Run is like a bag of mixed emotions constantly being filled with lack of planning, unnecessary pressure, failed sexual reunion, and more to come as the show progresses.
Run is one of HBO’s new shows created by Vicky Jones, and one that I am yet to fully immerse myself into. Aside from the generic beginning of a bored housewife suffering midlife crisis, stuck in the typical parking lot preambles of a too close for comfort parking situation, pondering just what the hell she has done with her life, I found myself getting uncomfortably impatient with the not so prominent growth and unraveling of the first two episodes. However, by the third and fourth...I found myself saying one more, maybe just one more.
Run is centered on the two main characters of the show; Ruby and Dave. They unexpectedly embark on their life long path of running away together, to explore America in a week. Once the exploration is over, they will decide to either return to their normal life or start a new life together. To do this, they both need to respond RUN via text to each other.
As the show begins, We are introduced to the two main characters; Ruby and Billy, living up to the name of the show and of course their text communication; RUN. Run from your life, old into new, collide, explore, chase the unknown, reap the repercussions and perhaps long for acceptance?
Let’s break down the characters and see how we associate with them.
Ruby (Merritt Wever)- Late 30’s, ridiculously horny in every given situation (or just physically appears to be?), Failed Architect, Proud mother to two healthy kids, wife to the perfect public image of a perfect husband, Laurence, except, she’s always felt lost and wondering the unknown. Turns out this is not a first run attempt but the first to test the leap of faith. As revealed later on in the show, she initially attempted to “Run” on her wedding day...unfortunately, the ok wasn’t given (by Billy) so she proceeded with the wedding, into the supposed perfect family.
Truth is, almost all individuals can relate with this character. Life moves like the speed of light. One minute you are starting a life path at 20 and the next time you blink, you are in your 30’s and wondering what the heck just happened. How did you find yourself in a juxtapose of what you initially laid out for your supposed path in life? How the hell did you end up in the parking lot of Target, yoga mat in a bag, getting pumped to head into the store to get groceries for the family, and hope to arrive home in time for your husband’s new speaker delivery? What happened to the career woman who was ready to take on the world with all the ambition and determination in her?
Ahhh yes, life is truly amazing and sometimes, it is okay to run! Just as long as you have a backup plan, current plan, and future plan for when it is all over or when you get to your destination. Just remember to leave no one in the dark as you embark on your adventure which unfortunately, is what Ruby did.
Billy (Domhnall Gleeson)- Late 30’s, focused and incredibly good at what he does. The motivational speaker everyone looks up to, until shit hits the fan and you are left to ponder your path. The motivational speaker with the right handed woman (Fiona) left in the dark and out of site (hello society!), to constantly provide positive insight, string together his success, handle everything and anything, including not giving the ok response of “Run” 12 years ago to Ruby but instead, deleted the message and carried on with what she’s good at; absolute manipulation of the situation and full control of everything, including Billy.
Funny, most individuals can also relate to this character. To society, you are the perfect embodiment of what a man with a passion truly is. Chase your dreams, chase your goals, chase your ambition. Change the world, change yourself, change the vision, blah blah blah!
Heal me o thy smart and visual one, show me the true path in life, cleanse me, inspire me, show me the light so I may follow thy lead into oblivion.
Inwardly, you are just an individual who initially started the path out of true passion, but now manipulated by said society you initially thought you had a hold on. Money, Fame, and Power takes over and you no longer recognize yourself, your surrounding, or your idealism. You are perfectly lost in an everly lost society and just like that, time also has passed you by.
Fiona (Archie Panjabi)- The mastermind behind the successful motivational speaker, Billy. Fiona is initially introduced as the villain but this quickly subsides as she is killed off the show by episode 5 (Aww, here we go with the generic kill off the person of color first in a movie or show). My admiration for the character is her consistent approach to getting her fair share from her contribution to society. In this case, Billy and his empire. She worked her way from being his intern to being his literal everything and received a consolation prize of sex, constant belittling and nonstop reminder to get lost by Billy. An additional icing on the cake was the severance package of $10,000. This did not sit well with Fiona as Billy conveniently forgot that she never had the spotlight and was always introduced to the public eye as his personal assistant. Despite being the mastermind of his empire, she was quick to point out the reality of the situation; there was nothing for her with the dissolution of the company. She will be just another PA to society and that is not okay for a woman who has sacrificed her whole life, career, and giving up the idea of a family to build a company without her name on the contract or a signature. Ouch!
Laurence (Rich Sommer)- The perfect husband on the billboard of how to be the best American husband and dad, Embraces every checklist of husband wanted poster ads, but deep down, we know he is a lot more mysterious than that. He has all the power and control over his wife’s bank accounts, credit cards, and even her phone screen. Oh yes, nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing goes unnoticed by Laurence. Don’t even think for one split second that he doesn’t know about your “RUN” path with Billy! Perhaps, he truly enjoys the idea of his puppet of a wife and will do anything to ensure she comes back home safely with him, even if it means lying his way to clean up her record and bring her back to the big ole happy America family picture.
So let’s summarize the show from Episode 1 to Episode 5 (current).
As explained earlier, Ruby and Dave embark on their life long path of running away together, to explore America in a week and will either return to their old life or continue on the new one.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. Quite frankly, it sounds like a spontaneous on the spot vacation to unleash every tension or friction in your life. This of course becomes a problem, if you literally take off on the spot without informing loved ones, or if you have unfinished business that can’t wait a whole week.
This is the case of Ruby and Dave. Ruby takes off on the spot, despite needing to take the kids to kung fu lessons, and without informing her husband of her personal retreat for clarity. Dave on the other hand, is running away from a failed speaking tour, after being informed that his message led to the suicide of a listener. Another problem? The fact that his PA, Fiona wasn’t taken into consideration while telling the crowd to sud off, jetting off to start a new life while leaving her to clean up his mess, and being upset with her stalking him to finish what he started.
Anyway, they make it to their first destination, Chicago. Luxury hotel booked, fancy clothing purchased, Fiona is adamant on getting Billy back on track but instead she is met with a goodbye compensation for her time, $10,000. Nope, Fiona isn’t having that and if she must, then a good retirement package will be soothing.
Here comes the chase of Ruby trying to constantly lie to Laurence on the phone, discovering he has frozen all her accounts, changed the voicemail message to inform the public of her running away, replacing her responsibilities by hiring a nanny, and her son basically moving on with life without missing her. At the same time, she can’t seem to control herself and her constant need to physically express and show just how incredibly horny she is for Billy. So horny, that as Billy relates the story of the man who committed suicide based on his speech guidance, she increasingly projects the horniness and is eventually quenched and drenched into ecstasy by an all night rump with Billy. But not too fast for Fiona to stalk them up to their hotel room, and get an audio recording of said rump. Must have been incredibly exhausting for Fiona to standby and wait until it was over…maybe she didn’t, hopefully she got a good rub out of it as well.
Back to the story. Ruby and Billy hornbag their way to the next train ride to their next destination, Los Angeles. This journey is cut short as Fiona does make her way to the train, reveals her true identity (to Ruby), threatens both of them individually to expose their truth, and eventually jumps off the train with the bag of money, which Ruby foolishly hands her due to fear of her infidelity being exposed to her husband. This leads to a successful chase that leads to the death of Fiona. Oh, there was also the careless error of every individual not noticing a fourth person in the house that Fiona was killed, and now a witness to the murder.
As Ruby and Dave luckily gets a ride by a taxidermist (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) back to the train station in the middle of nowhere, Ruby discovers that she made a dumb mistake, she left her cellphone at the crime scene.
That’s basically RUN at the moment. Just like the name, I have been tempted to run far away from the show, into something else where characters are not easily predictable or making cringey decisions or honestly, lacking some good amount of chemistry.
Run is like a bag of mixed emotions constantly being filled with lack of planning, unnecessary pressure, failed sexual reunion, and more to come as the show progresses. While I have weirdly enjoyed how each actor has held on strong to what’s required of their character, I just can’t wrap my mind on the lack of chemistry between the two main actors. I do hope I see more of Fiona via flashback and more of Laurence being a dark mastermind of some sort. I also won’t be weirdly surprised if along the road, it is revealed that Ruby has a dark and twisted fetish of being incredibly turned on by dark events, pain, or even murder. Perhaps that will explain the shagging that occurred with Billy at the hotel.
Until then, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon it is, while I ponder the next direction of the show.