The Ending Of Euphoria Season 1 Explained
Sam Levinson’s Euphoria is a boundary-breaking HBO series that has gripped audiences since its premiere in 2019. The show follows 16-year-old Rue Bennett, a recovering addict, after she has left a stint at a rehab over the summer. Although she immediately falls back into her old ways, after meeting a new face, Jules, she starts trying to stay clean.
Euphoria garnered praise and criticism alike for its raw depiction of teenagers going through intense, dark experiences throughout high school. While the show balances the characters’ story lines, which are often adult-like, it also grounds viewers into a hyperreal world of a teenager all the way through to the finale. The ending of the show was as gripping as its start, but Levinson intentionally left many aspects of the characters’ stories unanswered, leaving audiences on an epic cliffhanger. While the show is greenlit for a Season 2, and has a December 2020 Christmas special, fans are still grappling with the finale and the fate of its captivating and often enigmatic characters. Here is the ending of Euphoria explained.
Is this the end for Euphoria's Rue and Jules?
The heartbeat of Euphoria Season 1 was Rue and Jules’ relationship, which tugged on every emotional chord. Viewers followed both powerhouse characters working through their traumas while kindling a compelling romance. Jules, played by Hunter Schafer, unintentionally becomes the center of Rue’s sobriety while also coming to terms with her own demons following a traumatic childhood of being committed to a psych ward by her mother for being trans. With the threats of conflicted villain Nate Jacobs looming over Jules, she begins to yearn for her old life in the city.
In Euphoria‘s Season 1 finale, the winter formal brought the characters under one roof, where Rue tosses the idea out of running away to the city with Jules. While the pair leave the dance and head to the train station, Rue begins to second-guess her impulsive decision. Ultimately, Rue decides to let Jules go, choosing to stay behind and leaving viewers questioning if this is the end for the duo. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Schafer shared her point of view on the scene, saying, “It’s the first time we see Rue really making a decision for her sister and her mom.” Though, Schafer explained that the future of the pair is still unclear.
Fez is in an intense predicament
Euphoria‘s resident drug dealer, Fezco, became a fan favorite of the show despite being a man of a few words. Fez was Rue’s dealer at the start of the season, but he quickly changed his tune once Rue’s addiction began to deepen. From surviving a drug bust to saving Rue from spine-chilling drug lord Mouse, Fez has been in some precarious situations, though none as tense and jaw-dropping as his final scene in Euphoria‘s Season 1 finale.
After pulling off a high-risk robbery from a doctor, Fez races to meet Mouse and pay off a massive debt. The ending scene shows Fez anxiously awaiting for Mouse’s crew to count the, unbeknownst to them, stolen bills. The count gets interrupted when blood is found on one of the bills, leaving Fez facing Mouse holding a gun. The scene ends on a terrifying cliffhanger, leaving viewers stunned and wondering if Mouse will accept the stolen cash or if this will be the end for Fezco. Euphoria creator Sam Levinson gave insight into the likelihood that Fez will see another day, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “His story didn’t belong in season one, it belongs in season two — and that’s something that I knew pretty early on.
What you need to know about the musical number in Euphoria's Season 1 finale
Rue’s battle with addiction saw her go through manic and depressive states, relapses, and anger outbursts, especially when Fez refused to sell her more drugs. Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s accurate and heartbreaking portrayal of addiction also saw Rue choose sobriety, even if it was to keep Jules in her life. But with the weight of her father’s death on her shoulders, combined with anxiety and possible bipolar depression, Rue ultimately relapses one more time after she lets Jules leave without her at the train station.
But instead of seeing Rue in her darkest hour as one would expect, Levinson chose to create a musical number depicting Rue’s fall into drugs as she stumbles violently around her home and into the street while mouthing the words to “All For Us.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Levinson explained his decision, saying, “It felt like in some ways seeing her relapse felt dark to me in a way that doesn’t fully encapsulate the cycle and the madness of addiction.” He continued to detail the cycle of addiction, noting, “How you’re thrown back into it and thrown out of it and it’s dizzying and at times beautiful but also really f**king terrifying.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
How the song Rue sings at the end of Euphoria Season 1 came about
The musical number at the end of Euphoria‘s first season was a hauntingly beautiful depiction of Rue’s heartbreaking, yet inevitable, relapse. But creator Sam Levinson’s decision to have Rue sing through it added another layer to an already complex scene. While Rue stumbles through her home and outside into her suburban street, she is mouthing the words to Labrinth’s “All For Us.”
Levinson detailed the journey leading up to this gut wrenching scene to The Hollywood Reporter. After first running the idea past Zendaya, Levinson collaborated with Labrinth to bring his song to Euphoria‘s Season 1 finale. Levinson saw it as “this thematic thread of the temptation and also the guilt and the shame of addiction and the emotional turmoil that existed within the character of Rue.” He continued, saying, “It just felt right for it to be that song.” Zendaya then recorded the song with parts revised by Labrinth, and it became an anthem to the overwhelming whiplash that is Rue’s addiction.
Did Maddy and Nate end their relationship?
Euphoria‘s Maddy and Nate are the furthest thing from a quintessential high school relationship. Their toxic relationship unfolded throughout the first season, starting with Maddy, who’s 17, having sex in the pool with 22-year old Tyler in front of everyone at a house party. This leads up to Nate’s abusive behavior coming to light as the on-again, off-again duo begin to unravel when Nate begins to take his aggression out on Maddy.
All this turmoil aside, Levinson created the dark world where Maddy is caught in an abusive cycle, unable to leave him. Fans of the show interpret their final exchange at the winter formal as a possible ending to their relationship, as Maddy acknowledged Nate’s abusive past, saying the two shouldn’t be together, to which Nate responded with, “I know.” According to Jacob Elordi, who plays Nate, the final scene carried a lot of weight. He told Entertainment Weekly, “The way that I looked at the scene was, it was a really difficult goodbye. Because right after his breakdown, he tried to… had a moment of clarity and she definitely had a moment of clarity after everything they put each other through.”
Does Nate have feelings for Jules?
Nate Jacobs’ inner turmoil is almost a character in itself as it becomes the facilitating force behind his violent actions in Euphoria Season 1. Much of this stems from his conflict with his own sexuality, which comes out when he meets Jules, who is a transgender woman. While their interactions were left mostly ambiguous, Nate did catfish Jules as a way to keep her from spilling the truth about his father’s sexual history, but he also kisses her, further complicating their relationship.
In the finale, Nate has a breakdown which encapsulates the fight within himself over him coming to terms with his own sexuality. At the winter formal, Rue confronts Nate in order to get him to leave Jules alone, to little avail, as viewers are left with the unending suspicion that this is not the end for Nate’s fascination with Jules. Hunter Schafer, who plays Jules, told Entertainment Weekly, “I think Nate probably has feelings, like little tinges of feelings that sometimes we’ve seen him let out but quickly met with self-suppression and killing that feeling, which is sort of internalized in a violent form…”
Why Rue didn't get on the train at the end of Euphoria Season 1
The last time viewers see Rue and Jules together is when Rue watches the train leave from the platform after she decided not to follow Jules to the city in Euphoria‘s Season 1 finale. Even though it was Rue’s initial decision to run away with Jules from the winter formal, she quickly begins falling into a pool of doubt, questioning how it would affect circumstances in her life. And since Rue’s anchor in sobriety was Jules, it’s safe to say this was a complex decision that sent Rue into a downward spiral, leading viewers wondering why she didn’t leave with Jules.
In an interview with HBO, show creator Sam Levinson broke down Rue’s decision, saying, “At the end of the day, Rue is impulsive. She recognizes a restlessness in Jules, and she wants to appeal to it. She says they should leave town because it felt right in the moment.” He then explained how her newfound sobriety awakened an acknowledgement within Rue of her actions having consequences and that she begins to think of how her leaving will affect her sister. “Rue’s fear of Gia waking up and not knowing where she is is just too much for her,” he shared.
Rue's red hoodie finally explained
It is revealed early on that Rue’s troubled past stems from her father’s sickness and eventual death, which sent her into a dark spiral. She is seen throughout Euphoria‘s first season wearing a red hoodie that doesn’t seem to carry any specific meaning until a heavy emotional reveal in the finale ties everything together. Before Rue relapses and a musical number ensues, viewers finally see a glimpse of her father’s final days from Rue’s point of view, leading up to his death. Audiences then see Rue walking into the room where her father used to be and grabbing the red hoodie he left behind.
The symbolic red hoodie carries an emotional weight which show creator Sam Levinson explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “As we were shooting it, the slug line is, ‘Rue’s father is wheeled out of the bedroom on a stretcher,’ and there was this moment where I realized that she should walk in and find that sweatshirt,” he shared. He said it “unfolded in a natural way” as Zendaya, who plays Rue, was given creative freedom in that moment. Levinson added, “The way that Z holds it to her face and smells it just killed me.”
What Euphoria's creator had to say about Nate's breakdown
Nate Jacobs is Euphoria‘s most tumultuous and violent character, but he’s also given emotional depth that shows a powerful inner conflict when it comes to him understanding his sexuality. It is shown through the first season how much of his anger and suppressed emotions stem from his father, who also has a largely suppressed sexuality as well. Early on, it is revealed that Nate’s dad has a string of sexual partners, men and women alike, including underaged Jules. While Nate discovers his father’s sexual history as a child, the unspoken tension between the two leads to a blowout fight in the season finale.
According to Jacob Elordi in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he actually got a concussion after filming the scene where Nate and his dad have a physical and violent fight, leading to Nate throwing himself on the ground and slamming his own head against the floor repeatedly. Creator Sam Levinson told The Hollywood Reporter of the emotionally weighted scene, “After seeing everything we know about the character, to see it all distilled in that one moment says everything it needed to say. But it was a physical and gut-wrenching scene to shoot.”
Kat and Ethan's romantic conclusion in Euphoria Season 1
Perhaps the only positive ending the Euphoria Season 1 finale saw was with resident dom Kat, who had a journey from being the virginal overweight friend to fully exploring all parts of her sexuality. Kat began to explore a life online as she became a camgirl with the alt persona “KittyKween,” while also balancing her sexual awakening off camera as well. While she had a slew of “hookups,” Ethan became the one with whom she developed a meaningful relationship. Although they had bumps along the way, the finale saw the pair reconcile at the winter formal.
After months of running away from the one guy who wanted to pursue something deeper with Kat, the two rekindled their budding romance in a heartfelt scene in what is most likely the most mature awakening in the show. Barbie Ferreira, who plays Kat, opened up about the character’s progression to Out, saying, “I think that just seeing her journey, I just want her to not necessarily continue the way she is, but find a balance in that.” Although there is the looming force of Kat’s camgirl session with an anonymous man, viewers can for now still hold onto the only stable relationship in the show.
Cassie's decision to have an abortion explained
Euphoria‘s popular pretty girl Cassie, played by Sydney Sweeney, blew apart the stereotypical tropes and depicted a dark narrative that saw her character fully explored. While Cassie has been taken advantage of by many partners, with many of them filming their sexual encounters, she has garnered a reputation around school. Even though the beginning of the series shows Cassie seemingly fine with the gossip, she quickly unravels, portraying a deeply hurt character. Her father left and had his own battles with drugs, and Cassie has an alcoholic mother who never seems to be fully present.
Cassie kindles a romance with football player McKay, and the two have a stable relationship until things break down when McKay starts questioning his future in football and, more dramatically, when Cassie finds out she is pregnant. This leads to the raw depiction of Cassie’s abortion in the Season 1 finale. Sweeney told Entertainment Tonight, “I think Cassie’s headspace when she was in the abortion clinic was this is what she’s having to do. It’s not initially something she wanted to do.” She further explained how ultimately Cassie doesn’t want her child to grow up without a father, which could have been possible given McKay’s reaction to the pregnancy.
Where was McKay in Euphoria's Season 1 finale?
Chris McKay began the show as a nice guy and ally for Cassie as he pursued a meaningful relationship with her, but his own demons began to unfold and he struggled with other people’s perception of her. In addition, McKay experienced a traumatic assault from his fraternity in front of Cassie that left him in a vulnerable position toward the end of Euphoria‘s first season. While the pair were not seen officially breaking up, the season finale showed Cassie at the winter formal alone, saying to her friends that she was finally not in love with any guy for the first time in her life.
But viewers are wondering why McKay was left out of the finale all together. Algee Smith, who plays McKay, told TooFab, “He has a lot on his plate and [the pregnancy is] just a lot of extra weight, but it’s a blessing at the same time, so he’s confused. So we just kinda got [to] see where they pick back up.” He also spoke on his absence from the finale, saying that he was “kinda disappointed” he was not included in the dramatic final episode but he understood why. “It all goes with the story though, so it makes sense,” he said.
Does Rue die at the end of Euphoria Season 1?
The ambiguity of Rue’s relapse into a musical number left Euphoria viewers speculating what actually has happened to its leading character, as Rue is seen at the end climbing up a mountain of people only to jump off the end into a white light. Creator Sam Levinson’s artistic depiction of Rue’s battle with addiction and relapse made audiences wonder if she actually died in that moment. This, along with Rue’s omniscient narration, could points to signs of her narrating the show from the after life instead of in real time.
Although there is enough symbolism to support this theory, Levinson laid the rumors to rest in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He said, “I love what people’s interpretations are of it. Rue’s not dead, if that’s the question.” He continued to explain his reasoning, saying that Rue has a hard journey to get to the other side of addiction. He wants to tell her story as fully as possible, noting, “Because I think that there’s a lot more to delve into and unpack in terms of the effects of addiction on Rue and on her family and those around her.”
What Maddy saw on the DVD in Euphoria's Season 1 finale
The Season 1 finale of Euphoria left many unanswered questions and a slew of fan theories of what will happen in Season 2. From the fate of Rue and Jules to the creepy mystery man behind Kat’s camgirl session, loose threads were sprinkled throughout the entirety of the final episode. But the glimpse of Maddy, Nate’s outspoken girlfriend, shows her just finishing watching what is presumably one of Nate’s father’s DVDs, which contain his filmed sexual encounters.
Earlier, Maddy was seen taking a DVD from Nate’s bedroom, which viewers are led to believe holds the footage of Jules — who’s only 17 — and Cal’s encounter at the beginning of the episode. While it’s also possible the footage holds a different encounter, more likely than not, Maddy has stumbled upon incriminating footage. The giant unanswered question is what she will do with the footage, especially since Nate and Maddy have seemingly ended their tumultuous relationship. Heavy brought up the question of why Nate held onto the footage in the first place. While this is one of the more nerve-wracking cliffhangers, viewers can be assured whatever will happen with the footage will be answered in Season 2.
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