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Run: Season 1 (Trick) - Final episode review

Run, final episode

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE final episode of Run saw things end on a decidedly bittersweet note that some viewers may have found disappointing. But for this reviewer it also felt kind of real.

After six weeks of trying to work out the motivations behind each character’s decision to run, the truth – when it emerged – offered a complicated emotional tapestry that was doomed to fail. Simply put, the chances of Ruby and Billy (Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson) ever finding true happiness was never really that likely.

What it came down to, in my opinion, was a mix between wish-fulfilment and needing to be seen (for Ruby) and desperation mixed with profiteering (for Billy). Those primary motivating factors became muddled during the course of the time the couple spent with each other.

For Billy, the idea to run was born out of a pitch for a new money-spinning novel. We had seen this pitch being delivered to his late business partner, Fiona, a couple of episodes ago and wondered when it would come into play.

Ruby, on the other hand, needed escape. She felt like a shadow of her former self, having confessed to the feeling that her kids [and her husband] may never know what she had given up, or sacrificed, to become a mother.

She longed for that sense of freedom, to be thought of as reckless and sexy… which made the realisation that she had been ‘used’ or set up as a business idea all the more hurtful.

Hence, just as it seemed Billy and Ruby might actually run away together and realise the love that had first bonded them during their younger years, the truth reared its ugly head via Billy’s laptop.

Moments earlier, Ruby had practically begged Billy to seduce her, sensing the chance to be on the run and finding the inherent naughtiness in that scenario sexy. Her sense of feeling wanted, of being found irresistible once more, was palpable.

Similarly, her crushing realisation that Billy had an ulterior motive for his initial text was brilliantly played. You could feel the suppressed anger, the crippling disappointment, the realisation that she had risked throwing everything away on somebody who didn’t actually [at least initially] feel the same way.

Coming from the creative team behind Fleabag, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Run ultimately boiled down to something so pro-feminist and so emotionally complex. This was, perhaps, a woman’s story all along.

Billy, for his part, found some kind of redemption in the fact that he was finally prepared to take the rap for Fiona’s death on his own. And he also realised his true feelings for Ruby… albeit too late.

I think things began to change for him once he saw the photo of Ruby’s family on her phone, thereby realising the enormity of what she had given up. His was a journey away from the selfish, egotistical qualities that had helped fuel his success.

And, sure, he did always possess feelings for Ruby… only now they were stronger.

Few could argue against the fact they would – in another set of circumstances – have made a perfect couple. Their chemistry remained one of the series highlights from the get-go.

But that hurt that stemmed from continually being overlooked, under-appreciated and taken for granted felt by Ruby eventually put paid to any chance of happiness. The final moments of the finale saw Ruby walk away from Billy completely, even as he desperately laid out his feelings for her.

The question now lingered as to whether Ruby could find the kind of happiness and respect she longed for by returning to her family? And perhaps there’s scope for exploring this in a second season if it gets renewed.

Billy, too, could decide to continue his pursuit of her.

But as things stand, Run feels like it had reached a natural conclusion, albeit a somewhat bittersweet one.

The series as a whole, meanwhile, has to go down as a success. It kept us watching, it kept us rooting for its primary characters and it amused throughout, while offering both Wever and Gleeson plenty of opportunity to flex their dramatic muscles too. There was plenty to admire and really like.

True, there were parts that dragged, while the inclusion of Phoebe Waller-Bridge felt like an indulgence. Similarly, the belated inclusion of Deputy Detective Babe Cloud (Tamara Podemski) as a late foil to Billy and Ruby also felt muddled… for while Cloud was an interesting character, she arguably arrived too late, was saddled with an unnecessary romance [with Waller-Bridge] and was quickly discarded once the train had reached its destination. She was never seen to get her man.

Distractions aside, Run was worth the journey. It was a comedy-drama with plenty to say that didn’t let Hollywood convention or the need for a happy ending get in the way.

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