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The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Hypocrisy within hypocrisy: Episode 4 of “Euphoria” Season 2

A slow, retrospective piece of TV, Episode 4 reminisces and raises questions, but strikes when you least expect it.
Rue and Jules star in a montage of famous romances, one being Jack and Rose from “Titanic.” Screenshot by Deniz Orbay (HBO Max/Euphoria)

“Euphoria” is self-referential in every meaning of the word. It acknowledges that it’s a show and recognizes and pays homage to other shows. Whether it’s Rue’s fourth wall breaks, Lexi’s behind-the-scenes interview or random slideshow presentations, “Euphoria” constantly winks at us that it is a collage, a hyper-citation of everything that has led up to it. It transforms itself every episode, with change in style and inspiration being the only constant. Honestly, I could talk for hours about what makes “Euphoria” unique, but for now it’s time to talk about Season 2, Episode 4: “You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can.”

I mention the show’s self-awareness because this episode, more than any other episode we’ve seen yet, is the epitome of homage-paying. We start the episode off with a montage of Rue and Jules reenacting famous romance scenes, from the famous scene in “Titanic” to “Brokeback Mountain” to the pottery scene in “Ghost.” The show lingers, takes its time to kick off—perhaps too much time. It revels in its own beauty, while borrowing beauty from other sources as well.

Plot development, although minimal, does happen in this episode, but it felt like the show intentionally focused its efforts elsewhere this time. It instead served us an aesthetic feast, creating a visual and acoustic spectacle that pulls you into the show’s surreal world.

This aesthetic feast might also have an underlying purpose, though. Fans have noticed that, in all of the intro montage’s homages, the character that Rue plays is the one that dies. 

Jack in “Titanic:” dies. 

Patrick Swayze’s character in “Ghost:” kicks the bucket. 

Jack Twist in “Brokeback Mountain:” you get the idea. 

This might be a foreshadowing to Rue’s eventual overdose, as hinted at later in the episode, but we will have to wait and see. If that’s the case, I’d call that foreshadowing done right.

Rue and Jules, outside of the montage, are on weird terms. What I like to call “the Elliot of it all” is seeming to create some cracks in R & J’s already unstable relationship. Additionally Elliot’s hidden intentions hinted at in the previous episode are starting to bear fruit. After an unsuccessful session of sex due to Rue’s drug-induced numbness and inability to orgasm, Jules, unaware of Rue’s condition, believes it’s her own fault and consults Elliot. That is probably the most insane sentence I’ve ever written.

A very uncomfortable scene of Elliot and Jules eating out of each other’s hands as makeshift you-know-whats results in a makeout sesh between the two (which happens twice in this episode), officially cementing Jules’ status as a cheater. Then begins a race between #Rules of who can make the other more jealous in a game of Truth or Dare, using Elliot as bait. Jules makes him lick her abs while Rue passionately makes out with him. God, it should have been me.

The moment you think things can’t get worse for the not-so-beloved duo, it does. The two girls and Elliot decide to acquire alcohol, and for some reason agree to rob a convenience store for that purpose. This has to be due to a craving for danger, because I refuse to believe none of these sociopaths have fake IDs. Or better yet, I refuse to believe that they forgot Fez literally owns a convenience store. And you’d think they go through the trouble of committing a crime for some hard liquor, right? No. They buy White Claws. White. Claws. I wonder how much the producers got paid for ad placement.

While the three are chilling in the car after the store raid, Jules gets mad at Rue for drinking a White Claw she handed her, which is so hypocritical that I don’t even know where to start. In response to this, Rue says what we’ve all been thinking.

“I wanna go home,” Rue says.

“Why?” Jules asks.

“Because I can’t fucking stand you.”

Rue is heading towards something tragic. At the end of her arc this episode, we see a beautifully crafted imaginary sequence of her hugging her late father and crying, intercut with footage of her hugging a singer at the local church with other characters watching from the pews. She resorts to the drugs in the suitcase given to her by Laurie, raising the question of how she’s going to make enough money to up and re-up the teacher-turned-dealer. Later in the episode, during the second makeout sesh, Elliot confesses to Jules about his and Rue’s ongoing drug abuse, setting up a confrontation (or resolution) for next episode.

Someone else is also heading towards something tragic, or perhaps is already there: Cassie. After finding out that Maddy and Nate are “back together,” she spends Maddy’s entire birthday party drunk out of her mind, eventually throwing up in the hot tub. The big reveal seems to be imminent, with Maddy acting suspicious about the whole situation. She feels especially curious when Nate says they’re not “back together” without pause. They have a whole debate on how quickly he rushed to state that fact in classic Nate-Maddy style.

I have to ask: where are Lexi and Fez amidst all of this? They set them up as the unexpectedly adorable duo back in this season’s first episode but besides a conversation ruined by the presence of Faye in Episode 2 we have not seen anything happen on the #Fexi front. Time to change gears on that story, Sam Levinson.

Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane) goes on an incredibly funny and tangential monologue, defending himself and dissing his family in the process. Screenshot by Deniz Orbay (HBO Max/Euphoria) (HBO Max)

The absolute star of this episode, however, and of the entire season at this point, is Cal frickin’ Jacobs. Absolutely plastered, Cal decides to take a trip down memory lane. He brings out the old Jeep he used to drive with Derek, swerving his way to the bar where they kissed. He reminisces about the olden days, drinking and dancing the night away. He then gets kicked out of the bar, much to his dismay, because he tries to wrestle the people there just like he did with Derek.

What comes after is probably the best scene of the season, by far. I cannot emphasize enough how much my friends and I enjoyed this scene while watching; someone even suggested making this scene one hour long and just calling that an episode on its own.

The scene starts with a drunk and giggly Cal walking into the house, pulling his dick out and peeing on the floor of the foyer. He then proceeds to tell the family how lonely he is, the amount of men he’s been with, calls them hypocrites for judging his double life and starts verbally attacking them one by one. He judges Aaron’s choice of porn, reminds Martha of her double life of Facebook flirting and calls Nate his biggest regret. He takes a family painting off the wall, which mysteriously includes a previously-unmentioned third Jacobs brother, and walks out. 

Start the Eric Dane Emmy campaign right now.

This episode was beautiful, to the risk of being called an extended music video at times. It does lack narrative, but makes up for that with cinematography and impressive dialogue. Regardless of what you think of “Euphoria,” the fact that it was mentioned several times in my Cinema and Media Arts class for different reasons every single time shows the cultural impact this filmmaker’s dream is having on the current paradigm.

New “Euphoria” episodes come out at 8 p.m. CST every Sunday on HBO Max.

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About the Contributor
Deniz Orbay
Deniz Orbay, Former Senior Staff Writer
Deniz Orbay (25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science double-majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science and minoring in Cinema and Media Arts. He writes for Life and News, is a big movie nerd and is better than average at every sport in which a ball is used. You can reach him at [email protected].
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