RECAP: In ‘You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can,’ secrets weigh heavily on ‘Euphoria’s’ characters

Boyce Rucker, Staff Writer

This review contains spoilers for episode four in season two of “Euphoria.”

So far, this season of “Euphoria” indulges in the chaos that defines its characters. Each episode can be best described as an inevitable collision that brings most of the characters to the edge of pure madness. It is a wild guess as to what direction the story may be headed in at this point, but the fourth episode provides more anxiety fuel as the characters get closer to confronting the harsh truths that drive the season.

This week, Rue (Zendaya) further contemplates her love for Jules (Hunter Schaefer) as the pair continue hanging out with Elliot (Dominic Fike). Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) and Nate’s (Jacob Elordi) relationship comes to an abrupt halt when it seems that he is getting back with Maddy (Alexa Demie). On a drunken spree, Cal (Eric Dane) embarks on a night of self-discovery and returns to a place where he once found love. Maddy’s birthday party makes for an awkward night as both Cassie and Nate share the space with Maddy.

Maude Apatow in You Who Cannot See, Think Of Those Who Can (Sam Levinson/IMDB )

This episode examines the duality behind characters such as Rue, Jules, Cassie, Nate and Cal. We find these characters entangled by their own secrets, as they have been all season. This episode is a light breaking point for the characters as they begin to act on impulse as their secrets are exposed, or come close to being unearthed. We see Rue’s relapse revealed to Jules, Jules’ affair with Elliot, Cassie blackmailing Nate to stay with her and Cal coming out to his family in a drunken tirade. It is no secret to us that Rue has been continually abusing drugs, even to the point where she is unable to narrate nearly the entire episode. The turning point comes when Elliot, who has begun a sexual affair with Jules, reveals that Rue is still doing drugs, and doing them with him. This comes after Rue starts drinking in Elliot’s car, with Jules present, after Jules and Elliot steal White Claws from a gas station. Jules scolds Rue for drinking, which prompts Rue to have them drop her off on the side road, but not before telling Jules that she can’t stand her. Although Rue is obviously high and becoming an unreliable narrator, Jules’ scolding seems illogical given how she and Elliot stole the alcohol with the likely intention of drinking it. It would initially seem that Jules is the key to Rue’s sobriety, but this episode disproves the notion.

Angus Cloud and Chloe Cherry in You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can (Sam Levinson/IMDB)

The episode opens with Rue’s romanticization of her and Jules’ relationship. Rue’s imagination models the two after several famous pop culture relationships, such as the famous Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jack and Rose from “Titanic” and Ennis and Jack from “Brokeback Mountain.” The shared commonality between these relationships is that they end in tragedy. Rue glorifies the couples for the powerful love each of them emit, though it is questionable if she recognizes their tragic outcomes. This episode highlights the downfall of their relationship not only through Rue’s further drug use and probable drug distribution, but also Jules’ affair with Elliot and berating Rue for drinking alcohol. We can even notice more inattentiveness to Rue on Jules’ part as she decides to spend the night with Elliot anyway even though he uses drugs as well.

After Nate admits to seeing Maddy again, Cassie reacts in vitriol and threatens to reveal their relationship to Maddy. Cassie’s blackmail against Nate seems more for the sake of preserving their own relationship rather than doing it out of righteousness or to protect Maddy. Cassie goes as far to say that Nate and Maddy are toxic together, even as she acknowledges Maddy as her best friend. Nate frustratingly points out how reckless it is for Cassie to tell Maddy, as Cassie is strong-arming him to stay with her regardless of consequences. This results in a heated argument between Cassie and Nate that leads to the two breaking up. It highlights Cassie’s own deplorability as she’s willing to ruin her own friendship for a rocky, at times one-sided, relationship with Nate. Cassie takes her resolve to extreme levels when she gets drunk in her own home, where Maddy’s party is at, and changes into a skimpy bikini once Nate shows up. Cassie tries to imitate Maddy’s confidence and risqué style of dress but fails due to her own drunkenness and emotional mindset. As the toxicity between Nate and Maddy is made apparent, the two argue with one another in the hot tub, alongside Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and Cassie, after Nate reaffirms that he and Maddy are not dating again. The argument is broken up when Cassie vomits in the hot tub. As Cassie’s mother Suze (Alanna Ubach) leads her back into the house, Cassie sobs and repeatedly apologizes to Maddy. Beyond apologizing for the vomit, this is Cassie apologizing for her willingness to damage her friendship with Maddy for her own selfishness.

Sydney Sweeney in You Who Cannot See, Thinnk Of Those Who Can (Sam Levinson/IMDB )

Fitting with some of the parental or generational themes of the series, Cassie’s actions in this episode mirror Suze’s actions towards Cassie’s father Gus (Nick Blood). If we go back to season one’s seventh episode, we see that Suze would adopt drunken behavior when she saw other women flirt with Gus. The couple also got into intense arguments that led to a strained home environment. Cassie acts similarly when Nate shows up to Maddy’s party and barely acknowledges her. Also, Nate’s treatment of Cassie, such as ignoring her and frequently disagreeing with her parallels with Gus’s harsh treatment of Suze and abandoning both Cassie and Lexi.

After last week’s episode showed us Cal’s backstory, and helped us empathize with him more, Cal embarks on an escapade down memory lane. An intoxicated Cal goes on a nightly drive, excitedly dodging head-on collisions, and returns to the bar where he and Derek previously danced together. Cal arrives and plays Sinead O’Connor’s “Drink Before The War.” Cal recaptures the feeling he had with Derek when they were younger, but not before his drunken state overcomes him and he gets thrown out for trying to wrestle with one of the bar’s patrons. Cal then heads home and abrasively pees on the floor when he first walks in. Cal is confronted by his wife Marsha, Nate and Aaron as he confesses that, in his words, he’s “f—ed men, women and transsexuals.” Cal takes it a step further by citing that he knows Marsha’s secret correspondence with a camp counselor and the extensive porn on Aaron’s computer, but he knows next to nothing about Nate. However, he does admit that Nate is his biggest regret. After saying his piece, Cal takes a framed family portrait off the wall and walks out the door.

Jacob Elordi in You Who Cannot See, Think Of Those Who Can (Sam Levinson/IMDB )

Cal’s departure, and the circumstances surrounding it, are something we would look down upon in reality. Because Cal just abandoned his family, it would be hard to find a reason to root for him in this case. However, knowing his backstory now, it’s more like an act of liberation as he is more open with his family now than he has been in years. Dane’s performance in the scene is comical, sad and bold. After everything that Cal has done wrong, such as lying to and hiding secrets from his family, the act of full disclosure just seems so righteously earned, even as he confesses with his penis out for the first few minutes. Tragicness lies in Cal’s vocal displeasure for Nate, as Nate’s issues are directly tied to the sexual activities that Cal concealed for a long time. It is unknown where Cal goes after this or if he will come back before the season finale, but the scene makes for a heck of an exit for someone who might have turned into a fan favorite character after being despised for so long.

Each episode of “Euphoria” brings a multitude of story content for us to ponder every week. As we have reached the halfway point for the season, it does not seem the show is losing any steam just yet.  

This review is the fourth of a weekly schedule that will recap each episode of “Euphoria” for the current season. Come back every Monday to read our take on this season!