"Euphoria’s sophomore season has largely been an examination of Rue Bennett, expertly executed by Zendaya, and her descent into addiction," says Jenna Amatulli. "With each passing episode, viewers have been transfixed by the extreme lengths Rue is willing to go for a fix, but this hits an apex in episode five. Premiering on Sunday, the episode features an explosive opening sequence followed by an all-night foot chase—which includes robbery, several physical fights, and a car crash—that solidifies Zendaya as a dramatic actress to be reckoned with." Amatulli adds: " We’ve long known that Rue isn’t the most likable person, but at this point she’s entirely unrecognizable. Through her addiction, she’s taken on an ugliness we’ve not been exposed to. She is fundamentally changed. What fully sells this transformation is arguably Zendaya’s mastery at physicality. Through long tracking shots of her running for what feels like hours, Rue escapes the cops, barking dogs, birthday parties, and cars in her mania. Amid her running, she jumps onto a burning barbecue, over a card table decorated with food trays, and leaps fences like a D1 track star. Each scene was more exhausting to watch than the next. I kept thinking that Zendaya must’ve been covered in bruises after this episode, only to see that she posted a scar and a shiner on her Instagram Story from her time filming that proved just that. Her commitment to Rue cannot be understated and did not go unnoticed: Twitter exploded on Sunday night with calls for Zendaya to get another Emmy Award for the episode."
Zendaya defends Euphoria after D.A.R.E. accused the show of glorifying drug use: "Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing," she says. "If anything, the feeling behind Euphoria, or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. And maybe feel like they're not the only one going through or dealing with what they're dealing with."
Zendaya posted her hopes for Rue ahead of Sunday's episode: "It's my hope for people watching that they still see her as a person worthy of their love," Zendaya wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. "And worthy of their time, and that she has a redemptive quality still, and that we still see the good in her even if she can't see it in herself. think that if people can go with her through that, and get to the end, and still have hope for her future, and watch her make the changes and steps to heal and humanize her through her sobriety journey and her addiction, then maybe they can extend that to people in real life."