‘Euphoria’: Jacob Elordi on Finale’s Rue Cliffhanger and Why Nate Might Not Be a ‘Psychopath’

“I think he’s like an incredibly traumatized little boy,” HBO drama’s star tells TheWrap

Euphoria Jacob Elordi

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of “Euphoria,” titled “And Salt the Earth Behind You.”)

The first season of “Euphoria” came to a close Sunday night with a cliffhanger that left fans wondering whether or not Rue (Zendaya) overdosed after a relapse following her decision to not run away with Jules (Hunter Schafer). While we know you’re going to find out eventually — seeing as the show has already been renewed for a second season at HBO — we don’t know when you’ll get the answer.

So TheWrap spoke with “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi about what he thinks happened in the trippy closing moments of the Sam Levinson-created teen drama’s Season 1 finale.

“That’s a hard one, because it’s obviously not cut and dry and explicitly told,” Elordi, who plays Nate Jacobs, said. “But I kinda like that about it, because that’s kind of been the tone of the whole show, you sort of never really know what’s going on and it always kind of leaves it ambiguous to a degree.”

Production hasn’t begun on Season 2, so Elordi doesn’t know what happens to Rue yet — and we’re confident he wouldn’t reveal her fate even if he did — but he did give us something to think on.

“I read an interesting theory about her hearing the beep, like, you can hear the wind or something at the end of the soundtrack at the very end of the episode and you can hear the beeps from, like, the hospital. And I thought that was pretty cool,” he said, referring to Rue’s performance of “All For Us” (a new track by Zendaya and Labrinth) at the end of the finale, which is followed by some confusing sounds played over the credits.

He added: “I don’t know, it could really go anywhere, because it could be cut and dry, that she snorted drugs and relapsed, or maybe it’s not so cut and dry because the show plays with fantasy and reality so much.”

While Rue clearly had some heavy stuff going on in the finale, titled “And Salt the Earth Behind You,” there was more than enough drama to go around for everyone, including Nate, who put doubts in Rue’s head about her future with Jules, had a violent confrontation with his father, Cal (Eric Dane), and was finally dumped by Maddy (Alexa Demie).

“When I played it, I always toed the line between him literally meaning everything he said, and him sort of messing with them,” Elordi said, regarding Nate’s continuous conflict with Rue and Jules. “I never really came at it with the intention of, ‘I’m scheming and I’m going to mess with your emotions here.’ I always looked at it as, even though he’s socially and morally unjustifiable, if you really get down to it — except when he’s lying — when he’s talking to Jules and Rue, he’s kind of always telling the truth. He’s pretty blunt and he uses the truth because he knows that it hurts them and it manipulates them. But I found the scene, I approached the scene with Rue at the end as if he like sort of felt sorry for her. As if he was trying to give her hard advice.”

As for Nate and Maddy, Elordi says those two are done after she called him out on his abusive nature while they slow-danced at the winter formal.

“I do really think it was a long and hard goodbye,” he told us. “I found it very heartbreaking actually, in a weird way, because there is a point through all the abuse where there is still a genuine and a tender love and there was a reason that they fell in love. And a lot of that abuse comes from a lot of them not wanting to let go and not knowing when it’s time to let go. So I found that scene was a goodbye for both of them because he accepted what she said, as well, which is why it was an interesting episode because you kind of see him manipulate less and come to terms with a lot of stuff.”

Unbeknownst to Nate, before their breakup, Maddy got ahold of the tape that reveals Cal statutory-raping Jules. Elordi says he has “no idea” what she’ll do with it or what that means for Season 2 — but we do know Nate’s feelings about what his father has done, and how it culminated in the giant fit he had during the finale.

“I think he’s like an incredibly traumatized little boy. And when you see that release there, it’s not a release after a season of us watching him, it’s a release after 18 years. His whole life has been building up to that,” he said.

“I often hear sociopath and psychopath [about Nate] — I don’t really know how I feel personally about those sort of claims about him being that,” he continued. “I didn’t really want to play into any kind of archetype or idea. I just played off the circumstances of him being a victim of abuse, in a way. So just thinking about the childhood experience, thinking about your entire life being a lie — it’s like domestic abuse, you know what I mean? His dad physically hurts him, he mentally hurts him, he’s messed up his whole interpretation of what it is to be functioning human being. So I didn’t really come at it with any medical assessment of him, just a human being dealing with what it would be like those circumstances.”