'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 5 Review: It's all Rue as Zendaya delivers gripping performance

It's refreshing to see Rue take the center stage in an episode that uses a good chunk of time to tell her story in the present


                            'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 5 Review: It's all Rue as Zendaya delivers gripping performance
Zendaya as Rue in a still from 'Euphoria' (HBO)
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Spoilers for 'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 5

It was all Zendaya and her spiraling Rue in what was one of the most gut-wrenching episodes of 'Euphoria' Season 2. Her relapses are no longer a secret and Episode 5 titled, 'Stand Still Like the Hummingbird' puts the spotlight on Rue who's taken a side step with the first few episodes focusing on the other key characters. If this was Rue's turn, safe to say, her arc is the one that is practically the heart of the show.

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The episode opens with Rue in a frantic search for the suitcase that Laurie gives her and her mother, Leslie confronts her saying she knew all about the suitcase. The two end up getting into a heated argument. Rue practically vandalizes her mother's room and another confrontation follows where Jules and Elliot sitting in the hall reveal that it was the former who told Rue's mother about her relapse.

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The focus immediately shifts to the frosty and insecure relationship between Rue and Jules. With enough brewing between Elliot and Rue's BFF, things came to head and ends with Zendaya breaking down. It's here that we see her acting chops on full display. From a geeky, aloof coffee-shop working teen in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' to a substance-addicted teen, she displays strong emotions and carries the episode effortlessly. Her chapter closes out when she gives her mum and sister a slip on the way to the hospital and seeks refuge at Laurie's house. So, are we looking at Rue the drug peddler in the days to come?

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Cassie, Nate, and Maddy — Lord, the toxic love triangle. Romps, raunchy sex, and confusion aside, it was a ticking time bomb willing to explode and Rue lights the fuse when she asks Cassie in most Rue way ever: "So Cassie, how long have you been f***ing Nate." And that's to that as we see Maddy practically getting ready to ball up her fists and charge at her best friend only for Kat and Lexi to pull her back.

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It's refreshing to see Rue take the center stage in an episode that uses a good chunk of time to tell her story in the present. Her addiction is out of control and how it ends is still up in the air. Jules and Elliot getting into what seems to be a relationship (that word is complex in Euphoria) just pushes her to the brink. The pacing of the episode is quite slow surprisingly, but it is one of the more heartening chapters. As the seasons inches to a close, expect one more major Rue chapter incoming.

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'Euphoria' airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on HBO.