Run gets chatty in its latest episode, dispensing plenty of backstory, but luckily it maintains pace and tension with the introduction of the enigmatic Fiona.
This recap of Run Season 1, Episode 3, “F*ck”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episodes by clicking these words.
There were more revelations in Run Episode 3, fittingly titled “F*ck”, than in the previous two episodes combined. And the first thing I thought upon learning more backstory about both Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) and Ruby (Merritt Wever) was thank goodness they didn’t frontload all this exposition. Nothing that either character reveals is dull or anything, it just works better on the back of their desperation; since we know now that they’ve committed to running, learning what they’re running from, and who might be chasing them, lands with a more compelling impact than it might have earlier in the season.
The episode largely glosses over Billy and Ruby’s falling out last week, which I suppose is just as well. Some might see that as bad writing, but I’d probably see the alternative as delaying the inevitable. We know these two are going to continue their tryst because there wouldn’t be a show if they didn’t, and that’s fine, even if the 24 extra hours they give themselves to decide feels a bit meaningless as a result.
Run Episode 3 excuses all the doling out of backstory by yet again delaying the consummation of Billy and Ruby’s relationship; for funding reasons, they can’t check in to their hotel for several hours. Biding time leads to Ruby opening up about not really being an architect, having kept up appearances in that regard while relying on the income of her safe but boring husband. The implication is that she has never really been satisfied. On some level, she craves the excitement that Billy provides her and perhaps always will, but has been relying on the comfort of a good provider in the hopes of staving off the impulses. Even her wedding day was largely a façade.
I think Billy’s backstory is arguably the more compelling of the two – and the one that most threatens their new excursion, since Ruby’s husband, despite having canceled all her cards, doesn’t seem like much of a pressing threat. But the enigmatic Fiona (Archie Panjabi) certainly does. First Billy becomes frantic that she has access to his bank accounts, and goes to withdraw all his money in cash as a precaution. In the meantime, Ruby meets a stranger in a dress shop who helps to free her from a dress she’s trying on and then convinces her to steal another. In all the excitement, Ruby – rather stupidly, given she has already run away from her family, which one assumes would be exciting enough – confesses to this stranger that she has absconded with an ex-lover. What seems like a bit of a time-killer cleverly loops back around into Billy’s personal plot, as we learn a bit later that this woman is the clearly determined Fiona.
Fiona isn’t romantically entangled with Billy, at least not as far as I can tell, but she certainly has a vested interest in his self-help empire, which he explains to Ruby he’s currently fleeing from because, ten minutes into a sold-out three-day event, he was confronted by an audience member who blamed him for her husband’s suicide. And in his panic, he essentially admitted his culpability, confessing he was so complicit in the man’s death he might as well have killed him himself. This, while invariably true of self-help culture in general, isn’t a good business strategy. Billy’s a meme-ready laughing stock, but that doesn’t put Ruby off, and they both have sex while Fiona records them from outside the room.
That’s quite a cliffhanger, and while Run Season 1, Episode 3 was much freer with its information that the previous two episodes have been, it still suggests much more to come. Laurence remains unseen, but for how long? And now that Fiona has leverage over Billy, it stands to reason she’ll use it. These half-hour episodes work in Run’s favor, as the breezy installments, even the chatty ones like this, can’t give away too much. With plenty more to learn, there’s no reason to give up on the journey quite yet.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.