Fuck Anyone Who Is Not A Sea Blob, the second special episode of the show Euphoria, came out on Sunday the 24th of January on Sky Atlantic. As was the case for the one that precedes it, those with an HBO Max account had the chance to see it in advance, on the 22nd of January.
“Why did you run away?” is the question the episode opens with. A question that brings up back to the past, to the scenes now seen through Jules’ eyes. A question that, depending on personal interpretation, could even recontextualize some of the events.
Are we sure that Rue followed Jules to New York?
EUPHORIA – Fuck Anyone Who Is Not A Sea Blob – Plot
In this episode, full of flashbacks and dream-like visions, we connect with Jules’ (Hunter Schafer) troubled state of mind. Her dad has gone all the way to New York to convince her to return home. Her impulsive escape will have big consequences: she’ll be punished, relegated to her house, and will have to start seeing a therapist to try and work out what drove her to flee East Highland.
What we hear and relive through Jule’s words that she shares with her therapist gives us a chance to understand the hidden reasons behind some of her choices, which can come across as reckless. Her memories, that come from a past that is sometimes very far away and sometimes not as much, help us piece together the complex puzzle that is Jules Vaughn.
What men want
Like in the previous episode, in this one too we are a part of an intense conversation, this time between Jules and her psychologist.
Determined as she is not to talk about the reasons that pushed her to run away, Jules expresses her intention to stop taking hormones. At first glance, her assertion makes us think that she might want to invert her transition. However, during her session with the doctor, we come to understand that her intention is the exact and complete opposite.
Jules is determined to reach a femininity that is her own, personal, custom-built according to her needs rather than passively accept what is conventionally recognised outside of her own reality.
While confronting the world, she came to the understanding that the models she “clung” to to prove her being a woman are actually a result of what men consider desirable and feminine. That femininity doesn’t come from what women choose of their own volition, but only as a result of a process that aims to appease male desire. Therefore, Jules feels like an impostor and feels the need to free herself from this femininity that was built with men in mind.
The conquest of femininity
One of the ways to do that is to stop taking hormone blockers, a treatment that stops her body from developing that set of characteristics that men exclusively consider “masculine” and therefore unattractive. Jules is clearly saying that to be a woman it is not necessary to have a delicate body, a gentle voice, or even a vagina.
Jules wants to be feminine like the ocean is feminine: strong, huge, sweeping. It’s an observation that erases the binary, made of the opposites of man/woman, and that describes transitioning as a process that isn’t necessarily linear, aimed to reach a set result, but rather dynamic and constantly evolving.
Jules describes transness as a spiritual experience, a personal one at that, that should adapt to her creative nature, and that, unfortunately, is subjected to the same social conventions that so decisively define what is masculine and what is feminine.
The act of stopping taking hormones conveys the desire to free oneself of such conventions.
The meeting with Rue
Jules, as a trans woman, isn’t the only victim of the mechanisms that shape women according to male desire, but all women are. On the contrary, her transness gives her an advantage when it comes to reflecting on the concept of femininity and its limits.
From the moment that femininity becomes a foreign ideal one should aim for, rather than an intimate nature to shape willingly and voluntarily, women become judges of each other. They study each other, label and classify each other in a hierarchy that defines their degree of femininity. Their position on this ranking not only determines “how much of a woman” they are but also the way they should approach one another. Jules describes a system where no woman is ever free.
And yet, there seems to be a person who is free from such dynamic: Rue, the only girl who is able to truly grasp Jules’ true nature. The Jules that hide underneath all the layers and identities that she coopted during the course of her life to try and reach that ideal of femininity.
Rue, she says, looks at her with the eyes of a mother.
Jules slowly opens up and reveals some of her memories of her mother. We find out that, just like Rue, the woman is in a rehabilitation facility for her alcohol addiction and that her daughter can’t help but be angry at her, to the point where she avoids her the most she can.
And yet, her father, who wishes for his family to reconnect, forces Jules, more than once, to meet with her mother, believing it to be beneficial to the woman’s healing process.
Jules feels obligated to face the weight of a responsibility that she thinks she doesn’t have the strength to take on. It’s a burden that her psychologist compares to a series of relationship dynamics that Jules also has with Rue. Jules also feels responsible for her well-being. She thinks that her drug abstinence might depend on her, on her availability and her ability to make her happy. Once again it is a responsibility that she isn’t able to take on and that put her under such a pressure that her escape looked like the only way she could possibly save herself.
In an ironic twist of fate, neither of the only two people who are able to see her as who she truly is has the ability to comprehend that their addictions, both to substances and to her, make her suffer.
Running away from responsibility
Tired as she is of always having to take on such heavy responsibilities that put the people she most loves in danger, Jules finds solace and satisfaction in the relationships that she builds through dating sites.
Fast relationships, but intense nonetheless, in which she feels free to bare herself, both in a figurative and literal sense. They are relationships in which her imagination does most of the essential work but that she just can’t help but feel as real. Just as real as the one she has with Rue, for example. It’s a confusion that is perfectly described in the episode through scenes that mix dreamily ideal visions with reality, to the point where even the viewer has trouble distinguishing between the two.
Jules says: “Maybe that’s, like, what I’m actually attracted to. Maybe that’s, like, the appeal. The letdown.” because her critical sense can’t help but put herself down. The truth, however, is that those are the only relationships in which she feels free enough to explore her own desires without risking hurting or disappointing someone.
Watching this episode is like moving through Jules addled soul. We are literally bombarded with past, present, and future life events, but also with waking dreams and nocturnal nightmares.
In this episode, we clearly see that Rue never joined Jules in New York and that the opening scenes of the previous episode, Trouble Don’t Last Always, are undeniably just a part of Rue’s fantasy.
The first hint that tells us this is the scene in which Jules, barricaded in the bathroom, still has the same hair colour (two black locks in the front of the head) as the night she left East Highland. Her father bangs on her door to try and convince to come out; his intention is to bring her home that same night. He shouts: “You’re 17, you know. You cannot live alone. This is not real life, Jules!“.
Back home, Jules will be forced to see the therapist to whom she tells that Rue stopped answering her calls after her escape. And finally, when the two girls meet again at the end of the episode, they seem to be meeting for the first time since that fateful night at the train station.
It’s very interesting how, even in the dream world, the two girls share the same fantasy, even while they’re the absolute furthest from each other that they possibly could.
What will happen?
The episode ends with Rue – who visits Jules with the excuse of wishing her Merry Christmas – running away in tears. The mood of the scene is one of fear and uncertainty. Many things are left unresolved and the only sure thing that we gather from the two special episodes is that something between the two has irrevocably changed.
It’s an ending that leaves everyone with bathed breath and curious to find out how things will evolve going forward. Will Rue and Jules be able to rebuild their relationship?
Written by Hunter Schafer
Hunter Schafer is the mind behind the episode, together with Sam Levinson, and declared that she wrote the script instead of checking into a mental health clinic. During a brief interview with Jimmy Fallon, she said she poured the mental state she developed during lock-down into the episode, finding it very useful to engage her energies to create something.
Through her own eyes, Hunter contemplates the concept of femininity, the weight that social conventions have on the identity of individual women, and the role that the male point of view plays in the shaping of such identities. It’s a weighty conversation that garnishes an episode that, unlike the one before, lets the viewer go back to the events and the atmospheres of the main storyline.
Furthermore, when considering the source of the perspective, we have the chance to come into contact with a point of view that the audience will definitely find new and therefore, compelling: that of a trans woman.
Fuck Anyone Who Is Not A Sea Blob is a very sad episode where the tragic atmosphere is underlined by the beautiful music that accompanies Jules’ tale.
Even though the episodes are two specials meant to kind of fill the void left behind in a time where most TV productions have been stopped because of Covid-19, we still watch unfold two stories that will have inevitable consequences on the events to come. Both Rue and Jules reflect on issues that weigh on their relationship, putting it under a completely different light from what we were used to seeing. Neither of the two seems willing to sacrifice their own well-being for the other, and this realisation will almost certainly claim some victims.
Probably because, after all, Rue is the main character of the show and her point of view was already known, I personally found this episode, which dives deeper into Jules’ experience, a lot more interesting. It might also be because it fills some spaces that hadn’t previously been explored. In the last couple episodes of the first season of Euphoria, Jules had started taking a kind of antagonistic role and the analysis we get from this episode helps redeem her. We finally have the chance to sympathise with her choices and more clearly understand her perspective.
I’m of the personal opinion that these two episodes elevate Euphoria to a new qualitative degree and I can’t wait to see how everything that was shown will affect the main series.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the show and we encourage you to share your opinions with us!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1P5czi0H_g