designed to be Gert’s bodyguard after her parents died, and she was brought back to the 21st Century with the 4-D Time Portico, and hidden in the Yorkes’ basement, where she was nurtured up to maturity. She was supposed to be given to Gert only when she reached 18 years old, but the girl found the dinosaur while she was looking in her parents’ basement for the body of a girl she had seen her parents murder. Understandably scared by the dinosaur, Gert and her friends left her in the basement and ran away, but the Deinonychus followed them to the Steins‘ home, and right on time, as she saved her mistress by the members of The Pride who were about to kill her. Finally understanding the bond she had with the dinosaur, Gert named her Old Lace (being a couple with her own nick, “Arsenic“), and she decided to keep her. From that moment, Old Lace accompanied Gert and the Runaways in all their adventures.

Old Lace’s bond with Arsenic grew with time, and the dinosaur only obeyed Gert, with her actions depending on her mistress’ emotions (she attacked when Gert was scared or angry, she felt pain when Gert did, and so on). Albeit she came to like also the other Runaways, Old Lace didn’t listen to their commands, with only one exception: during the final battle between the Runaways and the Pride, in the Marine Vivarium, Arsenic was knocked out by Alice Hayes, but before passing out she ordered Old Lace to follow Alex Wilder‘s orders. This didn’t prove to be a good idea, actually, as Alex turned out to be a mole working with The Pride. As the Gibborim arrived to claim their prize, however, Gert came back to her senses, took control of Old Lace again, and escaped with her before the gods destroyed the Vivarium, killing Alex and The Pride. As soon as they escaped, the Runaways were found and stopped by Captain America, who put them in foster care: Old Lace was entrusted to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and separated from Gert. Depressed and alone, the dinosaur resumed all her usual vitality when her mistress came to “save” her, and they resumed their life together. They shared many adventures again, and Old Lace was even transformed into a small dog (“Old Yeller“) by Nico Minoru to disguise her during a mission with Cloak. Everything changed for the dinosaur when a younger version of Geoffrey Wilder stabbed Gertrude to the chest, killing her: Arsenic successfully transferred her telepathic link with OL to Chase Stein, but the dinosaur felt all her pain and her fear while she was dying. Bonding with Chase, Old Lace found her own grief and anger mirrored by the boy’s ones: they would have made quite a couple together…

Old Lace is a loyal, brave and determined she-dinosaur, a genetically-engineered Deinonychus who’d give her life for her mistress (or master, later). As all Deinonychus, she’s extremely strong, durable, fast and agile, and she possesses sharp fangs and claws; she also possesses a telepathic link with Gert, first, and Chase, after, that allows her to feel all the emotions of her fellow human. Despite being theoretically compelled to follow her master’s orders, Old Lace has got quite a character, and also acts on her own (she attacked the vampire Topher despite being told not to, and refused to attack Karolina and Nico when ordered to). Despite being just a huge lizard, Old Lace is definitely a big part of the Runaways’ family, a friend who literally shared feelings and emotions with many of them.

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