In the penultimate episode of Run, the show finally gives us some full honesty between Ruby and Billy while introducing us to a new set of characters. I cannot express how badly I want a spin-off of Laurel and the rest of this town based on the scenes in this episode alone. Tamara Podemski as an officer investigating Fiona’s death is absolutely hilarious, especially in the scenes she shares with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Laurel. But the show is at its strongest when it is tightly focused on Ruby and Billy, and their relationship is definitely tested in this episode. Read on to find out what happened in “Tell.”
Ruby and Billy return to the farmhouse where Fiona died (and where her body remains). Ruby knows her phone is by the steps, but as they approach they notice a light on in the house. Scared, Ruby asks if it was on before, and Billy less than confidently assures her it was. She approaches to grab the phone, and a motion light turns on, causing her to bolt. She looks for Billy, who scares her when he silently approaches. They walk back into the woods, with Billy insisting they call the police and Ruby trying to downplay his urgency. Billy asks what’s going on, and Ruby says, “why would we call the cops if we’ve done nothing wrong?” A bewildered Billy says, “why wouldn’t we call the cops if we’ve done nothing wrong?” Ruby says they made a plan, and it didn’t involve the cops. She wants to find a bar, get a drink, and use their bathroom, which Billy objects to at first because people might see them. He suggests she just go in the woods, and Ruby yells, “I don’t care who sees me! I’m innocent, and I have my period!” Billy doesn’t object after this. Meanwhile, Laurel pulls up to the farmhouse with mac n’ cheese. She goes to the door, not noticing Fiona’s body, and asks for Daniel (who must be the man we saw running away in the last episode). No one answers. She walks back to her car, but as she does so she sees Fiona.
Ruby rejoins Billy from the woods, where she has fashioned leaves as a makeshift pad (I got hives just thinking about that prospect). She asks Billy what the mysterious plans were that Fiona mentioned before she died. Billy distracts her by teasing that he can hear the leaves she used rustling, but Ruby asks an even more difficult question: what really happened to Fiona? He stumbles through the events, clearly traumatized. It dawns on him that Ruby thinks he might have killed her on purpose. He angrily asks if this is the case, and Ruby says, “I didn’t say that.” He pauses and says, “there’s only one right answer to that question. Do you seriously think I’m the sort of person to push someone out of a f*cking window?”
She says it’s been 15 years — he could be a totally different person than the one she knew. He agrees, then cuts her deep: “Yeah, you’re right, I could be capable of some nasty sh*t. But there is one thing I’m not capable of, though. There’s one thing I know I’d never do, and that is to have two children and walk away from them to f*ck an ex-boyfriend on a train.” It’s a low blow, and they both know it. Ruby slaps him, then screams. Billy says it is not her turn to freak out: his business partner and ex-girlfriend is currently dead on a spike, his career is over, and he’s walking away from what looks like a crime scene because Ruby won’t call the cops. It’s his turn to freak out. Ruby lies and says she’d be happy to talk to the police after she has a drink, then runs away when they hear sirens in the distance. The police have arrived at the farmhouse, with Officer Babe Cloud leading the investigation. It’s obvious these small town cops have no idea what to do with a murder. They’re more concerned with the reality show they’re missing. Officer Cloud says she’ll go talk to Laurel since she reported the body.
Ruby surprises Billy by accident, saying she’s sorry for hitting him, but that she didn’t abandon her kids. He notes, “yeah, you kinda did,” and she tackles him. She says she just needed one minute where she could be herself again, where she didn’t have to feel guilty about being a bad wife or mother. In an impassioned speech by Merritt Wever, she says she knows her life wasn’t all that interesting before she got married, but it was hers. When she married Laurence and had her kids, suddenly she belonged to other people and handed her life over to them without even realizing it happened. She says she loves her kids and is terrified her unhappiness will hurt them. She’s tried to do this the right way all this time, but the only method she’s found that works is disappearing. Merritt Wever is astonishingly good here even by her own standards, desperate to make Billy understand what’s going on inside her head.
Billy quietly says, “I’m glad you disappeared to me.” She leans down and kisses him with a sigh. He says when he saw the photo of her family, he wasn’t upset that she had kids. He was upset they weren’t his kids. Teasing, Ruby says she didn’t want ginger kids, which makes Billy crack a smile. But then there’s a major revelation into why Billy and Ruby broke up originally. Ruby says she wanted his kids, and Billy says she didn’t then, that she “got rid of it” and didn’t tell him. He says he would have wanted their child, and she says they were both too young then to know what they wanted. She confesses that the real reason she doesn’t want to go to the police is that if they do, Laurence will know they’re together, and she’ll lose her children. He touches her knee to show he’s listening, then delivers one of the funniest lines of the show and what should be its new tagline: “the things we do for a shag.” This gets a laugh out of Ruby, and Billy stands. He says they’ll go get Ruby her drink, then he’ll go to the police alone. He’ll lie and say she was never there.
Officer Cloud arrives at Laurel’s house, which has a birdsong doorbell (naturally). Laurel answers, and it seems Officer Cloud is thrown off for some reason. Laurel invites her in, where Officer Cloud marvels at all her stuffed animals. Laurel helps her take off her bulletproof vest, and the reason for Officer Cloud’s stammering and blushing becomes clear: she’s smitten with Laurel. Both seem to forget that there’s a murder investigation going on until Officer Cloud pulls out her police notebook, which is still shrink wrapped, to take notes. She asks if Laurel knows Daniel well, and Laurel deadpans, “He brings me roadkill, and I bring him mac n’ cheese.” Officer Cloud asks if Daniel had a girlfriend, and Laurel says no. Officer Cloud then asks, “do you have a girlfriend?” (SMOOTH, Officer Cloud, real smooth). But it seems to work as Laurel asks Officer Cloud the same thing — they’re both single. Officer Cloud asks if she saw anything unusual when she went to deliver the mac n’ cheese, and once again Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s delivery makes her line laugh out loud funny: “well, there was a woman on a spike.” She mentions giving Ruby and Billy a ride, but Officer Cloud doesn’t seem to grasp the significance of this. Laurel offers to buy her a drink at the bar where they can talk about this more, and Officer Cloud is thrilled.
Billy is trying to hitchhike as Ruby begs him to call in a tip anonymously, asking him to think about his career. He scoffs, saying, “Ruby, there are two people who have died because of me in a week. Not exactly a f*cking advertisement for a life coach.” He admits he’s not even sure how Fiona died, but that he did let her go, and he feels guilty about that. He says he’ll be a suspect regardless and that it’s better that he not try to run from it. He says at some point, the both of them will have to deal with the things they’ve done. He’s tired of lying and just wants to tell the truth before it comes back to bite them. She’s still shaking, and he says he’s not doing it to be brave. He’s doing it because he’s scared. She nods her head and says she’ll tell the truth too.
Meanwhile at the Thirsty Cactus, Laurel is badly singing “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston at karaoke, barely whispering into the mic (a sentence that gives me great joy to type). Officer Cloud looks on, beaming. Her fellow officer Ryan calls her: they’ve found a size 10 footprint at the crime scene. She hangs up quickly to get back to Laurel’s “singing.” Billy and Ruby walk in, with Billy ordering two beers and Ruby going straight for the tequila. Ruby hears the song and tells him she’ll always love him, and he says the same. Ruby heads to the bathroom, just missing Laurel returning to her seat. Laurel tells Officer Cloud she knows she’s not a great singer, but it’s good for her to do something in front of people because she “spends a lot of time with dead animals.” Officer Cloud adorably starts to say she thinks Laurel is wonderful, before realizing there’s still, you know, a murder to be investigated. She asks Laurel what her shoe size is, and they flirt back and forth before Laurel tells her she’s a size eight. Laurel asks if she’s now off duty, and Officer Cloud says she is. Laurel offers to buy her a drink, to Officer Cloud’s delight. But Officer Cloud says she will buy for the both of them, and gets up to go to the bar.
Ruby returns to Billy, who notes there’s a cop here they could talk to. Ruby shows him the train schedule she found in her bag. After all that, the train is only one town over: it makes a stop for six hours. Billy and Ruby both laugh at how absurd that is … but then they look at each other. Ruby says if they got on now, it would be like they never got off, since they illegally jumped off it before. Billy asks why she’s doing this, and Ruby says if they never get to LA it’ll be like they ended here. She doesn’t want them to end here. Ruby looks Billy in the eye and says “Run.” He says not to say that unless she means it, and she repeats herself. They both take another sip of beer and run out of the bar. Laurel and Officer Cloud are at the bar seconds later when Laurel notices her coat that she gave to Billy draped on the back of a chair. As “Born to Run” by Suzi Quatro plays, Laurel looks at the door, puzzled.
Run airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO and can be streamed on HBO Now and HBO Go. Check out the teaser for the season finale below!