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Is Rue still alive on ‘Euphoria’? Why some fans think she’s not

This season's most ominous episode yet has fans theorizing that this episode was a finale of sorts.
Zendaya as Rue in season two of "Euphoria."
Zendaya as Rue in season two of "Euphoria."Eddy Chen / HBO

"Euphoria" typically features main character Rue narrating each character's plotline, so what happens when we have an entire episode without her signature voice-overs?

After Sunday's episode four ended with Rue in a drug-induced hallucination in a church where she seemingly reconnects with her father, fans are theorizing that the protagonist might have overdosed.

So why do fans think this episode means Rue is dead?

Famous lovers, famous tragedies

The episode opened with Rue expressing her love for Jules by way of some of the most famous examples of love, beauty and anguish. We see Jules as Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting “The Birth of Venus,” as Frida Kahlo in “Diego and I” and as Snow White with Rue animated as Prince Charming.

The two also dress up and act out fated lovers, like Jack and Rose in “Titanic,” Jack and Ennis in “Brokeback Mountain,” Sam and Molly in “Ghost” and John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

But fans are noticing that someone dies in all of these famous couples, and most of the time it's the character that Zendaya’s character Rue is dressed up as. 

Jules also finds out that Rue hasn’t been sober the entire season in this episode, and we see their relationship unravel both as they fight and when Jules cheats on Rue with Elliot. 

“This either represents Rue actually dying, or represents Jules’ love for Rue dying,” one fan theorized in a side-by-side TikTok edit of the movie references in episode four.

“Rue is a past tense narrator. Just a reminder…” another fan commented.

This week's episode of "Euphoria" lacked Rue's signature narration.
This week's episode of "Euphoria" lacked Rue's signature narration.Eddy Chen / HBO

'Since before we ever existed'

Episode four also ends with a Jules voice-over, which fans are taking might mean a pivotal shift in who controls the narrative of each episode. 

“I’ve always been with you, from before you were born, until after you’re gone,” Rue starts at the end of the episode. Jules finishes, closing out the episode by saying, “Since before we ever existed.”

The episode itself was much slower paced than past episodes in the series, with long, drawn out scenes focusing on dialogue and confrontation. Past episodes have featured both Rue as an “unreliable narrator” and chaotic pacing, but this installment was quite a switch up.

While Rue as a narrator guides other “Euphoria” episodes regardless of which character’s story we’re seeing, this episode lacked her signature omniscient voice. 

Hunter Schafer as Jules in episode four of "Euphoria."
Hunter Schafer as Jules in episode four of "Euphoria."HBO

A spiritual awakening?

Rue’s hallucination parallels back and forth between her hugging her father and her in a church, walking down the aisle and tearfully embracing artist Labrinth, the series’ composer. 

Some fans took the father-daughter imagery as a sign Rue has died, or at least overdosed to the point where she is close to it.

To take it a step further, the trailer for episode five opens with sirens, a whole lot of crying and Elliot saying, “I liked Rue the way she was.” 

Still, other fans aren’t convinced this is the end of Rue’s life. Some referenced unseen footage from this season’s trailer, and others think it’s not that simple.

“Ok but the post credit trailer for ep 5 made it seem toooo obvious … there has to be some plot twist,” one Tiktokker commented.

Fans are also referencing a post-credits interview from director Sam Levinson from this episode.

Levinson said he imagined that “when Rue gets really high she’s able to kind of enter this place sort of between life and death where she can reunite with her father.”

Regardless of where our protagonist stands, it’s clear this was a turning point in the series. Long, picturesque shots of different characters at the end of the episode felt almost like a final curtain call. All we know is that Sunday can’t come soon enough.