WARNING: This story makes reference to substance abuse and addiction.
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The internet is saying Zendaya will nab her second Emmy after her incredible and masterfully emotional performance as Rue in this week’s episode of Euphoria. Obviously huge spoilers here folks! Don’t keep reading unless you have watched the ep or don’t mind being spoiled.

Euphoria season two episode five, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird”, opens with a nail-biting scene. Rue’s mum Leslie (Nika King) and sister Gia (Storm Reid) learn from Jules (Hunter Schafer) that Rue has been secretly taking drugs all season despite telling her friends and family she’s sober.

Then Leslie confronts her about it at home and Rue reacts violently. She verbally abuses her family as she’s smashing parts of the house and searching for the suitcase of drugs she nabbed off Laurie (Martha Kelly).

Anyone who has either coped with addiction or knows or has known someone going through it will recognise Rue’s behaviour in this scene. It’s erratic, defensive, confrontational and heartbreaking.

When Rue discovers that Jules and Elliot (Dominic Fike) are in the house as she’s arguing with her mum, she snaps. She begins abusing Jules and calls her a “greedy whore who sucks the life out of people”. Awful stuff but addiction is.

The episode then follows Rue as she tries to run away from her friends and family who want to help her sober up. She goes to her support networks — Lexi (Maude Apatow) and Fez (Angus Cloud) — and tries to steal from them. While at Lexi’s, she outs Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) secret affair with Nate (Jacob Elordi) to Maddie (Alexa Demie) and then uses Maddie’s reaction to distract her mum and the others as she leaves.

She then breaks into a stranger’s home and tries to outrun the cops. In a truly heartbreaking scene, she ends up finding refuge in the one person who doesn’t try to get her to get help: her dealer.

It’s an incredible episode and perfectly carried by Zendaya and the rest of the cast. But Z’s performance in the opening scene with King and Reid has left the internet betting she’ll win another Emmy for the season.

Zendaya shared a statement after Monday night’s Euphoria episode aired from an interview where she was asked about Rue and what her journey says about the experience of addiction.

“I think in this show, and this season more specifically, she hits rock bottom,” Zendaya wrote.

“It’s my hope for people watching that they still see her as a person worthy of their love. And worthy of their time, and that she has a redemptive quality still, and that we still see the good in her even if she can’t see it in herself.

“I think that if people can go with her through that, and get to the end, and still have hope for her future, and watch her make the changes and steps to heal and humanise her though her sobriety journey and her addiction, then maybe they can extend that to people in real life.

“If you can love her, then you can love someone that is struggling with the same thing, and maybe have a greater understanding of the pain they’re facing, that is often out of their control. So for me, that is the most important thing.”

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Zendaya became the youngest person to win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama series as Rue in Euphoria in 2020 as well as the second Black woman ever to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series.

You can catch all of Euphoria on Binge.