This was my favorite episode of the season, hands down. I think this episode is where everyone finally reached their breaking point and it will set up for something bigger in the season finale and eventually for season 2. Everyone realizes they can’t keep going the way they have been; Fez needs to handle Nate and tighten up his “business” after getting snitched on, Rue reaches her lowest point with her depression and begins to see her relationship with Jules for what it is, Kat gets the raw truth about her transformation from Maddy, and Cassie is forced to get more serious about the boys she gets involved with from this accidental pregnancy.
While watching Cassie’s backstory, Daddy’s Girl by Natalia Kills popped into my head after seeing him steal some of their silverware and dip, Cassie promising not to tell anyone about that night. Daddy’s Girl tells the story of a girl whose love and loyalty for her father remains unwavering, even throughout all his bad deeds and flaws.
This episode only confirmed what I suspected this whole time, which is that she’s been dealing trying to cope with the absence of her father by substituting his love and presence with sex and meaningless relationships. I don’t really like to use the phrase “daddy issues” anymore because something about it seems very trivializing, like it has a bit of a mocking tone to it. Cassie is in a position that a lot of girls—and boys—are dealing with and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s difficult to cope with, especially as a girl when the only male figured you’ve ever had in your life slips through your fingers and eventually fades away. I think to some degree it can be even worse than a sudden death because he’s presumably still alive, yet wants nothing to do with her or the rest of their family. He’s there but she can’t reach him no matter how bad she wants to.
Seeing the attention that her father often got from women, and the treatment he received as a result of it, was something that she picked up on and wanted to emulate with her male peers as she got older. Not only that, but once she went through puberty her creepy uncles confirmed what she had already known and learned from watching her father, which is that beauty is currency and can be used to get what you want. And Cassie wanted to receive that same treatment her father once received while using her good looks to do so, as he once did.
“You look beautiful Cassie, you looking fucking amazing. That’s literally all anyone’s ever told you your entire life. Like listen to yourself, it’s fucking exhausting.” - Lexi
When her father came to visit her in the middle of the night, he love bombed her and told her what she wanted to hear so he could get what he wanted from her, which was valuables to sell for money so that he could buy drugs. He told her how much he missed her, expressing his love for her in exchange for access to her. The cycle continued with her as she jumped from relationship to relationship, having sex with each guy and letting them record her despite her reluctancy to participate. Deep down she might’ve been conflicted because part of her believed that going along with what guys wanted would make them like her more but she also knew that they were just telling her what she wanted to hear. Like her father once did.
“She fell in love with every guy she ever dated. Whether they were smart or stupid or sweet or cruel, it didn’t matter. She didn’t like to be alone. And every guy she ever dated asked for the same thing. And she almost always said yes even though it didn’t make her feel good.” - Rue
I also think I might’ve jumped the gun and was wrong about Cassie and Lexi’s mom. She’s very supportive but I think that’s where my impression of her formed; she can be too supportive when it comes to Cassie, to the point where it’s enabling, as seen when she approved of her costume as Alabama Worley not once but twice. I would never let my teen daughter leave the house in a bra in a skirt, like that’s just common sense. But seeing her take her to what I’m assuming is an abortion clinic in the next episode shows me that Cassie really trusts her and she’s also supportive where it counts.
I feel bad though that Cassie feels this unwavering loyalty to McKay still, even after the way he reacted after finding out she was pregnant. It was so selfish and callous and on par with a fuckboy who’s never known how to handle responsibility in the first place, let alone being mature about anything. She’s been beating herself up over “infidelities” and hooking up with Daniel for a guy who never respected her in the first place. Sure McKay has never cheated on her or anything but he constantly undermines and disrespects her in so many ways to the point where he may as well have cheated. He disrespects her both in public and private, it’s dishonorable either way. Cheat on him sis.
Depression (And Bipolar Disorder) Is Real
“The thought of having to stand up to exert 172 muslces each step for 35 feet, just so I can sit on cold porcelain and piss out toxins over and over again for the rest of my life makes the concept of living feel like one long sadistic joke. But the absolute worst part of depression is that even though you know you’re depressed, you’re unable to stop yourself from getting worse.“ - Rue
I really really appreciated the way this episode covered depression and bipolar disorder, especially since the latter isn’t talked about enough. I can never get enough of accurate depictions of mental illness because it’s needed. Despite how common mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are, people still don’t understand it and I think entertainment is one of the best ways to inform people on these kinds of things.
“If I am bipolar, I sure as shit prefer mania over depression.”
I wasn’t paying attention the first time I had watched the episode and didn’t realize that Rue might actually be bipolar, I didn’t realize her investigating Jules and Nate’s situation was her being in a manic state. She was up until like 2am still trying to figure it out, not sleeping, disturbing Lexi’s sleep to tell her about her new findings. But I’m glad that both Rue and Lexi recognized and acknowledged her manic state, Rue even suggested to her mom that she gets back on her meds which is a big step.
Although I’ve been dealing with depression for almost 10 years now, there’s still aspects about it that I’m learning and I’m still learning how to cope with it. When Rue spoke about how depression alters time, creating time lapses and memory loss, I felt strangely validated knowing that time has gone by, but not as quickly as I thought it did. It comforted me to know that life wasn’t always this bad and I have had plenty of happy times in my life, and that I can continue to make new memories.
“The other thing about depression is that is kinda collapses time. Suddenly you find your whole days blending together to create one endless and suffocating loop. So you find yourself trying to find the thing that made you happy. But slowly your brain begins to erase ever memroy that ever brought you joy. And eventually all you can think about his how life has always been this way and will only continue to be this way.”
Being aware of how depression works and how it can trick your brain is the first step to combatting it whenever it gets particularly bad. I often have to remind myself that these episodes will pass and that any negative, cruel thoughts I’m having are not my own. My brain is literally trying to turn me against myself and the people I love as a result of a chemical imbalance. I never know who to trust during those times and I never feel comfortable opening up about it, I keep it bottled up until it runneth over and I have no choice but to acknowledge it and slowly build myself up again.
That’s why I was so comforted and happy to see Rue’s mom, Leslie, taking care of Rue after she couldn’t even make it to the bathroom. She ran her a bath, changed her sheets, helped her get dressed, and laid in bed with her because literally having someone there, right next to you, when you’re going through depression helps exponentially. Leslie treats and handles Rue with such kindness, gentleness, and understanding that inspires me to reparent my inner child because that’s how gentle and caring you need to be with yourself at all times as well.
It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times
Another thing mentally ill people need to remember is that there will be good days and there will be bad days. That’s the balance and circle of life really. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes happiness and sadness. They come in waves and it can be hard to deal with, to be honest.
“I had a therapist once who said that these states will wax and wane, which gave my mother relief because it meant that in the bad times, there would be good times. But it also gave her anxiety because it meant that in the good times there would be bad times.”
Coping with and accepting the fact that bad times in life are inevitable is difficult especially when you’re a teenager. Especially when you’re depressed. How can you find any kind of semblance in life and be content knowing that a depressive episode or an upsetting situation can be right around the corner? It’s not fair, and it gives us young people nothing to look forward to, really.
“Granted I didn’t realize until later what waxing and waning implied. That these feelings were constant and fixed and would never end for the rest of my life.”
Kat vs. Maddy
I knew this moment would come because I know there was no way Maddy wasn’t going to address how Kat blew her off when she needed her the most, that’s not something you just brush off and forget. And the drag was deserved. At this point I would prefer it if they weren’t friends anymore because Kat obviously doesn’t understand the dynamics of abuse and how men work, despite her allegedly being a dickmatician. And she clearly doesn’t know how to be a good friend, not during this phase where she’s only concerned about men and getting money and sex from them.
In my opinion, it was an extremely low blow for her to complain about Maddy constantly venting to her about Nate, her “psychotic abusive boyfriend” as Kat acknowledges. If you don’t wanna be there for her and listen to her vent, then don’t? Enforce some boundaries if you’re really that tired of hearing about it. Or even better, she could’ve just stopped being her friend completely. They’re not married, nothing is forcing Kat to be Maddy’s friend after all this time since she’s so sick of Maddy. Instead, she chose to stick around and harbor resentment for no apparent reason.
If she had taken the time to understand men and the way they manipulate women, instead of being so preoccupied with fucking them, Kat would understand the twisted mind of Maddy and every other girl who’s been in an abusive relationship. If Maddy was my friend, I would not make her love life my personal burden to bear but I would be there for her no matter what because you know what happens when victims don’t have a support system or anyone to turn to? They go back to their abusers and that’s exactly what Maddy did in the 5th episode when she called Kat and she was too busy sucking dick. I take this shit personally cause I would be a hot fucking mess right now without my friends in my corner during my last relationship. This shit is not a game, Sister Kat!
“In my head it’s like, if I can conquer men, I can conquer femininity. .. But it’s not like I even wanna conquer it, it’s like I wanna fucking obliterate it then move on to the next level. I don’t really know what it means or what it looks like, but I want it.”
Jules predicament in this episode was interesting and something that I’m still trying to figure out, especially when she was talking about was conquering femininity and her relationship with men. I’m thinking that while hallucinating about Nate at the party and eventually having sex with that girl whose name I forgot, that was her way of conquering femininity, the same way Cal “conquered” her when they first had sex. Her fantasizing about shoving her fingers down Nate’s throat was probably also her thinking about conquering men.
Shes struggling with the fact that she has these feelings for Nate that don’t entirely make sense. He’s blackmailing her, he catfished her, he’s a terrible person. Why would anyone love him? She can’t understand why a part of her is still attracted to him and I think to combat that, that’s where the whole conquering thing comes from and why she envisioned Nate while she was with that girl.
I think her being trans could also have something to do with it, leaving her confused still about the concepts of femininity and masculinity and how to approach them, especially because of her odd relationship with men and the way they fetishize her. They treat her as something to try out and dominate. An object, essentially.
When Rue said Jules was in love with Nate I was honestly taken aback and was like no she’s wrong. But after seeing that scene of Jules hallucinating at the party and fantasizing about him, I think she might’ve been right. This love triangle between them is one of the most interesting parts of the show because it’s not your average triangle.
You have a seemingly straight guy who’s been on a gay dating app talking to a trans girl and probably has feelings for her, though he wouldn’t admit it. A trans girl who struggles with her sexuality and relationship with men and femininity. And a mixed race girl who is also exploring her sexuality and is in love with said trans girl but the favor isn’t returned, even though it seems like it to a degree. There’s unrequited love mixed in with confusion surrounding gender and sexuality.
Despite me loving Rue and Jules together, this episode made me see the reality of their relationship and it won’t end well if they keep things going this way. When Jules texted Rue while she was asleep with her mother, Jules’s presence in Rue’s life signified that waxing and waning, the good and the bad, the recovery and the relapses. Jules would be that relapse to bring back the bad times if Rue isn’t careful .
Let’s Talk About Race, Baby
For the record, I don’t want to see more Black people on this show. That’s like asking to see more Black people on Game of Thrones. Why would I want to see Black characters in fucked up situations? I think we have enough movies and tv shows depicting that.
Euphoria is set in what I’m assuming to be suburban neighborhood in California, so I’m not exactly sure why people are flabbergasted at the lack of negroes. I need people to be more intentional and think deeper when they make these calls for representation, because a lot of people wanna see Black people just to see them, no matter the context. And I don’t think that’s productive. What’s also not productive is wanting the one fully Black woman on the show to be a stereotypical Black mom.
Leslie Bennett is not perfect, but nobody is. Parenting can never be perfect because teens will do what they want, regardless of race. Rue’s mom is a gem to me because you don’t see Black mothers often taking mental illness seriously, even with their own kids that they’re supposed to nurture and protect. She’s proactive and not reactive when it comes to taking care of Rue, and I’ll be damned if she started beating on Rue and verbally abusing her, instilling fear in her because that’s what a lot of you think Black mothers are supposed to be doing. A lot of y’all mothers did that to you and you turned out to be emotionally stunted idiots, so stop advocating for that form of “parenting” and thinking it’s normal. Because it’s not.
It’s no secret that Rue’s mom likes to swirl, like I said they live in the suburbs of California. Slim pickings, and it’s not like there’s an abundance of qualified Black men to date anyway. Rue was rude to Rick but I understand why. I don’t think she ever really processed her father’s death and the aftermath of his loss, so to see another white man literally and figurative sitting in his place is unsettling for her. I’m glad Leslie didn’t get aggressive with her or threaten her, she corrected Rue and firmly told her to apologize, as any healthy parent would.
People think Leslie’s parenting as a Black mother is unheard of and that’s how I know y’all will never break any of these generational curses you constantly speak of on twitter. You can’t even handle seeing a Black woman handle her child with the love and care that they deserve and are owed from their mother. You’ve grown so accustomed to being yelled at and beaten down physically and emotionally that you can’t even fathom a Black woman having compassion. Leslie is as involved as she possibly can be in Rue’s life: drug tests at home, asking her about how her day went, checking up on her when she’s in her room, having conversations about her personal life, making sure she attends her meetings. She gives Rue her freedom because she trusts her, and you can’t heal any kind of relationship unless you learn to trust again.
Do you guys want Leslie to beat her? Do you want her to put parental controls on her phone? Do you want her to track Rue every time she leaves the house? I genuinely want to know what else y’all expect from Leslie. It’s nobody’s fault that Rue became an addict, not even Rue’s fault. She was a curious kid who made a bad, uneducated decision that spiraled out of control but they’re getting back on track. It’s always the addict’s choice of whether they want to stay clean or not, and it seems so far that Rue has made her decision so what else is there left to do on Leslie’s part? I’ll wait.
White Boy Nate
“It’s gonna be $5.75, playboy.” - Fezco
Nate is so fucking weak, a typical white boy who weaponizes his white privilege and uses the police as his personal security. Whiteness is his superpower. I chuckled when he attempted to intimidate and belittle Fez’s intelligence and his decision to drop out of high school and become a drug dealer.
When you do what you gotta do to survive, the opinion of a psychotic jock who will always have daddy’s money and influence is of no concern to you. You strip that shit away and they have nothing, that nigga probably can’t even fight. Boys like Nate don’t ever work for shit, they’ve never struggled, they have no type of character let alone character growth to show for. They’re boring, hollow, they have no purpose in life but to be their father’s clone.
Fezco is a silent shooter who gets buck when he needs to. That’s how it should be. He was completely unfazed by Nate’s attempt to rattle him up and distract him from the fact that he needs his ass beat. Though I do think he should’ve been prepared for Nate to snitch on him, I hope he gives Nate what he’s been asking for in the season finale.
Honorary Mention: Rue as Detective Bennett
Zendaya is excellent in this role and I can tell she’s just letting her freak flag fly and having fun with it. She should pursue a career as a detective, real shit.