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Run - Premiere Episode - Review - Trains Are Sexy

16 Apr 2020

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“We’ve run away to be together.” Billy Johnson (Domhnall Gleeson with more charm than a season of Great British Bake Off) might not even be half-joking. At first glance, Run is a glorious adult fairy tale. Ruby Richardson (Her Majesty Merritt Wever) is slowly dying outside a Target when Billy’s text message brings her back to life. Her first instinct is to run--in the opposite direction, but there’s a car in the way. Instead, she types out each letter (predictive text be damned): R-U-N. And does she ever?! A plane ticket, a car ride, and a good deal of hair spray later, Ruby is reunited with her old flame Billy onboard that sexiest of all transportation machines, the choo choo train. What a happy ending! Their “love is the kind that the rest of us can only dream about.” However, we might want to pull the emergency brake on that idea; while these two are certainly running from something, it’s far too early to predict a happy conclusion. Of course, what does that matter?! Punch your ticket on this possibly one-way trip immediately, because it just got hot in here.

There isn’t any specific reason to think that either Billy or Ruby are shady. Their motives seem relatively straightforward. Ruby hates her life, might even completely loathe it; judging by the barely-restrained anger in her voice talking to her husband in the beginning, Ruby could use the space to just scream into the sky. Fleeing by plane and train seems one of the safer ways to release that negative energy. I’m not sure if we’re meant to be startled by the picture of what’s probably her children, but what’s more significant is that Ruby’s first thought was to text her husband “I won’t be home at all.” And the series is executive produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge who reminded us on Fleabag of the significance of the person you would run through an airport for. Ruby does indeed run through an airport, more than one in fact, and a train station to get to Billy, but is she really running towards Billy or just running away from her life?

Billy’s reason for being on the run seems far more straightforward. He went viral for doing or saying something out of line with his life guru image. (Amazing Period is the title of his bestselling book and the focus of one of the many electric banter sessions he and Ruby share). The subsequent mortification led him to rethink his life choices. It’s almost too simple an explanation, and it is solely conjecture at this point. Gleeson gives an emotional performance in the premiere, with Billy often close to breaking into a grin or breaking into tears. His happiness at seeing Ruby seems warmer than hers at seeing him, in terms of tenderness; and his panic when he can’t find her suggests there is more going on than a career setback.

Run is labelled a thriller series, but the only shenanigans that take place in this episode are of the romantic variety. Kate Dennis, who directs the first four episodes of the season, knows what to do with a train. We often feel as if we are positioned right next to Ruby or Billy, sitting besides them in the booth or looking directly over the shoulder. The spaces feel small, and the effect is very intimate. Any awkwardness of their reunion is quickly fizzled away in their “Fuck! Fuck. Fuuuuuck.” exchange. They are very happy to see each other. And horny for each other. So horny. The sexual tension is too powerful to resist, and they make separate but similar trips to the loo. (Which one would think would make them more hungry for the pasta but they skip dinner entirely!). Billy severely dampens the mood by suggesting that he texted her only because he was drunk. Ruby just about has a panic attack, which Billy softly extinguishes with a hug and what might be the truth.
"I had this moment of clarity that there wasn't a single person I had ever met in my entire life 
that I ever wanted to see again. And. Then. I. Thought. Of. You."
You would go on the run too if the One That Got Away whispered that to you in that accent in a dark corner of a very sexy train.


Ruby insists on a moratorium on personal questions, but when Billy asks her to give him one thing and he’ll give one back, she lets him believe that she’s an architect. We now know that Ruby’s career dreams likely didn’t come true.

Was Billy’s breakdown when he thought Ruby wasn’t coming back more reassuring or concerning?

The ending credits song is Feist’s “I’m not Running Away.” (We know better.)

Run’s costumes are done by Trysha Bakker who did the wardrobes for Killjoys.

Trains have been sexy for a long time. Please do share your favorite sexy train segments from movies and television in the comments.