“Euphoria” begins inside the pinnacle of teenage addict Rue (Zendaya) and by no means absolutely leaves. Whilst episodes begin to concentrate on different characters, Rue’s sardonic voiceover by no means leaves, making it clear that irrespective of whose story she’s telling, her perspective is the one holding all of them collectively. As she stalks round her bleached hometown, dragging her toes by means of each punishing day, Rue acts as a reluctant tour information for her viewers. She guides us by means of her tangled ideas, emotions, livid fears and determined hopes. She’s not completely satisfied to be there on our display screen, the place we will see each stunning, rotting piece of her. Generally she even takes the chance of the highlight to glare proper again at us, daring us to blink. By the ultimate episode, during which Rue relapses and collapses right into a fugue state, I felt I knew her so effectively I might virtually really feel the burning of her ache in my very own chest.
Although written with vicious precision by Sam Levinson, Rue’s solely as efficient as she is as a result of Zendaya is so extremely good at portraying her. When Rue’s a jerk, Zendaya lets her be one with out softening her edges. When Rue’s afraid, Zendaya lets her practiced smirk fall simply sufficient to let you realize it. The character might have been — and generally is — a large number of clichéd teenaged angst. As an alternative, Zendaya digs into each nook of her gnarled psyche to seek out the terrified child hiding within the shadows. The present wouldn’t work a fraction as effectively with out an actor who might deliver that sort of nuance to its emotional middle, a process Zendaya takes on with palpable care and unbelievable verve.
If there’s one scene that reveals simply how a lot her vary Zendaya dropped at “Euphoria,” it’s the one within the third episode when Rue, strung out and exhausted of making an attempt to battle her dependancy, goes to her seller (Angus Cloud) and begs for a repair. He refuses to even let her within the door. The vary of reactions Rue then experiences — as portrayed by Zendaya’s expertly calibrated efficiency — reveals you all the things you could learn about Rue. At first she laughs, amused at what must be a joke. When he nonetheless doesn’t budge, although, she turns into livid, unable to suppose past her sheer rage that he might be so hypocritical and go away her out within the mud like this. She beats the door along with her fists, kicks it along with her worn sneakers, virtually howls by means of the keyhole. It doesn’t work — and that’s when the panic begins to set in. Her limbs get heavier; her breath catches in her throat; her shouts flip into sobs. She’s hitting all-time low, with nothing to hold onto however her personal slippery thoughts.
This breakdown, like so many different “Euphoria” scenes, might have curdled if a much less in a position actor had tackled it. However Zendaya throws herself so wholly into it that Rue feels actual sufficient that she may as effectively be banging down the fourth wall. Pair this sort of splashy efficiency with the quiet moments in between — most particularly when Rue realizes she’s falling in love along with her greatest buddy Jules (Hunter Schaefer) — and Zendaya’s Rue turns into probably the most finely-tuned portrayal on tv. It’s solely proper that the Academy acknowledged it as such.