So...Um, Did Rue Die?

Illustration for article titled So...Um, Did Rue Die?
Screenshot: HBO

I’m still processing some aspects of both Euphoria’s season finale and the entire completed season. (Namely, whether the show is actually good, or if I just enjoy it and think it is.) But one cemented detail is that Zendaya catapulted into the holy shit stratosphere of acting and talent and presence and range. Anything this role required her to be—witty, menacing, vulnerable, pitiable, damaged, depressed, chilling, genius, insecure, furious, lucid, manic, charismatic, sincere, hurt, warm, afraid, hilarious—she fucking did. She even managed to make the Jesus Christ Superstar-ing of the last three minutes of the finale compelling. I was too spellbound by it, and her, to be annoyed with it.


And about that ending. It’s clear that Rue relapsed and possibly OD-ed again. But after a closer viewing, it’s possible that she actually died too, as there are multiple clues that indicate that. You can make both cases, actually, and I think I’m gonna do just that.

Why Rue is probably alive: She’s the narrator—and the star—and narrators (and stars) usually don’t die.

Why Rue is probably dead: She’s just narrating from the grave, that’s all. That’s how her voice is so omniscient. (Also, Ned Stark would like a word about that star thing.)

Why Rue is probably alive: I’m not watching season two without Zendaya.


Why Rue is probably alive: Multiple flashbacks show why she’s so loath to disappoint her mom and sister again. She just doesn’t want to put them through more than they already have.

Why Rue is probably dead: During her out-of-body sequence, she embraces each member of her family, but as my homegirl Sai pointed out last night, her (dead) dad is the only one who actually sees her.

Despite the evidence clearly leaning one direction (sigh), I remained hopeful that Rue survived...until 10 minutes ago when I looked up the lyrics for “All For Us”—the Rue/Zendaya-performed song that concludes the episode.

Here’s how the song ends.

Guess you figured my two times two

Always equates to one

Dreamers are selfish

When it all comes down to it

I hope one of you come back to remind me of who I was

When I go disappearing

Into that good night, good night, good night, good night, good night

Shit. Rue’s dead y’all.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



A part of me was kind of wondering if this ENTIRE season has just been one fantastically long flashback and the Voiceover Rue has been dead the whole time and we’ve just been watching up until that point it happens.

I don’t know...

But you’re right Dead or Not Dead - I’m not watching the next season without Zendaya.