Euphoria star Zendaya discusses her character Rue hitting rock bottom in the show’s most recent episode, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.”
Euphoria star Zendaya recently discussed her character Rue’s mental state in the most recent episode. Season 2 episode 5, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” was an emotional rollercoaster; after a painful intervention gone wrong, Rue goes on the run, evading her loved ones, the police, and a terrifying drug dealer. In blowing up her relationships with those who mean the most to her while going through withdrawals, Rue has finally hit rock bottom.
After Rue relapsed at the end of season 1, she’s tried her best to avoid being found out by her friends and family, while getting deeply involved in more dangerous drugs and even dealing. Rue’s actions have escalated throughout the first half of the second season and finally came to a head after Jules told Rue’s mother she was using again. Rue has gotten to the point where her addiction spiraling out of control. She’s losing her decision-making capabilities and going into survival mode.
Zendaya sat down with EW to discuss the “intense” episode and provide an explanation of Rue’s mental state. She explained that her scenes were not only emotionally taxing but physically taxing to film as well. Rue has brutal, painful confrontations with just about everyone in her life, including her mom, her sister, Jules, Fez, Maddy, Cassie, Lexi and Kat. She puts herself in tremendous physical danger, jumping fences, dodging oncoming traffic, and jumping out a window to escape from sinister drug dealer Laurie. Zendaya says that Rue’s dominant feeling above all is pain, and in this episode, a lot of pain finally bubbles to the surface. Check out her full statement below:
“It was so intense and scary to tackle, and obviously something that would be incredibly emotionally taxing, but also physically taxing,” says Zendaya. “Also, I care about Rue and I hate when she’s in pain. And I think this whole episode, there’s so much pain and it’s bubbling to the surface, and it’s also crossed with her withdrawing, which is extremely physically painful.”
“She’s in the midst of a degenerative disease and it’s taking control of her life. And in many ways she feels out of control. She doesn’t have the ability to control her emotions, her body. And like I said, she’s in a lot of pain and I think we really wanted to see that viscerally and feel that pain and how much it inflicts upon other people who also have to love people who go through these things.”
This episode showcases some of the best acting by Zendaya yet, and she truly embodies the physicality and emotions of Rue’s downfall and struggles with addiction. While this episode may have shown Rue hitting rock bottom, Zendaya maintains optimism for her character in the EW interview, saying, “It’s really important that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, because I think she has a lot of beauty inside of her.” Episode 5 followed Rue’s perspective the entire time, so audiences have yet to see the real fallout of her actions. Episode 6 will surely deal with the other characters’ reactions to bombs dropped by Rue, including the truth about Cassie’s relationship with Nate.
Euphoria is officially past the halfway point for season 2, and while some have criticized this season as more uneven than season 1, there is still plenty of time for the show to wrap up some storylines in a satisfying way. This episode did a great job of centering Rue while also tying in plot points that had been left aside. Viewers saw a lot of Rue’s mom and sister, who hadn’t been featured as much in this season, and the Nate-Maddy-Cassie love triangle has finally blown up. Now, it will be interesting to see how Rue will repay Laurie and what happens after Rue went scorched-earth on her family and friends.
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