Warning: Spoilers ahead for Euphoria special episode “Jules.”
While there was admittedly a lot to absorb during the hour-long HBO special, there was one important detail many viewers seemed to have missed.
In “Jules," the titular character (played Hunter Schafer, who also co-wrote the episode) talks to a therapist (Lauren Weedman) about her relationships — with herself, a guy called "Tyler" she met online (who ended up being a fake character created by the toxic Nate Jacobs, played by Jacob Elordi, and her best friend/soulmate Rue Bennett (Zendaya).
Throughout the episode, as Jules explains the deep connection she fostered with the imaginary Tyler through lengthy texts, we see her romantic and sexual fantasies played out with him. However, many fans assumed that her imagination cast Nate as Tyler — and granted, you barely see his face, and it looks a hell of a lot like him.
However, that isn't Nate/Elordi (at least, not until the end, but we'll get to that). Tyler is played the by adult film actor Jayden Marcos.
In these scenes, we get to see how "Tyler" looked in Jules' head before she found out the awful truth about his identity. However, she tells her therapist that their bond felt so real to her that even though she now knows he was made up, she's still in love with him. “I’m still in love with Tyler. And I don’t know when that’s going to change,” Jules says to Dr. Nichols.
However, at the end of the episode, Jules' passionate sex fantasy with Tyler morphs into something darker and more sinister. While they're making love, she becomes worried that Rue is about to die of an overdose, and as she reaches for Rue, Tyler morphs into the monstrous Nate. He yells, “don’t look at my face!” at her before covering her face with his hand, and a terrified Jules screams.
Unfortunately, it can't be a Jules-centered Euphoria episode without Nate popping in to mess everything up. This complicated fantasy-turned-nightmare illustrates Jules' deepest fear: if she focuses too much on the imaginary relationship that consumes her (or any other for that matter), she'll cause unwanted harm to Rue. Nate's appearance also signals that he still has a tight grasp on Jules; hopefully she'll find a way to finally face that demon in the upcoming season 2. We'll take Tyler over Nate any day.