Run season 1, episode 6 recap – “Tell” suggests this train has run out of steam

May 18, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps


Run returns to a more formulaic and structured style in its penultimate episode, but provides little reason to believe that, since veering off the tracks, this particular train has run out of steam.



Run returns to a more formulaic and structured style in its penultimate episode, but provides little reason to believe that, since veering off the tracks, this particular train has run out of steam.

This recap of Run season 1, episode 6, “Tell”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

You’ll recall that last week Run started to fall apart a bit, abandoning minor matters of logic and consistency to delight in Phoebe Waller-Bridge shoveling up a dead badger. In Run Episode 6, the penultimate stop on a journey that might charitably be described as inconsistent, we return, perhaps blessedly, to a more formulaic structure – but has this train run out of steam?

After having left a phone back at the farmhouse, Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) and Ruby (Merritt Wever) return there in “Tell”, finding the lights on and bolting into the woods. Laurel (Waller-Bridge) also visits in search of the owner and stumbles instead on Fiona’s body. The show still doesn’t seem to know how to handle its most deadly development; it’d make more sense, I think, to report it to the police, but I suppose it wouldn’t make for much of an HBO drama if that was the case.

But it undermines the characterization, too, making decisions feel slightly contrived. Ruby’s reason for running has always been obvious; she was deeply dissatisfied by her mundane existence and was, let’s be frank, bored of her nice-guy husband Laurence (Rich Sommer). Framing her fleeing as a preventative measure to stop her kids inheriting her unhappiness seems like a real cop-out to me, and the idea of losing those kids because of Laurence finding out about her and Billy is really weak as a justification for not going to the police.

Billy electing to take the fall alone is also a bit out of character since his entire background arc has been that he’s an unscrupulous, self-serving manipulator. Then again, perhaps it’s fodder for the book or genuine fear since he is in every way possible the likeliest suspect in Fiona’s death. They have history. He has a motive. So, we can rationalize this decision if we try hard enough.

Run Episode 6 also introduces Detective Babe Cloud (Tamara Podemski), and I suppose the less said about that name the better. Cloud attempting to take a statement from Laurel and everyone being in distressingly close proximity at the same bar feels very much like the show in its early days but with a slightly more life-and-death context, but I’m still not entirely sure that context helps Run. If last week’s episode was everything going truly off the rails, “Tell” is the first post-insanity outing, and wears the weight of some plot developments that never felt like they were planned much in advance.

The arrival of Cloud, the decision of Ruby and Billy to run again and call the police from the train, which is only a town away, and the last-minute development of Laurel finding Billy’s coat at the bar, all feel distressingly like time-killing devices designed to tee up the finale and hold us over until then. It isn’t the most egregious thing in the world to do that for one episode, especially so late in the game, but it’s also hard to argue that Run wasn’t significantly better earlier on. Unless things end on a cliffhanger to set up a second season, a final half-hour episode hardly seems like enough time to bring this all to a satisfying conclusion.

Then again, to what extent do we really want to see the misadventures of these two be satisfyingly concluded? In other words: Why should we care about either of them? Throughout, Ruby has been the relatable one, at least by comparison, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to feel any empathy for her abandonment of her loving husband and children and how unconcerned she seems to be about these things even now. I’ve said before and will likely say again that a story doesn’t strictly need relatable characters to be entertaining for an audience, but when a story largely rests on the audience caring about the fate of those characters, viewer disinterest is a problem. And I think, at this point, that’s where we are.

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