[Header Image: HBO]
So this episode was way more intense than I was expecting it to be. I had heard a lot about the carnival scenes – mostly positive – so I was really looking forward to it but I was not expecting for it to be as captivating as it was. To say I was sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to see what happened next, is an understatement. But before we get to carnival, let’s talk about the cold opening because it does connect.
Episode four starts with Jules. Although we’ve spent a decent amount of time with her in the first three episodes, she’s still been a bit of a mystery. To an extent, she still is, but we definitely got more of an insight into her this episode. It isn’t that surprising that her childhood wasn’t the best. We see that she went through a lot, even being sent to a psychiatric hospital, and then later transitioning once she’s released. She mentions that as she got better, her mother got worse, and her father ended up leaving his job so he could be around. We’ve seen so far that it’s just her and her dad and that Jules refuses to talk much about her mother. It’s a little easier to see why now.
It worked really well that we’re getting these insights into Jules now. Through the cold opening, we discover that her night with Cal was a regular thing she did with other men and that pretty much all of them are attracted to other men. Through Rue’s voiceover, we learn a lot about how Jules feels about the whole thing and just her life in general. Like the previous cold openings, we see how much of a change she went through from the moment she was put in the psychiatric hospital until the present day. And with this new-found knowledge of Jules, we get the carnival.
Deep down I knew that she was going to run into Cal at some point. He’s well known and she goes to school with his son but I didn’t expect it to go down like that. The whole time she was at his stand during the carnival was insane. The way he was shaking, the fact that everyone involved in the scene kept looking at each other, and the constant feeling of not knowing how it was going to play out. The thing that shocked me the most, however, was the confrontation between Cal and Jules (or rather, the lack of confrontation). When he started following her the obvious reaction was to be concerned, from what we’ve seen of him so far, I expected him to threaten her but instead, we saw him practically begging her not to do anything. Now, it could just be a tactic, him maybe realising that it might be easier that way so violence and threats could still come up later but it genuinely surprised me when all he seemed to want to do was talk.
We can’t say the same for Nate though. The carnival hasn’t necessarily been good to him. He has some trouble with Maddy who he strangles after taking molly and making a scene in front of his family. With that last bit, the way it was filmed coupled with Alexa Demie’s talent made for an iconic moment. The scene with her and Cassie in front of the mirrors was also really great as well.
Eventually, Maddy and Nate do makeup, especially after she reveals seeing the dick pics on his phone, but she is later seen crying as she gently touches the bruises on her neck. Like I said in my last review, I don’t trust Nate at all and I don’t believe he’s really that sorry, he’s just desperate at this point. And it’s proven in this episode that he shouldn’t be trusted when it is officially confirmed that not only did he know it was Jules he was talking to but he had bad intentions all along. Considering his cold opening, it makes sense that he might know about what happened between Jules and Cal, but regardless, Nate’s intentions this whole time was to blackmail her using the nude photos they sent each other. Funnily enough, he doesn’t seem necessarily outraged or violent in the scenes with Jules but it’s been made clear before that Nate’s silent and calm demeanour is what you should be worrying about.
That being said, the encounter does lead Jules to go to Rue’s house where they lay in bed together and kiss. Earlier in the episode, the pair did makeup easily and quickly which I was so happy about. Watching Jules run over to Rue when she spots her at the carnival was the most adorable thing. I do love them together and I was hoping they wouldn’t be at odds for too long. I am a little concerned about the kiss happening right after the Nate confrontation because Jules was clearly falling for him (well, Tyler) and if anything happens between her and Rue, I hope it’s genuine.
This is mostly because Rue continues to go through it. At the end of the last episode, we saw that she called Ali and in this one, we see her meet with him and they talk. He likens her feelings for Jules to how drugs felt the first time she took them. As the audience, we know that Rue is relying on Jules a lot and that her feelings are incredibly strong. How she feels for Jules was enough to make her try and quit drugs for real. With this kiss happening, it could be enough to tip Rue over the edge again or, maybe, she’ll listen to what Ali said and create a bit of distance with Jules instead of jumping in headfirst.
This episode, we also saw Rue looking for Gia. While at the carnival, Gia goes missing and is eventually found with some older people including the twins. She’s been smoking and is already high when Rue finds her. It doesn’t seem like she wants to listen and she doesn’t move at all when Rue tells her they’re leaving. That only changes when one of the twins talks about Rue overdosing and Gia finally realises she doesn’t want to be there. The scenes between the two girls were more indicators of how much they love each other. The two are clearly close and we see more and more that Rue’s overdose had some pretty serious impacts on Gia.
But speaking of the carnival in general, I loved the way it was shot. There were cuts throughout but the way it was edited (and filmed), especially in the beginning, made it look and feel like one giant scene (a continuous shot). The carnival was the primary setting for the episode and a lot of the visuals really helped to pull you in. It definitely added to the intensity of the episode because it felt like everything was constantly moving. All of these characters were in the same space but so many different things were happening.
Some other things:
- The fact that Fez and Ashtray had a stand and were using it to sell drugs was kind of cool. I loved the reveal of that. Although I will say, it hurt my heart a little that Fez and Rue were in the same place and didn’t cross paths especially after what happened at the end of the last episode.
- Kat is warming up to Ethan but makes assumptions when she sees him talking to another girl and her reaction does make sense considering her cold opening. At this point, I like Ethan. He seems genuine and doesn’t seem to have any ulterior motives when it comes to Kat. I’m definitely curious to know where things might go between them from here on out.