'Euphoria' episode 3 explores the secret lives of American teens as they separate their feelings from reality
This article contains spoilers for 'Euphoria' episode 3: 'Made You Look.'
A lot is happening in the third episode of HBO's latest teen drama Euphoria, and as radical as the wilding teens of America can get on the show at times, all of that somehow perfectly blends in to send out a message that leaves one deeply alarmed, and even more so, disturbed. For starters, there's an insight into Rue, Nate, and Kat as they channel new energies into a secret life and hidden feelings they have been harboring recently and while we are sort of amused and relieved to see them indulging in something healthy for one, the lingering fear of how far they will go before the tragic crash is always there.
So Rue (Zendaya) - the drug addicted, the nihilistic protagonist of the show, just kissed Jules (Hunter Schafer) - the new trans girl at their high school. So far we have seen Jules as the only ray of hope in Rue's life, after the latter's terrifying overdose episode which had landed her in the rehab for the summer. It's given, both have been through a lot: Rue has had her harrowing struggle with addiction, while Jules still gets extreme limits of transphobic hate just for being herself. But both of them are content over being messed up teens in a world where they know there is no hope, and by far, also end up coming across as the healthiest thing for each other. After the Fentanyl encounter from the previous episode, Rue even agrees to stop using when Jules threatens to snap their friendship.
But Jules is also into a guy she met online and even though her past encounter with a date from the app wasn't pleasant, she isn't afraid to indulge in more of them. Whether it's the thrill of the risk or whether Jules does this out of a cynical acceptance of society never treating her any better is yet to be discovered, but at this point, all we can do is worry about her. Just like we have been worried sick about Rue because that girl really needs to consider options other than mind-numbing drugs. Addled with a list of mental illnesses, all that Rue really wants is the world to go quiet around her and just when she thought kissing Jules could be an alternative to drugs, it ends super awkwardly, ricocheting her back to where it all started - Fezco's.
This is also where the episode opens the conversation on enablers and guilt. After the super scary incident with the drug lord and Rue in last week's episode, Fezco ended up seeing Rue's situation in a new light and also realizing his feelings for her. This causes him to refuse to give Rue any more drugs but like she points out, he can't have the moral high ground because he was the source of her drugs. He allowed easy access and in turn enabled Rue's addiction and is still a supplier. The point that the show addresses here is that just because somebody sees the reality of an overdose from a drug they supplied and chooses to grow a conscience about it, doesn't exempt them from being accountable for the said overdose. Like Rue says, “You f–-ing ruined my life. The least you could do is open the goddamn door and fix it."
But talking about fixing things, Kat (Barbie Ferreira) has been on a roll ever since her sex tape was leaked. Her coping mechanism and disaster management included getting a hold of what it takes to become a cam girl because the video finally attracted people who - for a change - found her body sexy and not absolutely deplorable just for being 'fat.' But this episode also takes us back into a Kat flashback - the first of its kind for the character - where we find out just how her weight blew up and how she grew so weary of it all. Just like the bullies in her present who thought it would be cool to post a video of an overweight girl having sex online, her then boyfriend from the flashback had also very publicly dumped her in front of the entire class for having gained a few pounds. So Kat doesn't mind using her extra weight to earn some extra cash and honestly? It is ridiculously entertaining because of the clients she finds online. She might be distressed but she is no damsel and we are all for it.
Jules seems like the obvious damsel in the episode because she is being catfished on the dating app by a guy called Tyler, who is actually Nate (Jacob Elordi.) Now, going by the previous episodes, it is clear that Nate has nothing close to affection for Jules. He hit her with a moving car and even publicly humiliated her at a school party out of pure spite. But is it the toxic male's twisted ways of showing affection? Nate's father is a stereotypical dominant daddy who likes recording his sexcapades with young transgenders and Nate knows about this. Incidentally, Jules's past encounter - unbeknownst to neither of the parties involved - was with Nate's dad. So there's also a possibility that Nate knows about this (thanks to his dad's videos) and this is his sick way of getting back at Jules. But him asking her to meet in person at a distant carnival could also hint at a possible attraction he harbors for her and that he really is too much of a shy guy to explore in front of others. Either way, we still hate him.
'Euphoria' airs on Sundays, at 10 pm, only on HBO.