Euphoria high

Euphoria has just become the most viewed HBO show, after only Game of Thrones - and is also currently the most tweeted about show too. Do you watch? I think it's incredible in many ways, though it is easy to make fun of. If you've seen any of the 'I forgot I go to Euphoria high' tik toks you'll know what I mean. 

My school days were light years away from the daily grind of Maddy and pals - and that's why I enjoy the escapism of it all. I'm not the target audience for the show but it's still got me hook line and sinker and it's the fantastical element that grabs me. School was Hell as far as I was concerned, a sexless waste ground for a chubby ginger girl with poor taste in fashion and a penchant for too much Coffee Shimmer lipstick. You too? 

Kat would never be caught dead in the shit I was rocking, opting instead for full bondage get up and knee high socks. I could then - and still now - only dream of being so ahead of the curve. 


Season two has been, in two short words: A LOT. We've dealt with the heaviest of topics - violence, crime, drug abuse, sexual assault - all pulled together with an Instagram sheen. Technically, Euphoria is one of the most beautiful looking shows we've ever seen. Nothing just is, it's all framed perfectly and lit to showcase its (stunning) stars in the best possible way - even when they're throwing up in the hot tub. 

If you picked any frame, at any time, you would be in possession of a legitimate piece of art and wouldn't be crazy to want to hang it on your wall. 

Story-wise its all very dramatic and this might be where you have to suspend your disbelief. Our central crew live their lives like adults and maybe that's just how teenagers roll in this day and age, but its not relatable to me. Parents are largely absent, although they do appear, but they're not the focus and almost all the behaviour goes on under their noses, with little consequence. Rue's drug addiction flies under the radar for a long time before imploding in her family's face in the most devastating (and exhausting) episode.

This isn't a criticism, these adult characters have their own crosses to bear - and are doing what they can. Perhaps this is a just another social comment, this time on the modern latch key kid?

Some personal highlights from the season: *Unintentional spoilers may follow*


Lexi's growth and her relationship with Fezco

Lexi (Maude Apatow) is one of the most interesting characters of this season. Her growth has been brilliant to witness while her play 'Our Life' is quite literally the catalyst for most of the drama in the last two episodes. I don't really remember too much about Lexi from the first season, other than that she's Rue's best friend, and she lives in the shadow of her more popular sister Cassie - but there's a lot to her and I look forward to peeling back more layers. 

Obviously it would be remiss not to mention the possible love connection slowly bubbling away on the sidelines. Lex's bond with Fez (Angus Cloud) is really lovely and in some ways unexpected - who doesn't want to see that develop? While Fez is far from perfect - and the pair have vastly different backgrounds - he has a deep and pure heart - and he loves Lexi.

The scenes of him getting spruced up to go and support Lexi's play on opening night couldn't be more precious. There's a lot ahead for Fezco that's for sure and right now, it doesn't look good - but hopefully we'll see the pair come to something solid in the next series. Just as long an neither of them get hurt. 


Ashtray (RIP) & Faye

I've nothing left to give on the topic of Ashtray (Javon 'Wanna' Walton) but what a sad ending for a sad and mistreated soul. At least he knew brotherly love in the form of Fez. If you haven't watched yet then I've just spoilered this for you - but the final scenes for Fez' little bro are just about as chaotic and devastating as you can imagine. (But also shot very tastefully, I thought).

A special shout out to Faye (played by Chloe Cherry), a secondary but powerful character. I'd like to see more development for her, as her involvement in the season has been brief but memorable. Girl has range yo, I'm telling you. 


Cassie's implosion

Sydney Sweeney is definitely one to watch - and is surely overdue a scream queen role? Her Cassie is a nuanced character that comes across as way less than that - and I feel very protective of her. Even when she's fucking up, being mean or problematic - or throwing up in the hot tub. Her role in the Season 2 finale was incredibly intense - and at times unintentionally hilarious - but the overriding emotion I felt for her throughout its run was fear.

She's clearly treading ground with Nate - behind her best friend Maddy's back - that's been covered before (coercive control, domestic violence) and I don't want to see her go through it. Except she wants it and that unfortunately may seal her fate. I can't wait to see what happens next but Cassie has always seemed to be framed around her relationships with men - it would be amazing to see her taking things just for herself. Fingers crossed. 


Nate

Nate is disgusting and nothing can excuse the behaviour he's exhibited so far. However. There's been a lot of damage done to him and his family by their patriarch, Cal - and we're just getting into it in more depth. The finale episode saw Nate take dramatic action against his dad after trying to make good on some heinous acts he'd commited in Season 1 (mostly against Jules). While I don't like Nate, there are times you can't help feel sympathy and want him to come out of his high school experience a better person. 

Some describe him as the villain of the piece - and there are certainly hateful acts both in his past and (no doubt) his future, but there's a desire to do better and I find that juxtaposition fascinating. 

Also, Jacob Elordi is probably one of the most beautiful people on the planet so it's impossible not to fetishise the handsome jock trope at the same time as despising him. I'm scared to see how his new relationship with Cassie will unfold, even though we saw it end in the finale. Just leave Cassie alone Nate and we'll be good! 

While leads me seamlessly into my next entry...


Maddy's last line to Cassie 

In response to Cassie telling her Nate's just dumped her, Maddy (Alexa Demie) says “Don’t worry. This is just the beginning.”

Eek.

This recognises that Cassie is likely to experience the turbulence of the very same toxic on/off relationship her own best friend has. With the exact same boy. It also references that the story is far from over for any of them - and all bets are off. We can only wait patiently for Season 3 to come back and blow our minds. 

Whether the girls will ever make it up remains to be see but to me that line feels like acceptance and closure for Maddy - and that's what I want for her.

 

Our Life

This play is everything and how: a) the school allowed it to happen and, b) Lex kept it all secret from everyone is a mystery. Nothing our school or subsequently college has ever produced will ever come close to the highs of the locker room segment. While Nate condemned it as 'homophobic', I think it's one of the greatest TV moments I've ever seen. In contrast it's also at times a beautiful lament on grief and loss, friendship and family life.

Lexi is a playwright for her generation and I am rooting for her all the way.  

Rue enjoying the play and her goodbye to Jules 

Rue loving Our Life while it lays some of the most traumatic events of her life bare is wonderful - her reaction to 'her' segments (good and bad) is beautiful and her friendship with Lex feels very real. I love that they're back on track and she was able to give only positive reinforcement to her friend after the play was almost derailed by Cassie's outburst. 

Meanwhile, we got closure for Rue and Jules (Hunter Schafer) when the former said goodbye to the latter with no words at the end of the play. I think this is a fitting end to their tumultuous relationship. Personally, I hope that's it for them as a couple now. I don't have much more patience for their back and forth - and I have a feeling Rue's going to have bigger fish to fry in Season three anyway. 

 

I have to say that Zendaya is incredible and killing it in every way at the moment. Not only does she smash the role of Rue - she's also an excellent MJ (most recently in No Way Home). One of our best right now. 

Shout out to Rue's mum and sister, Leslie and Gia. 

The actresses holding down these incredibly heavy scenes around Rue's addiction are flawless. Particularly Storm Reid who's already got an impressive CV at such a young age. I'm sure Rue has a lot coming up which means we'll see a lot of Nika King and Reid in Season 3. 


In conclusion, there's been a lot of drama - more drama than your average Hollywood blockbuster which does not accurately mirror my own high school experience. Thank God. 

While I love the show and am living for the next instalment, I do feel I need a break after every episode. Sam Levinson has a very distinct and precocious style that grips but also makes me feel tired and old. Assassination Nation (2018) is a good example of the snappiest teen dialogue and high drama from start to finish. It's Euphoria the Movie, essentially. 

So I might have a little lie down now we're done - before probably doing a rewatch. Meanwhile...

Some questions

  • Can we have more Faye in Season 3? There's more to her than big lips and booty shorts - and I want to see what she has

  • Can we also get more Kat? Kat's scenes were short and sweet, don't me wrong but rumour has it there were issues between Barbie Ferreira and the show's director. Hence her being stiffed on any proper storyline. This needs to be rectified.

  • What will become of Fezco? Now Fez is in police custody - what's going to happen? He has a lot to account so we might not see him outside the walls of a prison any time soon. And if this is the case, where does it leave Lexi? Or Lezco? Flexi?

  • Will Maddy and Cassie ever mend their friendship? I think no, but stranger things have happened at Euphoria high.

  • So what about the drug money Rue owes? Leslie and co flushed Rue's stash and now she owes Laurie (Marsha Kelly) thousands of dollars. What the fuck's she going to do - while still, presumably, trying to stay clean. 


What are your thoughts?

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