Euphoria Special Episode Part 2: Jules was released early on HBO Max on Jan. 22 and offers an intimate look into the complicated character of Jules as she unpacks trauma and navigates fears, hopes, identity, and femininity. Jules is a character shrouded in mystery, and this episode features her in an unfiltered session with her therapist.
Jules meditates on a myriad of topics in the wake of her returning after she runs away. Her rawness calls into question our own assumptions about femininity and the distinction between our virtual worlds and our reality. The entire episode, while delving into the psyche of Jules, makes us turn inward and reflect on our own experiences.
Lorde, identity, and re-defining femininity
The episode starts with a montage sequence of Jules’s past moments in the series flashing across the reflection of her eye, accompanied by the song “Liability” by Lorde. “Liability” evokes the feeling of being rejected by someone for being too much, by being a liability to be around, which perfectly encapsulates how Jules views herself.
The feelings of exclusion, isolation, existentialism, and sadness that are pervasive in the song are also pervasive throughout this episode. This sequence is prompted by Jules being asked why she ran away from home by her therapist, setting the audience up for the fact that this episode is going to cover a lot of ground, starting with a discussion of identity and femininity.
“I feel like I’ve framed my entire womanhood around men,” says Jules, as she discusses why she wants to go off of her hormones. Jules claims that all the things she was doing to be feminine were being done because she thought it was what men wanted. As Jules calls into question the role of men in defining a woman’s individual femininity, this is a question the audience as a whole should be asking themselves.
Euphoria is never shy toward provoking thought about deep issues, but this really brings the issue of what femininity is into question loud and clear. It’s an act of radical self-love for a person to define their own femininity on their own terms — especially if that definition, Like Jules’ definitions, may not fit into cookie-cutter gender norms. Jules is in the process of unlearning and deconstructing what femininity is so that she can define it herself, which is an issue many can relate to as they construct their own identity.
Imagination vs. reality
Jules also reflects on her imagination and how this makes reality seem so disappointing, which is incredibly relatable. Jules makes the claim that the most fulfilling relationships she’s ever had were online. Jules states to her therapist that the reason these were the best were because they were pure imagination. Although this imagination, as she reflects on, makes reality disappointing. This is something we can all relate to, especially in an age of being bombarded with unrealistically beautiful moments on social media. These make it hard to appreciate the beauty in our own imperfect realities, and lead to feelings of disappointment and insecurity when real life doesn’t turn out to be how we imagined.
Jules finally tells us her side of the story
Jules explains how much she loves Rue in an extremely profound way, but also explores how her past trauma informs her fears about this relationship. Through the use of flashbacks, Jules explains that her mother’s alcoholism tore her family apart, and makes her weary of Rue. Jules explains to her therapist that she feels like Rue’s sobriety hinges solely on Jules availability to her, but at the same time Jules expects Rue to be there whenever she needs. This relationship is codependent, there is no doubt about that. The two have a complicated, messy love that, despite the codependency, encompasses how it feels to fall in love with a woman for the first time as a teenager.
Jules recalls how she’s never been looked at the way Rue looks at her — past her body and into her soul. She also recalls how she’s never been so close to a woman, and how she wanted to kiss her so many times, but when it finally happened, she froze. She claims that this freezing is because she’s never kissed a girl before, and this new experience shocked her. This mix of yearning, awkwardness, and fear often makes for messiness when it comes to young love, especially when it’s uncharted territory.
What this episode means going forward
The episode ends by Rue coming to see Jules at her house, an interaction we’ve been waiting for. As we know from Euphoria Special Episode Part 1: Rue, Rue has not been answering any of Jules’ calls or texts as she’s focusing on her sobriety. The interaction has Jules apologizing for her actions, and ends with Rue crying and running out of Jules’s room. It’s clear that the two still care deeply about each other, but their relationship is severely damaged. It’s unclear at this time if they’ll be able to solve their issues, or if they’re better off not talking to each other at all.
This episode leaves us reeling as we learn more about Jules’s complicated backstory, and leaves us yearning for more Euphoria content. According to Marie Claire, we can expect a premiere date of late 2021 or early 2022, as production was delayed by the pandemic. Until then, Jules prompts on identity, femininity, virtual worlds, and romance certainly give us something to keep our minds occupied as we anxiously await new episodes.