Zendaya as Rue hugging Maude Apatow as Lexi in Euphoria

Rue Being Confronted With Her Own Grief in Euphoria’s Season 2 Finale Is Hard to Watch

We knew back in season 1 of HBO’s Euphoria that Rue’s struggle with addiction started with her father dying and continued as a way for her to cope with his death. While I did understood how it would happen and the pain in losing someone back then, after losing my own father in 2021 and then watching Rue experience her grief onstage in Lexi’s play, it hit home for me in a new way.

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Zendaya’s portrayal of Rue is one that brings the audience into Rue’s pain and struggles while keeping us on the edge of our seats as we worry about her wellbeing, and one of the best aspects of the season 2 finale was Rue watching how her struggle was viewed through the eyes of Lexi. Rue always knew what her addiction did to her family, and she tried to hide it from Gia and her mother, but she never hid it from Lexi. She used Lexi to hide her addiction in the beginning and pushed her friend away, but as seen through Lexi’s play, she understood where Rue was coming from, and the love they had for each other fostered Lexi’s acceptance of Rue’s addiction.

But what I loved so much about the final few scenes between Lexi and Rue in the season 2 finale was that they showed Rue that she wasn’t completely alone in her grief and that she had someone like Lexi beside her through it all.

Rue’s grief

When her father is dying, Rue starts to steal his pills, and the beginning of her addiction is fueled by his sickness and her inability to process her own grief. She has a support system, but it’s clear from the start that Rue doesn’t know how to express her own feelings, especially with her mother and sister. So, she internalizes it all, and her addiction continues to grow.

While she sees the pain it causes and had her life “saved” by Jules and Elliot telling her mother, the moment that really hits for Rue is watching her life through Lexi’s eyes. In the play, we saw Rue’s father’s memorial over and over again and Rue’s pain and suffering. Lexi made it a highlight for her as a character onstage because she knew how it changed her friend and informed the version of Rue she knew now. But she also used it to show Rue how she understands her and that she’s not alone.

That clearly meant something to Rue, and it’s, frankly, an incredible look at how lonesome grief can feel along with the reality of those around you who recognize your pain. What we know is that Rue finished the end of the school year and was clean. Past that, we don’t know Rue’s life and we won’t for some time. (The show will probably not return in 2023, and we’ll have to wait a while to be back with Rue).

The pain of it

Rue saw her own pain in Lexi’s eyes. She watched as the play showed Lexi’s life but gave Rue her own grace and time. It wasn’t easy to watch for Rue or for us as the audience, because we know their struggle as friends. We knew what they had, and Lexi was always there for Rue even when Rue didn’t want her to be.

But seeing this play and seeing what it meant to Rue to see how Lexi views her? That’s a beautiful way to end season 2.

(image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.