Over the past few weeks, the HBO hit show Euphoria has kept us glued to our TV screens, waiting with bated breath to find out what will happen to our favorite characters, especially Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Rue (Zendaya). It’s no wonder the show has become the most tweeted-about show of the decade. In the finale, Rue says that Jules was her first love, but I would honestly love to see both characters in a healthy relationships with different characters next season.
There is something refreshing about the portrayal of Rue’s and Jules’s relationship. Rue is a non-binary lesbian in love with Jules who is transgender. I love that in both seasons of the show, their sexualities and gender identities are only secondary to the demons they are trying so hard to slay. In the second season we saw a lot of growth in their relationship. This was the first time we saw both of them not only acknowledge their feelings for one another but also truly act on them.
Euphoria’s relaxed portrayal of their courtship has been great but I question if Rue will be okay once she learns about Jules’s little rendezvous with Elliot. As much as they both seem sexually open, adventurous, and fluid, will the secret kisses Jules shared with Elliot affect the chances of her getting Rue back in season three?
Rue’s emotional dependency on Jules especially during the time she was trying so hard to stay sober was really overwhelming. It must have been especially hard for Jules who went through the same thing with her alcoholic mom. Rue’s drug addiction is a heavy complication in their relationship. I understand why Jules was angry after finding out Rue was using again and why she exposed her to her mom. Rue was using Jules as a sobriety clutch and when Jules took a step back, Rue nearly died from the severe depression she went through.
Jules also has issues that she needs to resolve fully to be able to heal from her past trauma. This season she came to terms with what femininity means to her and she was sure she doesn’t need to sleep with men to “conquer” femininity. She is a transgender teen who is still finding and exploring who she is. She has suffered from severe bouts of depression and self-harm stemming from body dysphoria in the past. She clearly is not ready to face everything head on–that is why when things got tough she ran away to her hometown. She needs to fight her own battles before she can pick up a sword to help Rue slay her demons as well. I think Rue should want to stay sober for herself. I would like to see if Rue’s feelings for Jules remain with the same intensity once she is sober.
Critics have lauded the show as one that truly captures the Gen Z queer experience in a unique and positive representation where a character is more than just their sexuality. To some extent, I agree that Euphoria has some of the most innovative and complex queer storylines right now. However, I think Jules’s and Rue’s relationship is toxic and they would be better off as friends. This season only proved that they suck when it comes to communication and can’t be honest with one another. They were just not on the same page when it came to too much. I hope there won’t be further romanticization of this relationship.
Both characters have to truly love themselves first before they love someone else.