Within the first three minutes of the episode Rue is confronted by her mom who claims she knows Rue has been taking pills. Rue’s entire world has been completely disrupted from the very opening scene. The gravity of the situation makes it apparent that the entire episode is going to be extremely emotional. Up until now, Rue had deceived her mom into believing her lies of sobriety all the while getting entangled with drug dealing.
“Euphoria” fans have anticipated Rue’s downfall but were still shocked by how the episode unfolded. Zendaya, the actress who plays Rue, does an exceptional job of emphasizing the mental and physical toll of addiction. The message of the episode heavily relies on Zendaya’s acting ability and talent to embody Rue’s emotion. Pretending to be anxious, hysterical, and in a menacing mindset is anything but simple. Convincing viewers that you are, is even harder.
The opening scene was extremely heartbreaking because Rue is a character you root for. She is only a teenager and she is in desperate need of parental guidance, correction, and most importantly, help. This episode captures what it is like to have a family intervention from the family’s perspective.
The acting in the opening scene is incredibly impressive. Zendaya was given the job to capture this complete and total life devastation.
In search of her suitcase full of opioids she tears through the house relentlessly. She is seen throwing down a bookshelf, shoving her younger sister, threatening her mother, and quite literally kicking down a door. Acting so hostile and out of control is no easy task and doing so was difficult for Zendaya.
“I mean, I beat myself up. I still have some scars on my legs, and got quite a few bruises,” Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly.
Her acting was so realistic partly because some of the emotion was not exactly fabricated. Zendaya struggles with anxiety of her own and filming “Euphoria” brings out her perfectionist personality.
“I was scared to tackle [episode 5] because I didn’t want to see Rue like that or have to go through that” Zendaya expressed in an interview. “Your body is a person — it doesn’t know that what you’re doing is not real. My brain can say, ‘OK, I’m pretending,’ but when I’m doing it, my body and my heart don’t know that it’s not real. It can be exhausting in that way, and it can make you feel bad, because she says and does things that I don’t want her to do and say — but here I am,”
Zendaya also opened up about how filming was so emotional that people working behind the scenes would cry alongside her while she played Rue’s character.
Zendaya’s acting bounces around significantly. She quickly goes from yelling and screaming to crying, apologizing, then back to being hostile. In this episode it almost feels like she is playing two characters at once. Zendaya’s ability to adopt this bipolar personality for the show is evident to her talent and dedication to her passion.
Her acting is so on point it is almost unsettling. She hyperventilates in the hallway and the look in her eyes scream of terror and regret. When she attempts to speak over the tears, her voice shakes perfectly and sounds like it is in the back of her throat. She takes deep breaths frequently as if she can’t breathe in between her sobbing, convincing the audience that she is truly in despair.
This episode allows the audience to have a real sense of empathy for those who have lost their way. Fortunate people who haven’t tested the waters of drugs are unlikely to know the power a single pill can have over a person experiencing withdrawal. Watching the aggression and the hatred Rue harbors opens the heart to those who have an addiction or know people with it. This episode was also an eye-opener for those who have just begun to get involved in the world of drugs. At first seemingly fun and harmless yet will lead you down a path of total ruin.
The entire cast of “Euphoria” has an amazing talent for acting. Storm Reid plays Rue’s younger sister, Gina. In the chaos of Rue’s emotional outburst Gina also has an important message to display. She represents the collateral damage that affects the people who care the most. Gina laying on her side while silent tears streamed down her face was devastating to watch. Reid was able to portray a multitude of emotions in this moment. Her tears signified heartbreak for her older sister. Her blank stare embodied hopelessness. Her curled up position emphasized the need for comfort.
Anyone watching this fifth episode could recognize the work that went into creating such a cinematically powerful and moving piece. This episode was a break from entertainment and allowed viewers to reflect on the darker themes held throughout the show.
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