Sam Levinson is known to blend different styles in Euphoria, often mixing comedy with drama to tell the high schoolers’ stories. But in season two of the HBO series, the episodes have become increasingly chaotic—and episode five is no different.
After the last episode closed with Rue (Zendaya) hallucinating her father and being held by Labrinth in church, we expected this one to open with her in a hospital bed. It was a beautiful moment that seemed to symbolize a shift in Rue’s addiction, with some speculating that she had actually died.
If you were hoping for answers in the first five minutes of the show, you’re not getting any.
Instead, the show begins with Rue’s mom, Leslie (Nika King), confronting her about her relapse. And though Rue initially blames Gia (Storm Reid) for snitching, Leslie reveals it was Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Elliot (Dominic Fike) who told her about the suitcase of pills. “You don’t understand mom, it’s not my suitcase,” Rue cries. “This is bad.”
She destroys the house in her search for the drugs, which have already been flushed down the toilet. She breaks down doors, smashes furniture and threatens her sister, which Jules and Elliot witness from the other room. For the first time, it seems like Jules understands the full extent of Rue’s addiction.
Eventually, Rue lets her mom and sister drive her to rehab but changes her mind as the car comes to a stop at a red light. This is where the show takes a turn that is neither funny nor interesting.
In a scene that feels very teen movie-esque, she gets out of the car in the middle of the street and runs through neighborhoods until she comes to the Howard residence. Lexi (Maude Apatow) opens the door and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Maddy (Alexa Demie), Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and Suze (Alanna Ubach) come out to welcome Rue, who is a sweaty mess as she’s already started going through withdrawals. And though Suze plays it cool, she ends up calling Rue’s mom while she’s in the bathroom, setting the stage for a mini intervention.
But Rue isn’t going down without a fight. So, in a moment we’ve all been waiting for, she asks Cassie, “How long have you been f–king Nate Jacobs [Jacob Elordi]?”
Cassie stutters a measly denial but Maddy is ready to lose her s–t on her best friend, even as Kat and Lexi try to diffuse the situation. “There is no need to get violent,” Suze warns, “because we are having an intervention, so stop it!”
The scene ends with Maddy chasing Cassie up the stairs as Lexi and Kat follow. And that’s it. That’s all we see of Cassie and Maddy’s confrontation, a tense reveal that Sam has been building up to for the past five episodes.
Rue takes advantage of the chaos and makes her escape, heading to Fez (Angus Cloud‘s) place because she assumes he’ll give her something to stop the withdrawals. But he’s done enabling her and drags her out of the apartment as she kicks and screams.
Having exhausted all of her options, she robs a couple, runs from the police in an unnecessarily long chase and goes to Laurie (Marie O’Neill‘s) place to pay her for the suitcase of drugs. Laurie is sympathetic but she’s also a psycho, so she drugs Rue and locks her in the apartment.
For a minute, we honestly think that Rue is going to be sex trafficked because, at this point, we can’t predict anything that’s going to happen—yes, part of the fun of watching a show is not being able to tell how things will unfold but it just feels like nothing makes sense anymore. Is this Euphoria or an after-school special?
When the episode ends with Rue returning to her house, we aren’t relieved or surprised. We just want to know what the point was of this entire episode. We didn’t even get to see the full fallout of Nate and Cassie’s affair, nor did we get an update on Cal (Eric Dane), who has truly stolen the show with his midlife crisis. So, what gives?