Rue is home. She has somehow made it back to safety. The last time we saw Rue, she was sprinting out of drug dealer Laurie’s home after spending the night strung out on morphine – it was the first time she had done intravenous drugs and seemed to be the beginning of the end for her. A more believable place for Rue to end up come episode six might’ve been holding up a diner for some money to pay off her debts de ella, or perhaps sleeping in an underpass. Most ominously, some viewers predicted that Rue might end up sex trafficked given Laurie’s ominous words in episode five: “The good part of being a woman is that even if you don’t have money, you’ve still got something people want.”
But no, by some miracle, episode six opens with Rue sitting at her family dining table. Not that we’re complaining or anything – if euphoria you have taught us anything, it’s to be grateful for every crumb of hope this show deigns to give us.
A mother’s love
Perhaps the even bigger miracle here is that Rue has decided to get clean. She looks awful. She stares down a jolly rancher in disgust, twisting the sweet’s plastic wrapper between her fingers before pushing it aside like a fussy child. And she is a child; it’s easy to forget Rue is just 17. Her stomach de ella – in the clutches of withdrawal – turns at the sight of the cherry-red sweet. She cowers before her presence. This jolly rancher is Rue’s own personal Ella Everest Ella.
The next few scenes unfold as you’d expect. Rue shivers, sweats, groans, writhes, aches and vomits. All the while, her mum from Ella Leslie (Nika King) is right there next to her; the vicious words of episode five apparently forgotten. Oh forgive me. There’s no explanation needed – she is her mother de ella, after all – but Rue offers us one anyway. “She grew up in the church. Say what you want about Christians, at least they open their arms. They believe in forgiveness.”
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
In a voiceover, Rue muses on the nature of forgiveness and addiction. She chastises those who reduce a person’s life to one ugly moment, taking Ali – her sponsor of her with a heart of gold and a troubled past – as an example. “Most people would say the same thing about him – he’s just af***ing crackhead wife beater. I bet his daughter says that. Though, it’s here where our narrator’s solipsism slips into view; it’s hard to imagine she’d be so forgiving if she witnessed the side of Ali that his wife and daughters endured.
Her musings, however, bring us to an apology we’ve been waiting for since episode three. Rue finally plucks up the courage to apologize for what she said to Ali – all those unforgivable things about his history of him. She calls. I have picks up. She says sorry. I forgive her. And that simple act of kindness seems to be enough to push Rue through to the other side, to make her see she’s worthy of forgiveness. She eats the jolly rancher.
“I’m not the bad guy!”
The fallout from last episode’s Cassie-Nate revelation is in full swing. But remarkably, Cassie isn’t backing down. In an unexpected turn of events, she insists she’s done nothing wrong – yelling at her mum and sister that “THERE WAS NO CROSSOVER” between her relationship with Nate and Nate’s relationship with Maddie. Of course, Cassie knows she’s kidding herself – but she also knows there’s no way out from here. Maddie is not the type of person to forgive and so Cassie places all her hope for her in standing by Nate, who is, of course, ignoring her texts for her. It’s another standout episode for Sydney Sweeney, who plays unhinged teenager pitch-perfectly as she screams again and again that she’s done NOTHING WRONG!!! The episode closes with Nate eventually texting Cassie to pack her stuff from her – she can stay with him for a while. He closes his bedroom door behind them, essentially isolating Cassie from the outside world. “I ruined my life for you,” she tells him. And for now at least, it’s hard to disagree with her.
Fexi fans, rejoice!
Episode six is a treat for fans craving more Fezco-Lexi content – and by the looks of Twitter, that’s a lot of you. Lexi goes to Fez’s house for advice. She’s suddenly unsure about staging her play de ella (Cassie is looking increasingly unstable and admittedly a theater production dramatising her flaws probably wouldn’t help things). Selfishly, I’m glad to hear Fez encourage Lexi to move forward with it. Number one: Lexi’s right; she never does anything for herself and this play is her baby. Number two: the potential fallout promises too much drama to pass up. Their conversation turns into a movie date night after they discover they’re both huge fans of Stephen King’s stand by me. Gosh, just kiss already!
Even Marsha doesn’t know what’s wrong with Nate
After Cal’s exit from the Jacobs household, Marsha is having a ball. Supposedly, at least. Nate finds his mom drunk-dancing around the kitchen. They sit down for a heart-to-heart fueled by whiskey and white wine. The conversation grows increasingly tense as Nate refuses to admit that he’s an “angry” person – or that he choked Maddy after the fair last season (he most definitely did). “They dropped the charges… I didn’t f***ing choke her,” he says with such insistence that it sounds like he actually believes what he’s saying. What comes next, though, produces a rare moment of sympathy for Nate as Marsha wonders out loud what went wrong with her son de ella. What went so wrong that her “sweet little baby” turned into who Nate has become. “Somewhere around eight or nine, you darkened,” says Marsha, adding that maybe he was hit in the head with a baseball. But Nate knows – and we know – that he changed not because of some blunt force trauma to the head but because he discovered his dad’s sordid sex tapes.
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A rat in the midst
Custer stops by to speak to Faye, telling her that the FBI have dirt on him and so he’s having to turn on Fez. “Are you cooperating?” a wide-eyed Faye asks, to which Custer responds: “I don’t know if that’s the right word… but I’m helping them out.” It’s a moment of levity in a scene that spells trouble for the world’s sweetest drug dealer. Custer plans to get Fez admitting he killed Mouse on tape. We’re not too worried, though. It’s hard to imagine that Fez and Ashtray could be outsmarted by this bumbling fool in a tracksuit.
I genuinely thought euphoria‘s writers room had forgotten about the CD. Across the last five episodes, there was no mention of the very thing that so much of season one had revolved around: the video of Cal and Jules having sex, which was taken without Jules’s knowledge. It seemed like a major oversight but finally the writers have picked up the storyline – if only to use it as a plot device to justify a horribly disarming scene.
After learning that Maddie knows about him and Cassie, Nate goes to get the CD from her before she uses it to get her revenge. Obviously, she’s not going to give it up easily, so he brings a gun. After a tense exchange, in which he presses the gun against Maddy’s hip and then forehead, Nate turns the gun on himself and begins a one-player game of Russian Roulette in front of a distressed Maddy. She gives in. It’s a painful scene to watch, and certainly it’s one that does away with any premise of euphoria as a realistic teen show. The only redeeming part? Nate gives the CD to Jules.
Finally, we return to Rue, who is having dinner with her mum, sister and Ali. Things are looking peachy; she wants to get clean and it feels genuine this time. It really does. After all, she’s hit rock bottom – where else is there to go but upwards? But this is euphoria and there are no happy endings. Episode six concludes with Leslie – who has been putting on a brave face for the entire episode – pleading on the phone for a rehab with no beds to give Rue one. “She needs to be in-patient. My daughter is a drug addict and she’s going to kill herself,” Leslie begs, her voice becoming raw with desperation. “Please don’t do this, please don’t do this to us. My daughter is going to kill herself.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.