Review: Euphoria S2, so far
Pollyanna Roberts gives a recap of where each of Euphoria‘s central ensemble is thus far and weighs in on the moral crises in which they find themselves.
Sam Levinson’s Euphoria is back for a second season and already has fans going wild. From Cal’s tear-jerking backstory to Cassie’s dressing up as a twenty-first century ‘Dolly’ to Rue being an omnipotent puppet master, this follow-up season to the show’s wildly successful debut has not yet disappointed.
First things first – what on earth is Cassie (Sydney Sweeny) doing? Writing this, I still feel distinct pangs of second-hand embarrassment over her 4AM rises and fanatic desire to please Nate (Jacob Elordi). Let’s not forget her brief yet oh so painful encounter with Maddy (Alexa Demie) in the school corridor (no, I will not be debating ‘who wore it better’).
Despite her hyper-unrealistic, early morning makeup routines, it was only when she adopted Maddy’s signature look that Cassie caught Nate’s eye. This has all raised the question, then – what is it Nate wants? All at once, he seems to be lusting after Maddy (with whom he’s apparently broken up), he wants Cassie and is also supposedly in love with Jules (Hunter Schafer)? Oh, Cassie, you deserve better.
On that note, while Nate is the biggest walking red flag (to put it mildly) in recent TV history, people have spotted parallels between his father’s tragic high-school history and his own. The morning after the most awakening night of his life, teenage Cal (played in his youth by Elias Kacavas, in the present by Eric Dane) finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and, in that moment, whatever he felt toward his best friend Derek (Henry Eikenberry) became redundant. He had to give up what he wanted and do what was needed – and there’s at least the sense that perhaps the same can be said for Nate.
Nate cannot explore his sexuality or feelings because of Maddy’s evidence against his father. If he upsets Maddy, anything could happen. No, it’s not the same as impregnating your high-school girlfriend but has power equally capable of derailing Nate’s life. In any case, I’m sure Rue (Zendaya) would see no problem.
Through burning light, music and hysteria creator Sam Levinson transports us to an entirely other, regularly fantastical world yet
Yet, I refrain from trusting whatever Rue, the self-labelled ‘unreliable narrator’, says. While Euphoria does get criticised for glamorising drugs, I don’t agree. As it pertains to Rue, what we’re watching are the lengths an addict will go to just for that high and, particularly painfully, Rue doesn’t care who she hurts. Moving beyond her self-destruction this season, she has begun to manipulate everyone around her and I’m not here for it. It’s clear this ‘plan’ of hers isn’t going to end well and I’m sure we’ll witness repercussions imminently.
Turning now to Maddy: despite her limited screen time this season, she has delivered. Without a six-foot-four, insecure, angry teenager weighing her down (for now), we’re seeing an entirely new side to her. Yet, while her babysitting gig illustrates her newfound independence, the question remains: how will she react when she finds out about her best friend and her ex-boyfriend? Knowing her history of being calm and collected, what could go wrong? I’m sure if – as in her fantasy – Cassie’s careful enough to mention she and Nate had sex three weeks and three days after he and Maddy broke up, she can’t be that mad…
Finally, too, everyone’s favourite girl next door, Lexi (Maude Apatow), is getting a say. A scene depicting her view of life as a TV show illustrates her overactive imagination, yes, but is also a trauma response to her constantly being overlooked. Refusing to be sidelined again, Lexi is stealing the spotlight and I, for one, cannot wait for her play. Saying this, I remain even more excited for her relationship with Fez (played by Angus Cloud, whose puppy dog eyes could melt even the coldest hearts) to develop; arguably the most exhilarating out of them all for its normality.
There is never a dull moment in Euphoria, with the introduction of new characters like Elliot and Faye (Chloe Cherry) and the stories of Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and Jules eagerly awaiting further development, I know we’re in for a treat.
Through burning light, music and hysteria creator Sam Levinson transports us to an entirely other, regularly fantastical world yet, quite remarkably, still presents us with characters who are entirely relatable. In no uncertain terms, Euphoria is a masterpiece of television.