Review: 'Run' races in all the right directions
New HBO series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge is fun right out of the gate
Not surprisingly, it also can’t stand still.
We first meet apparent bored housewife Ruby (two-time Emmy winner Merritt Wever) as she’s contemplating yoga classes and homemaker chores in a parking lot. She gets a text on her phone that says, simply, “Run.” She pauses, then texts back “Run.” And we’re off.
Ruby drops all responsibilities, including her family, and jets to New York City. There she boards a train and meets Billy (Domnhall Gleeson – “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” “Ex Machina”), a self-help author. It becomes apparent that they are long-ago college lovers who made a pact to reunite if they both wanted to drop disappointing lives.
So it’s a romantic comedy at first glance, a grass-is-always-greener fantasy. But not so fast. An executive producer (and co-star) here is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the mind behind “Killing Eve” and centerpiece of “Fleabag,” two of the most lauded shows of the past decade. And as with those shows, “Run” races toward the unexpected.
Oh, the romance and comedy are there. But the show soon begins exploring cracks in the escapist façade, gnawing away at insecurities and secrets, exploring consequences and eroding the masks each character brings to the adventure. No one can really escape their past, and as episodes whiz by “Run” becomes a thriller and study in recklessness and betrayal – all while keeping the comic beats coming.
By the time you hit the fifth of its eight episodes you may find yourself yelling at the screen in amazed delight.
Following the mini-series “Godless” and “Unbelievable,” Wever is on the sort of roll few actors ever achieve, playing wildly different characters with a disarmingly natural touch. The shaggy-sexy Gleeson seems ecstatic to be along for the ride. Chances are you will be too.
10:30 p.m. Sunday
Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News.