Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Euphoria season 1 finale, “And Salt the Earth Behind You.”
HBO’s wild new series Euphoria came to a dramatic end in its season 1 finale last night. The final moments involved a breakup (Rue and Jules, a.k.a. Rules), a breakdown (Nate), and full-fledged musical number (Rue).
While Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) had a magical moment at the dance and their first big romantic kiss, the pair ultimately parted ways as Jules headed to “the city” and Rue returned home and relapsed.
EW talked to Schafer about that tearful train station goodbye and her hopes for season 2.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about the finale: What did you think of Jules leaving Ru at the train station?
HUNTER SCHAFER: Yeah, I mean, it’s complicated and hard to just feel one-sided because there’s a lot going on right there. I think Jules is sort of wrapped up in this idea of the city, especially after her most recent trips there and having this wild experience and feeling the energy that she craved. And then coming back home and missing that, but also while she was in the city, she was missing Rue. So when Rue offers or sort of just throws the idea out there that they could run off and just go to the city and be happy now that they’re in this place of sort of an understood reciprocation of their love for each other, of course Jules jumps at that.
So I understand Jules as being upset and getting all wrapped up in this idea of being able to return to one of her favorite places she’s been to in a long time. In another sense, it’s the first time we see Rue really making a decision for her sister and her mom, which is really, really important, I think. And while she does relapse, I think that that decision can sort of be seen as a glimmer of hope maybe, and that she’s not making decisions around this sort of toxic idealization of Jules. So yeah, I don’t know. It’s hard to say.
I know you and Zendaya have gotten very close. Was that hard shooting a goodbye scene not knowing what the future holds for Ru and Jules?
Yeah. It was really emotional. It messes with me to see my friends in pain and I can’t do anything. When we we were shooting that scene, it’s just like we were standing on that train platform and the train for hours, but all I could do as my character was just try to coax Rue onto the train. And it was just heartbreaking to just feel that distance already there between the train platform and the train, and then knowing that we don’t know what the future holds for them.
But actually the last scene that we shot as Rue and Jules was the one in the hospital bed at the beginning of the episode. So that was also another emo one.
Are you being stopped by people on the street now? What is the fan reaction like?
Yeah, it’s been, it’s only really felt like it’s actually started to affect my day-to-day life in the past two, three weeks. It’s starting to happen where every time I go on walks around my neighborhood all the time, and I have been since I lived there. But now it’s like I can’t really do that. I just am still getting used to the idea that people are going to interject and say hi and stuff.
Before the winter formal, Rue and Jules catch their parents drinking wine together. Are they becoming a couple?
That’s a good question. I think it’s definitely, like, they were drinking wine together. I guess that could be something. I do not know how Rue and Jules would feel about this, though. That could, whoa, that would be a little messy.
Nate’s motivations and intentions toward Jules are still confusing. What is your take on their relationship?
Yeah, I mean, the really interesting part is I don’t think anybody knows. I think Jacob [Elordi, who portrays Nate] has even expressed not knowing what Nate’s intentions and feelings are, which has kept the interactions they’ve had a little ambiguous in that sense. But I mean, I think based off of his f—ing amazing scene this episode with his dad that was horrifying, he sort of experienced a mental break. I think you can tell that he’s not, like he’s not complete sociopathic or psychopathic in that I don’t think a psychopath would have lost his sh— and tried to bust his head open.
And so I think that is really telling, that he has an unbelievable amount of inner turmoil and conflict and a civil war going on inside of him, which I think is understandable or relatable to a lot of people. But I think for him, it’s astronomic inside. So I don’t think Nate knows. I think Nate probably has feelings, like little tinges of feelings that sometimes we’ve seen him let out but quickly met with self-suppression and killing that feeling, which is sort of internalized in a violent form, which is his favorite way to make a point.
Do you have a scene or episode this season you’re particularly proud of?
Let’s see. Yeah, I mean, I’m still pretty pumped about the club scene. Yeah, the scenes in episode 7 I feel really cool about because it was really special just having trans presences to do scenes with. I think was really fun and it allowed me to enter a headspace for those scenes. It just felt really nice to be in an environment where I was surrounded by people who shared an identity with me.
I loved the scene where Anna [Quintessa Swindell] is applying makeup to Jules and Jules is kind of, that’s a true story of mine Jules is telling about buying the shoes from Sears and sneaking them home. And so Sam [Levinson, the series’ creator] kind of let me interject my own story there. And the scene after where it’s sort of all flashing between Nate and Rue and Anna. I loved working with all of them. So they’re kind of all complied into one moment. And then when Rue says this isn’t going to end well.
There’s a rumor that Rue is actually dead and narrating this from the afterlife. Have you heard that?
Yeah, I’ve heard about it because it got pretty popular. I guess you could apply that perspective if you wanted to. But I don’t really see anything that confirms that.
Has Sam told you anything yet about season 2?
We’ve talked about it a little, but I absolutely can’t say anything.
Is there something you’d personally like to see happen with Jules in season 2?
I think I want to continue to see Jules work on herself in that she’s still got some major issues, and to continue to dissect that and feel it out. I think she learns from experiencing things. And so to experience what she needs to, without being messy, that’s from the sort of loving parent/sister relationship I feel like I have with her. That’s what I want for her, although who knows how it will play out. I’m sure it will be more messy than I would hope for her.