Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Season 1 of “Euphoria”.
I’m not going to lie, the first, maybe 10 minutes, of Euphoria had me a little confused. While the episode showed some huge character development and eye-opening scenes, we did start the night off with some type of medieval rendition and a bit of controversy following an animation.
But, before I start discussing anything, we need to get into this week’s big issue, that ‘Larry’ scene. The episode begins with Kat (Barbie Ferreira). In short, we learn about her first love, her odd addiction to virgin piña coladas, the pain of being the ‘fat kid’ and how her first heartbreak led up to an obsession with fictional romance. She ultimately gets into fan fictions and makes a name for herself online, becoming a smut-writer on Tumblr. I mean, if the producers wanted to show us some of the material, they could’ve opted for reading a couple of lines out to us. Regrettably, they decided to animate an erotic part of her One Direction fan fiction, and make Rue (Zendaya) narrate the scene (with a British accent too). While I struggled watching the full two minutes, many of us got a couple of laughs from it. However, it didn’t go over well with some fans and one even called for a petition so they could get rid of or alter the scene. Additionally, knowing the problems this pairing caused in the fandom, it was a little uncalled for.
Aside from that, we got to see more into Kat’s curiosity with being a cam-girl. She garners the career of being a dominatrix after posting a video of her twerking and getting an inquiry of a user who’s ‘obsessed’ with her. She’s initially turned off from the idea but decides to give it a go and she meets a man who’s captivated by her allure. And who’s also willing to pay her big bucks to get degraded (that scene was wildly explicit). Later on, she uses this money to buy a new look and to take on a new persona. In my opinion, I think Kat is grappling with self-validation and is torn between what society expects her to be and who she wants to be for herself. I think this is why the show focused on how it is being the ‘fat girl.’ She’s never had the chance to be comfortable with herself and I still don’t think she is. That’s why she changes. If one person accepts this daring side, maybe everyone else will.
Furthermore, we got to see McKay (Algee Smith) and Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) relationship turn for the better, whereas Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Nate’s (Jacob Elordi) relationship becomes strained once he starts becoming secretive. Ultimately, the most emotional segments revolved around Rue. She’s been clean for two-weeks now at the time of her 60-day sobriety meeting. And while I want to believe it was because of her realizing some things after trying fentanyl, it was some coaxing from Jules (Hunter Schafer) that made her decide to want to change. She’s doing good until Jules starts talking about how she’s falling in love with Shyguy118. Also, it doesn’t help when Jules asks Rue to help her take some nudes. In fact, we see Rue come to terms with the feeling of unrequited love and the danger of her emotional dependency on Jules. She relapses when she sees Jules’ father’s pill bottles and shows up to her NA while high, but someone notices. This is where Ali (Colman Domingo) comes in. This was the show once again incorporating its many themes. Ali leaves her to think on an intense speech once he learns her sister is the one that saved her life. It’s harsh, but it shows that drugs not only ruin the person taking them, it ruins the ones around them. Yet, this wake-up call doesn’t hit Rue hard until the near end of the episode.
Jules ends up telling Rue about her plans to meet Tyler, aka Nate, by a deserted lake. Rue instantly doesn’t like the idea, especially since it’s so dangerous but Jules tries to explain that everyone knows she trans and she doesn’t have the freedom to meet up with any guy she wants without being judged. That stuck out to me because it’s what many LGBTQ+ members go through. They’re often forced into seclusion or have to face the ridicule of being who they are. So while I appreciate the show doesn’t make Jules’ transition her main story, I also like that they make you remember that people like her can’t always be free.
The disagreement eventually boils over when Rue shows up at Jules’ house and tearfully explains why she got mad in the first place. Being the introvert I am, I understand her pain, and how she doesn’t want to lose the closest/only friend she has. But Rue suddenly kisses Jules. While Jules doesn’t necessarily reject her, or react at all, she gets mad at herself and storms off to Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) house. She bangs on his door, but this time, he doesn’t let her in. She uses every tactic she can think of, but it doesn’t work and she realizes all of the doors are closing on her. By far, I think this is one of the most emotional scenes in the series. When you’re trying to help someone with substance abuse, this is how they treat you. They guilt trip you into trying to help you or use your emotions for them against you. I also like how it shows a more humanizing light to people like Fezco. No, I’m not saying all drug dealers are wonderful people, but not all of them are terrible. Fezco gets to see face to face the type of problem he’s creating. He’s finally feeling the guilt of being an enabler. But that doesn’t make him innocent. He still will continue to sell drugs, just not to Rue. In addition to that, I think he’s missing that just because he doesn’t have to see the monsters he’s creating, it doesn’t mean it’s still not happening.
In conclusion, episode three started off a little crazy. The tone was light-hearted and humorous after watching Kat’s twerking and Rue’s etiquette class. However, things progressively got more serious after Rue’s rude awakening from both Ali and Fezco’s decision to no longer help her kill herself. The soundtrack, such as during Jules and Nate’s interlude, is well put together and I often find myself adding their songs to my own playlists. The best performances of the night came from both Kat and Rue but especially from Rue following her fiasco with Fezco. I’m curious to see the outcome of Nate’s assault and how far his and Jules’ relationship will progress following her hookup with his dad, particularly if he already knows.
Euphoria airs every Sunday on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.
Featured Image Via HBO.