Alongside getting Cal’s backstory, Rue heads to a place where even Ali can’t seem to reach her.

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Alongside getting Cal’s backstory, Rue heads to a place where even Ali can’t seem to reach her.

Aired 1/23/2022
Network HBO
Directed By Sam Levinson
Written By Sam Levinson
Introduced This Episode
Marsha Paula Marshall
18-Year-Old Cal Elias Kacavas
Derek Henry Eikenberry
17 Year Old Marsha Rebecca Louise
Bobbi Veronica Taylor
Bud James C. Burns
Judy Joanne Baron
Lisa Anouk Samuel
Aaron Zak Steiner


I Wasn’t Always Like This – Cal, Marsha, Derek, Lisa, Ashtray, Fez, Bud, Aaron, Nate

We head back a few decades to when Cal was a high school senior and a bit freer than the man we know today. For example, he had a best friend named Derek, who he was intimately close to, perhaps to the point Cal’s father, Bud, suspected something. But, while we do see the two men kiss, Cal mainly spends time with Marsha, who initiates a sexual awakening within Cal that leads to their oldest, Aaron.

As for modern times? With Nate pushing the idea Fez may have the disc of Cal and Jules having sex, he stalks Fez’s place, seemingly waiting for a chance to sneak in and find what he is looking for – bad idea. Why? Well, Ashtray is about that life and coerces Cal inside with a shotgun, and this pretty much leads to Cal confessing to a lot that Fez didn’t know about, but with him knowing now? He has leverage.

Add in Ashtray beats the hell out of Cal and proves Cal may know the sheriff but has too much dirt in his life to really call the cops? It allows Fez to dominate the negotiation for Cal getting to leave alive, of which Fez just wants Cal and Nate to leave him, his family, friends, and business alone.

Who Are You Really? – Lexi, Bobbi, Cassie, Maddy, Nate, Jules, Rue, Elliot, Kat, Ethan, Judy

The heading’s question is posed to Kat, who honestly doesn’t know. This leads Ethan’s mom, whom Kat is having dinner with, to give a smart comment and perhaps present the first con of dating Ethan. For can you imagine dealing with a woman like Judy for the rest of your life?

Beyond her, the same question can be asked of Cassie as she struggles with getting and keeping Nate’s attention. Is she someone who can really live with being a secret and seeing her boyfriend once a week? Can Cassie really deal with trying to make herself ultra-femme, a process that takes 3 hours, and keep doing so throughout the week, just in hopes her secret lover will glace at her? Hell, in terms of Maddy, how long can she keep this secret before giving it away? Never mind, considering Maddy is back and forth about Nate, will Cassie fight for this toxic romance just to say she has someone?

We observe all of this and more, but we may not be alone. Lexi, too watches everything go down and seemingly has made a play that might call out everyone we know in the cast. She even made a friend, Bobbi, to be her stage manager after the Vice Principal gave her the thumbs up to put on this play.

Which leaves us with Rue, Elliot, and Jules. Jules doesn’t trust Elliot, and rightfully so in some ways. He doesn’t lie about liking Rue, but it is also recognized that Rue is in a place where she isn’t necessarily looking for a guy. Heck, with a conversation between the three, there is the topic of sexuality, and while Elliot is fluid and Jules has sworn off guys, it isn’t clear what Rue is into besides people who like her? But, even then, Jules recognizes that sex isn’t a big thing for Rue and, while she is okay with it, that isn’t necessarily ideal. Especially since Elliot can be quite complementary and a bad influence, that may have wooed Jules a bit.

Taking A Jackhammer To Rock Bottom, And Going Further Down – Ali, Laurie, Fez, Rue, Gia

All Rue cares about is gaining access to drugs and doing them, preferably for free. The problem is, how does one acquire drugs for free, without passively doing something, like giving up your body? Well, Rue has a plan, and she tries to involve Fez, but with her plan talking about fronting her $5,000 worth of drugs – he shuts that down on general principle.

Enter Laurie, who hears the full plan of having underaged runners who can be blackmailed into loyalty with their phone data. Laurie thinks it is a good idea, and thus Rue gets $10,000 worth of drugs and a stern warning that Laurie will sell Rue into sex trafficking if she tries to screw her over. But, with having so many drugs, Rue doesn’t care. In fact, she even goes to NA and picks a fight with Ali that includes using what he said about his relationship with his daughters and ex against him. Which, due to seeing how nasty she can get, and bring him out of his character? He decides he is done with her.

Though, he may not be alone soon. Gia is growing tired of Rue relapsing and putting her and their mom through so much. Yet, with Rue wanting her coke and her family too, she manipulates Gia to be fine with Rue smoking weed and uses that as a cover for the harder drugs she does, which wouldn’t allow the same level of grace.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

“Who am I” is a very different question than “tell me about yourself,” right?
— Kat

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Whatever happened to Derek?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Jules and Elliot are going to hook up and potentially mirror Maddy, Nate, and Cassie, just without threats of violence
  2. Lexi’s play is going to force people to see themselves in a way that is going to be uncomfortable since it will make them realize they aren’t hiding things as good as they thought
  3. Hopefully, Cal may seek out his old friend Derek, maybe at a high school reunion
  4. Rue screwing up and Laurie keeping her promise – thus leading to someone dying
  5. Cassie and Nate getting caught by someone who would actually care they are together




I can’t be the only one who feels like Ashtray’s gangster is next level, right? The way he punked and beat the hell out of Cal went way beyond karmic retribution. That ass-whooping pushed me to wonder if the actor will be put in a crime drama since his tone, persona, and the way he handles himself? Imagine dude getting to be the star, getting revenge, or building his empire across 90 or so minutes? Can you not imagine the level of flinch-worthy action?!

Rue Hitting A New Low & How Karma Will Bite Her In The Ass

The way Rue spoke to Ali was terrible, and the fact that she was sober enough to remember NA was going on, negotiate with Laurie, and still said all those cruel things to Ali? It kind of pushes you to wonder, who is Rue when not on drugs? We saw glimpses of that with Jules in season one, but that was her girlfriend. She was getting something out of that relationship and transferred her addiction into an obsession.

With how she treated Ali, though, it makes you wonder if the real Rue is an ass who probably deserves the same karmic wake-up call Nate and Cal have gotten thus far? Which isn’t to say I want Rue to get beaten to a pulp, but clearly, tears, shouting matches, and genuine concern isn’t doing it anymore. Heck, even OD’ing is treated as a minor inconvenience. So it might be time for Rue to get her ass whipped, and since her momma isn’t going to do it, it seems a stranger may need to step in.

Jules and Elliot’s Burgeoning Friendship

When it comes to Elliot, it is almost like seeing a boy version of Rue, who wasn’t an addict but did enjoy blow and weed on occasion. In a way, I think that’s the attraction for Jules. The idea of having someone who is messed up, in different ways from her, yet there is this commonality that allows no judgement. And to boot with Elliot, he knows how to communicate and seems to be unwilling or incapable of lying.

It isn’t clear why that is, but you can see the appeal of someone aware of themselves enough to not feel the need to send out their representative and rather show up themselves. Which for someone like Jules, never mind that being attractive, there is also this feeling of it being inspirational. Considering Jules is still navigating how they identify, knowing someone who isn’t so worried by labels and can just be? That’s inspirational and aspirational.

Gia and Rue’s Scenes

First off, Gia better be someone who gets a feature within the next few episodes. Second, the intensity of her scenes with Zendaya, from the shouting over each other to them coming to the point of fighting? I know it is acting, but acting is often about channeling feelings and using them in the moment, and it seemed Storm Reid had some stuff she had to let go. This isn’t to imply Zendaya was the cause of it, but she was there, and I think she might have been caught off guard a bit – as I’m sure fans were as well.

Lexi: The Observer

This play Lexi is working on is going to be big. It’s going to be one massive, public callout of everyone and everything, and I’m here for it. The only question is, will it be held until the end, and the fallout be season 3, or will it drop this season and the reflection hit everyone and potentially be processed by the season finale?

Breaking The Fourth Wall

With both Lexi and Rue, there are cutaways that break the fourth wall. In regards to Lexi, it is breaking the fourth wall to explain her play and who her character is, alongside Rue, amongst others. For Rue? It is breaking down how a drug addict, like herself, can finesse people into accepting a cover drug while they do that drug and much harder ones.

Both scenes allow for comedic moments, and while you can see the darkness in both, in a way, it also helps you see how both cope with the way their lives are. Lexi’s inaction becomes her tool to express herself through the written word, note what she could have done, maybe should have done, and see how the situation could play out outside her head. Never mind if it would make sense.

Then with Rue, her breaking down how she gets away with drugs helps her tap into the fact that, while an addict, she isn’t stupid. She knows what she is doing and does have some realm of control. Maybe not as much as she or others would want her to have, but she is still the captain here. Just one with a ship that is leaky and sputters sometimes.

Cal’s Backstory

Perhaps the one struggle with knowing Cal’s backstory is that it doesn’t really change much. We know he suppresses his homosexual feelings, and the one chance he had to explore them with someone he trusted, that ended – abruptly. But, what are we supposed to do with this information, these feelings? What is it supposed to change? Is him letting Ashtray whoop his ass supposed to make us feel bad for how vulnerable Cal is?

As shown many times on this show and others, backstory is always good to know, but it doesn’t excuse anyone’s actions. All it does is explain how we ended up here.

[ninja_tables id=”53858″]

Rue smiling, in a creepy way
Euphoria: Season 2/ Episode 3 “Ruminations: Big and Little Bullys” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Euphoria shows that sophomore slumps only exist on shows that should have been mini-series, and ones that really have a story to tell can keep going on strong.
Cal's Backstory
Breaking The Fourth Wall
Lexi: The Observer
Gia and Rue's Scenes
Jules and Elliot's Burgeoning Friendship
Rue Hitting A New Low & How Karma Will Bite Her In The Ass

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