When Ruby responded to Billy's out-of-the-blue text with a corresponding "RUN" and fled across the country to meet him, it was clear she was leaving someone behind. But Ruby's husband Laurence on Run hasn't remained in the rear view mirror; he's still very much a presence both on the show and in Ruby's mind, although he remains unseen. The series premiere revealed that the voice on the other end of Ruby's phone wasn't just some douchey and easily left-behind ex-boyfriend. He's her spouse and the father of her two children… and now he may be coming to derail her escapist fantasy.
Although Ruby put a moratorium on discussions of their past selves, Billy picked up on little clues that told him how much Ruby had sacrificed to be on that train: a lock screen showing a seemingly happy family, a scar on her abdomen telling of a C-section, a phone that wouldn't stop ringing incessantly. When Ruby finally answered that phone in private, a harried Laurence was trying to juggle his kids' schedules while coping with his wife's mystifying absence — which she weakly explained away with the excuse of a sudden week-long yoga retreat. It was unclear (for a time) whether Laurence bought that excuse or, if not, how he felt about his wife's departure. Was he in denial? Giving her space? Quietly freaking out?
When Ruby called home at the end of the second episode, she learned the terrible truth: Laurence had seen through her deception, and wasn't having it. His new voicemail message bluntly stated that Ruby couldn't come to the phone because she had abandoned her family. Whoops.
Keen-eyed viewers may have recognized Mad Men actor Rich Sommer, who portrayed Harry Crane throughout all seven seasons of that acclaimed series, as the man posing with Ruby in all her family pictures on Facebook. You certainly don't cast such a well-known actor just to photoshop him into a bunch of cheesy stock photos, so chances are high that this chapter of Ruby's life isn't shut forever. In fact, it seems highly likely that Laurence will show up sometime in the near future — but will he be begging Ruby to return, or closing the door on their marriage?
Either way, his off-screen presence grounds the escapist fantasy of Run by serving as a constant (though unseen) reminder of the life Ruby left behind. The show isn't casting judgment on Ruby's decision to leave her life behind — it hasn't shown enough of her past or the reasoning behind her decision for the viewer to render a verdict on her motives just yet — but it is making sure the audience (and Ruby) remembers that her choices have consequences. Embarking on such an impromptu adventure may have seemed like the beginning of a happy-ever-after in the moment, but this isn't a rom-com or a fairy tale.
Haven't you ever wanted to leave everything behind and start over with a clean slate? While it may be fun to think about, the reality would be very different. Laurence is the Sword of Damocles hanging over this story, waiting to fall and pop the bubble of Ruby's fantasy. What decision will she make when it does?