Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Euphoria’s Season 1 Episode 5.
Euphoria’s fifth episode lived up to its name. We learned more about a relationship that aims to represent a couple notoriously hindered by their toxicity and to stress the violent relationships some teens face.
This bulk of this episode probed the mind of Maddy (Alexa Demie). In her past, Maddy was a star beauty pageant contestant. Sadly, that dream soon waned once her mother pulled her from future competitions ensuing a scandal (though it had nothing to do with her). She soon gets over it and grows fond of the idea of doing nothing. That fantasy grows when she sees her mother, who made good money, cater to women who were wealthier from simply doing ‘nothing.’ In watching Sharon Stone from Casino and taking cues from porn, she figured that men were her way of reaching that dream and the control that she so desperately wanted. In narration, Rue (Zendaya) tells us that Maddy knew men wanted something they could “own and posses.” Throughout the episode, this prologue is the basis of why she struggles so much to accept the abuse, or her ‘defeat,’ from Nate (Jacob Elordi). She’s still grasping this illusion of control. Maddy’s character almost feels too real in this role. This “choice” she’s grappling with is shoved down the throats of women when it’s not that easy. It’s hard to see yourself out of toxic relationships with the person you love. At the end of the day, she values the good of the relationship more than the bad, which is why she fails to see or looks past Nate’s manipulation tactics.
During his interrogation with police, Nate maintains his innocence. He discredits her by masking his ‘concern’ for Maddy while discretely blaming her drug use and the men she’s been with outside of their relationships. The dialogue is written so smoothly and is so convincing to the point where I can’t wrap my head around why I wish his words were true. With his character, the writers chose an unparalleled approach. You would suspect that he’s grown up in an abusive household to explain why he’s so angry inside, but it’s not so cut and dry. In fact, that same day, Cal (Eric Dane), Nate’s father, meets up with his latest hook-up but his mind is on his sons. He blames his lifestyle for their anger and wonders if it’s too late to fix the damage that’s been done. This was perfect for bringing clarity to his character and also the struggles closeted people face. Overall, with this strategy, the show emphasizes that it only takes something as easy as being exposed to the wrong thing at the wrong time (Nate’s discovery as a child in episode two) to bring the worst out of someone.
Moreover, Ali (Colman Domingo) and Rue once again speak of her dependency on Jules (Hunter Schafer). “Nothing in high school lasts forever,” he tells her. Regrettably, that’s true in many cases. She finally reveals to her NA group that she hasn’t been clean at any point of collecting her chips for reaching a milestone. She also reveals that her current progress has been at the expense of someone else. I see Rue is slowly starting to lower the rose-colored glasses, but she’s still not at the point where she needs to be — wanting to get clean for herself. She can’t see it yet, but taking Ali’s advice is her best shot at getting better.
jules is under so much pressure. like imagine being responsible for someone being clean. this is a great representation of how being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love themselves first can affect everyone around them. #feelEUPHORIA #Euphoria #euphoriahbo
— ???? (@mars_euphoria) July 15, 2019
Aside from that, a mild turning point occured for one character. In the midst of Maddy’s emotional breakdown, she calls Kat (Barbie Ferreira) to meet up with her so she can have someone to talk to. To my surprise, Kat blows her off for a hook-up and Maddy then falls right back into Nate’s arms when he asks her to meet up. At first, I was angered by Kat’s decision, but now I see it as the show breaking stereotypes for the ‘fat friend.’ She doesn’t drop everything to cater to Maddy who is, let’s face it, a terrible friend. She even sounds shocked to hear that Kat has a life outside of their ‘friendship.’ More than anything, I feel sad for Kat’s character. The way she goes about men is damaging enough itself. The guy she meets up for this hook-up actually seems genuinely interested in her but she decides to cut to what she suspects he actually wants, which is sex. I hope at some point the show further examines her inability to value herself.
Kat is so sad. Yeah she's gaining confidence, but in the wrong way. She's not truly valuing herself, she's valuing the power we have as women over men when it comes to sex…..just waiting for her to meet the wrong one and it all blow up in her face. Also, poor Ethan #EuphoriaHBO pic.twitter.com/Sos9SFNfYd
— * ｡ ☆ BaByDoLL .☽ *.?️? (@BaByDoLL_MooN) July 15, 2019
The last fifteen minutes focuse on Rue, Jules, and Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) night out at the roller skating rink. The camera work, neon lighting, and the outfits are all reminiscent of the carnival in the previous episode and seems to be a visual theme. The scene fits the lighthearted mood while it lasts. During their cool down, Lexi pokes at Rue and Jules’ relationship and tells Jules that she is the reason behind Rue’s progress. This heavily dampers her mood and can be seen on her mind the rest of the night. She even hesitates to accept Rue’s request to sleep over and it kind of pains me that Rue can see her distance. Alas, she’s starting to see Rue as a responsibility and seems stuck on finding the right way to handle this newfound burden.
To conclude, the fifth episode was incredible. We’re inching closer to the finale and with so many loose ends, such as Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) leaking the information Maddy told her to McKay (Algee Smith), I can’t tell what’s in store for us. If McKay (since the focus is on him next episode) does end up telling Nate what he’s heard, will Nate eventually be pushed over the edge and end up doing something terrible to Maddy? Remember, this is HBO and the producers don’t seem shy on the topic of violence or death. Maddy seems like a pivotal character, but who knows. Mostly, I’m waiting for the focus to shift on seemingly secondary characters such as Lexi (who seems to have a crush on Rue) and Fezco (Angus Cloud) (who also seems to have a crush on Rue) and see more about their pasts.
Euphoria airs every Sunday on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.
Featured Image Via HBO.