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We’re now beyond the halfway mark of Euphoria season 2, a season that has followed a similar arc as its individual episodes — a pregame fervor, followed by a technicolored addict’s high, followed by a sobering crash to bland reality. In episode 6, Rue has (we hope) finally reached rock bottom, the previous-episode’s frenetic mania now behind her. The rest of the season will hopefully deal in consequences and recovery. But that’s probably too optimistic a hope.
The episode also comes during a controversial moment for the series, which was last week accused by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) of glorifying teen substance abuse. In a statement to TMZDARE claimed that the series, “rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior … chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction , anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world. ”
We have before written on the show’s erroneous depictions of drug usage and teenage sex, both of which have declined in the cohort the series depicts. Whether or not that depiction actively glorifies these acts is unclear. Zendaya, who plays Rue in the series, responded in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying, “Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their lives or what they should be doing. If anything, the feeling behind Euphoria, or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. ”
Rue’s pain is the focus of episode 6, which will stand as a solid rebuttal to the accusations of drug glorification. (Those early episodes indeed depicted the euphoria of drug usage; those episodes, however, were likely always designed to set up these later sobering episodes.)
Anyway, here’s what went down in episode 6.
Rue Breaks Up with Drugs
The episode opens on Rue and a Jolly Rancher. Since her heroine-punctuated day from hell last week in episode 5, Rue has returned home from the hospital. We learn later in the episode that she was given medication to combat opiate withdrawals and has since been fighting to stay clean. She can barely open the candy wrapper.
In narration, Rue explains that her mother is attempting to book a rehab clinic so Rue can try, once again, to get clean. In the meantime, she remembers all the terrible things she said to her mother and Ali — regretting her words, though wondering if at the time she believed them. She calls Ali and apologizes. Ali forgives her and then comes over to cook the family dinner, consoling with Gia and letting her know it’s okay to be angry at Rue.
We’re anticipating some Gia development and character focus in later episodes.
Nate Breaks Up with Cassie?
One consequence of Rue’s no-filter activities last week: Maddy learning that Cassie has been hooking up with Nate. Maddy is pissed. Cassie has since tried calling Nate, like, 1,000 times. Maddy has not texted him once, a fact which bothers Nate more. If Maddy is mad at him, Nate knows, she could leak the copy of his father’s tape — the one showing Cal having sex with an underage Jules. While Nate does not care about the repercussions for his father — Cal having just left the family following his own #nofilter night in episode 4 — Nate does care about the reputation of his father’s business, which he hopes to take over.
With Cal gone, Nate’s mother appears jubilant and has a drink with Nate. She tells him never to marry a girl he meets in high school and that she prefers Cassie over Maddy, because she feared Maddy would become pregnant and keep the child out of spite for Nate. (Is she revealing a motive close to her own heart?) She then tells Nate he became a dark, angry child in early adolescence before saying, “somehow, somehow, we raised a child who’s even more deeply flawed [than his father]. ” Damn, girl.
Meanwhile Maddy plans Nate’s violent death over the phone with Kat. Kat is calling from a diner with Ethan, where she plans to break up with him. She’s unable to tell him straight, so she reads, telling him she’s dying of a brain disease. Ethan calls her on her bullshit and then does the breaking up himself.
While one relationship ends, another perhaps begins. Lexi is over at Fez’s apartment, asking for advice about her school play — which she has been having doubts over since the Cassie-Nate revelation. Fez and Lexi bond over a movie and Fez later holds her hand. (So uncharacteristically wholesome for this toxicity of a show.)
Lexi’s doubts mainly stem from Cassie’s reaction to the event — and Nate not calling her back. Cassie says she’s suicidal and during one scene takes a wine opener to her wrists, though it’s unclear if she intends to carry out her plan.
On the other hand, Cassie seems unnecessarily cruel to Lexi, which may convince her to move ahead with the play. At one point, Cassie explodes at Lexi, calling her a “fucking loser with no self-respect.” Lexi later calls out Cassie for ratting on Fez, likely because Cassie was already hooking up with Nate.
Back at Fez’s apartment, future legal trouble looms. Faye meets with Custer who tells her he’s been cooperating with authorities over Mouse’s murder. (Ashtray and Fez killed him earlier in the season.) Faye returns to the apartment, but does not tell anyone.
That same night, Nate takes his father’s gun and goes to Maddy’s. Maddy returns from her babysitting job where the boy’s mother had offered her a drink (damn, all these adults getting drunk with high schoolers). Maddy seems to be moving on from Nate until she returns home to find Nate with a gun, demanding Maddy hand over the tape.
Maddy feigns ignorance, but Nate then loads the gun with a single round to play Russian Roulette and climbs on top of Maddy putting the gun to his own head. He pulls the trigger twice as Maddy breaks down. She tells Nate the tape is in her purse and then curls into the fetal position. Nate tries to salvage things, saying he was just kidding, but the damage has been done.
Nate then drives to see Jules, texting her to come out and meet her in his truck. Jules brings a box cutter (yes!) And goes to Nate’s truck but does not use the knife (boo!). Nate apologizes for manipulating and blackmailing her and then gives her the CD.
He then calls Cassie and tells her to pack a bag and come over, because God forbid Nate Jacobs does not get affection after all he’s been through that day. Cassie does what he says, comes over, and kisses Nate.
Ali Is Still Cooking Dinner
Back to Ali and Rue. At the dinner table, Rue admits to having a lot of work to do and meets skepticism from Gia. Later that night, Gia sleeps in Rue’s room to help her through the withdrawals.
Down the hall, Rue’s mom gets a call from a rehab clinic. While we can not hear the other end, it appears the clinic will not accept Rue, and her mother pleads with them to take her. Otherwise, she said, Rue will kill herself.
Rue does not appear to be awake to hear the call.
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