This week’s third episode of HBO’s Euphoria, “Made You Look,” is a lot, and the unrelenting bleakness is starting to get under my skin. When it was revealed that the series would feature multiple penises (so many peni!), I shrugged it off, but I wasn’t expecting what I witnessed in this week’s episode: A micropenis, not that there’s anything wrong with that. All parts of our bodies come in different shapes and sizes. But, you know: Call me a prude if you’d like, but I’m just not sure I’m the target audience for a scene in which a man begs a teenager to humiliate him and make fun of his small penis while he joyfully whacks off on camera.
Honestly, Euphoria is in dire need of either some comic relief, which this episode blessedly provided when Rue gave a tutorial on the three types of dick pics — terrifying, horrifying, and acceptable — or a hopeful story. Alas, the comic relief is only brief in this week’s episode, and the one storyline I had some hope for went south when Kat reinvented herself as an accidental online dominatrix.
But let’s back up for a moment: The featured character this week is Kat, who we learn from Rue’s narration gained 20 pounds when she was younger after she discovered a fondness for virgin pina coladas (she drank 72 in one week). Consequently, her boyfriend dumped her and Kat began finding romantic solace in Gilmore Girls and True Blood and gained a very unhealthy self-image from spending too much time on the Internet.
It turns out, however, that Kat is also very popular online thanks to her pornographic One Direction fanfic (depicted in animated form in the episode), which made her something of a Tumblr celeb. Unfortunately, her online popularity has not translated into her school life, although the videos she posts online lead to more opportunities. By that I mean: Kat gets a lesson from the nice-guy drug dealer Fez and his 12-year-old accountant brother on Bitcoin and begins accepting money in exchange for humiliating the man with the tiny penis while he masturbates. (Where the hell are all these helicopter parents I keep hearing about?) Meanwhile, a nice boy in her class has developed a crush on Kat, but Kat’s self-esteem is so damaged that she doesn’t even recognize it. The Luke of her dreams is sitting right next to her and she has no clue.
Meanwhile, I don’t like what’s happening with Jules at all. She’s become smitten with the guy she met online, ShyGuy118, who we know is Nate, the jock with rage issues. She has no idea that it’s one of her classmates, although she is intimately familiar with his penis thanks to a series of dick pics, including one in which Nate’s penis is compared favorably to a water bottle (Evian, because he’s fancy). Jules agrees to meet Nate in a dark, private place, and I’m as terrified for her as Rue, who has developed her own intense crush on Jules. Despite what appears as a genuine affection for Jules in their text exchanges (which Nate’s girlfriend Maddy finds out about), I fear that Nate will inflict sexual violence upon Jules, which is when I may have to quit the show for going three bridges too far.
Rue tries to convince Jules not to meet the stranger in a private place, but Jules suggests that Rue is just jealous because Jules has someone else, although Jules realizes later in the episode that Rue is jealous because Rue is in love with her. In fact, Rue tries to kiss Jules, but Jules awkwardly rebuffs her.
Rue, meanwhile, is accepting 60-day chips at Narcotics Anonymous while high, although another character played by Colman Domingo (Strand from Fear the Walking Dead) sniffs it out and offers to help her really get clean. Rue eventually takes him up on the offer after Jules rebuffs her advances and Fez refuses to give her drugs in a heartbreaking scene, in which Rue beats on Fez’s door, demands drugs, and blames him for her current state of dependency (she’s not wrong). I don’t know how many more rock bottoms Rue can hit before she finally cleans up her mess, but we’re only three episodes into this season so we may be due for another relapse or seven.
I dunno, y’all: This show is bleak, and I worry there are not a lot of happy endings in store for these characters. Years and years of therapy seems like the best case scenario for most of them, and as much as I may appreciate creator Sam Levinson’s willingness to
push rip up the envelope, I still don’t understand to what end. At the moment, it feels like misery porn in desperate need of a win for someone. Anyone. Please. My Friday Night Lights-loving soul can’t handle much more, and I’m not looking forward to the Jules’ centered episode next week.
Header Image Source: HBO