HBO’s latest comedic drama returns this week with another drip-feed of information and solidifying Ruby as a pretty unlikable protagonist. While the chemistry between her and Billy is certainly enough to keep this one ticking along, and they do share some good lines together, it’s difficult to get behind two characters who leave destruction in their wake in favour of an affair.
Episode 3 of Run begins 12 years ago with Ruby preparing for her wedding day and sending the familiar text “run” to Billy. When he doesn’t reply, she puts the phone down and pushes this thought to the back of her head.
Back in the present, Billy convinces Ruby to give him one more day to prove how compatible they are together. While Ruby heads off to check the trains, Billy receives a text from Fiona reading “Welcome to Chicago”. After phoning her and realizing she may be following the duo, Ruby returns and the two head off to get a hotel room.
Realizing they don’t have the cash to pay for it thanks to Ruby’s card being frozen, Billy heads to the bank and withdraws a large sum of money to accommodate this. The banker tells him they need to wait in order to process the request, sending Billy outside and on a boat ride with his lover.
Alone, Ruby admits that she never argued with Lawrence but spent most of her time arguing with him in her head and fantasizing about being another person who went out and had sex behind his back. Suddenly, Billy receives a message from Fiona asking her to meet him.
Billy takes the opportunity to leave Ruby with a wad of cash in a department store while he hurries off to meet Fiona in private. Before he does, he withdraws all his money from the bank in a bag while Ruby is helped by a girl called Alice who convinces her to steal a dress and run off.
Outside, she tells Ruby to go ahead with her affair and it’s enough for her to meet Billy as they get their hotel room together. In a nice twist, it turns out Alice is actually Fiona. When Billy meets her alone in the lobby of the hotel, he tells her he hates what they did together with all his heart and forces her out.
Back upstairs, Ruby confronts Billy about what’s going on with him. Sighing, he finally admits the truth that an event took place 3 days prior to meeting her involving a woman from the crowd called Jackie, whose husband Brad died. Billy’s frustrated outburst came soon after, where he told the crowd he’s a fraud and admits to being responsible for Brad’s death, indirectly of course. That happens to be what the trending video depicted and why Fiona sent the message to him on the train telling him it’s trending.
As the episode closes out, Billy and Ruby start getting hot and heavy together while the camera pans across to show an audio recording of them on Billy’s phone under the bed.
With the truth surrounding why Billy is running away now out and who Fiona actually is, the mystery is starting to dissolve in favour of a more formulaic drama set-up. While this in itself is fine, Ruby just isn’t that likable. Given she’s run away from her husband and hasn’t spoken to her kids, she doesn’t seem all that bothered – with one comment this episode about her kids the first time we’ve actually heard her exhibit some form of regret about her choice.
That’s before even mentioning the way she’s almost manipulated Billy into paying for an expensive hotel room and showing little regard for what they’re both doing. This goes both ways of course, and Billy isn’t much better given his flaky demeanour in the wake of what’s happening.
There’s certainly some positives with this show though and the humour has settled down a little and allowed for much more natural dialogue exchanges between the two. Is that enough to keep people sticking around to see whether these two keep their affair a secret from their concerned partners?