8 of the wildest Euphoria fan theories

Did Rue die in the very first episode?

by Tom George
25 February 2022, 2:15pm

This article contains spoilers for Euphoria season two, up to episode seven. 

Over the past eight weeks, HBO’s Euphoria has defined the cultural zeitgeist, dominating online discourse and taking over Insta, Twitter and TikTok. Meanwhile, its young cast have become even bigger stars, gracing both magazine covers and fashion runways. Each week we tune in to a new episode with so many questions: Will Rue and Jules makeup? Will someone finally stop Nate Jacobs? Will Cassie have another sort of pathetic but also iconic breakdown we can make memes from? Will Barbie Ferreira get any screen time? (Justice for vape girl too). We have become so invested in the silly little vibes of this show that it’s left us pondering: what on earth will we all talk about when this season is over? 

With all these questions, a lot of theories have popped up too. Some are believable, others less so. But at Euphoria High — a place where teens carry Jacquemus bags to school and the drama department has Broadway levels of funding — anything is possible. Ahead of the finale this weekend, here are our favourite unhinged (yet plausible) Euphoria fan theories.

1. Rue has been dead this whole time

The idea that Rue might die at some point during the show’s timeline is widely accepted amongst fans. Watching her harrowing addiction struggles and sense of hopelessness has meant that, for many, it seems the show is destined for tragedy. However, there are some who think that, actually, Rue has been talking to us from beyond the grave from the offset. With the same vibe as the “Phoebe from Friends is actually homeless and imagining this friendship group” conspiracy, some fans believe Rue passed away during her overdose at the beginning of series one, episode one, and since then has been narrating the events that led up to it.

Others think that Rue’s demise was during her relapse in series two, episode four. Moments later she envisions a reunion with her dad and singing with Labrinth, before the narration atypically switches to Jules. Showrunner Sam Levinson has said this is because he sees Rue as entering “this place between life and death” when she gets high, but fans have other evidence too. Most notably, during a montage of Rue and Jules recreating iconic romantic movies, such as Titanic, Ghost and Brokeback Mountain, Rue plays all the characters who die. Spooky! It would be quite the twist if Zendaya's Emmy-winning role was already secretly killed off. 

2. Ashtray is Nate’s brother

Okay so bear with us. In season two, episode four, after a drunk Cal Jacobs laments about his fucked up family dynamic, violently egotistical sons, and admits his own secret homosexuality (oh, and pisses on the floor), he picks up a framed photo of the family before walking out of the house for good. But eagle-eyed viewers noticed that there were actually three sons in the picture he grabbed. So who is the third Jacobs sibling? A Reddit thread dedicated to solving the mystery has thrown out names such as Ashtray, Jules (which would be particularly messed up if so) and Elliot, with the theories even making Dominic Fike question his own character’s history.

But the preteen baby-faced drug dealer Ashtray seems to be the most popular of theories. On the other hand, there’s also speculation that he is the offspring of the fear-inducing, sinisterly-unbothered Laurie. Both Jacob Elordi and Eric Dane who play Nate and Cal Jacobs respectively have said they have not been told who the third Jacobs brother is and so it looks like his identity will remain a secret until season three at the very least. 

3. Or Nate killed his brother? 

Even if the idea that Ashtray is Nate’s brother is rather far-fetched (at one point in season two Ashtray hits Cal with a bat. Wouldn’t the latter have recognised his son?), the family portrait does raise quite a few questions. Another theory suggested on TikTok is that Cal’s proclivity for violence manifested itself rather early in his children and an incident between the brother’s led to either the missing son’s death, or him being taken away out of protection. Further fuel was added to this theory when Cal says “we all have our secrets'” whilst looking at the photo of the once five-person family. We’re heading into Pretty Little Liars territory now though and I’m not sure I can emotionally handle another deranged evil English twin reveal.  

4. Elliot and Jules are now drug dealers selling Rue’s stash

Like many of the theories posted to social media, this seems to be more of a hope than evidence-based. The idea is that Elliot and Jules would have known that Rue would be in serious, probably life-threatening danger if she didn’t get the money together to pay back Laurie for the drugs. Some fans believe that although the pair claimed to a spiralling Rue that they flushed her stash, in actuality they are selling it on the down-low, perhaps to get together the money Rue owes.

5. But also Elliot is imaginary

During season two, Elliot often facilitates and encourages Rue’s drug habit, could he be the physical embodiment of her addiction? Tbf, the only characters’ who ever talk to Elliot are Rue and Jules, and even during the scene in which Elliot and Jules tell Rue’s family about her relapse, Elliot still only seems to interact with the former lovers. Some also argue he’s been getting into the middle of our favourite hedonistic relationship in the same way Rue’s addictions do. 

6. Faye is a cop

We adore Chloe Cherry’s debut in our favourite TV show du jour but if this is true then, well, ACAB. 

7. Maddy and Samantha are going to hook up

Call it the sapphic Call Me by Your Name but many have noticed a sexual tension between Maddy and the woman she babysits for, Samantha, when they’re hanging out in the pool. Maybe something more will develop between the 18-year-old and yummy mummy. Then again, lest we forget the camera hidden in the alarm clock pointed directly at Maddy as she tried on Samantha’s clothes. To quote Cardi B: “That’s suspicious. That’s weird.” Whatever is going on, it’s clear the writer’s are hinting at a larger story potentially playing out between the pair in the future. 

8. Nate will die in the season two finale

Another thing widely agreed by the Euphoria fandom is that someone is going to die this season. Guesses so far have mainly focused on Fezco, Ashtray, Lexi and Rue, but one TikToker has found evidence the ill-fated character might be Nate. @DevinontheRocks noticed that in the scrapped original pilot script, Rue says Nate Jacobs was found dead before the show cuts to four months earlier when Jules arrives in town. In the Isreali show Euphoria is based on, Nate Jacobs is killed off early on in that too. With the show’s current timeline, Lexi’s play is roughly six months since the start of the school year and Jules’ arrival, so could Nate be killed off in the finale? The show has diverted quite strongly from its source material as well as facing multiple rewrites and so, at this point, in the series finale on Sunday, anything could happen!

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