Euphoria Part 2: Jules

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Hunter Schafer in Euphoria: Part 2.
Hunter Schafer in Euphoria: Part 2.
Photo: Showmax

(Warning: This article contains strong language)

OUR RATING

4/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Fuck Anyone Who's Not A Sea Blob is an exploration of Jules' (Hunter Schafer) headspace after and during the events of season one. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

It has been almost two years since Euphoria season one debuted, and unlike similar shows, interest has not waned in the HBO drama series. If anything, the hype has increased as more people have had a chance to catch up with season one, and after Zendaya's win for Best Actress in a Drama at last year's Emmys.

However, because of Covid-restrictions, the filming of season 2 has been delayed. The creators of the show have done these singular bridging episodes with limited cast members to placate audiences until they can film season two. The first special episode which was released in December featured a conversation between Rue (Zendaya) and her sponsor Ali (Colman Domingo) about sobriety. The second episode focuses on Jules and a conversation she has with her therapist, Dr Nichols (Lauren Weedman).

A problem that I had with season one of Euphoria was that because almost everything was from the point of view of Rue, and she is not always a reliable narrator, we are not able to completely understand the motivations of the other characters, other than in their cyclical episodes. And this is especially true for Jules, who serves almost as a co-lead, but one is never sure of what she is feeling. Why would she want to run away from home if her father is so supportive? Does she feel the same way about Rue as Rue feels about her? This special episode fills in the gaps of what Jules has been going through and what she is feeling.

Written by Hunter Shafer and Sam Levinson, the episode has a similar dialogue approach as the first special episode had. However, a lot more exposition had to take place for us to understand where Jules is coming from. We are led to believe that after Jules ran away from home (as we saw in the season one finale), her father forces her to go to therapy which is where we find her. With her therapist, she discusses wanting to go off some of her hormone treatments, how she has framed most of her womanhood around men, and the similarities between Rue and her mother.

This was an especially poignant revelation as her mother is a key to much of the confusing aspects of Jules' character in the first season. Not much is said about her mother in the first season except in the episode that was focused on Jules' where it is revealed that her mother was not as supportive of her transition as her father was. In this episode, we learn that her mother, like Rue, is an addict, and that she was undergoing treatment during the course of the season.

Hunter Shafer is amazing in this episode. Her acting style is usually more subtle than Zendaya's, and in this contained episode, she was given the opportunity to shine away from Zendaya. She showed that she had the ability to carry this episode. The therapist serves more as a sounding board, whereas the first episode allowed Ali to carry a load along with Rue; this is all Jules. Jules and her relationship with Rue, Jules and her relationship with her parents, Jules and her relationship with her online boyfriend, Tyler (who turned out to be human trash-heap Nate Jacobs catfishing her), and how all of those relationships got her to the point of her life that she's at right now.

Is the relationship between Rue and Jules healthy? I'm not sure, and I don't think the characters know either. It is true that Rue has been focusing her sobriety on Jules, which is not good for either of them. But at least now we know that the relationship was not one-sided. It seemed at first that all the affection was coming from Rue and that Jules was just going along with it. However, Jules revealed that she had wanted to kiss Rue many times before Rue made the first move, that she was in love with Rue, but she was still understanding her feelings, and she was so scared to lose Rue as a friend.

Both episodes seemed contained in the moment that they're at, Rue and Ali in that diner, Jules and her therapist in the room. But it all changes at the end, where it seems to move the plot forward. Rue comes to visit Jules (who is grounded of course) and tells her that she was passing by to meet Ali and she wanted to come and say 'Hi'. There is so much that is left unsaid between the two, so many emotions not dealt with, but knowing that both of them are seeking help, we can hope that their relationship will be healthier in season two.

The episode begins with the song Liability by Lorde playing. The song's lyrics tell the story of a girl who is a 'little too much' for everyone else and finding a way to love herself. This is essentially what this episode is about, Jules' journey to loving and accepting herself.

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