How much of the Euphoria’s Special Episode Part 2 really happened?

Euphoria Season 1, episode 8 (debut 8/4/19): Hunter Eddy Chen/HBO
Euphoria Season 1, episode 8 (debut 8/4/19): Hunter Eddy Chen/HBO /

While it doesn’t look like Euphoria‘s second season will be gracing our TV screens anytime soon, due to the pandemic, the creators have prepared a nice appetizer to hold us down in the meantime. HBO delivered a two-part special with the first episode centered on Rue’s sobering chat with her sponsor, Ali, following a relapse. Euphoria’s  Special Episode Part 2 focuses on Jules’s first therapy session and what’s been going on in her head.

The last time we saw Jules, she had abandoned Rue to jump on a train headed to New York. We now learn that Jules is grounded by her Dad for running away but is also forced to take part in mandatory therapy. We also get to see why Jules was so eager to run away, and it seems that it all has to do with Jules going through more than we, the audience, have seen.  While Euphoria has effortlessly unraveled Rue to uncover the hurt under the drug use, Jules has been struggling to carry the weight of her problems behind the scenes.

The special reveals that while Jules and Rue were dating last season, Jules had also dealt with her mother’s return. Jules’s mother has also been battling with addiction like Rue and had been making attempts at reconciliation. That very Halloween night, when Jules runs away, she discovers that her mom relapsed and is in the hospital.

It is immediately clear how overwhelming it can be for a teenage girl to balance two people she loves in her life and the drug addiction that intrudes on their relationships. Additionally, Jules mourns the relationship she had with her online love Tyler, who was really Nate catfishing her. And above all else, Jules is still in a phase of self-discovery as a Transwoman. Unsurprisingly, the pure weight of it all has pushed Jules to escape, and so Jules physically leaves for New York.

What parts of Euphoria’s Special Episode Part 2 was Jules’s imagining?

The rest of the episode unfolds as a combination of dream, nightmare, and reality. Jules claims Tyler was the best sex she ever had. She even claims to still be in love with him, knowing that it was a predator like Nate who had been talking to her the whole time. However,  all of Jules’s sexual fantasies that played out in the New York apartment never actually happened.

The encounters between Jules and Tyler were all imaginations that played out in Jules’s head. Likewise, the violent sexual session that Jules has with Tyler while reaching out for Rue is also fictional and probably reflective of Nate being the person behind the persona.

Euphoria's Special Episode Part 2
Zendaya and Hunter Schafer in Euphoria’s special episode Part 2 /

Jules’s love affair with Rue in New York is also a figment of her imagination. While Jules would have liked to have taken Rue with her to New York, what she most feared was a relapse, which likely became an even bigger reason for concern considering that her mom had just relapsed. Jules imagined that she would come home and find that Rue had overdosed in the bathroom. The scenes with Rue laying on the floor, though vivid, are also fictional anxieties of Jules’s imagination.

Hopefully, Jules will continue therapy into the second season. It wouldn’t be fair for Jules to keep carrying her heavy load without any help on coping, but it’s hard to tell if this is where the next season is headed. What we know for sure is that Jules is back and that this all happens before Rue heads to her meeting with Ali. Hopefully, there are brighter days ahead for both of them.

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Euphoria is expected to return to HBO in 2021