Euphoria (S2E1)

Euphoria is the most dazzling mess on television...


Molly Kusilka

1/18/20221 min read

Euphoria is the most dazzling mess on television. 

A series that is as equally impressive as it is frustrating, there are few other new shows that have caused such a divisive stir and made such a grand cultural imprint.  With unrelenting twitter discourse ranging from disdain to love and everywhere in between, I fall in the category of loving Euphoria, while also acknowledging its (increasingly frustrating) faults.

First, the good: I think Euphoria is one of the most masterfully shot shows on television. I wondered if Euphoria would be able to top, or even match, the cinematography of season 1. With the choice to switch filming entirely on Kodak Ektachrome Film, they have somehow created a visual aesthetic completely different but even more stunning. It’s crisp, saturated, grainy perfection. 

I have long believed Euphoria is at its best when we are with Rue, the heart and core of the series.  I have always found Rue’s storyline strongest because of Sam Levinson’s innate understanding of her struggles. As a former addict himself, there is a raw, unglamorous authenticity to her story. She is also so assuredly portrayed by Zendaya. Rue is easy to empathize with and connect to, as we all know or are someone who has struggled with addiction or mental illness.

With Hunter’s input and guidance, Jules has also emerged one of the stronger characters. I’m getting the sense that this season will be divided by the good storylines: Rue, Fez, & Ashtray’s descent deeper into the drug world, and then the shit show of a storyline that is the Cassie, Maddie, & Nate triangle. I worry where this leaves Kat, and even more so Jules, and whether they will fall to the sidelines. This would be extra upsetting in the case of Jules, as it would be a shame to see Hunter Schafer’s revolutionary talent wasted. 

Let’s talk about Euphoria’s major flaw: the character of Nate Jacobs. Sam Levinson’s belief that Nate Jacobs is a complex, nuanced character worthy of the same amount of screen time as the rest is Euphoria’s largest setback. Sure, Nate has been a plot device for the development of Jules and Maddy’s characters, but truly, do we need him to be any more than that? Why can’t he be an antagonistic supporting character?  I truly do not enjoy time spent exploring Nate’s interiority. It’s time I’d rather be spending with literally any other character. 

Now, for what I’m excited for. As a Fez fan, I am intrigued and fully on board with his budding Romance with Lexi. Both Maude and Angus did brilliant work on that couch in episode 1, and I think that relationship will allow for interesting new layers to be explored in both Lexi and Fez’s characters. Rue and her storyline remain my favorite, and this season particularly feels high stakes for her. It’s clear she is spiraling down a very dark path, and I’m eager to see Zendaya continue to portray her with effortlessness. One thing is for sure: I will be tuning in with baited breath every week, and I’m excited to share my thoughts as this season progresses. Stay tuned!