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The second Euphoria special is one of the best, if not the best, the show’s creators have released.  (Photo provided via @succesfuldaya on Twitter)

TV Review: The second ‘Euphoria’ special episode gives us a whole new perspective of Jules

If you’re upset about the lack of a new Euphoria season, you’re not alone. However, creator Sam Levinson is making sure we are fed with some incredible content from our favorite characters with the two special episodes released prior to season two. 

The first episode followed Rue (Zendaya) meeting Ali (Colman Domingo) at the diner to talk about her sobriety, Jules and give the audience a free therapy session we didn’t know we needed. We got to hear about Rue’s heartbreak from missing Jules (Hunter Schafer), but before we can pick sides and completely write Jules off, we have to hear from her too.

The second episode followed Jules’ side of the story. Though the format of the first special episode resembled an extended scene for around 50 minutes, the second episode switched it up yet again and brought a completely different side to Jules that we typically don’t get to see: her total vulnerability. 

Jules begins the episode in a therapy session. The episode starts with an incredibly artistic look at the past season of the show by showing scenes through Jules’ eye with Lorde’s “Liability” stirring up emotion, indicating the episode will be completely through Jules’ lens. It’s the perfect set up to the underlying point of the episode: giving the audience Jules’ perspective of the entire first season.

Following the brief recap, she starts the session by talking about her own gender identity and how complex it is to navigate, and weaves through a slew of topics including the construct of femininity and the treatment of women toward other women and how if it wasn’t so judgmental, it would almost be sensual the way they examine every part of you.

Just when you think the entire episode will be centered around her therapy session, the audience begins to get minor clips and scenes of the romanticism that lives within Jules’ head. From her trips to the ocean and how she worships it as if it were her own personal spiritual entity to memories of waking up next to Rue – which, I might add are painfully beautiful and heartbreaking – while she talks to her therapist her memories come in brief flashes.

She finally begins to get into her feelings about Rue, talking about how she’s called her several times but she won’t pick up the phone. She feels guilty about leaving her that night at the train station, but she felt like she was suffocated in their town. 

That’s when she gets into her frustration with Rue as well. She felt like Rue’s dependency on her was an extreme amount of pressure; it was almost as if Rue would relapse if Jules would miss one hangout or sleepover. 

This is when the audience begins to get the context that Jules’ mom has gone through similar drug abuse issues as Rue, and Jules was afraid to tell Rue because she didn’t want her to think that she felt the same way about Rue as she did about her mom. Through Billie Eilish and ROSALIA’s “Lo Vas A Olvidar,” we see clips of Rue and Jules’ happiness intertwined with clips of her utter disdain toward her mother, indicating her difference in opinion toward each addict. 

Her therapist helps her come to the conclusion that she might resent Rue for putting that weight of potential relapse on her while she was still feeling angry toward her mom for relapsing. She concluded that the anger was coming from the same place, which is why it made it exceedingly hard for Jules. 

Then she talks about how real life is always such a let down. This leads into her messages with ShyGuy118, who we know to be Nate (Jacob Elordi). Prior to her knowledge of who he was, Jules felt that she could be more vulnerable and open with people online. That, combined with how easily she falls in love, makes up one of the best quotes that people not only can relate to, but use to understand her character more: “Half of every relationship is in my head.”

We get a montage of Jules taking nudes to send to ShyGuy118, while she tells her therapist how she thinks the let down is now her appeal. This leads into Jules’ imagination of what she felt like her relationship could be with the person she was talking to online – what she completely made up in her head. 

Her relationship imagination intertwines between ShyGuy118 and Rue, back and forth between what she imagined with each of them. We finally get to see that the feelings Rue had for Jules weren’t just one-sided, but Jules wanted to kiss Rue almost the entire time Rue did. She hates herself for freezing when Rue finally made the first move.

“How could it be possible that Rue loved me as much as I loved her?” Jules said.

“The question is, why would you think that would be impossible?” Her therapist replied.

This goes back into her imagination with the “best sex she’d ever had,” which was internet sex with ShyGuy118. We see Jules’ masturbation sequence as she imagines the sex she’d be having with him, and it leads up to the imaginary let down when she realizes that none of it was real. The sequence goes dark, and Jules is being forced into sex while she watches her worst nightmares: ShyGuy118 is actually Nate and Rue is overdosing in the bathroom and can’t save her.

Watching Jules’ nightmare of Rue overdosing while she’s out of the house is purely awful. It’s so heartbreaking and such a testament to how Jules feels about the stability of their relationship. Which leads to the stability of her relationship with her mom, once again, when her mom says she’s clean and ambushes Jules at home trying to apologize. Jules denies her, and she disappears. Jules remembers how on Halloween they found her mother in the hospital, and how she had shared none of this with Rue.

That’s when the therapy session ends, and the audience knows that Jules is back living with her dad and didn’t run away for that long. She goes home, and gets a visitor. Rue comes over to talk to her spontaneously, even though Jules is grounded. Jules apologizes to Rue for everything, and they both cry. 

However, their relationship is still inconclusive. Though they both love each other, Rue hurries out and they don’t reach a solution to their issues. The brief conversation ends with Jules laying in her bed sobbing as the rain falls outside.

This episode is one of the best, if not the best, the show’s creators have released. Hunter Schafer worked with Levinson through every step of the process, and she got writing credits for this episode. Seeing the first season through Jules’ lens was so eye-opening: everything she was going through with her mom and her feelings for ShyGuy118, how the aspects of her relationship with Rue mirrored her relationship with her mom and how she and Rue both were feeling this pure, raw love that can be toxic, but is also so real. 

Levinson always says he wants Euphoria to be unexpected. If this is how the series continues in season two, the audience will be on the edge of their seats and clinging to their love for these characters nonstop. 


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