The first season of teen drama Euphoria saw its protagonist Rue sink to the darkest depths as her addiction and mental health spiralled out of control, culminating in a relapse in the season finale.
Like the iconic toilet scene in Trainspotting, Euphoria also adopted a fantastical approach to Rue’s ordeal by spinning it into a dance sequence, which was both harrowing given what was happening to her, but also one of the most stunning televisual scenes of 2019, which left viewers eager for more.
Many were left wondering if Rue’s heart had finally given out, but it was later confirmed that the show and Zendaya would be back for season two, and she went on to appear in a bridge episode opposite Colman Domingo, who plays her sponsor Ali.
In the special, we learned that Rue was still using drugs in an attempt to subdue her long-standing emotional burdens, and to ease her heartache following the breakdown of her relationship with Jules (Hunter Schafer).
In the show’s second season, which arrives in the UK on Monday 10th January, Rue continues on that path, the consequences of which will be devastating.
“She makes decisions and does things that are painful not only to herself, but to other people, and we see that fallout over and over and over again,” Zendaya told RadioTimes.com and other press.
“And this season, more specifically, she goes to the rock bottom. When we get midway through, that’s when the rock bottom hits, and that’s where it became extremely painful for all of us to watch. And to portray her going through it hurt me.
“It can be quite painful because your body doesn’t know that it is not real, even if your mind does. And if you really care about the characters, you can internalise the things that they go through.
“You just want them to make the right decision and you want them to be okay. And that’s a painful kind of battle that you have inside, where you have to do something that you wish they wouldn’t do, or say.”
The Euphoria season two trailer, which was released back in December, promised plenty of upheaval ahead, both for Rue and the rest of the ensemble. But Zendaya has assured fans that there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Rue, which is music to our ears.
“I remember having a conversation midway through [season two] like, [Rue] can’t stay here,” added Zendaya. “We can’t leave her [in this dark place]. And I always felt that Rue would be okay because Rue is a version of [show creator] Sam [Levinson] and Sam is who he is, and was able to take all that pain [in his own life from when he was a drug addict] and turn it into this beautiful television show many years later.
“I wanted to see that and I think we all wanted to see that, a sense of hope, because it goes to such an extreme low for her. We deserve the good things in our life, no matter the mistakes that we’ve made, and I think that’s very hard for Rue to feel that she deserves.
“It’s a long journey, but we get there. I promise. Just keep loving her and keep supporting her.”