“A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” checks in on everyone after Rue’s disastrous spiral last week, but predictably for this show, nobody seems to be doing all that well.
This recap of Euphoria season 2, episode 6, “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood”, contains spoilers.
The thing about euphoria is that it’s temporary. Every high is followed by a crashing low. After last week’s manic, chaotic spiral, there was really only one direction Rue could head in – down. “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” finds her having hit rock bottom, crying and snotting and shaking in her attempts to open the plastic around a Jolly Rancher. She’s home from the hospital, but despite some medication to help her through withdrawal, she has been left to combat the symptoms on her own. A bed at a rehab clinic seems like a distant, unconvincing promise. In the meantime, there’s only pain.
Euphoria season 2, episode 6 recap
Euphoria has been criticized recently for glorifying teenage drug use, but I can’t imagine anyone who watches the show, particularly this season, would see Rue as someone to emulate. Zendaya continues to impress, and part of why she impresses is how completely she disappears inside the quivering shell of an addict. When the withdrawal symptoms abate slightly, she calls Ali to apologize for what she said to him, and that seems even more painful, having to admit aloud all the worst qualities and impulses that the narcotics italicize.
Luckily, Ali has been there himself, so not only does he accept Rue’s apology, but he comes over in person to cook the family dinner. And he isn’t there to make Rue feel better. He tells Gia it’s okay not to believe Rue’s claims of desiring sobriety. If a person breaks their word as often as Rue has, skepticism is only natural. In a way, that’s good for Rue – better than the empty platitudes and false good faith. It means she must confront her own dishonesty and unreliability to get clean. She must really want it.
How all this is going to go is anyone’s guess. That Rue massively relapsed at the midpoint of the season suggests that there could be a nice, neat division in the episodes, the fall, and then the rise. But I wouldn’t put any money on it. Either way, with Rue occupied at the dinner table, the focus of the episode begins to widen, so we can check in on everyone else who was underserved last week. Let’s start with Nate and his family, along with Cassie and Maddy.
In Rue’s frantic quest to score and avoid rehab, she outed Cassie and Nate’s fling, and “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” finds Nate worried by the repercussions. It’s not in the way you’d think, though. Maddy hasn’t spoken to him and probably won’t again, but she’s also in possession of the damning tape that exposes his father’s sexual dalliances with a minor, and if she goes public with that material it’ll do irreparable harm to the family business that, in Cal’s absence, Nate is due to inherit. So, after a bizarre conversation with his slightly tipsy mother, who tells him that he’s somehow darker and angrier than even his father while also expressing what I read to be genuine enthusiasm for him physically assaulting Maddy, he sets out to recover the disc.
If you were wondering whether being beaten up by Fez and suddenly finding himself the steward of a real estate empire might have given Nate a bit more stability, well, think again. In his efforts to retrieve the film, he takes his father’s revolver to Maddy’s house, and when she doesn’t play ball climbs atop her with a single bullet in the chamber and plays a one-sided game of Russian Roulette until she gives up the location of the disc. After, and in truly psychopathic fashion, he laughingly apologized, claiming there weren’t any bullets in the chamber really, and it was just a joke. I don’t see stand-up comedy in this guy’s future, let me tell you.
But then Nate rather uncharacteristically takes the tape to Jules. He doesn’t give her any reason to use the box cutter she’s hiding up her sleeve – on the contrary, he’s totally reasonable, and just hands the tape over, apologizing for all he’s done. After that, he calls Cassie, who has been flipping out all episode and threatening to slash her wrists with a corkscrew, and tells her to pack a bag. She can move in with him. And why not, at this point?
Cassie’s downward spiral has a knock-on effect for Lexi and her play since she’s now having doubts about how its truthfulness might make the situation worse. Of course, she confides in Fez, and the two of them watch Stand By Me together while holding hands. This is such a nice, unexpected pairing, so it’ll be a real shame when Fez’s continuing legal troubles over Mouse’s murder – we learn here that Custer has been cooperating with the police, which Faye now knows about but keeps to herself – bring it all down in flames.
There’s also another note of tragedy by the episode’s end. While Rue sleeps soundly next to Gia, their mother gets a call from a rehab clinic that presumably won’t accept Rue, suggesting a paltry detox program rather than actual support and rehabilitation. As Rue’s mother tearfully pleads, without help, her daughter will kill herself. And she might well be right.
Additional: Kat has been thoroughly forgotten about this season, but we get a brief scene this week of her attempting to break up with Ethan in a diner. She can’t bring herself to tell him the truth, so she feigns having a terminal brain disease. He sees right through this and tells her he’d just prefer her to be honest, at which point she claims he’s gaslighting her about her own experiences. He’s better off without her, I’d say.
You can catch Euphoria season 2, episode 6, “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood”, exclusively on HBO.