Euphoria struck a balance during its third episode last night. In one moment, professor Rue (Zendaya) is lecturing us all on the dos and don’ts of a “D” pic. Another moment we bare witness to Kat (Barbie Ferreira) giving into greed and becoming something unrecognizable. Then, of course, our hearts were shattered when Rue was begging for another hit from her drug dealer who suddenly has a moral compass. The writing on the season to date has been quite strong, but this episode had some of the best acting performances of the season.
The highlight for me in episode 3 was how seamless they were about weaving in various storylines and allowing each of them to connect organically. We had got hints of this earlier, but it does seem that Jules (Hunter Schafer) is falling for her mystery man she met via a dating app while Rue is becoming more into her. It’s almost as if she’s become a substitute for drugs (now that she’s been clean for 60 days). When Rue realizes that Jules is becoming more distant, she becomes aloof and tries getting back into drugs as a coping mechanism.
Euphoria certainly does spend some time discussing the societal perception of transgender women. Jules realizes that there’s a different set of rules for meeting this mystery man (such as meeting in a dark and secluded place) which baffles Rue and leads to some tension. In reality, she wants Jules to herself, and this is just her way of accomplishing it.
There’s no denying the chemistry these two have and the energy they have on screen. The scene where Rue gives a “Ted” Talk about the anatomy of a “D” pic (including slides) was the funniest moment so far this season. There’s a line in it involving weapons which is sure to make you giggle.
Even though Zendaya is certainly front and center in every episode of Euphoria, my favorite character is quickly becoming Kat (Barbie Ferreira). In the third episode, they go into great detail about the origins of her body issues and why she’s been so conservative up to this point. What was interesting is she’s now empowered by the one thing that gave her the most angst. To further this point, she’s even doing the very thing which caused her to be this in the first place (to another person). I do fear that her narrative is headed into a dark area.
Euphoria doesn’t seem to be about one central character but more about this collective world these kids are growing up in full of temptation and indecision. To some might seem like a warped version of reality but sometimes that’s how it is. Overall, this series is making that clear.