Following the season two finale of the iconic HBO original series Euphoria, ‘Elliot’s Song’ by Dominic Fike has been released onto music platforms! ‘Elliot’s Song’ was a sweet but controversial moment from the finale, with countless memes and jokes about its length popping up online as fans reacted to the scene between Dominic Fike and Zendaya, who plays the main character, Rue Bennett.
Content warning: discussions of addiction and underage drug use.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
Many people thought the song went on for too long in a finale that only had 59 minutes to spare. But ‘Elliot’s Song’ was a bittersweet moment of quiet amongst the high-stakes drama that burns brightly on Euphoria.
Throughout the entirety of season two, musician Dominic Fike’s character Elliot was widely debated on social media. Some perceived him as potentially sinister, created to bring harm to Rue by working for Laurie – the super creepy drug dealer Rue inadvertently gets involved with – or simply to break up Rue and Jules. But despite all the conspiracy theories that littered TikTok and Twitter, it seems like Elliot’s presence was much more heartbreakingly real.
Rue & Elliot’s First Interaction
When they first meet at the party in the beginning of the season, it’s drugs that bring them together. Rue has relapsed, and Elliot is seen snorting a line of something off the washing machine. Minutes later, they’re doing drugs together and it almost goes very wrong before Elliot stops Rue from going into cardiac arrest with Adderall. So Elliot acknowledges that him helping with Rue’s intervention is hypocritical, based on his own drug use:
“I’ve got no place / Building you a rocket up to outer space / I watch you fade / Keeping the lights on in this forsaken place.”
During Rue’s angry tirade during the intervention, she yells, “Elliot here is a f*ckin’ addict, so if he tells you anything f*ckin’ different, he’s a f*cking liar and a f*cking snake. F*ck you!”
The Complicated Dynamics of Addiction
At the end of the day, Elliot and Rue are both addicts. Throughout season two, we didn’t know much about Elliot, which made him mysterious and suspicious. But through ‘Elliot’s Song,’ his motivation is allowed to shine through.
“Little star / Feels like you fell right on my head / Gave you away to the wind / I hope it was worth it in the end.”
Elliot may be extremely flawed, but he sees Rue in a golden light as he calls her “little star.” Once again, this moment shows that Rue, despite being an addict and struggling with her mental health, is still able to be seen for who she truly is beneath it all. Elliot heard and saw her breaking down during the intervention, which in Rue’s mind made her irredeemable, but in his song, he conveys to Rue how he sees her just like Lexi did in her play. ‘Elliot’s Song’ holds the same function: from a friend’s point of view, Rue can see herself as a person worthy of love and purpose.
Unlike Lexi, though, Elliot shares Rue’s struggle as an addict:
“Just a couple sinners makin’ fun of hell / If I keep you here / I’ll only be doing it for myself.”
He owns up to the fact that if he hadn’t initiated the intervention by telling Jules about Rue’s relapse, it would have been selfish. And as we know, people are typically selfish during active addiction, but Elliot loves Rue enough to want to see her get help, even if he can’t do it for himself just yet.
Rue & Jules & Elliot
The main point of contention with Elliot is the relationship that develops between him and Jules (played by Hunter Schafer) while Jules is dating Rue. Online, it was a point that many viewers couldn’t get past, but ‘Elliot’s Song’ as a conclusion to this season’s storyline reminded us that these characters are meant to be messy.
Elliot knows that mistakes were made, and so do Rue and Jules. As we’ve seen through Rue’s eyes, self-worth is a very difficult hurdle when you’re in active addiction. The song helps us see that Elliot isn’t some big bad villain set to ruin Rue and Jules for the fun of it. He’s just a kid, like they are, and they’re all going through really difficult circumstances. There was never going to be a “good” or “smooth” way through when drugs are involved and teenagers are trying to figure things out. Through all of the conspiracies and theories, that aspect got a little muddled, but ‘Elliot’s Song’ tenderly reminded us all that this is the reality of addiction, in all its forms.
“I know this thing is broken / So I leave my door wide open.”
Even though it hurts, they’re able to acknowledge that the love is still there and the intentions were ultimately good between them, despite all the jagged edges and the mess that was created.
“One day we’ll meet again / Some distance when you’re older / You’ll come lean on my shoulder / Tell me that storm is over.”
With this lyric being near the end of the song, it leaves us with hope. According to the cast and the show’s creator, Sam Levinson, what carries us through the show underneath the drama and shocking plot twists is hope. Rue needs to find hope again in order to get better. This moment in ‘Elliot’s Song’ is aching because as viewers, we want to see Rue get healthy. We root for Rue and see the beauty and worth that she has as a person.
And coming from Elliot, this is extra bittersweet, because the journey of addiction is complicated and heartbreaking, and his wish to meet again someday is one that is unpredictable and more uncertain than an average friendship breakup.
The song ends with: “I think you may be my only friend / I gave it all to see you shine again / I hope it was worth it in the end.”
After all, Elliot is just a lonely kid like Rue, facing the uphill battle that is addiction. And this last line serves as not only Elliot’s point of view, but ours as the audience, as we ultimately root for Rue to “shine” again. Rue’s future still has hope, and that’s what ‘Elliot’s Song’ leaves us with.
So while Elliot as a character may not be exactly likable, it’s realistic to the ways we interact with people in real life when we’re going through difficult situations and messy relationships. Humans are flawed, and Elliot serves as a stark reminder of that.
Meanwhile, the song lets us see Rue for all her layers, and can be seen as a vehicle for Jules’ apology to Rue and Rue’s acceptance of the end of their relationship.
[He sings] a song that’s to Rue but not really about Rue, but it is about Rue, but it’s like a surreal moment, but it’s not.
‘Elliot’s Song’ was written with Zendaya and produced by series composer Labrinth, with ethereal vocals from the former on the studio version that make it even more meaningful. It will also be featured on Euphoria‘s forthcoming score album, out soon via Sony / Columbia.
Listen to ‘Elliot’s Song’ here!
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