‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 5 Reactions

Spoilers for Euphoria below.

The past few weeks, Euphoria has served up an assortment of everyone’s problems, including Cassie and Nate, Maddy and Nate, Fez and Lexi, Jules and Elliot, and even Cal’s harbored dilemmas; but tonight’s episode is all about Rue, and all the trouble she’s gotten herself into.

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At home, all hell has broken loose. Rue’s mother, Leslie, has found out her daughter is back on drugs. And worse, Rue’s suitcase stash–which she’s supposed to be selling but is using herself–is missing. Rue suspects that Gia ratted her out. She barrages her little sister with insults then targets Leslie, blaming her so-called bad parenting for her drug use. But it turns out, Jules was the one who told Leslie the truth.

Now Rue is irate. It also doesn’t help that she’s suffering from withdrawal. She’s madly scouring the house for her pills, knocking down tables and throwing things across the room. She’s in a screaming match with her mother, and when things escalate, her mom slaps her across the face and pushes her out, closing the door shut behind her. Still desperate to learn where her pills are, Rue screams and kicks on the door repeatedly, banging against it until it opens. By now, Leslie and Gia are sobbing on the bed together. Rue, exhausted, drops to the floor, crying and apologizing. And we’re only about five and a half minutes in. The sequence is so jarring and uncomfortable to watch–it’s impossible to root for Rue when she’s treating the people who love her with such hostility–but that’s just a testament to Zendaya’s committed, uninhibited performance. (Do we smell another Emmy?)

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Rue is still looking for those pills, though. “What did you do with them?” she demands her mom. “Flushed them down the toilet,” a voice calls out from the living room. Rue pauses. It’s Jules; she and Elliot have been here the whole time and they heard everything.

Jules is in the line of fire next. Rue resents her for snitching. Taking it further, she blames Jules for leaving her when she was at her lowest. Jules insists she loves Rue and wants to help her get better, but Rue won’t buy it. (Just wait until she finds out Jules was making out with Elliot.) Meanwhile, Elliot regrets opening his mouth. It wasn’t even his place to get involved, he says.

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Rue ultimately gives in and lets her mom drive her to the ER. But when she learns Leslie is trying to take her to rehab again, she wants out. Rue opposes the idea so much that she bolts out of the car and runs into traffic. Her mom and sister are screaming for to get back in the vehicle, but it’s too late. Rue is on the run.

She makes it to the Howard residence, where Lexi answers the door. Her mom Suze, Cassie, Maddy, and Kat are home too. Rue plays it cool and asks to use the bathroom, but Lexi and her mother sense something’s wrong. Upstairs, Rue rummages through the medicine cabinets for pills she can steal. She ends up taking a pair of earrings too–she can use the jewelry to pay what she owes to drug dealer Laurie. On her way out, Rue finds her own mother at the bottom of the stairs, along with the Howards and their guests. Rue still doesn’t want to go to rehab, though, so after Cassie gives her some well-meaning but patronizing advice, Rue causes a diversion: She reveals Cassie is sleeping with Maddy’s ex, Nate. (It’s happening!) She says shortly after New Year’s, she saw Cassie getting into Nate’s car, kissing him, and then them driving off together.

Cassie tries to laugh off the accusation, but it’s no use. Maddy is fuming and looks ready to kill her. “I’m literally going to get violent,” she threatens. Maddy and her perfectly manicured nails get in Cassie’s face and the confrontation is everything but physical before Cassie runs to her room. Maddy and Kat are on her tail, of course. While the girlies are fighting, Rue is out the door. Sadly, that’s all we get for now of the long awaited Maddy-Cassie face-off. I was waiting for a bigger, more dramatic blow-up (viewers on Twitter in recent weeks were certainly ready for Maddy to kick Cassie’s ass) but instead, the big reveal became a casualty of Rue’s intervention gone awry. Perhaps we’ll get more of that next week, though.

HBO

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Rue heads to Fez’s house next, but when she tries to steal pills from him, he won’t allow it and kicks her out. Then, she breaks into a nearby couple’s home and pockets more jewelry and some cash until the owners come back earlier than expected. The husband finds her under the bed but she bolts out the door again. Next, the cops chase her around town after she hurls on the street. After dashing through a wedding, a car shop, more moving traffic, and a few backyards Ferris Bueller-style, Rue finally loses the police when she hides in a garbage can.

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Her final stop? Laurie’s place. Rue gives the terrifyingly calm drug dealer the thousand dollars worth of jewelry she stole plus $2000 in bills, but she still needs to pay the full sum in cash. By now, Rue is in awful shape. She’s exhausted from running all night and she’s in withdrawal and she’s in pain. But she’s still itching for drugs. Laurie doesn’t have any pills, but Rue lets her administer a morphine shot–something she’s never taken before.

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In the haze, we get a flashback to young Rue’s memories with her late father: her in the bath as a baby, in the hospital after Gia’s birth, and tearfully reading a speech at his funeral. It’s touching and heartbreaking at the same time. Between this montage, last episode’s church dream sequence, and other recent flashbacks, this season is really showing us how deeply Rue is affected by her father’s passing and how badly she misses him.

When Rue wakes up, she’s in a room at Laurie’s house (with a few creepy caged birds). She wants to get out but her window is locked, and there’s a man with a gun sleeping in the living room. The doors in the hallway are also bolted and none of the keys work. Finally, she finds an unlocked window in another room and escapes before another scary-looking man in Laurie’s residence can find her.

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The final scene features Rue’s mother again, looking restless at home. Off screen, the door opens. Has Rue come home at last? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

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