Comment Editor Abby Spreadborough urges you to watch Run, arguing that life on the run has never looked so good
As one week merges into the next and months seem to slide by indistinguishable from one another, one thing we perhaps need more than ever is an escape. Run, a show which evolves from a Richard Curtis-esque romcom into an all-out mystery, is just that. It invites the viewer, much like its central characters Ruby (Merritt Wever) and Billy (Domhnall Gleeson), to forget about their daily lives – if only for a short while.
With seven episodes each spanning around half an hour, the show never loses momentum and leaves you edging closer to the next episode button. The series relentless cat and mouse chase echoes Killing Eve whilst the complex and palpably real characters will remind you of Fleabag. This is to be expected, as Run was produced by long time collaborators Vicky Jones and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Given the various accolades their shows received, including BAFTAs and Emmys, viewers can be sure that Run will not disappoint.
Run tells the story of former lovers Ruby and Billy. Whilst at college the young couple made a pact that if one simply texted ‘RUN’ and the other responded with the same they would meet at New York’s Grand Central Station and catch a train across the country. This flight from reality is especially attractive to suburban mother and failed architect Ruby, who is played effortlessly by Merritt Wever. We first meet Ruby sitting in her car in a Target car park, excited at the prospect of using her new yoga mat yet despairing at the thought of having to wait at home for her husband’s speakers to be delivered. Her husband’s banal request for her to return home for the delivery is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Ruby takes off (quite literally) flying from the west coast to the east half expecting her former college sweetheart Billy to stand her up.
Billy, played by Domhnall Gleeson, seemingly leads a fulfilling life as a world-famous life coach touring the US with motivational speeches and penning successful self-help guides, but this is merely a facade. A career-ruining mistake sends Billy spiralling out of control and sets the show in motion.
As the episodes progress it becomes clear the two are more alike than previously expected. They act as foils for one another, representing the choice that millennials often feel they must make between a family and a career. Billy has chosen a career whilst Ruby has chosen motherhood, but neither feel they are a success. In a particularly resonant moment Ruby breaks down, feeling that she has lost herself to motherhood as she is both wracked with guilt at leaving her two sons but enthralled by the prospect of her newfound freedom.
Moments like these slowly seep through each episode, punctuating comedic flourishes and intense exchanges with intimate details of universally understood struggles. This serves to not only build intrigue and suspense but to develop a subtle commentary on the disparity between the appearance of one’s life on curated social media pages and reality.
Both Meritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson give standout performances and bounce off one another perfectly. Not once does their witty repartee feel contrived, nor do their confessional moments of vulnerability which can coincide with this repartee. In terms of characterisation, the show’s creators do in a matter of short episodes what some cannot achieve in a drawn-out series of films.
Run is not only worth watching for its performances, compelling script, and pacing but the entirely unexpected twist that happens mid-series. This plunges the show tonally into unchartered territory, but not once does it falter. Run broadens its cast of characters and picks up the pace. As Billy and Ruby encounter Lauren (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a kindly taxidermist and Babe Cloud (Tamara Podemski), a charming yet awkward small-town cop their life on the run loses the promise it once held and reality starts to catch up with them. Filled with twists and turns, dark and light humour, Run is the perfect watch for our very strange and stationary present. Life on the run has never looked so good.
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