Read our previous review from the Rue-center Euphoria special here.
“So where do you want to start?” The beginning of Euphoria’s episode fixates on the terrified stare of Jules (Hunter Schafer) as she starts her first day in therapy. It’s a contrast to Rue’s (Zendaya) episode that takes place in a diner. Ali (Colman Domingo) almost has to coax answers out of her to get to the truth. Whereas Jules becomes an open book of consciousness, even though there are some places that it’s hard to go. Lorde‘s ‘Liability’ plays as memories cycle through Jules’ sight. The first and second verse perfectly describes both her relationship with Rue (She’s so hard to please, but she’s a forest fire/I do my best to meet her demands) and men (The truth is I am a toy that people enjoy/Till all of the tricks don’t work any more/And then they are bored of me).
In this episode, you can look at the train scene at the end of Season one from a unique perspective. As described, the past six months for Jules have been hard. These 50 minutes give a much-needed level perspective in who Jules really wants to become. There are always two sides to every story. If you just take things from Rue’s perspective, you would think that all the bad things fall on Jules. In this therapy session, you hear her side of the story.
The special episode, co-writer by Sam Levinson & Schafer peels back a lot of complex feelings. Because Schafer adds her touch, it feels as though she’s within the character. Jules speaks about cycling off her hormones, her relationship with femininity, and how the hardening of puberty scares her. Through her working this out in speech, she reframes her being transgender into something that she wants. That’s why the ocean metaphor is so powerful. Jules describes it as being both feminine and strong. She rejects confining herself to what the male gaze desires, or anyone.
Perspective is key and in Rue’s episode, she frames their relationship as something Jules left behind. Or what she perceives to be a relationship. Jules’ session gives more background on why she’s apprehensive to commit to Rue. It deals with her mother’s own struggle with drug abuse. So, the fact Rue saw under all the layers to see who Jules really was also mirrored the gaze of a mother to a newborn. Unfortunately, the good and bad will always be interlinked.
Jules speaks about being afraid of Rue overdosing and feeling angry because she feels Rue depends on her for her sobriety. There’s also a fear of abandonment as well. What if Jules commits all of herself to Rue, and she ends up alone because of it? She’s already been hurt before with her mother’s hospitalization when she was a child. Is love worth doing that all over again for another person?
Jules’ ‘relationship’ with Shyguy or at least the mirage of whom he could be also comes into play. They display this in fantasy-like sequences. On the internet, you can embody any persona that you want. You become emboldened to it and this ties into Jules’ urge not to be held to the constraints of definition. She admits that there was a strong attachment to the fantasy of Nate being an actual person. However, in the fantasy sequence, the mirage of Nate says, “don’t look at me.” When you are conversing with a person and divulging in intimacy for that long, it feels real. It feels like Jules still has to figure out what love really means to her. It’s almost as if she’s pulled in two different directions.
There’s no denying that there is love between Rue and Jules. What remains to be seen is if they can untie their love from obligation. As long as Rue’s sobriety is conditioned upon another person, a relationship won’t work. If Jules sees the tumultuous relationship with her mother inside Rue, nothing can thrive. Their meeting in Jules’s bedroom had an awkwardness to it. Not the go-lucky butterflies kind, either. More so, I know the road I must go, but I’m scared that you can’t be a part of it. The episode ends much like Rue’s does. There’s rain upon a window, but where Rue stared out Ali’s car window with a glassy stare, Jules is in tears.
Are they right for each other in the present moment? Probably not. In shows, we are so used to love interests arriving at a happy ending – come hell or high water. That’s not to say that it can’t get there within the context of Euphoria. However, there’s a lot of growing that both Rue and Jules have to do separately from each other in order to even have a chance of a future.
Photo Credit: HBO