Run season 1, episode 5 recap – “Jump” takes a sharp turn into crazy town

May 11, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Recaps
2

Summary

“Jump” sees HBO’s Run take quite a weird turn, as in the space of half an hour it becomes an entirely different — and much more ridiculous — show.

2

Summary

“Jump” sees HBO’s Run take quite a weird turn, as in the space of half an hour it becomes an entirely different — and much more ridiculous — show.

This recap of Run season 1, episode 5, “Jump”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


“Jump”, the title of Run Episode 5, refers to Ruby (Merritt Wever) and Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) leaping off a moving train somewhere in the western U.S. in pursuit of Fiona (Archie Panjabi), who had done the same at the end of the previous episode with a bag full of cash. Nobody mentioned, though, that we’d also be jumping into what seems like an entirely different show.

Not that Run has ever been particularly easy to classify. It started out a sexually-charged romantic thriller and then became a slapstick comedy and then morphed into a kind of cat-and-mouse game between the two hapless leads and the enigmatic, potentially dangerous Fiona. There was always a sense that there was more to the story lurking just outside the frame, and that’s what kept it all moving. Now, suddenly, its energy is very different; it has become in the space of a half-hour episode an exercise in one implausible happening piling atop another. Where once the central dramatic question was whether Billy and Ruby would sleep together, now it’s will they get away with murder.

Sort of, anyway. In the course of Run Episode 5, Billy and Ruby pursue Fiona to a supposedly empty farmhouse, where they have a confrontation in which Fiona dies in quite a grisly way, and then they happen completely by chance on a taxidermist played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whom they meet shoveling a dead badger out of the road. When she gives them a lift to the station, the badger just kinds of chills there on their laps, and then they figure out that Ruby has left her phone behind and they have to return to the scene of the crime.

What is going on here, exactly? I’ve said in previous recaps that Fiona always felt like a transplant from a different show, and that’s largely because Run never bothered to characterize her. She was just a device designed to shunt the plot along, or so she seemed, and that the show suggested more of her backstory and motivations to come was a big part of what kept the last couple of episodes engaging. “Jump” confirms her connection to Billy was more than just professional, since he admits sleeping with her, but are we then to assume that she’s simply a woman scorned? Would that be enough motivation for her to dive off a moving train with a bag full of money and then start waving a knife at people? I’m asking these questions here because the episode never addresses them before it impales her.

I suppose the episode title is fitting since it really is quite a leap to take two characters that were fleeing mundane normality for sexual adventure and then embroil them in a murder plot. The lurch in tone is strongly felt since Run has always been billed as a comedy and it has to try and proceed as one even with a woman skewered face-down on a rake in the background of the shot. The gags keep coming even when you feel like they shouldn’t, repositioning Billy and Ruby not as well-rounded and believable people but as characters in a television show. The appearance of Phoebe Waller-Bridge only exacerbates this, since her appearance has been so eagerly awaited, and occurs so randomly here, that it unavoidably plays as a wink-wink-nod-nod moment for fans in the know.

The two most interesting dramatic questions “Jump” presents have nothing at all to do with badgers. The first is Billy’s video, which opens the episode, and in which he pitches the “RUN” adventure to a publisher as the subject of his next project. The repercussions of that could be interesting and raise some vital questions about his character. Is he still, even now, planning on chronicling this escapade? And if so, what does that mean for his relationship with Ruby, who has fled a husband and children to indulge in this juvenile escapist fantasy that now might mean not just the breakdown of her domestic life but also a prison sentence? The second interesting dramatic question is where Ruby’s husband Laurence (Rich Sommer) fits into all this. Is HBO paying Sommer just to sit around making phone calls? One assumes not. He insists this week that he’s coming to pick Ruby up, just so long as she’s at a yoga retreat and not having an affair with Billy, which she claims not to be and which he accepts, even though he has access to her iMessages and knows she’s lying. Whatever next?

I have no idea, honestly, and as of Run Season 1, Episode 5, that’s suddenly the main reason to keep watching. Surely there’s no sensible way that the show can get itself out of this ridiculous predicament? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


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