Type keyword(s) to search


Euphoria's Jules-focused second special proves it can move beyond Rue's perspective

  • HBO's "F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob" special that creator Sam Levinson wrote with star Hunter Schafer hints at an exciting future for Euphoria, says Alison Herman. "'Jules' excites because it’s not just one voice, letting a breath of fresh air into quarantine-tight quarters. The hour offers some material hints as to what’s to come in Season 2: Rue and Jules back in the same place, and per a teasing final scene, possibly reconciled. But it also implies that Euphoria may be able to broaden itself beyond Rue, and by implication, Levinson’s sole authorship. Collectively, 'Rue' and 'Jules' serve their core purpose, keeping Euphoria in the zeitgeist in the long wait between seasons. But they also add new tones and perspectives to the show’s repertoire, a promising sign as we await a proper follow-up. Maybe someday, Jules can get a voice-over of her own."


    • Hunter Schafer’s performance (and writing) clearly elevates the special, holding our attention with everything from a subtle lip quiver to a heart-wrenching sob: "In particular, she shines in the quieter, joyful moments which recount Rue and Jules’ relationship, like a scene in which Rue gently injects Jules’ hormones for her before the two girls collapse into bed together," says Madeline Ducharme. "Despite being dolled up in glittery eye makeup and a funky score, the first season of Euphoria’s perspective on adolescent drug use, sex, and interpersonal relationships was dark. 'Jules' is even bleaker, with little flair or sparkly eyeliner to distract you from our heroine’s despair. These two episodes were only supposed to operate as a small bridge from Season 1 to 2, but they seem to have also shifted something fundamental about the show itself. Even if the vaccine miraculously allows Euphoria to return to its raucous roots—the current plan is to resume shooting in March—it’s difficult to imagine the show jumping right back into a frenetic, kaleidoscopic world after these two devastating character studies."
    • "F*ck Anyone Who’s Not A Sea Blob" is one of Euphoria's strongest-written episodes: "Sam Levinson usually is the sole writing credit for episodes, but this time he shares a co-writing credit with Schafer, making her the standout star of this episode on multiple levels," says Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. "The script is a quiet but potent stream of consciousness that captivates. We see Jules move between so many different emotions, desires, and perceptions of herself. It’s the good kind of mess—mess that feels deeply human. Euphoria lets Jules brim with contradictions. Her monologues have specificity but also manage to touch on so many things at once. The writing does a lot with a little, and that’s not Euphoria’s usual speed."
    • "Jules" is disappointing compared to the first special: "The new one shifts focus to Jules (Schafer) in a therapy session reflecting on the events of the recent past," says Daniel D'Addario. "This difference is part of why the first Euphoria special was a qualified success and the new one, entitled 'F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob,' unfortunately is not. This episode spends a great deal of time re-tilling familiar ground, running through old story with a degree of style and flair that feels applied to hide that there’s not much new here. A sequence early in the episode is telling. We see a close-up of Schafer’s eye as Jules looks through old images of her relationship with Rue; they’re reflected in her iris, toggling rapidly by, as Lorde’s wrenching, emotionally-broad anthem 'Liability' plays almost in full."
    • The special allows Schafer to breathe fresh life into Jules: "Jules Vaughn, as played by actress Hunter Schafer on the HBO hit series Euphoria, is a fascinating character and superbly acted for a debut role," says Princess Weekes. "Yet, we didn’t really have a fully fleshed out image of her, in my opinion, until the bottle episode that aired this weekend, titled 'F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob.' 'F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob' was cowritten by Schafer. While it, in some way, retcons and adds information we didn’t see in the first season, it highlights how Jules was turned into a figure of longing for many, often to the detriment of her own health and identity."
    • In allowing Jules the space to speak her truth and exist beyond Rue’s perception, the episode redresses one of Euphoria’s biggest shortcomings: its solipsism: "Despite its cold opens (each episode focuses on one character), the series is filtered entirely through Rue’s blinkered narration," says Annabel Nugent. "While the show’s tunnel vision leads to wonderful complexity in our protagonist, it also gives rise to an undeniable feeling that Euphoria’s other characters – Jules included – are being shortchanged."
    • The Lorde-backed eye montage is simple yet mesmerizing: "We’ve seen these moments before, but never quite like this," says Ben Travers, "from this person, in the moment she’s living through now."
    • After Jules' episode, both Schafer's performance and her authorial voice are now more integral to the success of the series than ever before

    TOPICS: Hunter Schafer, HBO, Euphoria, Sam Levinson