Sunday, January 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'Euphoria' - Jules Begins to Express Herself Genuinely During a Therapy Session in 'F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob'

HBO's Euphoria - "F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob"

Over the Christmas holiday, Jules reflects on the year.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the special episode of HBO's Euphoria.

"F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob" was written by Sam Levinson & Hunter Schafer and directed by Sam Levinson

Between the first and second seasons, the drama has offered these two intimate episodic looks at Rue and Jules' internal lives following the seeming collapse of their complicated relationship. On one hand, it is a purely practical way for the creative team to release content to keep the audience engaged during the extended hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, it has helped the audience emerge with a deeper and more meaningful understanding of these two characters. It's easy to see that their romantic relationship was toxic and codependent. And yet, the attraction between them brings out so many fascinating elements of the story and their individual characters. The second special follows a similar structure to the first. It's largely Jules delivering a monologue during her first session with a new therapist. However, the narrative doesn't remain confined to that specific location. It features more of the stylistic flourishes that were all too common in the first season. Now, that could absolutely dampen the proceedings a significant degree because it could be seen as one big distraction. And yes, the thrills are meant to entertain here. But they also provide a visceral experience. One where it is plain to see how Jules could be so seduced and enthralled by the way Rue looked at her as well as the horror she feels whenever Rue is too dependent on her to maintain her sobriety. Jules can reflect so well on the life she has lived up to this point. It is hard for her to actually say some of the hard emotions that have been pent up inside her. However, it's also difficult for her to see the correlations amongst the many relationships she has. All of them coalescing together has created a mosaic that is much more complex and seemingly daunting to her. It's easier for her to package things into certain boxes and only expect certain things from them. She is starting to question her perspective on the world. It's not all magically fixed through this one therapy session. The same is true of Rue following her diner conversation with Ali. It provides a different perspective. One that hopes to inspire introspection and a willingness to have a changed outlook on the world. But again, that acknowledgement can only do so much. Jules talks about wanting to stop taking her hormones and falling in love too easily. She is starting a conversation that will have massive repercussions throughout her entire life. She is figuring out her identity. She ties so much of it to how others perceive her. It's more complicated than that. It's how she sees herself reflected in others. Her definition of femininity is based on how men perceive her. It's intoxicating when she sexts with Tyler for hours. It's devastating when the fantasy is broken for her. In that regard, it's clear that more of this special is meant to serve as supplemental story to the events of the first season. Things were happening in Jules' life that Rue didn't know about and the show didn't depict onscreen. That helps explain some of her more erratic behavior. And now, it can provide a more enriched explanation for her desire to run away from this place. She didn't feel safe here. But again, so much of that is associated with the complicated relationships she has with everyone. Changing her identity may not make anything better. She still yearns for Rue. She feels like she messed up. Even in the end, that feeling still persists. This isn't going to be an easy life for the two of them moving forward. Jules is scared of losing Rue. She worries about returning home and being unable to get to her in a locked bathroom. She also fears the way Rue will look at her knowing the crazy thoughts and obsessions she has in her own head. It's a complex sense of herself. One that navigates self identity and self harm in ways that are absolutely grueling. The story itself can be overwrought at times. The operatic score is overbearing here. And yet, the narrative remains grounded because of the strong hold Hunter Schafer has over this character. She commands the screen and makes the audience pay attention to each string of thought Jules has. She meanders around the conversation not wanting to talk about certain things and unable to express other thoughts more clearly. A point is still made though. This seems beneficial to her. Only time will tell. Plus, the world is complicated beyond the relationship between Rue and Jules. That appears to be the grounding element of the series. It has more ambitions as well. That complicates their lives. They may not be able to healthily rely on each other. That too is devastating to their collective sanities. They've reached out once more. It comes in a new context. The second season may offer something brighter because the mistakes of the past are recognized. But they are still teenagers trying to make sense of the world that only increasingly gets crazier because of the outside forces seemingly wanting to doom them before any kind of intimacy and vulnerability can flourish in a genuine way. These questions linger as the show prepares for the next season. It leaves the audience also wondering about the hold these characters have on each other and the benefits that can seemingly come from having these difficult conversations about introspection.