A Thousand Little Trees of Blood
Last week, Euphoria redeemed all the lost goodwill from speech-fueled fans with an undeniably exceptional street-centric episode. I wouldn’t call her “this generation pulp Fiction“, but it was pretty awesome. It’s also seemingly the magic of an overachieving student raising the average grade, as “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” evens out the disproportionate screentime allocations that have plagued this season. Prepare for a lot of accountability.
If “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” was an outburst of pent up anger and resentment, “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” is the path to healing. That is to say for Rue at least. After narrowly escaping Laurie in the final episode, she sets out to clean house the painfully difficult way – and the episode is marked by moments that define the ever-changing chance of her recovery. At first it’s torturous – the effects of withdrawal become so debilitating that she can’t muster the strength to open a Jolly Rancher. Cascade of tears, snot drool, Zendaya is ACTING. But Rue’s determination to complete the smallest of tasks alone is emblematic of the work that must be done before she learns that accepting help won’t cost her dignity.
Rue’s recovery encapsulates more than his suffering, but the emotional and social consequences of his addiction. “Even if I got clean today, no one would forget the trauma of not being clean,” Rue says, but one of the few people who can understand is Ali. Overwhelmed with guilt over their confrontation over the suitcase, she calls him to apologize. But he has already put it in the past, and quotes a verse from the Koran: “The Hour is certain to come, so we must forgive graciously.” He comes to visit later that night, and the Bennett family regains some semblance of normalcy around the dinner table. Euphoria is often so focused on exploiting Rue for her pain, but I find there’s something so powerful about those in-between moments – that happiness is just within reach.
In a show so firmly rooted in Rue’s perspective, there’s unsurprisingly little time devoted to Gia, a character usually seen lingering behind the doors and suffer in silence. But Ali has not forgotten. As the two cooks eat dinner together, he comforts her by validating her anger and suspicions of Rue’s intentions to clean up. And when Ali asks how she’s feeling, it sounds like it’s a question she’s rarely heard. Gia’s life is so inextricably linked to Rue’s that she is not considered an individual, yet they have never been so far apart. That night, Rue confesses that she knows nothing about her, and despite the sadness of this revelation, it’s the kind of unfortunate honesty that wraps the bandages on their relationship. And even when Rue is denied rehab at the last minute, that desperation is eased a bit by the image of two sisters sleeping soundly together.
I’d be curious to see if Cassie is also on an apology tour as she’s not doing so well after Rue reported her for dating Nate. Cassie throws all the coping mechanisms at the wall to see what sticks, seeking the validation her mother won’t give her: she rationalizes the whole ordeal as if it was just about cheating (“There was no crossing”); she blames Rue for warning Maddy and her father for abandoning her; she threatens to commit suicide by corkscrew. (Star Player of the Season Sydney Sweeney sheds enough tears to fill the Nile.) Meanwhile, Nate is doing just fine. Reveling in his father’s absence, he drinks and reminisces with his mother in a conversation that sours once she echoes Cal. (“Why do you only have your father’s bad qualities and none of the good qualities?”) It also implies, oddly enough, that she knows Nate suffocated Maddy, opening up the possibility that she might choose to to be complacent in the behavior of his son. . And this is reinforced later in the almost pitiful wave she gives Cassie as if sending her to the guillotine.
In the end, all it takes is one phone call to convince Cassie to move in with Nate. “I ruined my whole life for you,” she told him. Nate’s radio silence as she spirals has worn her down and robbed her of her self to the point that she has no choice. corn to come back to him. It says a lot about how aware he is of the hold he has over Cassie and Maddy and how easily he will use it to his advantage. This is the case of the game of Russian roulette in Maddy’s room. Nate is such a calculating person – a side of him that is often overlooked because his own reckless aggression so often inhibits him – and that aspect of him resurfaces as he threatens Maddy with Cal’s gun for him. say where she hid the disc. The fact that he turns the gun on himself, not Maddy, speaks to his awareness that she may care more about him than herself. He knows how to weaponize her love for him against her.
Of course, it all goes back to this record. Cal may be out of the picture, but Nate must save his father’s reputation in order to secure his own future in the family business. (Again, their relationship is transactional.) Curiously, he brings the disk to Jules, who agrees to meet armed with a box cutter, and lets her use it as she wishes. You could easily reduce this exchange to just Nate being manipulative again – his most seemingly selfless act as a foolproof way to bury dirt – but he could have easily destroyed the record and left it at that. Why give it to him? It comes down to their latest admission: that everything they said to each other when he was “Tyler” was real. It’s far too brief a moment for one of the show’s less developed couples. Corn Euphoria already has so much to do that I don’t see that potential being realized in the final episodes of the season.
• Maddy has a little tete-a-tete by the pool with Samantha, the mother of the child she is babysitting, and after a few glasses of wine, Samantha breaks Maddy’s heart by admitting that she also betrayed her best friend while sleeping with her college boyfriend. Maddy clearly aspires to be like her (without cheating), so I wonder if that will have any implications for Cassie. After all, if Samantha can lose her best friend and end up living like this, why not Maddy?
• From her front row seat to Cassie’s depression, Lexi feels right Small guilty of writing a play that probably won’t paint her in the best light. Fez’s only advice is to wake her up. (“Some people need their feelings hurt.”) I love the awkwardness of their scenes together. The nervous looks and giddy smiles exchanged as they sang “Stand By Me” before Fez reached out and grabbed his hand. (!!!!!!!!) I feel like I’m watching a romantic K-drama where the couple takes 12 episodes just to share eye contact. I am completely riveted.
• Barbie Ferreira finally has more than three words to say in an episode! In a surprise to absolutely no one, Kat finally breaks up with Ethan. Or did Ethan break up with her? She lies about having “end-stage brain disorder”, tries to trick Ethan into thinking he’s turning her on, and acts accusatory when he calls her. It’s a messy confrontation, as his tendency to push people away with his cruelty resurfaces in the most brutal way. It still feels like such a regression after everything she went through last season, but I guess those dream sequences from a few episodes were there to back up Kat’s belief that she’s not wired for domestic life .
• Do you remember Custer? I didn’t, and if you say you did, you’re lying. (I Googled his name.) Turns out he’s not cooperating with the police to arrest Fez and Ashtray for Mouse’s murder, so he secretly tells Faye to stay away during his operation. of sting.