Euphoria season 2 episode 5 was perhaps one of Zendaya’s best performances as Rue, if not the best. Right from frame one, she had our attention, and I bet even you couldn’t move your eyes off of her for even one second.
Here’s a quick recap of one of the best cold opens of the show. Jules tells Rue’s mom about her relapse, who then flushes down all the drugs from Laurie’s suitcase. Due to this and her withdrawal issues, she starts acting like someone who is possessed. This finally ends with her lashing out at Jules, telling how she’s selfish, wants to be loved, and knows exactly what’s going on while Elliot sits nearby.
She even tells Jules that she’s done with her and how she doesn’t love her anymore. While watching this, I was wondering if Rue acted this way due to her withdrawal symptoms or did she know about Elliot and Jules.
Rue might not know exactly what happened between Jules and Elliot, but she might have a clue about Jules’ feelings towards Elliot and how she has a thing for him.
While nothing is explicitly revealed, and we will only know more in the upcoming episodes, here’s why I feel Rue might have a slight idea about what’s going on between Jules and Elliot.
To begin with, in episode 4, when Jules dares Elliot to lick her, Rue has an almost resigned expression on her face. This might be the case, either because she was perpetually high or because at that moment, she realized how Jules saw Elliot but couldn’t express her feelings. The latter could also be due to her state or because Rue isn’t good at expressing how she feels, especially when it comes to Jules. She never was the kind who put herself and her emotions out there, as we’ve already seen in season 1.
The second instance is immediately after, when the three steal some beer. Elliot and Jules ask Rue to stop drinking alcohol on their way back, but Rue gets annoyed with Jules for nagging her. She says she can’t stand her and doesn’t want to fight. Instead, she decides to get dropped off at her place.
Once again, Rue’s actions point towards textbook symptoms of addiction. She pushes anyone and everyone around her away at the slightest hint of discomfort. Moreover, anyone who questions her about her drug problem immediately gets a hostile response from her. An example of this is Ali.
However, I think it is more than that because Rue, in general, is an intelligent person who is quick to figure things out despite her problems. This was depicted in season 1, when she figured out the complete Nate, Jules, and Cal fiasco by herself, while she was depressed and in pain. This is why I think Rue says she can’t stand Jules because she senses why Jules is attracted to Elliot.
While these could be potential clues from episode 4, let’s come to relatively stronger ones showcased in episode 5. While she’s lashing out at Jules, she tells two things to her that hint at her awareness about everything happening between Jules and Elliot.
The first one was about how she knew exactly what was going on. One can simply assume that Rue was talking about Jules ratting her out, but it could also mean she knows what’s going on between Jules and Elliot.
The second one was about how Jules did not love Rue but merely liked to be loved. This is an interesting point because, in the previous episodes, we see how Elliot understands Jules and makes her feel less conscious about her dynamics with Rue. This attracted Jules to Elliot, and Rue’s absence pushed her closer to him.
I feel the second point is pretty strong because we’ve been through this scenario in season 1. As Rue mentions in season 2, episode 5, Jules had left her when she was depressed, alone, and needed Jules the most. Here she is talking about the time Jules went away for a weekend and slept with another girl. When she returned, she told Rue about this girl, which made Rue express her emotions towards Jules for the first time.
Jules liked how someone expressed their love for her, and Rue could be referring to this same quality in season 2, episode 5. As you can see, once again, only when Rue sensed something going on between Jules and Elliot, she decided to express her emotions. However, this time around, it was more anger than love.
Overall, Rue is in a space where she isn’t aware of so many things happening around her. At least, that’s what is being portrayed. So everything she says or does is connected to her mental state and addiction.
However, we could be missing some clear hints that indicate Rue is not entirely aloof and has an idea of what’s happening around her. After all, she knew about Nate and Maddy. So, we just have to wait for the upcoming episodes to find out.
Euphoria is a teen drama on HBO that is loosely based on the Israeli series of the same name. The series is written by Sam Levinson and stars Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Maude Apatow, Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demie, and others.
The show revolves around Rue, a teen drug addict who is also suffering from Bipolar disorder. She meets Jules, a transwoman, and falls in love with her. Euphoria deals with themes of sexual violence, addiction, trauma, and self-identity.
The series was renewed for season 3 in February 2022.