Euphoria has had a bit of a weird release schedule and due to the pandemic, there were several setbacks. Season 1 was released all the way back in 2019 and it’s been a long 3 years waiting for this one to release.
Euphoria Season 2 Recap
We finished up Season 1 with Rue relapsing after Jules left her in order to go to the city. The aftermath of this was further explored in the specials and we pick up the season with Rue accompanying Fez and Ashtray to a drug deal.
Now due to Ashtray killing Mouse, they have a new supplier who forces them to strip to check for a wire. This is somewhat mirrored in the finale when they attempt to shift blame after Custer tells them the police found the body. It’s a really gripping introduction and instantly you realise how much of a dark path Rue is on. Inspired by the woman that is running the show she slowly wants to change the game and become a dealer herself.
Alongside this storyline is Cassie who ends up hooking up with Nate at a New Years’ party that goes out with a bang, a couple of bangs to be fair.
Now the problem with Cassie is, she is the best friend of Nate’s Ex, Maddy. Hey, they were on a break! There’s a tense scene where she hides out in a bath tub whilst Maddy comes into the bathroom she and Nate were just making out in and I kind of hope she was holding her breath because it stunk in there.
Cassie has a lot of unrequited love for Nate and early on their relationship takes a lot of focus.
Nate also has to deal with his father Cal and the recording of him and Jules.
Concerned that it could get out he ends up going straight savage, brandishing an unloaded gun at Maddy.
After the beating that Fez gave him there is a lot of talk of brain damage changing his personality. Add to this Cal laying it all out literally and we see the character start to become darker than most of the cinematography in the series.
In a strange twist of fate he gives the recording to Jules to let her do what she wants.
Jules destroys it but come the end of the season we learn that Nate had multiple copies of it so the good guy thing was all just a ruse.
Now in Rue’s life, she meets the duplicitous Elliot and she and Jules confront their past decisions.
Elliot is a massive enabler to Rue and he basically manipulates their breakup by telling Jules about Rue’s addiction so that it causes issues with the pair.
While this is going on, Rue has the terrible idea to become a drug dealer herself to get cheaper narcotics and she secures a suitcase full of them to sell.
Jules tells Rue’s mother that she’s using again and this leads to a major intervention in which the suitcase is flushed.
She’s urged to go to rehab by her mum again which she is hesitant to do as the drugs are her crutch and lifeline, as toxic as that is. She always used Jules as a support mechanism but she ends up exploding on the character. She also reveals the truth about Cassie and Nate and yeah, I don’t know why there’s such a big problem because they were technically on a break.
Unable to pay the money back from the suitcase, the softly spoken dealer locks her in a room and dopes her up. She ends up watching Lexi’s play after reconciling with Ali and she finally accepts his help.
However, the relationship between Jules and Rue is seemingly unsalvageable at this point but let’s be honest, this has been Cassie and Maddy’s season.
Now alongside all this we have Lexi’s play which portrays Nate in a negative light. Due to Lexi being Cassie’s sister he dumps her and Fez doesn’t have that good of a time either.
Learning that the police are close to learning the truth about Mouse the cracks start to show which takes us into Episode 8.
Opening at Fezco’s, Custer tells the police they found Mouse’s body and though Faye initially tries to shift the blame, Ashtray kills him in a move that mirrors the murder of mouse. He was on his way to Lexi’s play but the lifestyle choices that he’s led means he doesn’t get to attend or be brought into the overall show of it.
Metaphorically the play is very much retelling the events that have happened in both seasons and what they’ve cost. Titled ‘Our Life’ the characters in many ways are forced to confront their happiest and darkest moments and those that leave or don’t attend it end up worse off because of it.
This is reflected in Nate as well who of course dashed last episode. However, Cassie returns and unlike Nate she’s willing to confront her own problems head on.
As the play starts to shift into it’s third act, the show does too and Cassie belittles her sister down in front of the entire audience.
There was of course the brilliant scene last entry in which she broke down in front of a mirror before putting on a facade and smiling like the joker. She returns empowered by the embarrassment and she confronts her, making the play even better.
It was already Broadway level, especially for a high school production and now it’s a true Tour De Force.
On stage the pair fight it out which of course highlights the drama that’s in their real lives being strange than fiction. The cherry on top comes when Maddy calls out Cassie for her dating Nate behind her back even though they were on a break.
At this point everything kind of blows open much to the audiences delight. They of course represent us finding entertainment in people’s misery and the entire thing becomes farcical with us getting a Royal Rumble whilst everything goes off.
As Maddy chases Cassie out the auditorium the show continues with it being played up as all part of the act. Due to the stylistic choices of Euphoria it of course often goes from sincere scenes to full on music videos and it’s difficult to tell the difference between what’s performative and real. This is very much reflected in the play which becomes somewhat a piece that blurs the lines of reality between being art and what’s happening to the characters. It’s high level commentary on how people end up so wrapped up in their own drama that they eventually end up doing things to heighten it so that they become important. Lexi of course very much felt like she was in the background and thus she created the play to somewhat allow her to be at the forefront.
However she wasn’t really ready for the real life drama that came with it.
It perfectly summarizes the show as a whole and how things are often glamorized to stop the character’s from seeing the true ugly face of them. Rue became a drug dealer because she was captivated by the idea of being a quote unquote female boss. However she saw that the true side of this was dark and depraved and much like the play, just wrapped up in an illusion.
Lexi later says she wanted the play to go a certain way but it’s been ruined which very much sums up the lives of the characters. They all had these amazing visions of what their goals would turn out to be but they pretty much never happened that way and their lives were ruined much like the piece.
Rue spots Elliot and recalls a couple of days earlier when she went to him and said that he might have accidentally saved her life. He busts out a song on the guitar like we used to dream of doing in high school to impress girls and then asks her a truth or dare question.
He asks if they can still be friends and though we don’t get an answer the pair nod at each other in the auditorium.
Back behind the scene, Lexi commits to delivering the finale spurred on by the fake versions of those in her life. She’s very much tied into the fantasy but Rue gets a chant of her name going which spurs her on to step out from behind the curtain.
Back with Fez and co he realises that the police are coming and tells Ashtray to surrender so that he can stay behind and take the fall.
It perfectly brings the opening of the season full circle and though things don’t go that way in the end, it shows how much Fez cares about Ashtray and how he very much takes responsibility for the life he led him into.
Ash doesn’t listen though and he grabs all the guns he can in order to face down against the SWAT.
This idea of someone facing things head on with a gun that leads to police intervention is mirrored in Nate who rides out to his father with a revolver in hand. He asks Cal if he’s found the happiness he was constantly searching for and says that he’s realised they both get off hurting other people.
They’re as destructive as each other and though Nate could’ve given his dad a way out, he reveals that he kept copies of the video and has tipped off the police.
Throughout we’ve seen flashes of him having dreams of his dad sexually assaulting him and if you recall, the first season had a scene about him discovering Cal’s tapes. On one he made a man call him Daddy which has clearly effected him his entire life.
His mother was baffled that he was such a happy boy but he became a dark and vengeful kid and she didn’t understand why.
However this very much reveals his defining moment and though he says he doesn’t think his dad will ever change, he does.
Nate could’ve shot and killed his dad but instead he called the authorities even though it would ruin his dad’s reputation and make his business impossible to inherit.
He manages to walk away but unfortunately Ashtray doesn’t.
He ends up firing at the swat, accidentally shoots Fez who gets blood all over the letter he had for Lexi. After bullets rain down on the bathroom, Ash ends up playing dead and though he takes out one officer the others don’t let him live. Ash is shot and killed and Fez gets arrested.
Now from here we jump back to Rue’s eulogy for her father. This ends up being brought across into the play and alongside this we see the final moments in which Lexi and Cassie visited their father in hospital.
This is accompanied by the first time Rue OD’d and Lexi visited her in the hospital showing how these two moments of her being forced to take care of everyone has also made her bear the brunt of their trauma.
Because of this though Lexi is always there to listen and support people and we get an awesome scene in which she and Lexi find common ground in the bad times they’ve faced.
Now as we’ve been saying throughout this breakdown, the episode is very much about mirrors and plot points reflecting scenes directly to show one of two outcomes playing out.
Whereas Rue and Lexi manage to re-connect once more Maddy and Cassie are clearly gonna be butting heads after the whole Nate situation.
We cut to Cassie badly beaten up in the bathroom and on the other side of this is Maddy who nurses a scratch on her foot.
Maddy says this is just the beginning leading us to get a tease at a Thanos level villain that will seek revenge no matter what. Like Nate I think she’s gonna become consumed by vengeance and it’s gonna be interesting to see if she can walk away from it like he did.
Rue & Lexi
Now after the final scene of the play, Jules finally finally finally reconnects with Rue. She tells her that she loves her but Rue doesn’t say it back and instead she kisses her on the forehead before walking out the theatre. It very much is a sign of her saying goodbye and it’s unlikely that the pair will ever reconnect again.
In the closing monologue we hear Rue say that Jules was her first love with a lot of emphasis on the was. She tells us that she stayed sober for the rest of the year and that she only thinks Jules was her first love because she was high for most of their relationship. It’s a very empowering way to close out the season and she states that the words of Ali who said the thought of being a good person is what kept her trying to be a good person.
Now this is important as it’s also what kept her sober to. The thought and meaning of being sober was what kept her sober. It was actually easier than returning to the drugs because it meant more for herself and those around her to stay clean. The feeling of actually achieving sobriety was more powerful than the high from the drugs themselves and she’s finally found acceptance and managed to step away from the toxic thing in her life.
Whereas season 1 culminated with Jules leaving Rue, Rue has now left Jules and she’s escaped the toxic cycle that the pair were trapped in.
Much like the first season, we close out with Zendaya singing a song but whereas the last time was tragic, this time it’s very empowering.
It’s a great way to close out the season and the episode itself.
Now as for my thoughts on the season, I thought that this one pretty much improved on the first season in every single way. The storylines, editing and general grungy but glittery feel is amped up and it elevates the show to a lot of new heights. What the show does is that it beautifully portrays the dangers of addiction but it does this beyond just drugs and shows it in almost every single character. Along with Rue and narcotics, you have Cassie who’s addicted to Nate, Cal who’s addicted to sex and so on and so forth.
We really watch through the characters as they pretty much destroy their lives due to this addiction and though a lot of the stories feel unconnected, they weave this thread through everything really well.
Now on top of this are the incredible production values that the show has. The cinematography and editing are next level and often at times the show spirals off into what feels like it could be a music video.
At the end of each entry I went on google, found the songs used in every entry and ended up just listening to them on their own because the music choice is next level.
They also do a lot of stylistic choices that help to make the story a blast to get through. The first entry opens with a Fez and Ashtray origin story that shows us not only how the latter got his name but also how they got in the game. Their Grandma is barely in season but she makes such an impression early on because of how well this is put together.
Episode 4 as well does an excellent job in it’s opening of showing us what Rue and Jules think that their relationship should be. We get parodies of Ghost, Titanic, Snow white, Brokeback mountain and a lot more.
It just elevates the show to new heights but I do have my criticisms too.
I think the way that the show is put together with a heavy reliance on narration can be a bit of an issue.
We kind of jump around a bit too much sometimes and it can lead to stuff feeling just like a montage instead of a distinctive scene. The specials were great at just keeping us locked in the moment because they didn’t really have the ability to jump and sometimes that frantic feeling can be a bit detrimental.
That’s a minor criticism though and I do think that the performances here really stop it from falling into just feeling like we barely get any time with the characters.
The actors let you know who the characters are with very little because their performances are so captivating.
Euphoria as a whole is that too and though I have my nitpicks things work really to tell a story that you just get lost in. There’s such a tone and atmosphere to it where it feels like a piece of art at points and all in all I don’t have that many bad things to say about it. The overall show is as psychedelic as the subject matter and it works on pretty much every level for me.
Even if you don’t like the story I think the way it’s produced still keeps you engaged and this was another brilliant season.
All in all I really enjoyed our return to the world of Euphoria and it gets a…