This week on Run, we finally meet the elusive Fiona as Billy and Ruby spend a day in Chicago to figure out what they want. Archie Panjabi is an excellent addition to the cast, playing games with both Billy and Ruby. I’m so excited to see where the writers take her character as the show goes on. We also get great comedic and dramatic moments from Domhnall Gleeson and Merritt Wever as Billy and Ruby. They are both fully honest with each other for the first time, and we see glimpses of their pasts. But knowing Billy and Ruby, are either of them truly telling the whole truth? Read on to find out what happened in the riveting new episode, “F&*k.”
The episode open 12 years before. We are at a wedding, and it’s revealed to be Ruby’s. She’s alone in her hotel room, on her phone. She texts “RUN” to Billy, hesitates – and sends it. So it seems that this isn’t the first time either of them have tried to activate their pact before the present day. Ruby’s mother enters and mentions that Ruby’s dad brought his girlfriend Kelly, even when Ruby asked him not to. She’s not bothered, though, and instead she helps Ruby get ready. Ruby’s mom gives her a gorgeous pen meant for an architect that Ruby has coveted since college, a gift made bittersweet since we know she’ll never be the architect she dreamed of being. Then, Ruby’s mom asks if “he” has texted Ruby on her wedding day, clearly meaning Billy. Ruby checks her phone, hopeful for a response to her cry for help, but he hasn’t texted her back.
In the present, Ruby is trying to talk her way onto the train without her ticket when Billy comes up behind her. He tells the gate attendant that she’s telling the truth (“she’s one of the only people I know who sounds like she’s lying when she’s telling the truth”). Billy takes Ruby aside to convince her to stay with him. He says “I like you better already. You’re sexier. You’re stronger. You’re funnier. You’re smashing your career. You seem so much better. And that scares the shit out of me because I think I might be worse.” He asks to give him one day here in Chicago to decide whether to continue or go home. They’ll try to recapture the magic they once had … or not. Ruby agrees (because how could you not after that speech?).
As Ruby goes to see what time the next train will arrive, Billy is left alone outside. Noticing brochures for an architecture tour, he grabs one. Fiona then texts Billy, telling him “Welcome to Chicago.” Billy realizes she’s tracking his credit cards and clearly won’t take no for an answer. To shut her up, he says he’ll meet her later. Ruby arrives outside and says they’ll need a hotel room because she wants to have sex – now. Billy asks if she’s sure, that they can’t undo this. Ruby is sure, saying “I don’t want to un-f*ck you.” At the hotel, they spring for the suite, with Billy claiming not to have a credit card to pay with because he doesn’t believe in them. (Ruby: “Tinkerbell, they do exist whether you believe in them or not.”) Ruby holds the room with a check after arguing with the desk attendant, saying she’s turning into her mother. Billy asks “how is Mary,” and Ruby responds, “angry.” The room won’t be ready until 3 o’clock, so they now have five hours to kill in the city. Billy and Ruby leave to enjoy the day as “Better Than” by Lake Street Dive plays.
As Ruby gets a massive ice cream cone, Billy goes to the bank to get the cash needed to pay for the room. The banker is charmed by Billy’s accent, so he dials it up to 11, even using the word “malarkey” as he goes for full Irish charm. Domhnall Gleeson is absolutely hilarious, doing his best impression of how Americans imagine the Irish to be. He asks to withdraw all the money in the account, because Fiona has access to everything. The manager says the money will be ready, but in several hours due to the massive sum requested.
Ruby and Billy walk by the river, discussing what they would be doing if they were back in college. They’re flirty, but Billy surprises Ruby with an architecture tour of the city by boat. As they travel, Billy says “you were right about leaving me.” He says she now has the career she dreamed of when she left him, and that makes it all worth it. Ruby says nothing at this. Changing the subject, Billy asks what makes a building Gothic, and Ruby responds with “Listens to sad music, wears black eyeliner.” Billy laughs, and Ruby confesses that she’s not an architect. She started the program but got panic attacks going to work, then got fired but pretended to still be working. By the time she came clean, she was a mess. Then she met Laurence, who was stable and bland, and got married. She said at the time he had what she needed. Billy asks if she loves him, and in response she says “when we watch movies, he wants me to sit really still and quiet.” Billy laughs, joking that she did always talk through movies. Ruby says she never fights with Laurence, but she’s always fighting him in her head.
Billy gets another text from Fiona and Ruby sees him pull out his phone. To distract her, he says they should dress up in fancy clothes to go with the fancy hotel they’re staying in. They go to an expensive store, and Billy encourages her to buy a dress she loves. He says he needs to go to buy “man pants,” smirking as he says “and I’m not talking about trousers.” Ruby confesses that Laurence froze all her cards and she has no money of her own. Billy responds by handing her money, wanting to help Ruby. He runs away, making her laugh.
— RUN to HBO for Merritt Wever & Domhnall Gleeson (@runhbo) April 27, 2020
In the best scene ever, Ruby nearly kills herself trying to get the gorgeous dress off after trying it on. Merritt Wever is a physical comedy genius, and anyone who has ever tried on a size too small at a store will understand the struggle. A woman named Alice in the next stall hears Ruby’s cries for help and assists Ruby, even pulling up her pants so she won’t be fully naked in the store. They laugh together, and they seem to get along. Alice suggests another dress that looks stunning on Ruby. When she protests that it’s too expensive, Alice rips off the anti-shoplifting tag and they run out together, giggling. Billy gets the money, which he places in a duffel. He tries to meet Fiona but she’s not where she said she’d be.
Ruby and Alice run to a nearby alley, and Ruby confesses it all to her in a funny and sincere speech. Alice is horrified at first when Ruby mentions she left her kids. But then Ruby says she and the guy she’s with have said they’ll spend the day together before deciding anything else. Alice tells her that if it’s just for a day Ruby should stay and enjoy herself.
The hotel room is open, and Ruby and Billy meet up again. Billy and Ruby start to have sex, but Fiona texts that she’s downstairs. Billy suggests that Ruby take a relaxing bath while he gets them room service (and meets Fiona in secret). Ruby, skeptical, says that the point of room service is that they come to you. Billy panics and says that all the fancy hotels make you go get it yourself now (not your best lie, Billy). He leaves but Ruby knows something is up. While snooping in the room, she finds his duffel full of cash.
We see Fiona – and it’s actually Alice from the department store. She says he’ll be facing massive lawsuits if he skips the tour he’s apparently run away from. She has helped build him up from nothing, doing all the work while he gets all the credit. If he walks away, it’s her livelihood that will go away. He hands her $10,000 cash and tells her to get out of his life, but she says it’s not nearly enough for all the work she’s done, insinuating she wants more money before she leaves him alone. He says he’s leaving, but it’s clear Fiona’s not done with him yet. Archie Panjabi is excellent as Fiona, and the natural chemistry between Fiona/Billy and Fiona/Ruby is interesting. Has she been stalking him this whole time? Did she know Ruby was with Billy, or was the adventure in the department store a coincidence?
When he gets back to the room, Ruby is in her sexy dress surrounded by the money in a pile on the bed. She wants an explanation for what she found, saying “most people don’t carry around a giant bag with their own money.” Billy starts to explain the real story of why he texted Ruby. As part of his live show, Billy starts by pulling someone out of the crowd and helping them solve a problem in their lives. Typically, this leads to the crowd buying in to what he has to say. But three days ago, he pulled someone out of the crowd whose husband killed himself because he went off his medications after listening to Billy’s advice. He snapped on stage, saying he’s a fraud and guilty of her husband’s death. The video went viral and his career is done for. He says he’ll understand if Ruby doesn’t want anything to do with him. Ruby kisses him, deciding to stay for now. They have sex as “Blush” by Wolf Alice plays. But then, the camera pans to a phone sliding under the door, recording their tryst. Fiona is outside, and she smiles as she slides the phone under. What is her game, and is Billy telling the whole story?
Run airs Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO. Check out the preview for episode four, “Chase,” below!