“Trick” makes for an aggravatingly abrupt and incomplete finale to a show that has long-since veered off its tracks. A shame.
This recap of Run season 1, episode 7, “Trick”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Sometimes, I hate being right. But in the case of Run episode 7, the season finale of HBO’s sexually-charged comedy-cum-murder-mystery, I just feel vindicated. I was pretty sure this was coming and, lo and behold, here we are; virtually every major plot thread was left unresolved by “Trick”, showcasing a kind of smug “we’re-getting-a-second-season-anyway” arrogance that is off-putting at the best of times and especially egregious in a show that descended into wacky self-awareness a few stops before its destination.
The fact that Run couldn’t sustain a seven-episode season seems like proof that it was built on the back of an engaging idea without any real thought for how to structure an episodic TV series around that idea. It was blessed with perhaps the two best leads imaginable for a frantic relationship drama and then, just as it was starting to come together, stopped being a frantic relationship drama, leaving Domhnall Gleeson and Merritt Wever aimlessly trying to keep increasingly ludicrous plot turns grounded in some semblance of humanity. How a second season could be built atop of all this is a question I’m glad I don’t have to answer.
Run episode 7 begins with Billy (Gleeson) and Ruby (Wever) returning to the train where their adventure began, and the so-called “Trick” of the episode is a cruel one that reminds us how much better it was when the chemistry between these two powered the whole endeavor. Billy knows that Ruby is going to return to her husband, Laurence (Rich Sommer), and their children, despite us never having been given much of an indication that she really cares about either, but Billy wants to ensure that she never forgets him and their time together, thus… ruining the rest of her life, I guess? Romantic.
The romance is undercut anyway by the discovery of Billy’s plans to leverage a book deal out of tricking – aha! – Ruby into abandoning her family for an adventurous tryst with an ex, and we knew that was coming after it was set up a few weeks ago. But we’ve seen Ruby sulk and storm off so many times throughout this short season that her doing so again, even if it’s into the arms of Laurence and in a season finale, just feels impermanent. You could definitely build a second season on the back of Ruby being unable to walk away from Billy completely, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
And what Run season 1, episode 7 hoped to achieve with Laurel (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Detective Cloud (Tamara Podemski) is anyone’s guess. Both characters have always felt like transplants from a different, much stupider show, and since the murder investigation goes nowhere in “Trick”, their presence in the finale just feels aimless and distracting; a reminder of how full of itself Run became in stunt-casting Waller-Bridge as an eccentric taxidermist who appeared out of nowhere to do virtually nothing.
I don’t know if we’ll see more of Run. But it doesn’t seem like a trip anyone would want to take in a hurry.
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