Content Warning: This contains mentions of drug addiction, suicide,
The entire basis of Euphoria is centered around Rue Bennett. Whether she’s the actual protagonist of the HBO series or not, she is the narrator and it’s through her eyes that pretty much everything is explained to the audience. However, unlike most narrators in a movie or a TV show, Rue is not reliable due to her history with lying, as has been proven on the show a few times.
Those things also help make Rue a complex character. At times, the audience sympathizes with her and feels bad for the things that happen to her. In other episodes, she does things that make it so the viewers question whether or not they actually like her.
Updated on February 23rd, 2022 by Kevin Pantoja: Flawed and complex protagonists are nothing new but Euphoria kind of takes it to the next level. Rue Bennett and her addiction have caused her to do some truly awful things that could be considered unforgivable by most people. Despite that, the audience is still meant to mostly root for her and they certainly still feel bad for her when things go wrong, even if she sometimes deserves it. The question of “does Rue get sober?” or “does Rue stay sober?” are asked almost every episode and it often coincides with how the audience will feel about her that week.
When She Gets Depressed After Jules Leaves
Rue places a lot of importance on her relationship with Jules. In fact, Jules even feels too much pressure from it, thinking that Rue’s sobriety can sometimes rely on her availability. Although Rue remained sober when Jules left town to visit an old friend, it still wasn’t a good time for her.
Rue fell into a depression where she just laid in bed watching reality television for hours on end. It got so bad that she couldn’t even get up to use the bathroom, injuring herself in the process. Although she did figure out most of the Jules/Nate drama during this time, it was certainly hard to watch.
When She Relapsed
Eventually, Rue does get sober and remains that way for most of season 1. A lot of it is tied to the bond she shares with Jules and the fact that she has Ali by her side for the moments where she might do something she regrets. That all changes when the finale arrives.
After Rue changes her mind and stays behind, leaving Jules to escape town on her own, she is heartbroken. Rue returns home and does drugs again, relapsing. The scene is breathtaking, especially given how Rue thinks back to when her father was alive and life was better.
When She Admitted She Doesn’t Plan On Living Long
This comes from the conversation Rue has with Ali in the diner. Among the many things they discuss, Rue mentions that she doesn’t feel like she’ll be alive for very long. A major part of it is just simply that she doesn’t think she deserves to have that kind of life.
Rue opens up about the horrible things that she has done, including putting her mother through hell. She doesn’t forgive herself for what she has put her family through. Season 2 has only added to this, with Rue mentioning thoughts on suicide multiple times over.
When She Is Forced To Talk About Rehab On Stage
The first episode deals with Rue’s return to her regular life following a stint in rehab. That includes coming back from summer break and the first day of a new school year. Rue is almost immediately forced to go on stage in front of everyone and talk about her time away from school.
For starters, a lot of people don’t do well with public speaking, so that’s awkward on its own. However, it really becomes a situation where the audience feels bad for Rue when you consider that the teachers are likely aware of her time in rehab. Making her talk about it to everyone is an awful thing to do. Rue can’t say anything and runs off to the bathroom where Lexi attempts to comfort her.
When She’s Forced To Take Drugs
Rue isn’t someone who needs much pushing to do drugs. In many episodes, she just chooses to do them on her own but she has seemed to have her limits. For starters, there is when she was put in the crosshairs of a dangerous gangster nicknamed Mouse. She declines his offer of fentanyl but he intimidates her into taking it and threatens to take something from her until Fez intervenes to save Rue.
In season 2, Rue seemingly hits rock bottom and ends up at the home of a drug dealer named Leslie. While Leslie seemingly takes care of Rue, she gives her morphine and uses a needle for it, which Rue doesn’t like. However, Rue was desperate for anything to take away the pain. She woke up in a dangerous situation but thankfully got home safely.
When She Gave Her Eulogy At Her Dad’s Funeral
There’s no doubt that the loss of her father had a major impact on Rue. While her drug addiction didn’t exactly begin after he was gone, you get the sense that she believes she won’t ever be as happy now that he’s gone. Season 2 used flashbacks to perfection when showing how she handled the aftermath.
On two occasions, clips were shown of Rue having to give a eulogy at his funeral. It’s crushing to hear her talk about how she can close her eyes to be with him and seeing her in tears as she spoke. Throw in her drug use during the event and it becomes even more tragic.
When She Couldn’t Open A Candy Wrapper
During season 2’s fifth episode, Rue upsets basically everyone she encounters. It’s the lowest of the low for her. Despite that, seeing what comes next and how it affects her is crushing. She deserved some consequences but this was heartbreaking.
The simple act of opening a candy wrapper was seemingly the most difficult thing in the world for Rue. She was physically weak during withdrawal and she couldn’t even manage to unwrap something. Rue was a mess of tears and snot as her mother and the audience watched her struggle.
When She Lied In Narcotics Anonymous
The series begins with Rue’s return from a stint in rehab. She overdosed and was found by her little sister Gia, who remains traumatized by the event. When Rue returned, she was meant to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, where she immediately lied to everyone.
From the fellow people in the group to her friends to her mother, Rue said she was sober, but she was still doing drugs at the time. It made the fans who root for her upset because they want to see her get better. Thankfully, scene-stealer Ali caught on to her lies and ultimately helps her.
When She Blamed Jules For Her Relapse
The relapse made it seem like Rue might be back on the wrong path in season 2. However, the special episode “Trouble Don’t Last Always” revealed that she contacted Ali about it. That showed that she wants to stay clean at least somewhat. She talked to him about her addiction and several other things.
During their conversation, a lot was revealed. One of them is that she held Jules responsible for her relapse and for hurting her. Ali wisely pointed out that their relationship was never officially defined and that it doesn’t all fall on Jules. It’s unfair of Rue to put the blame on Jules for her life.
When She Didn’t Leave Fezco’s House
The friendship between Rue and Fezco really gets established in the show’s second episode. The first installment saw him as a drug dealer she has a past with but not much more. She came to him for drugs again in the follow-up but he urged her to leave.
Desperate for drugs, Rue ignored his constant warnings. Things get immediately serious when Fezco’s supplier Mouse shows up. The aforementioned case of Rue ending up high on fentanyl happened because of this. Rue could’ve avoided this situation had she just listened.
When She Threatens Her Mother
To be fair, this one is only actually seen in the midst of a montage but it’s harrowing nonetheless. While Rue was on drugs, she had a volatile relationship with her mom. The two argued, fought, and nearly came to blows. The worst of it happened when Rue grabbed a weapon.
After a picture in a frame breaks during one of their arguments, Rue picked up a shard of glass and held it to her mother’s face, threatening to hurt her. This is the main moment that Rue calls back to with Ali when discussing how she feels about the treatment of her family.
When She Called Jules Selfish
Fans finally got to see Rue and Jules as a real couple for parts of season 2. While things were good on the surface, Rue was lying about the time she spent with Eliott and that she was still doing drugs. When Jules found out, she told Rue’s mom, leading to a huge emotional breakdown for Rue.
Rue was stunned to learn that Jules was at her house, listening to her yell at her family. However, that shock quickly turned to anger and Rue lashed out at Jules. She ran her down for her flaws and called her selfish. While Zendaya’s performance was masterful, it was one of the show’s saddest moments.
When She Yelled At Fezco
After the events where Rue failed to listen to what Fezco warned her about, he made the choice to cut her off. She returns to him the following episode in “Made You Look” for drugs after she kisses Jules and doesn’t get the exact response she was hoping for.
Fezco refused to open the door for her, not wanting to indulge her in her addiction again. Rue broke down outside, banging on the door and screaming at him. She ridiculed him and blamed him for her overdose in an emotional scene that earned Zendaya an Emmy Award.
When She Brought Up Ali’s Tragic Past
During the Rue special episode, she and Ali opened up to each other about some really personal things. That included Ali sharing his darkest moments, like when he hit his wife (which he promised himself he wouldn’t do after his father was an abuser) due to his addiction. It ruined his relationship with his children.
Not wanting to hear advice from Ali while back on drugs, Rue got too vicious with him. She said that nobody, her included, wanted him as a parental figure. To make it worse, when he tried to be stern with her, she nonchalantly asked if he was going to hit her. Ali was devastated by the words but ultimately forgave Rue for it.
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