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Entertainment, Opinion

Euphoria, queer women, and tragedy in sapphic relationships

Sapphic relationships in media seldom don’t end tragically, and teen drama Euphoria is no exception. 

While tragedy is reality, and nothing lasts forever, sometimes escaping reality in entertainment is nice. 

Sometimes seeing queer women fall for each other, fall apart, and maybe come out the other side together is great. 

(Spoilers ahead.)

Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer)’s relationship going from tragically passionate to plain tragic is disappointing, especially coming off the dreaminess of Jules’s special episode before season two. 

Rue’s instability due to her drug use impacts how she functions with Jules.

With the codependency and ideals Rue places on Jules, the responsibility that Jules feels to keep Rue sober, and Jules having struggled with her mother being an addict, it is a big mess.

But it is a mess that could be considered beautiful at times. 

Jules is changed by Rue and realises things about herself because of their relationship, which becomes such a central part of their individual stories in season one. 

Then Jules leaves on a train in the season one finale, leading Rue to relapse and partially blame her. 

Jules’ special episode is very important for her character, making her no longer just a villain who abandoned Rue but someone who was struggling too. 

In season two, they are drawn right back to each other – two queer girls giving into their feelings again, all their problems be damned. 

The problem is that Rue is back to doing drugs, lying to Jules about it, and keeping secrets, contributing to their relationship’s downfall. 

Jules doesn’t help matters by deciding to cheat on Rue, an event that ultimately goes nowhere because the writing is slightly sloppy this season – erasing all Jules’s progress. 

For her to go from wanting to be all in to cheating on Rue with someone she didn’t have a worthwhile connection with was almost insulting to her character. 

After Rue’s withdrawal-induced blow-up on Jules because she helped stage an intervention, it feels like their relationship barely has breath anymore. 

In the finale, Rue’s internal dialogue about the relationship is bleak: “It’s funny how I used to think we were meant for each other. That feels like a lifetime ago.” 

Just when it looks like they will reconcile, Rue doesn’t respond to Jules, simply kissing her forehead then walking away. 

Was it necessary to bring them back together? Maybe not. 

They could have circled around each other, felt that pull without trying to be together, and caused each other minor heartache – though it seemed more like their relationship was meant to be a source of drama and grief for them both. 

Maybe creator Sam Levinson thought that made for good writing and was true to the relationship’s journey. 

Whether they somehow get back together or not, their relationship is added to the pile of discarded sapphic relationships. 

Others have ended by way of tragic death or otherwise. 

It doesn’t mean that sapphic relationships in media can’t end or be tragic, but having them not become total dumpster fires would be a breath of fresh air.

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