The wheels have well and truly fallen off in East Highland this week. After Elliot (Dominic Fike) revealed to Jules (Hunter Schafer) last week that Rue (Zendaya) is using again, the troubled addict’s girlfriend has gone straight to her mum to fill her in on her daughter’s relapse. We join the chaos with Rue unaware that her mum has found out from Jules, instead convinced that her sister Gia (Storm Reid) has ratted her out for smoking weed. But once Leslie (Nika King) spills who really outed her, things get really intense.
Rue’s immediate reaction is to look for the suitcase she got from dealer Laurie with $10,000 worth of drugs in that she’s been steadily taking herself, instead of coming good on her proposal to sell it to her fellow students. When the case is missing, she spirals into new lows of frantic despair, tearing her mum’s room apart to look for it and saying some truly nasty things about Leslie’s parenting and the death of her dad. It’s brutal to watch – particularly when she uses the power of her rage to break down Gia’s door by kicking and slamming it a few times.
In a pause in the middle of the whirlwind, Rue apologises and asks her mum calmly where the case is, growing steadily angrier again when she receives no answer. Then, a voice from the living room – Jules’ voice – pipes up to reveal they’ve been flushed down the toilet. Rue stops dead in her tracks for a minute before racing through the house to confront her girlfriend and Elliot. For now, Rules look to be well and truly over, with Rue telling Jules: “I have a lot of regrets in my life, but I gotta tell you, Jules, meeting you has got to be at the top of my fucking list.”
After Jules and Elliot sombrely leave the house, Rue calms down and agrees to go to the hospital with her mum and Gia. Once they’re in the car, though, she flips out at her mum’s use of the word “rehab”, bemoaning the low chances she has of ever getting clean for good. When the car stops at a traffic light, she takes the chance to jump out, nearly getting run over in the process and runs off down an alley.
Darkness falls and Rue is still on the lam – but now, she’s suffering from withdrawal. She goes to Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) house but gets no answers so limps over to Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) instead, where Cassie, Maddy and Kat are hanging out. After an excruciating conversation with Lexi and Cassie’s mum, she uses the bathroom and steals some pills and jewellery while she’s in there. When she emerges ready to leave, she finds Suze Howard has called her mum and everyone is gathered, waiting for her, at the bottom of the stairs.
When she cries that she can’t stay clean forever, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) offers her some trite advice, unaware that she’s putting herself in the crossfire: “You’ve just got to take it day by day.” Rue gives her a withering look, before dropping a bombshell about her secret relationship with Nate on the room that will ultimately get her out again. Maddy (Alexa Demie) explodes at Cassie, unperturbed by Suze’s calls to halt that conversation until the intervention is over. Instead, Maddy chases Cassie upstairs, causing so much commotion Rue sneaks out.
She returns to Fez’s, who is now home, but no longer keeps drugs at his house after the raid in season one. Rue settles for using the bathroom, but sneaks into his grandma’s room when he’s not looking and starts going through her pills. Fez catches her and kicks her out, saying she can’t even take three because of “the principle” of the situation. On her wanders to find something else to take the edge off, Rue spots a couple leaving their big, fancy house and manages to sneak under the electric garage door before it closes. Inside, she starts filling her pockets with cash and valuables, but the couple return home quicker than she expects and find her hiding under the bed.
Now truly on the run, Rue comes across a police car at the worst possible time – right when she has a desperate need to be sick. When she can’t answer the cops’ queries into her wellbeing because she’s fighting the urge to vomit, they get out of the car and send her dashing down yet another street and into the middle of another busy road. What follows is an intense few minutes of a police chase that Rue eventually evades by hiding in a wheelie bin.
There’s just one port of call left for her now – Laurie’s house. Inside, she empties her pockets and explains her situation but promises to get the money soon. However, the dealer is rightfully doubtful that Rue is going to turn up thousands of dollars any time soon and suggests she could sell her body instead. Rue needs to be sick again and while she’s in the bathroom, Laurie prepares a fix of intravenous morphine for her, which she gives to her in the bath.
Later, Rue wakes up in bed and tries to get out of the house, but finds all the windows and doors are locked. She just about manages to sneak into the bathroom attached to Laurie’s room and out of that unlocked window without getting caught, dropping down from the second story just as a car is driving out of the compound. Once she’s out of the gates, Rue heads home, opening the door to find her mum sitting at the kitchen table waiting for her.
On the soundtrack
- As Rue frantically rummages through the rich couple’s house, Sharon Cash’s recording of ‘Fever’ plays over the top.
- Rue’s big police chase is soundtracked by the urgent, ominous new Labrinth song ‘Yeh I F****n’ Did It’.
- Albert Hammond’s ‘It Never Rains In Southern California’ plays over the end credits, its lyric “Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it?” taking on new poignancy.