For those familiar with Vicky Jones and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s work (and at this point, who isn’t?), there is an excitement surrounding ‘Run’. You are ready to find out what’s next from the duo, who became famous for their work on ‘Fleabag’, wondering if this one will live up to the expectations. Pleasantly, the first episode of HBO’s series has all the thrill to keep us coming back for more.
The premiere introduces us to the characters who embark on a journey of the lifetime. As they meet each other after a long time, the mystery surrounding their life continues, and we understand that a number of revelations are in store for them as well as for us. It is a cocktail of all the emotions that one feels after taking a drastic step on a whim. We see what happens when you run, but most importantly, what comes after.
Run Episode 1 Recap
Ruby is not ready for another day. Yes, she is sitting in her car outside Target, prepared to go through the same cycle of events that she has been at for a long time. But she looks tired of this humdrum life. A call from her husband and she perks up her voice, but clearly, that’s just for show. And then comes the text from Billy. “RUN”, it says. This disrupts Ruby’s thought process, and after a moment’s hesitation, she texts “RUN” back.
Next we know, she is buying a ticket to the next flight to New York, finally ending up on a train. There, she meets Billy. After playing a little Strangers on the Train game and swearing a bunch of times, they come to terms with what they have done or at least try to. They hope what they have done is not unforgivable, though for whose forgiveness they hope, we don’t know yet.
When Billy tries to ask her a personal question, Ruby places a moratorium on it, at least for the day. Despite this, some details do trickle out, and they keep tussling with the idea of having made the wrong decision.
Run Episode 1 Review
From the first scene to the last, in the span of 30 minutes, the episode uses everything, from small gestures made by the actors to the lines sneaked into the videos they are watching or the messages they are sending, to tell us about the characters.
Merritt Wever plays the role of Ruby, who goes through a range of emotions on the same day. We find her sitting in a parking lot, and from the look on her face, it is clear that she is not very excited about her current life. The cutesy voice that she uses to talk with her husband is another glimpse at her façade. There is a heavy lethargy in her life that has weighed her down, but all of it vanishes when she receives the text.
From there on, there is no stopping for Ruby. She is thrown into a cycle of emotions that excite her, confuse her, scare her, and surge her sexual cravings, all at the same time. Wever is the MVP of this episode, and it’s a joy watching her jump from one mood of Ruby to another.
She is paired alongside Domhnall Gleeson, who brings a subtlety in the way Billy presents himself. We get bits and pieces about his life, and we also come to understand that perhaps, he had a better (or worse) reason to run away. He looks confident, but there is something else below the surface. There are scenes when a crack appears in his armor, and we see the wreck that his life has become. He finds comfort in the familiarity that he has with Ruby, but there is also the question of not knowing who she is anymore.
Running away is something that almost everyone thinks about. The act has a romantic appeal, no doubt. But what keeps most people from doing it is what comes after. What really happens when you run away? While ‘Run’ does start with this and plays with the adventure that something like this promises, it also keeps itself bound to reality.
It does not drift away into a fantasy where two long lost lovers find the way back to each other, not yet, at least. If it enlivens us with the romanticism of the intense chemistry between the ex-lovers, it also keeps us tethered to their realities. Of course, there is still a lot that we need to know about Billy and Ruby and what it was that made them run for each other. The first episode keeps us on edge and makes us look forward to what’s next on this journey. We only hope that this enthusiasm does not fade away as we move forward.
Read More: Is HBO’s Run Based on a True Story?