Content Warning: This list contains mentions of mental illness, domestic violence, and suicide.
The HBO teen drama Euphoria created waves in the media after its release. The show follows some teenagers as they navigate high school life in the suburbs. Rue is the central character and narrator, played by the beloved and extremely talented Zendaya, who brings her sardonic wit and dry humor to the character.
Critics and viewers alike found Zendaya’s performance exemplary as she brought to life the struggling teenager. A lot of what Rue said during the show’s inaugural season has already become iconic within the history of teen TV shows.
Updated on January 6th, 2022, by Kevin Pantoja: After nearly two years, Euphoria is finally on the verge of returning for its long-awaited season 2. In the time since season 1 aired, Zendaya has won the Best Actress Emmy for her performance and shined again in a special episode that premiered in late 2020. With season 2 on the horizon, it’s as good a time as ever to look back on Rue’s history so far and find the lines that truly define who she is as a person and are also among the most memorable ever uttered on the show.
The Story Of Her Birth
“I Put Up A Good Fight But I Lost. For The First Time, But Not The Last.”
Throughout the show, through voiceover, Rue talks about her thoughts and feelings. In the very first episode, viewers get a glimpse of this as she talks about exiting from her mother’s womb.
Right from the beginning, viewers understand the headspace Rue is in. They get an idea of the kind of person she is and the kinds of things that await her. As soon as she is born, she feels like she has already taken a loss.
A Lost Girl
“I Just Showed Up One Day Without A Map Or A Compass.”
Rue is on medication from when she was really young and she’s someone who feels very lost in the world. She doesn’t understand what she has to say, or what she has to do, and struggles with the tiniest of things.
This line captures quite accurately what she feels like. It’s like she was thrown into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. It’s like she didn’t get the directions that everyone around seems to have gotten, which helps the audience feel sympathy for Rue.
She Knows Her Limits
“I Mean, I’m All Good With Drugs Until Guns Start Coming Out.”
Drugs appear everywhere in Euphoria. The show tries to reflect the harsh reality wherein it’s not very difficult to acquire drugs. But in the moment where Rue says this, Rue and the viewers are forced to confront the reality of what it actually means to be in the drug business.
Her dealer Fez is shown as a nice person who seems to be in it to care for his family. The show doesn’t villainize him but Fez is shown to be buying from a bigger drug dealer about whom the same can’t be said. Rue is in serious danger during this scene and you can understand that she has her limits. Guns take things too far.
Jules Is Her Person
“And, You Know, You Just Can’t Be Mad At Me For Wanting You To Be Okay.”
Rue is very vulnerable around Jules and she is extremely concerned for Jules when she hears her evening plan. But Rue takes the courageous step here by not just wallowing by herself but instead telling Jules why exactly she’s worried.
It’s a very sensitive moment that holds relevance, considering the fact that Rue is now understanding what it is like to be in the shoes of the people who care about her. She is now in the same position and it shows how important Jules is to Rue.
The Emotional Breakdown
“If You Gave A S**t About Me You Wouldn’t Have Sold Me F-ing Drugs In The First Place!”
This is a very difficult scene where Rue is screaming, crying, and banging at Fez’s door asking him to sell to her. Fez knows about Rue, how addicted she is, how she’s trying to get better, and so he refuses to sell to her when she comes in as manic as she does.
Rue shouts some harsh and bitter truths about the situation and about Fez. And though they reconcile later, what Rue shouts in anger is actually something that needs to be reflected upon. The audience really feels for this because Fez is such a likable character.
Rue On Jules
“She Hated Her Life. Not Because It Was Bad But Because When You Hate Your Brain And Your Body, It’s Hard To Enjoy The Rest.”
Every episode focuses on a different character and they are introduced through Rue’s voiceover. Here, she talks about Jules’ childhood and her experiences. Jules started transitioning when she was 13 and until then she was finding it very hard to enjoy her life.
She didn’t feel like herself in the body she was in and hence was unable to generally find too much joy outside of it as well. Rue doesn’t mince her words and says things outright. Even her narration has this straightforward quality, detailing the harsh realities of Jules’s tragic backstory.
The Ever-Cynical Rue
“You Realize They’re All Just F***ed Up, Too And Lost. They Just Have A Reason To Mask It.”
As much as Rue thinks otherwise, she is still a teenager. And as much as she thinks and claims to be self-aware, Ali calls her out on it very easily. In this interaction, viewers see how differently the teenager and the grown-up see the situation.
Rue doesn’t like the fact that people feel sorry for her when she says she’s not particularly passionate about anything. She thinks that everyone is this way and just pretends to be otherwise. Her cynicism clearly shows in these lines.
Her Everyday Struggle
“Every Time I Feel Good, I Think It Will Last Forever… But It Doesn’t.”
For Rue, even staying sober felt like a drug and she had, in a way, replaced drugs with a person. She needed Jules and when she wasn’t around, she felt withdrawal from her very severely. She was overjoyed when she was with Jules and thought that the state of euphoria would last.
Even though Ali had told her that nothing in high school lasts forever, she was still in denial of it. And so when she realizes things are not going well, she has to face extreme lows as well.
Her Heartbreaking Concern
“You Know When You’re With Someone And Things Just Aren’t Right But You’re Afraid To Ask Because The Answer Might Be Worse Than The Feeling Right Now?”
Rue is above all a scared teenager who is in love. Here, she addresses how sometimes the easier way to deal with things is to be in denial. She’s afraid that things have changed with Jules as she can feel it but she’s scared to ask Jules because she knows that asking it makes it real.
She’s terrified of the answer because she knows it is possible that things could be even worse than she imagines. This line captures quite well the confusing state of being a teenager and being in love.
An Honest Question
“Do You Wish I Was Different?”
Rue may want to come across as someone who doesn’t care about anything and she puts up a good performance of the same as well. She doesn’t want to be vulnerable and instead masks it with her sardonic wit and sarcasm.
But in the final episode of Euphoria season 1, she can’t help herself from asking Jules if the problem was with her. This question is remarkable because Rue bares her insecurity here. She doesn’t try to cover it up and lets Jules see the scared, insecure side of her and it is a poignant moment.
She’s Better At It Than Nate
“You Gonna Ruin My Life? I F***ing Promise You I Can Do That A Lot Better Than You Can.”
The biggest antagonist on Euphoria is easily Nate Jacobs. He makes life a living hell for Jules, is abusive toward Maddy, and is one of the people spreading rumors about Cassie. By the time the finale rolled around, Rue understood everything between Jules and Nate.
She chose to confront Nate about it but as always, Nate seemed unfazed and threw some threats at her. Rue responded with this quote, suggesting that he couldn’t hurt her because she’s actually her own worst enemy. It’s kind of a badass line but also a deeply sad one about Rue’s personality.
A Harrowing But Harsh Truth
“To Tell You The Truth, Drugs Are Probably The Only Reason I Haven’t Killed Myself.”
In the special episode surrounding Rue, “Trouble Don’t Always Last,” she bared her soul. The entire installment is just her having a heart-to-heart with Ali after relapsing and during that time, she drops this bombshell of a line, suggesting that she never expected to live this long.
While everyone in the audience knew that Rue was a troubled girl who had bouts of depression, it was the first time that her thoughts of suicide were brought to the forefront. The most haunting part of it all was that the only thing keeping her alive was drugs, one of the things hurting her the most.
Unfortunately Not How It Happened
“You Think ‘Cause I Went To Rehab, I Stayed Clean?”
As noted, Rue’s history with drugs is a rough one. As the show begins, she is returning to school from a stint in rehab after overdosing. Upon her return, Rue immediately headed out to see Fez and buy more drugs, showing that nothing had really changed while in rehab.
As always, Fez was a good friend to Rue and questioned this since she had just gotten back. Rue responded with this question, showcasing that her time in rehab had not stopped her from using drugs. It’s not a popular line but it’s another good look at Rue’s addiction.
Detective Bennett On The Case
“I’m Morgan F***Ing Freeman And This Is The Beginning Of The Third Act.”
It could be argued that the best episode of Euphoria is “The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed.” As the penultimate installment, things start coming together ahead of the finale, including Rue putting together the pieces of what happened between Jules and Nate.
In a fantastic fantasy sequence where she acts as a detective alongside her best friend Lexi, Rue cleverly seemed to fit everything into place about Nate and Jules. She delivered this line as a way to compare herself to Morgan Freeman’s character in 1995’s Se7en.
How Great Is Jules?
“There Is Not A Thing On The Planet Earth That Compares To Fentanyl. Except Jules. Jules Is A Close Second.”
The majority of the show is centered around the relationship between Rue and Jules. As soon as Jules arrived in town, Rue was drawn to her and they immediately bonded. It quickly became clear that Rue put too much pressure on Jules as her sobriety often hinged on Jules’s availability.
It’s hard to fully say why but this quote from Rue does shed a light on it. Rue has always made it clear that she indeed loves doing drugs and she was blown away by how fentanyl felt but made sure to note that Jules is the only thing in the entire world that makes her feel anything close to it.
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