Run Episode 5 Review: Jump

Run's latest twist may pay off in the long run, but it sucks the air out of "Jump."

HBO's Run, Season 1 Episode 5
Photo: HBO

This RUN review contains spoilers.

Run Season 1 Episode 5

While HBO’s Run started off strong, the wheels on this train have certainly started to wobble. The introduction of Archie Panjabi as Billy’s former COO Fiona briefly injected new energy into what was ostensibly a two-person show, but the character’s demise in “Jump” was a bit too sudden. Worst of all, the rest of the episode pretty much stalls out once the mid-episode climax hits, even with an appearance by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

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Adding a murder element to the runaway wife story certainly seems like it will add some Hitchcockian thrill to the final two installments, but that remains to be seen. After Fiona falls from the window while struggling with Billy over his money, the shock of her death renders Billy and Fiona almost mute. Fiona’s death doesn’t quite land as hard as it should due to the “tell, don’t show” approach to her fall from the window. The show was already struggling to maintain the sense of lively energy it presented in the pilot, and this shocking death sucks out all of the air from the rest of the episode.

The introduction of Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a backwoods taxidermist was probably an attempt to cut the tension and add some levity, but her scenes are more awkward than anything. The Fleabag actress has a wealth of talents but pulling off an American accent isn’t one of them. If this was her only screentime, it will be a bit of a wasted cameo.

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“Jump” appears to be the thinnest episode of the series thus far, because the big punch doesn’t make that great of an impact, but it at least offers two interesting scenes. The first comes in the episode’s opening minutes, when it’s revealed that Billy’s initial “RUN” text was just a ploy to acquire a new book deal. Just when it looked like all of Ruby and Billy’s secrets were out, we find out Billy’s most damning piece of withheld information.

Speaking of withheld information, Laurence calls Ruby almost immediately after she discovers that Fiona has died. Laurence cuts straight to the point and asks if Ruby is cheating on him and whether she’s with Billy. He sternly lets her know that if that is the case, then they will be getting a divorce. Still processing the shock of Fiona’s death, Ruby unconvincingly tells him what he wants to hear. Laurence knows she’s lying, he’s seen her text messages from her at-home laptop, but he still tells his wife that he’ll pick her up from her Santa Monica yoga retreat Friday at 5 p.m. Both parties appear to be ignoring the realities of their situation, choosing to push the moment aside and pretend that it’s not happening. It’s a really well-acted scene and the highlight of the episode.

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There are two other complications as well. Once Billy and Ruby fled the scene of Fiona’s death, a third party that was in the home the entire time is seen fleeing as well. A witness will mean that Ruby and Billy are about to be on the run for real. The other extenuating circumstance is that Ruby has lost her phone, which she knows she likely left at the scene of the crime as well. Billy suggests they go back for it, but that isn’t exactly the brightest plan.

Run is going to miss Fiona as a villain, but now I assume law enforcement will be stepping up to serve as the new antagonist in her place. Fiona’s death was a bit sudden and anticlimactic, and barring Ruby’s phone call with Laurence, the episode couldn’t quite figure out how to move forward meaningfully after the moment happened. “Jump” was a 24-minute episode that really only seemed to have about 6 solid minutes of content. Should viewers think about jumping ship on this once promising series?

Rating:

3 out of 5