Euphoria has returned with another season and things are looking pretty violent this time.
Created and written by Sam Levinson, Euphoria follows a group of high school students as they grapple with today's issues including drugs, s*x, and violence. A series with a stunning cast, Euphoria has managed to become one of the most popular teen dramas in the industry. With a dialed-up intensity, Season 2 is going to be a darker affair.
It's time to dive in and dissect the first episode, 'Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door,' of HBO Max's Euphoria Season 2.
Note: This article contains spoilers.
'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 1: Review
The latest season of Euphoria made its highly-anticipated return with a jam-packed New Year's Eve episode. After more than two years of the first season, viewers will get to dive into Fez's past.
With yet another opening sequence narration by Rue, the first episode sees a woman walking through a strip club and shooting a man in the pelvis. Like Rue said, "Fezco’s grandmother was a motherf***ing G."
Previously, Euphoria has shed light on how childhood trauma and difficult experiences shape young adults, and now it's time to deep dive into the same. What makes this season even more special is that it is said to focus on each and every character, along with their past.
A well deserved attention to their backstory and how they became the person they are is what viewers can expect from this season of Euphoria.
Fez's origin story
The series has drawn inspiration from Martin Scorsese's Casino, The Wolf of Wall Street and Taxi Driver in the past, and now Fez’s origin story has numerous references from Goodfellas.
Fez got into the illegal drug dealing business via his grandmother, and this episode explained how Ash got his nickname. He isn't Fez's biological brother, but loyalty has always come first to Fez for those he considers family. This is the reason why the end of Episode 1 does not come as a surprise.
Viewers of Euphoria are aware of Fez's relationship with Rue, a caring and thorny one where his genuine platonic affection is visible. At the same time, it puts him in a difficult position due to his easy access to the drugs Rue is addicted to. The New Year for Fez begins with a business meeting that quickly escalates to stripping naked to ensure they aren't cops.
Rue and her ways
Rue, who is unfortunately present there, is terrified but later she can't help but talk about the encounter. It might be the drugs she consumed or the adrenaline, but her tone-deaf response annoys Fez. Rue's downfall, or perhaps her relapse, helps dull the pain of Jules' absence from her life since the Season 1 finale.
This episode of Euphoria Season 2 sheds light on Rue and Jules' relationship as they both arrived at the party. An anxious Rue, who tries to avoid Jules the entire night, ends up getting more drugged up. As for Jules, she just wants to have fun with her friends, Kat and Maddy, but later ends up worrying about Rue. These fragmented overlapping stories give push to various conflicts happening all at once.
Cassie's self-destructive spiral
This season of Euphoria picks up from New Year's Eve, after covering the end of summer previously. Relationships in the series seem a bit off on all ends, as a drunk Cassie hooks up with Nate in the bathroom. A big betrayal from Maddy's best friend and ex indeed.
Tensions escalate quickly when Cassie is forced to hide in the bathtub, as Maddy uses the toilet. A disgusting experience, or here a facetowel, comes Cassie's way followed by a random guy using the toilet later. The entire sequence is intercut with other party interactions.
Cassie's character is known to tie her self-worth to her sexuality and Sydney Sweeney captures the self-desructive spiral, perfectly. She thinks she isn't a good person, which is why s*x and booze are her method of blocking out the pain. The episode explores how one copes with pain by shedding light on both Rue and Cassie.
A bloody New Year
A worried Jules asks Rue about her relapse near the fire. The two have reunited, but Jules still seems guilty of Rue's addiction. Initially, Rue brushes her concerns off but little does Jules know that only a short while ago, Rue thought her heart might stop. This episode is yet again a solid reminder as to why Zendaya is an Emmy Award holder.
At midnight, Rue and Jules share a New Year's kiss but get interrupted by a furious Fez, almost beating Nate to death. After a passive-aggressive conversation as well as a long overdue response, Fez breaks a bottle over Nate's head and pounds his face repeatedly with his fist. Fez may not have killed Nate, but his message was pretty clear.
A violent start
This season of Euphoria definitely had a violent start, but it does not change the dynamics of the show. The troubled and dysfunctional life of teens has been the theme, and this season will just add to the mess. A confident return indeed that pushes the story forward with Rue and Cassie being stuck in a toxic cycle of sadness. A New Year's resolution alone won't be enough to get out of it.
Fans of the show will not be disappointed with the season premiere, as it includes several elements from the first season that made it so compelling. The stylized aesthetics, the eclectic soundtrack and the strong performances outweigh the self-indulgent parts.
Catch the first episode of Euphoria Season 2 now streaming on HBO Max.