We’re heading back to the glittery, gritty world of East Highland soon — well, kind of. Euphoria’s second season isn’t here yet, but HBO is tiding us over with two special episodes. The first, “Trouble Won’t Last Always,” will follow heroine Rue (Zendaya) as she celebrates Christmas in the wake of her relapse.
Because of COVID-related filming delays, season 2 likely won’t premiere until 2021. “[Rue is] like my little sister in a lot of ways. And going back to that character is a home base for me,” Zendaya told InStyle this summer. “There is a beautiful second season that has been written, but in order to do it the way we want to do it, we need to wait until it's safer.”
A lot has happened since season 1 ended over a year ago. (Zendaya won an Emmy, for example.) Even the show’s most casual viewers likely remember Jules’ (Hunter Schafer) unique style and Kat’s (Barbie Ferreira) One Direction fan fiction, but you'll probably need a refresher on all the many details, hints, and intertwining storylines that will bleed into Euphoria’s second chapter. Before “Trouble” airs Friday on HBO Max, here’s where we left our favorite (and least favorite) members of Rue’s universe.
What Happened Between Rue & Jules?
At the start of the finale, Rue’s relationship with Jules is at a crossroads: for better or worse, Rue is deeply in love, and Jules is still riding the high of her trippy rave hook-up with Anna (Quintessa Swindell). Supervillain Nate (Jacob Elordi) tells Rue that Jules is destined for greatness and will inevitably abandon her, and although Rue knows we really can’t trust anything he says, the comment clearly affects her. She kisses Jules with an uncharacteristic, fervent confidence and suggests they run away to the city.
Even though the great escape is Rue’s idea, she soon starts having doubts: she’s still in a delicate state, and spontaneously running away will only worry her mom and sister, and possibly impact her mental health. Jules begs Rue to join her and, through sobs, Rue refuses. Ultimately, the train departs — Jules is gone, Rue’s left behind, and both are heartbroken.
In the trailer for “Trouble,” Rue sits alone at a diner, her last interactions with Jules playing on a loop. The episode, which will pick up right after the events of season 1, might include a reunion: HBO has confirmed that Jules will appear in the episode. Mostly, though, we’ll likely watch Rue cope with the aftermath of their tearful goodbye, and her subsequent relapse.
Wait — Did Rue Die Of An Overdose?
Rue’s struggle with addiction is at the center of Euphoria’s first season. When we first meet her, she’s buying drugs just moments after arriving home from rehab; by the end of the episode, she’s using them. We watch her survive a fentanyl scare, attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings and lie about her sobriety, and, finally, try to stay clean for Jules.
In the finale’s final moments, Rue relapses after three months of sobriety. What follows is a sequence so experimental and hazy that many fans have speculated Rue might actually be dead. Euphoria creator Sam Levinson quickly clarified that she’s very much alive — and although she’s still struggling, she isn’t dying anytime soon. “Rue has a big journey ahead of her, and a tough one,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s not something I want to cut short because of who Rue means to me as someone who has battled with addiction and come out on the other side.”
Ali (Colman Domingo), another N.A. attendee who helps Rue in season 1, also appears in the special episode trailer. “Rue. Why’d you call me?” he asks. If season 1 was about Rue’s addiction, relapses, and (at times, unhealthy) reliance on Jules, season 2 could be about her recovery.
What Happened To Fez?
Rue isn’t the only character we left in dire straits. By the end of the season, soft-spoken, kind-hearted drug dealer Fezco (Angus Cloud) has become yet another victim of Nate’s reign of terror. He confronts Nate and warns him against hurting Rue and her friends, and in retaliation, Nate calls the cops on Fez, prompting an abrupt police raid that sets off a dangerous chain of events.
The good news: Fez and his brother (Javon Walton) are able to flush their supply in time. The bad: he essentially just lost all the money he owes his terrifying boss, Mouse (Meeko). In the finale, we watch Fez break into an affluent doctor’s home and rob him — but when he’s caught, the scuffle turns violent, and Fez brutally beats him before escaping with the cash. When we last see him, he’s handing over the money to Mouse. “We good?” he asks. The question goes unanswered.
The ambiguous ending is worrisome, but even if Mouse and Fez aren’t “good,” we know that Fez makes it out of the meeting alive: Euphoria’s official Twitter account seemed to confirm that Angus Cloud will return for season 2. But with Nate as an enemy and all kinds of possible, impending repercussions from the robbery, it would be an understatement to say that Fezco will be in trouble this season.
Are Kat & Ethan Together?
After a season of coming into her own, discovering (and owning) her sexuality, and keeping sweet, awkward Ethan (Austin Abrams) at arm’s length, Kat (Barbie Ferreira) gets a well-deserved happy ending. In episode 7, she begins to question whether she’s really changed for the better: she gets in a heated fight with Maddy (Alexa Demie), and then has a particularly creepy camming session. By the time the finale rolls around, Kat seems ready to put her findom life behind her — but she’s keeping her newfound confidence and leather-heavy wardrobe, thank you very much.
While pretty much all of her classmates are having a rough night, Kat decides to approach Ethan at East Highland’s winter formal. She explains that she’s been rude and distant because she felt jealous when she saw him talking to another girl. “Kat, I liked you since I sat down next to you,” he says. “I know you think there’s, like, zero chance that we’re gonna be together forever… Is one of us gonna get hurt? Yeah, probably, but I’ll do my best to make sure that it’s me.”
The rom-com moment ends with the couple kissing, and then leaving the dance together. Season 2 had better be kind to these two.
What Happened To Cassie?
Cassie’s story takes a turn in episode 6, when she realizes she’s pregnant. Her boyfriend McKay (Algee Smith) isn’t exactly supportive, but in the penultimate episode, she opens up to her mom and is met with kindness and understanding. The finale sees Cassie head to an abortion clinic, with her mom and sister, Lexi (Maude Apatow), by her side. Cassie undergoes the procedure without reservations.
She never officially breaks up with McKay, but it’s implied that they aren’t together anymore; their relationship is far from stable all season, and their last scene before Cassie's abortion is extremely tense. At the dance, she tells her friends that for the first time, she isn’t in love with anyone — and she plans on taking a break from romance for another few years. We’ll see if that works out for her in season 2, but for now, Cassie has one of the season’s happier endings, with or without a boyfriend.
What’s Going On With Nate?
Since episode 1, Nate has been Euphoria’s most indisputably evil character — but he’s also a complex one, and it was only a matter of time before he snapped. In “Salt the Earth,” that finally happens.
He attempts to have sex with Maddy, but it doesn’t work out. The encounter ends with Nate physically hurting Maddy again, as she leaves his house, his equally awful dad, Cal (Eric Dane) comments that their relationship isn’t “sustainable,” which is a huge understatement. It’s also worth adding that, before she’s gone, Maddy snatches a CD from Nate’s room — one that has evidence of Cal’s night with Jules. Then, finally (and thankfully), Maddy breaks up with Nate at the formal.
Meanwhile, Nate’s relationship with Cal comes to a head, too. After a football game, Cal criticizes his son, and they get in an argument that quickly turns violent: Nate yells slurs at his dad, and his dad shoves him to the ground. At first, they’re pushing, hitting, and shoving each other, but as the fight spirals out of control, Nate begins flailing and banging his head on the floor. His breakdown continues after Cal backs off, and even after Cal leaves the room. After all the abuse and trauma he’s put Maddy and Jules through, it’s impossible to empathize with Nate, but it’s an emotional scene nonetheless. Give Jacob Elordi an award.