The long and patient wait for Euphoria’s second season was rewarded in its Sunday-night premiere, which ends with Rue Bennett (Zendaya) and Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer) officially becoming a couple. All it took was Jules leaving Rue behind at the train station in 2019’s first season finale, followed by a couple of illuminating, intimate special episodes as they both dealt with the fallout of their actions.
The premiere of season two kicks off with Rue avoiding Jules at a house party, and then shutting down their conversation as promptly as it begins. But the hour surprisingly closes with Rue admitting her feelings to Jules. Cue a romantic kiss as the light shines on them, a sea of darkness and despair giving way to brightness. Zendaya calls Euphoria’s lighting a “distinct visual language,” crediting the show’s two special episodes for allowing the creators to experiment with light, color, and camerawork before season two.
Zendaya also tells The A.V. Club that Rue and Jules’ relationship is already marred by Rue’s relapse: “It’s interesting and quite sad that the only time she feels comfortable fully expressing herself is when she’s high. Although I’m excited they can be together and have this beautiful moment, it’s not ideal. It’s rooted in a layer of pain.”
Rue being high plays a part in her finally asking Jules out, but it’s also why she hardly processes other experiences in the episode. Rue accompanies her drug dealer, Fez (Angus Cloud), and his younger brother, Ashtray (Javon Walton), for a meeting with other dealers that goes south. At one point, she’s slammed against a bathroom wall and scanned for a wire, while Fez et al. are forced to strip. Yet Rue comes out of the incident without realizing the danger she was in.
“The whole show is nuanced, and nothing is just one way. [Even after season one], she still doesn’t know how to navigate sobriety. That adds a whole other layer of complex issues,” Zendaya says. “We wanted to start the show by giving Rue everything she says she wants. We give her her ideal dream situation and see how it works. She tries to balance two lives. We’ll see how well that goes for her.”
So, Rue is in a good place with Jules, but it might not last long because of all the new people she encounters in the premiere. At the party, Rue meets and instantly connects with new student Elliot (Dominic Fike) over their common vice. This bond sparks jealousy for Jules in the forthcoming episodes, Schafer tells The A.V. Club. “As much as she parades or likes to play up her nonchalance, [their friendship] gets to her. She’s just like, ‘What is going on? I’m the girlfriend.’”
Plus, Jules doesn’t know Rue’s taking drugs again—not yet anyway. As Schafer says, “Jules wants Rue to be forward, [to] not be a passive lover. But she doesn’t know she can only get that from her when she’s high. Jules doesn’t even know that at the end of hour one.”
Elliot complicates the relationship between Rue and Jules, or “Rules,” as Euphoria’s fandom has dubbed them. Fike tells The A.V. Club that after having watched the premiere, he can’t wait for the audience to see just how weird the trio is about to get.