Run Series 1 Episode 3 (Channel 4) Review


The blacker than black Run finally decided to deliver us a happy ending in this third episode, focusing on recovering drug addict Richard, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. A reader’s comment on my review of the show’s first episode pointed out that, after we’re done with a particular episode, the investment we’ve made in the characters is made a little redundant but – while this may be true – it also means that all four episodes work as mini-movies by themselves.

I don’t feel like I need to see more of Richard, Ying or Carole’s stories, and Richard’s especially was left on such a wonderfully hopeful note that it would be a shame to rob us of that happy ending. The outcome doesn’t rob the preceding 40-minutes of their bleakness, of course, and Richard’s story is just as hopeless as Carole and Ying’s. Caught up in the drug deal we saw last week, his arrest means that his final supervised visit with 14-year-old Sabrina is missed, and it’s the final straw for her and his ex-wife.

It also causes him to be evicted, and it then takes everything he’s got not to fall back on old habits. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see a drama about an abstaining addict actually abstaining – not slipping apart from one can of lager – but never glossing over the strength it must take to be around drugs so much without indulging yourself. It’s an optimistic story of a man doing things differently for the sake of a family who have already written him off and, after the struggle, he’s rewarded with a ‘maybe’.

The truth is that, while it’s difficult for a mother to raise her son’s right on a crime-riddled council estate and for a young girl to escape a life of repaying debts to corrupt men, sometimes there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Richard finds that light by persevering and discovering an inner strength and, for me, that makes it the best episode yet. Run, in general, has been an absolutely stellar drama that might have been done a disservice by being shown over one week instead of four.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Run airs on Channel 4 in the UK.