Euphoria: Season 1, Episode 5 “’03 Bonnie and Clyde” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Nate being interrogated.
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Maddy gets focused on this episode, and it becomes clear that no one has a healthy concept of love – and that could get someone killed.


Network
HBO
Director(s) Jennifer Morrison
Writer(s) Sam Levinson
Air Date 7/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Minako Sean Martini
11 Year Old Maddy Keilani Arellanes

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Recap

What Is Love?: Kat, Ethan, Cassie, McKay

After the carnival, one couple makes up, and the other does. Kat and Ethan? They don’t makeup. In fact, Kat doubles down on just having sex with random people. Seemingly seeking a sense of empowerment, but when one guy seems to want to talk, and with him ejaculating quickly, it seems to leave her empty. Leading to her looking for some intimacy from her mom to recover from possible feelings of emptiness.

As for Cassie and McKay? They makeup but in a way which makes Cassie seem more like the bad person than McKay. Not that she doesn’t address her feelings, but he kind of brushes them aside, tries to play it cool and allows her guilt to fill the situation. This is all without him pushing back and taking ownership for his part.

From A Broken Home To A Troubling Relationship: Cal, Minako, Maddy, Nate

Young Maddy (Keilani Arellanes) after her pageant days were over.
Young Maddy (Keilani Arellanes)

To put it succinctly, Maddy has had a very troubling childhood. One which started off okay in pageants but, with the discovery of one pedophile, who didn’t touch Maddy, her pageantry career ended, and she became lost for a long time. Which may explain why, at age 14, she lost her virginity to a 40-year-old dude – to which Rue says Maddy was in control even though we know that’s not possible.

Statutory rape aside, it seemed for a long time Maddy just didn’t want to be like her mom, have a relationship like her parents, or even have the same living conditions. So when Nate came around, the son of the town’s biggest real estate developer, it is all she could ask for. She got to live out a similar life to Sharon Stone in Casino, and that became the dream.

At least until Nate showed himself to be someone who wanted to own her more so than be with her. Hence the way he talked to her, had sex with her and manhandled her. Something that gets discovered this episode and leads to Nate having to deal with the authorities and while you may think Cal has the power to make that go away, he doesn’t. Euphoria isn’t that kind of show. Nate gets suspended while the investigation goes on and Maddy has to deal with tons of videos about abuse and all eyes on her.

Minako (Sean Martini) talking with Cal.
Minako (Sean Martini)

As this all happens, Cal continues to protect Nate, make him into a piece of trash of a man, by making him deny what he did, and begin discrediting Maddy. A task that seems to be taken a toll on Cal in private to the point where, when he invites a boy named Minako for sex, he ends up just talking. At least, considering we don’t see Minako getting what he came for, and this show not shy about sexual content, we’re left to assume Minako and Cal didn’t do the deed.

What we do know, however, is Maddy runs to see Nate after things calm down slightly.

(They/I) Can’t Be Your Everything: Ali, Jules, Rue, Lexi

Rue is aware Jules doesn’t like her romantically, yet it seems she holds out hope. The kind that Ali is trying to snap Jules out of for he doesn’t want her going from being addicted to pills to a person. She’s been clean 13 days, and he doesn’t want to see that end just because Jules maybe said something to hurt her feelings. And you know, thanks to a threeway hangout with Lexi, Jules is coming to realize she does have that much sway. Also, with learning Rue has never been in love, and hasn’t been made desensitized to sex like nearly everyone else, it puts Jules on notice. It makes her realize how dangerous her relationship with Rue is and may lead her to question their closeness.

Jules listening to Lexi tell her she is the reason Rue is changing.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Anyone else thinks Lexi has a crush on Rue?
  2. Are we ever going to learn something notable about BB?

Review

Highlights

Addressing Maddy’s Cycle Of Abuse, Neglect, And Bad Examples

With nearly every character we have been given a background which illuminates you to their trauma. However, after Jules, I figured we’d plateau, or things would not be as severe. Yeah, somehow the show escalated things past a trans girl cutting herself. For whether it is a predator having sex with Maddy at 14, her mom destroying the only real dream she had, her dad being absent, and then Nate? She’s had a messed up life.

Hell, add in all the random sex she has had to feel something, perhaps get a sense of validation, and it helps you understand Maddy. Why Maddy wears the outfits she does, talks as she does, and why she maintains this abusive relationship with Nate. It’s her concept of love.

A Twisted Concept Of Love

Something that, for nearly everyone on the show, is twisted. Setting Maddy aside, let’s note Kat. In her finding empowerment through sex, it seems she has stumbled upon the idea that there has to be more to it than someone getting off. There needs to be some form of affection, perhaps love, and not just the guy getting off and her participating. Everything can’t be like her cam chat.

Kat laying on her mother's lap.

Heck, let’s bring up Jules and Rue too. Jules, like many people on the show, has almost desensitized herself to meaningless sex yet still seeks it out to confirm her needs as a person. And with Rue? Even outside her dependency on Jules as extrinsic motivation to stay clean, look at her relationship to Ali. While she doesn’t love him, you can see this sort of addiction to him too. If only because, I’d submit, he has become that negative voice in her head. The one which says things will end, badly, and she should prep. That life will be hard, and while Ali is just speaking harsh truths, you gotta agree that Rue may not be in the best place to be hit with hard facts.

Jules Realizing The Weight On Her Shoulders

While Jules did push the idea she wouldn’t be friends with Rue if she weren’t clean, I don’t think she foresaw herself as being the reason Rue stayed clean. So with Lexi dumping the idea Rue is changing for the better because of her, that’s a lot. After all, part of Rue’s drive is that she loves Jules and would do anything for her. She even claims there isn’t anything Jules could do to make her mad and she is planning to follow Jules everywhere.

Now, while sweet, let’s not forget Jules doesn’t love Rue romantically. Also, Rue is highly destructive and will blow up on people, as we saw with Fez. So should Rue be considered a ticking timebomb, a dormant volcano or is Jules safe? For, lest we forget, while men are the main perpetrators of killing trans women, it isn’t like women aren’t likely killing them as well.

Jules looking like she has come to a realization.

Nate Actually Getting In Trouble

Maybe I just watch way too many YA shows in which the villainous character, especially if their parent is rich, gets away with anything? Either way, I was expecting a slap on the wrist, a smear campaign, and that’s it. Yet, Nate seems to be, legally anyway, paying for what he did. Granted, Maddy is too, since the cops forcibly stripped her down, and now her business is widely circulated throughout the school, but Nate ending up a social pariah remains a surprise.

Low Point

How Rue Describes Maddy’s First Time

I know Euphoria is a show about teens which isn’t directly marketed to teens, but it is hard to not feel uncomfortable with Rue trying to warp what happened to Maddy as anything resembling consent. That is her having sex with a 40 something-year-old at 14. I get Rue isn’t alright in the head but, it’s weird how she tried to play down the situation to be anything beyond what it was.

On The Fence

McKay

McKay asking why Cassie is sorry?

Perhaps I’m just annoyed because he is the only consistently seen Black guy on the show and he is trash? Or due to Cassie, while she has her problems, generally being a nice girl. If not the fact McKay is in college and is not only influenced by some high school jock but also messing with this high school girl’s head? Either way, I don’t know if his episode is really going to do much to change my opinion of him. What sob story can he have to lead to any feeling that he isn’t trash? Maybe not on Nate’s level, for that takes a whole lot of effort, but still basura!

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