The couple made an arrangement at 19 years old: if, in the
future, they become dissatisfied, one will text ‘RUN’ to the other. If the
other responds, they’ll escape their lives – wherever they may be – and board a
train from New York’s Grand Central Station.
Domhnall Gleeson (left) and Merritt Wever (right) leave behind their lives to be together
first, there’s a comfortable certainty about how this series will play out. Run
is exec-produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with whom Jones has frequently collaborated:
writing an episode of Killing Eve and consulting on Fleabag. The first few episodes of Run lean toward the latter.
Jones drips in details of Ruby and Billy, their normal lives kept mostly clouded because of an agreed-upon 'moratorium on personal questions'. But
both ignite an instant chemistry with dialogue so funny, sexy, and fragile that
it’s as if no years have passed between them.
lot of the action takes place on trains, rattling the pair together in a small,
shaky space which seems only to encourage their volcanic sexual impulses. They shouldn’t
work as a relationship: he’s an aggressive, toxic, and insulting male who
compulsively lies; she’s an anxious, feministic competitor who always calls
out Billy on his nonsense.
Their differences attract each other
more than their similarities, allowing them to talk more flexibly than in their
normal lives without watching for etiquette or potential offence. Their inhibitions
gradually fade, making for absorbing viewing as these disenchanted lovers enjoy
themselves – free from their lives, free from the world.
The tone of Run changes midway through
midway through – often the time when a show decides if it wants to be
interesting – the tone shifts with the velocity and bafflement of an emergency
stop. Jones diverts to the territory of a psychological, Hitchcockian thriller, while implementing a bleakly amusing style similar to Killing Eve. Critics
were only given access to five of eight episodes, so, hopefully, that’s only a whiff
of its dark potential.
and Gleeson bounce beautifully off each other, to the point where it’s hard to
judge who delivers the better performance. They flow together as one, despite their
characters’ constant oppositions. Ruby and Billy are far from ideal human
beings: they’re often terrible people. They’re self-centred and rash and indecisive
– Billy in particular, strangled by his toxic masculinity, should be the least
But these flaws make them more human, sharper, which spreads to the minor characters, giving them unexpected depth. And the temptation to fly and not fight,
to run rather than settle, strengthens with each episode. Vicky Jones’
first TV series as show-runner is a thrilling, hilarious, seductive delight.
Run airs on Wednesday 15 April at 9pm on Sky Comedy
|What||Run, Sky Comedy review|
15 Apr 20 – 03 Jun 20, ON SKY COMEDY