The storm is beginning to pass in East Highland this week – at least for some of its residents. After last week’s desperate chase through the SoCal streets and eventually, into the house of the dealer she owes $10,000 to, Rue (Zendaya) has returned home to finally accept the help she needs. First, though, she has to deal with withdrawal, a task which is easier said than done and leaves her whole body weak – so weak, in fact, that she can’t even unwrap a Jolly Rancher sweet.
There is hope for her yet, though. Clearly saddled with the guilt of how she’s treated everyone around her, she calls her sponsor Ali (Colman Domingo), who we last saw washing his hands of her after repeatedly warning that’s what would happen if she continued to disrespect him. As someone who’s had to ask for forgiveness for his own addiction-induced actions, he understands and with him back on her side, Rue slowly manages to get a bit closer to her normal self. Or, in any case, she finally manages to get her candy out of its plastic wrapper.
Of course, she has a long road ahead of her and one she’s going to need professional help to get down. Rue’s mum tries desperately to get her daughter admitted into rehab, but her calls only end in rejection and her begging for someone to take her in before she kills herself. Later, Ali comes over to provide the family with some support and cook them a big dinner. It’s a gesture that lightens the intensity shrouding the Bennett home. It also allows Ali to speak with Rue’s little sister Gia (Storm Reid) about how her sister’s actions have been affecting her.
Meanwhile, dark clouds are still hovering over other parts of town too. Now Maddy (Alexa Demie) is aware of Cassie and Nate’s secret relationship and she’s pissed. “I think I actually wanna murder her,” she tells Kat (Barbie Ferreira) about her former best friend. As for her ex-boyfriend? “I have a few ideas.” Maddy will have to act first if she wants to be the first person to cause Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) physical harm – the distraught teen is struggling to deal with the backlash and her response is to go into full emotional meltdown.
Her mother Suze makes her sister Lexi (Maude Apatow) hide all the knives from their house in the bushes in their garden so the eldest Howard daughter can’t do anything drastic – something Lexi thinks is a bit of an overreaction. That is until they find her older sibling bawling her eyes out on the kitchen floor, trying (and obviously failing) to cut her wrists with a corkscrew. Witnessing these scenes makes Lexi question whether she should go ahead with her play – which is based on observations she’s made about those around her, her sister included. Will the onstage drama cause yet more theatrics off it?
Over at the Jacobs house, a celebration is going on. Cal has walked out for good and Marsha and Nate (Jacob Elordi) are bonding over some festive drinks in the kitchen. There’s still something weighing on Nate’s mind, though – the disc that contains a recording of his dad having sex with Jules (Hunter Schafer), along with other people. He knows Maddy is in possession of the incriminating footage and drives over to her house, where he waits for her in her bedroom with a gun.
In perhaps his most aggressive act yet, he uses the weapon to intimidate her into handing the disc over, but when he pulls the trigger with the gun against his own head, it becomes clear that his menacing was just an evil ploy to get what he wants. The barrel was empty, but Maddy is left shaken. After Nate leaves her house, he drives over to Jules’ and gives her the disc, telling her she can do what she wants with it.
Elsewhere, we finally get another glimpse of Lexi and Fezco (Angus Cloud), with the pair bonding over their love of ’80s classic movie Stand By Me. But trouble could be brewing in paradise as Faye (Chloe Cherry) has a secret meeting with Custer (Tyler Chase), who hints at danger for the lovable drug dealer in the near future.
Although we’ve seen little of Kat this season, she makes an appearance in this episode to break up with her boyfriend in the most awful way possible. After inviting him out for lunch, she first pretends they’re really on a date and then tells him they have to break up because she has a terminal brain disease. But Ethan (Austin Abrams) sees through her lies as soon as she refuses to tell him what it’s called and ends up walking out on her – but not before Kat has resolutely stuck to her big fib. As season two gears up for its penultimate episode, it makes you ponder the question – which relationship will be severed next?
On the soundtrack
- En Vogue’s ‘My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)’ plays in the Jacobs’ kitchen as Marsha enjoys the freedom of Cal no longer being around.
- Fez and Lexi’s burgeoning relationship hits a sweet spot when they watch Stand By Me together, holding hands as Ben E. King’s song of the same name plays over the end credits.
- As Nate drives away from Maddy’s house and over to Jules’, Method Man’s ‘I’ll Be There For You’ plays on his car stereo.