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Run Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creator: Vicky Jones
Stars: Merritt Wever, Domhnall Gleeson, Rich Sommer
The sheer Waller-Bridgeness of the reality we live in now means everything good in TV and film is either directly featuring or fine-tuned by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve, Star Wars, Bond somehow), or inspired by her work [please self-insert an endless list of credits that basically feature everything produced in the year 2020, I’m not going to use up word count on writing it out myself]. This is a good thing, because it means a generation of spikily interesting shows with complicated characters and blunt-force wanking scenes, and the next of those off the conveyor belt is HBO’s Run (Wednesday, 9pm, Sky Comedy).
Run has the PWB hallmark, in that she both plays a character and executive produces (the series itself was written by Fleabag collaborator Vicky Jones) and is a series where … Well, I’m actually reluctant to tell you what happens, because it unfurls in such a confusing, satisfying way, where every piece clicks together like a puzzle so that, for at least the first 20 minutes, and in my case deep into the first 70, you have no idea what’s going on. And that’s fantastic. It’s years since I’ve watched a TV show and, very truly, had no idea what was coming next. It feels as if you’re watching it after you’ve woken from a small coma, and you’re getting plot cues from obtuse tattoos you’ve given yourself all over your arms and legs.
The rough starting point of Run is: two former college sweethearts fulfil a 14-year pact and go on the run together across America (hence: “run”). Obviously, going on the run is more complicated than that, and that’s what makes Run so sticky and delicious – watching the various strands of real life butt up against their idyllic escape attempt like solid concrete; watching two people, scarred by 20s turbulence and early-30s reality, try to awaken the people they were when they were 19 and didn’t know what tax codes were; and watching the two leads, Domhnall Gleeson’s Billy (Star Wars, The Revenant) and Merritt Wever’s Ruby (Unbelievable, Nurse Jackie) bounce off one another, simmering with chemistry. Run is told very much in the breathless now but also zips back into well-handled flashback moments to reveal how they ended up here, rubbing feet together in a grey hotel room. Structurally, that makes it like a romcom that has been forced to swallow a jet-black spoonful of reality: at times sweet, often sizzling with unresolved flirtation, occasionally just highly stressful.
In the wrong hands this would all fall flat – the characters would keep saying: “I can’t believe I did that! I can’t believe we went on the run together!” and every episode would end with a sinister phone call from the real world with a dun–dun drumbeat of dread – but Run has done something more bold-feeling: sketching the outline of the story, then filling in the details with colour later, at a pace that feels slow and deliberate and, crucially, interesting. Halfway through the first series, it’s impossible to tell whether you want Billy and Ruby to win, lose, or even whether you like the people they’ve become, and that’s a fascinating no man’s land to be stranded in. If this is the direction TV is going to go in, then cool. I’ll happily gobble up five more years of that.
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