The town carnival that goes down during the July 7 episode of ‘Euphoria’ leads to a jaw-dropping reunion (of sorts), a possible breakup, and a stunning realization.
Jules’s backstory has been something Euphoria fans have been waiting for since the show began. Turns out, it’s just as heartbreaking as we all thought. Jules’s mom drove her to a psychiatric hospital when she was 11, calling it a “road trip.” When Jules took a tour of the facility, she soon realized she wasn’t leaving. She ran up to the door screaming for her mom, but her mom did nothing. At first, Jules was angry and then she was defeated.
Jules hated how her brain worked and her body, Rue explains. She hated her life, so she developed a few coping mechanisms. One of the nurses left her the can of ginger ale when he dropped off her lunch and Jules cut her wrist with it. She eventually got better and went home. By 13, Jules started transitioning. By the time she was 16, she was hooking up with guys — a lot. When things got too rough, like with Cal, Jules would just pretend she wasn’t really herself. She was just someone in a movie or TV show.
But Tyler, who is actually Nate, isn’t like those other guys, according to Jules. That’s why she’s fallen for him hard. Jules’s growing relationship with Tyler hasn’t been easy for Rue. Couple the Jules drama and her breakdown, Rue is more vulnerable than she’s been in a long time. Thankfully, she calls Ali. He tries to get her to talk about what’s happening. Rue admits she “misread” the situation with Jules and now she feels like it’s going to be really awkward. She says hanging out with Jules was the best thing to happen to her in a while. Ali asks Rue about her feelings for Jules and whether or not their friendship is the best thing for Rue right now. Rue believes Jules is a good influence on her, but Ali brings up a good point: didn’t drugs feel really good the first time you tried them?
At the carnival, Maddy goes looking for Nate dressed in a barely there outfit. When he sees her, he’s not happy about her outfit. His family already doesn’t like her and this is the family chili cookoff, which is apparently a big deal in the Jacobs family. Nate yells at Maddy and tells her to go home, change, and come back “looking like a person.” Ugh. He’s the worst.
Rue comes to the carnival with Gia and Lexi. When Jules sees Rue, she runs to her. She acts like nothing happened. Jules leaves Kat high and dry, but Kat’s not alone for long. Ethan shows up being as sweet as he can be. McKay and Cassie come to the carnival together. When Nate asks him if they’re dating, McKay says they’re “just chillin'” and that pisses Cassie off royally. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but Cassie is upset. McKay claims he didn’t admit the truth about their relationship because he doesn’t want Nate talking trash about Cassie. He makes her feel bad about her choices so she storms off. Maddy and Cassie get some molly from Ashtray and Fezco to blow off some steam.
Jules spots Cal at the carnival and can’t believe her eyes. Rue doesn’t believe that Jules hooked up with Cal at first. Jules quickly makes the connection that Cal is Nate’s dad as well. To prove to Rue that she’s telling the truth, Jules walks up to the chili stand to speak to Cal. He’s immediately awkward with Jules and can’t stop shaking as he hands her a cup of chili. That’s the moment Rue realizes that Jules is telling the truth. Cal sees Rue before Jules walks away and now he knows that Rue knows. In the midst of their freakout, Rue’s mom calls and says she can’t get in touch with Gia.
Meanwhile, Kat and Ethan are having a blast together. They are literally so cute. They agree to split up to go get food and drinks. When Kat goes back to meet Ethan, she sees him talking to a girl and thinks the worst. Kat drops their slushies and walks away. But the girl is just talking to Ethan about getting his sister to cover a shift for her. That’s all. Ethan genuinely likes Kat, but it’s too late. Kat ends up hooking up with a random guy at the carnival.
While totally high, Maddy walks up to Jacobs family chili stand and makes a scene. She even calls Nate’s mom a “c*nt.” Nate drags her off and slams her against a trailer by the neck. “You’re f**king dead to me,” an enraged Nate says. Maddy’s not going to let him have the upper hand so she admits that she went through his phone and saw those photos. He deflects and says he’s “going through a lot” at the moment. He manipulates the situation and makes her feel bad for him. Nate also makes Maddy promise that she won’t tell anyone what she saw on his phone.
As more drama is going down between Nate and Maddy, Cassie is trying to get her mind off McKay while high as a kite. She makes out with a new guy and dry humps one of the horses on a carousel until she orgasms. Once she comes down from her high, she sees that everyone is watching her.
Cal goes looking for Jules. When he finds her, he begs her not to tell anyone about their hookup. “If this ever came out, I’d lose everything,” he says. He says he’ll do whatever she wants. She swears she’s not trying to ruin his life. She promises that she won’t say anything and neither will Rue. He thanks her and walks away. Jules soon gets a text from Tyler, a.k.a. Nate, asking to meet in 30 minutes.
Rue finally finds Gia and she’s getting high with friends. When Rue tries to get Gia to come with her, the crowd makes Rue feel bad about her addiction struggles. Gia doesn’t want to hurt Rue so she listens to her older sister. Rue and Gia walk home together. Gia is scared of getting caught by their mom, but Rue covers for her little sister.
The final minutes of the episode show Cassie crying over what happened at the carnival, Maddy looking at the bruises that Nate gave her, and Jules showing up to the park alone. When he reveals himself to be Nate, Jules is horrified. He tries to talk to her. “I don’t trust you, Nate,” she cries. He says he doesn’t trust her either before he kisses her. That’s when he flips the switch.
“God, are you broken inside. That’s precisely why I don’t trust you. Because you’re so broken you don’t even trust yourself,” Nate says to Jules. He tells her that if she says anything to anyone about what’s happened between them, he’ll go to the authorities and get her charged with child pornography. She’s been sending him nudes and he’s got all the photos. She says she could tell the authorities everything from her side, including the fact that his father hooked up with her. That would be a statutory rape charge for Cal. Regardless, Nate brings up that she’d end up on a sex offenders list because of the photos. He claims he doesn’t want that for her. He claims he wants her to have the life she wants. “Keep your head down and your mouth shut. Don’t think about ruining my life,” he threatens.
Jules refuses to let Nate have total control over this situation. “You want to know what I think?” I think you’re a f**king fagg*t just like your daddy,” Jules says. Nate may have one-upped Jules but she’s got him, too. Nate grabs Jules by the hair violently and it’s a threat. He has the ability to hurt her and will if he has to. What a dangerous and diabolical psycho.
Jules runs to Rue’s place after the horrifying incident. When Rue asks how the date went, Jules doesn’t mention Nate. She starts crying and Rue comforts her. They get into Rue’s bed together and eventually start kissing. This time, it’s not just one-sided. Jules wants this as much as Rue.