Thinking Through Euphoria Season 1, Episode 7: “The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed”

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Every episode of Euphoria season 1 has been named after a hip-hop song. That is until Sunday night’s “The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed,” the penultimate installment of the HBO hit’s 2019 run.
“Trying to Pee While Depressed,” is also the longest episode of the season by a long shot — for good reason. Last week’s “The Next Episode” revealed Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney) is pregnant with Chris McKay’s (Algee Smith) baby. The possibility of an abortion hangs over her mid-pee realization. Speaking of bathroom activities, Rue Bennet (Zendaya) spends this week’s episode desperately trying to get herself to pee in the midst of a bipolar depressive episode. Everyone else in the East Highland orbit also seems to be breaking down into their own personal hell as next week’s finale, “And Salt the Earth Behind You,” looms.
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Let’s figure out what’s really going on before this wild, terrifying ride comes to an end.
The trailer’s scariest image, explained
The trailer for “Trying to Pee While Depressed” promised a terrible car accident was ahead. The snippet of footage revealed the only person in the car would be a brunette male, so a handful of options seemed likely: the hopeful possibility of monster Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), the upsetting possibility of sweet Ethan (Austin Abrams), and the smart theory of Cassie’s dad, whom viewers have never met.
“Depressed” confirms the victim of the crash is Cassie’s dad, Gus (Nick Blood). In the cold open, we learn the complicated history of the Howards that has led to Gus' absence. Lexi’s mom Suze (Alanna Ubach) was jealous of her handsome, charismatic husband and abused alcohol. Lexi’s dad was well meaning but couldn’t hold down a job. Eventually Gus left, and the explanation for his abandonment varies. Suze says her husband was never ready to be a father. Gossipmongers at school say Suze cheated.
Either way, following the split, Gus fell asleep drunk behind the wheel and drove headfirst into a truck. He survived, but we’re meant to figure out he became addicted to the fentanyl that was prescribed to him for the pain. After Gus' hospitalization, he fell deeper into drug addiction. Gus showed up one night at the Howard home and asked Cassie, specifically, to let him in. She did, and he stole some expensive goods to front his drug habit. The track marks on Gus' arm suggest he had turned to heroin. Cassie never saw Gus again, and she never told anyone what he did.
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This is the legacy Cassie carries into all of her future relationships with men. One where she takes care of them at their worst and hides their most disturbing secrets. Gus twisted that ability into a sign of love when he should have told Cassie she is allowed to put herself first. This is why there’s so much revenge porn against Cassie floating around East Highland — she really thought she had to let past boyfriends film their most intimate acts to prove her dedication. If only McKay actually loved Cassie enough to ask about all of this painful history.
“I just wanted to dream about it for a minute.”
After seven episodes, we have gotten the quote that captures Cassie best. Following years of family tragedy and a string of manipulative boyfriends, all Cassie wants to do is dream, as the words above say. Dream of having McKay love her publicly, loudly, and no matter what her Halloween costume is. Dream of talking to a boy who isn’t trying to get into her pants. Dream, at this point in this story, of what it would be like to raise a baby with the guy she loves.
A few seconds of fantasy.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
McKay rips that hope away from Cassie the moment he tells her she is pregnant. Technically, he’s right. Despite Suze’s apparent endless wine budget, the Howards have always been strapped for cash, as the cold open proves. McKay is a struggling college football player who hasn’t even introduced Cassie to his parents. Just a few weeks ago, he wouldn’t admit they were dating. These are not two people prepared for the harsh realities of providing for a family.
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Hell, it's unlikely Cassie should even be with McKay, who consistently slut shames her, forever, as Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira) points out before she even knows about the pregnancy.
At least Cassie’s mom is there to actually comfort her daughter, marking the first time all season Cassie has experienced such kindness. At the close of the episode, Cassie tearfully tells her mother she needs help, and Suze immediately realizes what’s going on. Rather than criticize her daughter for getting pregnant — the one thing she asked Cassie not to do at the start of the season — Suze tells Cassie she loves her, and everything is okay. It’s a sweet moment in a rarely sweet show.
Next week we’ll see Cassie’s visit to the women’s clinic for an abortion.
Rue figures out most of the Nate-Jules drama
At the very beginning of Euphoria, flashbacks explain a childhood psychologist suggested Rue may have bipolar disorder. Yet, throughout this season, we haven’t seen Rue in treatment for that possible diagnosis following her stint in rehab for addiction.
Rue's mental health concerns reach a critical point in “Trying to Pee While Depressed,” as she cycles through manic and depressive episodes. During the depressive episodes, she is unable to get up and use the bathroom, inspiring the installment's title and risking a kidney infection while staring at Love Island episodes. But in her manic episodes, which come complete with two very good fantasy sequences, Rue unlocks the mystery of Nate and Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer) following their unsettling lingering glances at the close of “Next Episode.”
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Through a 1990s crime thriller filter, Rue explains her theory to her “partner,” Lexi (Maude Apatow). The arrest of Tyler Clarkson (Lukas Gage) for the assault of Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) is odd, and Jules’ corroboration of the crime is even weirder, Rue says. But these events are not so bizarre if Nate catfished Jules, now she is in love with him, and she helped take Tyler down to save him from assault charges. Rue even figures out Tyler likely agreed to be Nate's patsy to avoid statutory rape charges for his premiere episode hookup with 17-year-old Maddy.
The only detail Rue is missing is one she mentions off hand: the sexting. Jules isn’t in love with Nate — he's blackmailing her with nudes she sent his catfish name. It’s possible if Rue knew that, her Jules withdrawals-related depression (an outcome her sponsor Ali predicted in “Shook Ones Part II”), wouldn’t be so painful.
But, it seems likely all of this horror will come out in the finale now that Nate has called the cops on beloved Fezco (Angus Cloud) for telling him to leave Rue and Jules alone. Plus, following a full epiphany with some queer friends (welcome to Euphoria, Quintessa Swindell), Jules is finally ready to reconnect with Rue. A reckoning is coming for Nate Jacobs.
The plight of Kat
In the scene most likely to give you nightmares, Kat does a cam girl session with her most frightening client. He blacks out his side of the cam and requests Kat strip fully for him. She does, but is clearly uncomfortable and scared. As the client's haunting electronically manipulated voice echoes through Kat’s room, she realizes she doesn’t need to do this and shuts the laptop. After leaving Cassie’s house sobbing earlier in “Depression” over being criticized for her new personality, all of which is influenced by camming, is Kat done with the life forever?
And, selfishly, I would like to know if that means Kat is ready to let Ethan love her?
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