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Run: Season 1, Episode 3 (F...) - Review

Run, Episode 3

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE third episode of Run opened up the scope of the show, taking its central couple off the train and examining more about the history of their relationship in the process.

As such, it was another richly rewarding episode, thriving on the sparkling chemistry between Ruby and Billy (Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson), while shedding some light on the mystery surrounding them. It was funny and moving too.

The early part of the episode saw the two hanging out in Chicago after Billy asked for 24 hours to convince Ruby that she should stick with him, rather than returning to her family. And in doing so, it afforded a further insight into how both characters reached the point of running.

For Ruby, in particular, the decision to ‘run’ had been a long-time coming. Even on her wedding day, she had texted Billy with the three letters (‘run’), only to get no reply. It’s clear her feelings run deep for him. At a guess, she has always loved him.

For Billy, meanwhile, the decision to run was provoked by a live meltdown… a public fail that resulted in humiliation. As a successful lifestyle guru cum motivational speaker, Billy had just embarked on a tour that saw him offering advice to legions of fans. But within the first 10 minutes, he had called a woman onto the stage and asked her about her problems, only to hear that she was grieving for her husband, who’d just killed himself after interpreting something Billy said as an invitation to go off his meds.

Thrown by the revelation, Billy admitted that his advice was shallow and not worth taking and walked off stage, prompting his decision to run.

It’s a revelation that perhaps shows a fatal flaw in his character… a man who is always prepared to run, rather than face up to his problems or dilemmas. Perhaps this is why Billy and Ruby never worked out in the first place.

No matter, he’s now desperate to keep Ruby in his life. Hence, the reason to come clean.

But there’s another problem for Billy in the form of Fiona (Archie Panjabi), his former PA, who has been stalking him ever since he boarded the train. Fiona wants Billy to return to his life, or to compensate her properly for walking away. Her presence threatens to derail everything.

And so, this third episode thrived on its ability to help us understand the main two characters a little more, while keeping the intriguing sub-plots bubbling along. There’s still much to find out about their respective pasts but we can understand and, perhaps, empathise with them a little more.

Plus, we’re still highly motivated to find out what the future holds.

Much of the show’s success lies in the infectious charisma of Gleeson and Wever and in this episode they continued to excel, effortlessly flitting between comedic and dramatic.

You could feel the sense of relief and escape in the moments when they just allowed themselves to get lost in a given moment. But you could sympathise when they opened up a little more, to reveal feelings of hurt or inadequacy. Ruby, in particular, seems a lot more vulnerable than she first appeared… revelations about her career feeling particularly poignant.

If anything, F… was the most sincere episode to date.

But it also knew when to have fun. There was something delightfully absurdist about Ruby’s experience in an expensive clothes shop, whether getting stuck in a try-on outfit or, eventually, running off without paying.

And there was also something surprising about the experience too… the woman she bumped into, and who invited her to ‘steal, eventually being revealed as Fiona.

Thus far, the show knows how to maintain a fine balance between all of its components, which is no mean feat given the tight 25 minute or so running time that each instalment lasts.

And questions continue to abound. Can we entirely trust that Billy has come clean? What is Fiona’s ultimate aim? And why did she feel the need to stick her mobile phone underneath the door of Billy and Ruby’s hotel room to record them having sex?

There is a thriller element riding alongside the human drama, which keeps Run sharp and far from straight-forward. I’m genuinely gripped and love being in Billy and Ruby’s company.