In just seven episodes, HBO’s first season of Run has reached the end of the line with Billy and Ruby (Domhnall Gleeson and Merritt Wever) finally arriving at Los Angeles’ Union Station.
That was always part of their plan: The former lovers made a pact that whenever one of them texted the other “Run” and the other responded with “Run” back, they’d break from whatever they were doing in life (married or not), meet up in New York’s Grand Central Station and trek out to LA. At the end of their trip, they’d decide whether to remain together or not.
But there was a bump in the road back in episode 5 for the two when they encountered Billy’s former assistant and lover Fiona (Archie Panjabi). She had a bag of money that she’d amassed with Billy from their self-help business, and she jumped off the train in the middle of nowhere. Billy and Ruby followed her and ultimately Fiona fell to her death out a farmhouse window, becoming impaled on spikes. Billy admits to Ruby that he “let go of” Fiona, and she slipped out the window.
Tonight, Billy and Ruby finally made it back on their original train to LA after Fiona’s death. But they left too many clues behind, having encountered a taxidermist, Laurel (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), who dropped them off at the train station. Laurel also discovered Fiona’s body at her friend’s farmhouse and phoned up the cops. Laurel soon hooks up with Chief Deputy Sheriff Cloud, who is investigating Fiona’s death. When we last saw Cloud tonight, she was trying to track Billy down for questioning. Before pulling into Union Station, Ruby learns of Billy’s true intent regarding their “Run” pact having discovered a video sent by Fiona in his email: It wasn’t necessarily because Billy loved Ruby, but it was all part of a book deal experiment he had.
Billy exits the station in LA to find Ruby with her husband Laurence (Rich Sommer) and their two sons. He calls Ruby “baby girl,” which only insults her as she responds “I’m not a baby.” Billy approaches Ruby exclaiming, “I don’t care that you saw that video, it was from months ago, it has nothing to do with the last week.” Ruby tells Billy, “You’re such an asshole!”. As Laurence makes some distance, Billy pours his heart out to Ruby, “Everything I said on the train is true. I don’t want you to miss me, I want you to choose me. I’m about to be arrested and face this shit storm on my own…So, admit that I love you”.
All of that is met with a cold hard stare by Ruby, who walks away to her family.
Run creator Vicky Jones is here to explain.
DEADLINE: So we’re left with this cliffhanger. Can you give us an idea of where season 2 will go? Will it be a reboot whereby Rich Sommer’s Laurence defies Ruby and flees next season? Or will season 2 focus on Billy and Ruby as fugitives?
VICKY JONES: I can’t say too much. We don’t know yet. But, you don’t have an actor like Rich Sommer and not make the most of something like that. For sure, we cast him very purposely because we knew we wanted to tell more of that story, but at the same time it’s called Run, and so the show has forward momentum. We can’t just sit still in the story.
DEADLINE: Do you already have season 2 written out or are you currently writing it?
JONES: Oh, no. It’s not been confirmed yet. We would love, love, love to keep going and keep running. I certainly have a thousand ideas.
DEADLINE: The reason why I asked was that given the coronavirus pandemic, I was wondering how that might be forcing you to rethink future scenes. For example, it will be very challenging to shoot crowd scenes.
JONES: It does make us think. You suddenly think, well, is that going to be impossible in terms of the background performers? And also, I mean, do you want to watch a show where coronavirus has happened? You quickly realize that that’s not our job. We don’t want to dwell on this very difficult and unusual time in our existence. It’s a very odd reality that we’re living in. Sorry, but I think we would just ignore it in terms of trying to put it in the story. In terms of crowd scenes and things like that, you know we need to shoot for what works for the story. I feel like there’s a truth to find between Ruby and Billy, and there’s a truth that finds them. It’s just a question of finding out what that is.
DEADLINE: While we always knew that Billy and Ruby’s fling would end in LA, was that always the ending you had in mind? Or were there other options?
JONES: We certainly had lots of other options, and we had one where for example, when she found out about the pitch, she felt like he completely betrayed her, and we thought maybe she turns him in to the police and they don’t make it to LA together. But there was this sense that we really had to make the whole journey. It felt wrong until we got to that realization that we had to get to the other end of the country because they’d said at the beginning there was something about that promise that they’d made to each other that they were going to do it, and they were going to finish; that they were going to work out how they felt when they got to the end there. That lends itself to the final decisions that we made.
But there was something about (that option) that left us a bit cold. There’s something unique in these two in that they’d made this promise to each other that they were going from coast to coast. That experience was going to tell them the truth about how they really felt about each other.
And, of course, what happens is it doesn’t come from an emotional revelation, but that they have given it that time. They’ve given each other that time and that space, and that feeling is like traveling on a train. The metaphor of that means we need to see this to the end before we jump.
DEADLINE: Will Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character Laurel find her way into season 2?
JONES: I don’t think so. She’s got her job.
DEADLINE: Can you talk about how Phoebe worked with you as the executive producer? Terry Winter and Tim Van Patten told us once that when it came to episodes of Boardwalk Empire (after the pilot), EP Martin Scorsese would provide ‘precision bombing’ notes. Is that what Phoebe does? In an interview we had with her last year, she was very specific to mention that Run was entirely your show.
JONES: Awwww. Well, yeah, I mean she’s always been so supportive about that. Even though she’s been really busy, she wanted to be in the show and stick with it all the way through. It’s always been my dream to write for her. She’s the first I ever wrote for and about, and she makes my imagination grow immediately and I can think about a thousand things I’d like to see her do.
And in terms of her precision bombing, yeah, I mean her precision-bombing is exactly what she does. She’s extraordinary and has such insight and has such wonderful ideas, and is always very generous. She will say ‘How about this?’ with this amazing giggle in her voice, and it will be an amazing idea. My response is always ‘Yes, can I have that?’ She has an incredible insight as to what will work for her character and other characters that helped to make the whole thing dance.
DEADLINE: Was there another inspiration for this series outside of the ‘run’ joke that you and Phoebe had?
JONES: I always wanted to write a jagged romance. For me, the most romantic things are not the same as the most romantic things for other people. That feeling where you can say anything and you’ll be accepted and still be loved, you know, to me is really, really romantic even if it generates bad behavior. I adore that notion of truth and honesty within a couple whereby they love each other and how that generates friction and rage between them. I’ve always loved the “Will they? Won’t they?” part of a relationship and the honeymoon phase, and those moments when a couple drives each other crazy, but still, they’re insanely in love. And I guess I just thought I could write my own version of that in terms of the way I’ve experienced it whereby the best relationships that I’ve had have been between two very solid equals who question each other’s intellect but constantly question each other’s motives. It’s the [headiest] romance. I didn’t want to just write a romance about two people who are together because they’re sweet together, but two people who bring out that side. Especially from Ruby’s side — she’s a woman who remembers a relationship where she felt very different about herself. And I do think it’s about being reliant on a guy crucially, but it’s about finding herself through her past. Also intriguing are those little moments where you’re astonished at what’s coming out of his mouth in a relationship, but the fact that he’s brave enough to say it, and feels loved enough to say it, that’s what makes one grow.
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