Sunday, April 12, 2020

REVIEW: 'Run' - Ruby and Billy Continually Run to Be With Each Other and Away From Their Personal Lives in 'Run'

HBO's Run - Episode 1.01 "Run"

On a regular Tuesday morning, Ruby Richardson is shaken out of her humdrum suburban life when she receives an urgent text that prompts her to fly to New York and board a cross-country train, where she reunites with college ex Billy Johnson. As their adventure begins, Ruby and Billy fight the tension that still exists between them while attempt to root out each other's secrets.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of HBO's Run.

"Run" was written by Vicky Jones and directed by Kate Dennis

A seductive narrative dread radiates throughout this premiere. It's an episode that plays things very close to the vest. It doesn't want to unload everything about these two characters right away. It wants to be mysterious and withholding. It relies on the mystique of what exactly is going on and what could possibly motivate the two of them to abandon their lives for this adventure together. It's weird but striking. It places so much of the narrative weight and burden on the actors. Merritt Wever is fantastic as always. She is believable as Ruby Richardson from the very first moment. She conveys so much about this woman and the fact that she may just be going through the motions of her life. She puts on a performance for the people around her - even the ones she says "I love you" to. That is just part of the routine. She casually lies and wants to believe in some of those details herself. She doesn't want to accept that things aren't what she exactly wants out of life. Receiving this text from her college boyfriend is the motivation she needs to make this drastic change. She drops everything to embark on this quest. She does so not wanting to explain herself. She has a good reason. She doesn't feel like she has to reveal that just yet. The narrative doesn't feel that burden either. Sure, some things are absolutely teased. Billy goes through her purse looking for any clues about her life and why she would possibly agree to this adventure. He has texted her "RUN" in the past. This is the first time she has ever agreed to it though. It's clear that he uses this prompt as an excuse to feel some kind of clarity even when his life is spiraling out of control. It's his crutch that allows him to avoid what is actually going on. It's clear that he is running away from something. His life has gone viral in a way that may actually destroy what he has built. He feels ashamed. But he is aroused and intrigued by Ruby. He wants to see if this connection can once again ignite his life like it did so many years ago. The two of them comment that they are amazed how similar they are to their college days. Their lives have changed dramatically. They don't want to talk about that though. It's simply an observation made about the ways in which they react to the various interactions on this train. It runs the risk of being such a tightly confined space. They could lose a sense of independence. However, it makes the attraction between them even stronger. It makes it where they both feel this electric chemistry pulsating them forwards. The hunt is on as they circle each other looking for clues. Ruby wants to establish some rules. She wants to live in the bliss of this moment for as long as possible. That quickly fades away because her life back home is constantly calling out to her. She has people who are worried and willing to call the police to find her. Billy claims he doesn't have that. Ruby is the only person he can fathom wanting to be with him right now. He is happy she is here. They remember all the details about this plan. It's crazy and insane. This appears to be the only interaction they have had in the years since they graduated. It was a significant break. But things pick up with seemingly the same intensity. They both feel the arousal. They both take care of their needs in the bathroom. They place effort into the stories they create and the fantasy of what this dynamic could be. They will run in search of each other. That is the start of a very passionate and engaging story. But again, reality can only be kept at bay for so long. Billy was looking for clues into Ruby's personal life. He gets her to engage when it comes to her career. That too may be a lie because she wasn't in the office when she got the text. The picture on her phone can't be though. She has a husband and children. In that moment, Billy sees so much. He and the audience will project so many horrible feelings onto her wondering how she could possibly abandon them. It's scandalous. It's the twist that destroys the illusion of what this premise could potentially be. It's a reaction though. It isn't Ruby's story. That is still waiting to be told. Her life has already been so enriching. She runs back to the train even after talking to Lawrence. Things are complex with her. Right now, the audience should be intrigued to learn more because she is more of an enigma than Billy is. They may both see the value of this adventure. However, it could be quite costly as well depending on how long they stay inside the fantasy.