Season two of Euphoria ends with a bang


Maddie Berendt, Senior Managing Editor

Euphoria, which first aired on HBO in 2019, has stolen the attention and started an obsession among millions of people. Written by Sam Levinson, the show follows the story of Rue (Zendaya), a teenage girl struggling to remain off drugs after leaving rehab. As viewers watch her life unfold from her perspective, she also narrates the lives of her friends and schoolmates Jules (Hunter Schafer), Maddy (Alexa Demie), Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Kat (Barbie Ferreira), Lexi (Maude Apatow), Nate (Jacob Elordi) and Fezco (Angus Cloud).

In this often graphic and drama-filled series, viewers are exposed to the horrific consequences of addiction for a teenager and those around them. Euphoria is based on the original Euphoria, an Israel teen drama that aired in 2012 and also ventured into the realm of drug use in teens for various reasons.

Visually speaking, Euphoria is beautiful. In Season 1, everything was bright and flashy and demanded attention, from the clothes and makeup to the lighting and environment of each scene.. The makeup, in particular, played a large part in the show, spurring Euphoria-inspired looks to watch each episode on Sunday nights. In Season 2, show producers created more of a grainy, old-school look. The entire season was filmed on  Kodak Ektachrome motion picture film, incorporating a new aesthetic that wasn’t as vibrant, but more subdued and modest. The purpose of Season 2 wasn’t to be flashy, but instead toned down to convey the weight of each look and scene.

As a whole, the plot of the show pushed multiple boundaries due to heavy emotional scenes, heavy drug use, sexual assault, mental illness and much more. The intention of the show is to expose in an extremely intense and dramatic fashion how drug use  controls people’s lives. Rue (Zendaya) struggled with substance abuse stemming from the passing of her dad. She also struggled with multiple illnesses that incentivized her heavy drug use. On multiple occasions, Rue stated that being high was the only time her mind went quiet. Audiences watch this character self-destruct, and see how difficult it is to move past addiction. Rue abuses the relationships she has with friends, her mom, and her sister. She lies, and she spirals viciously down a hole she never seems to climb out of.

Aside from the important role Rue plays, there are numerous supporting characters that add to the insanity that is Euphoria. The biggest supporting storyline to the show is the relationship between Maddy (Demie) and Nate (Elordi). From the beginning, Nate was a villain, but as the show transitioned seasons,  audiences’ hatred for this vile creature grew. He struggles with family relationships that interlock multiple different characters together as well as his emotional issues with anger and aggression. Ultimately the character is physically violent towards Maddy (Demie), thus exposing the difficulties of navigating love and aggression paired with betrayal and acceptance. Following that similar theme, Kat (Ferreira), part of the main friend group, struggled with navigating where she fit into the world of love and relationships, ultimately becoming involved with a much more innocent boy Ethan (Austin Abrams).

There’s almost too much that happens during the first two seasons to  properly touch on everything; it’s so chaotic it would seem impossible. The biggest takeaway is the importance of the show places on its underlying themes. Rue starts the series with  hope. She got help. She was doing well until she wasn’t.

Season 2 takes her  down the road that leads to her destroying herself mentally and physically. It’s hard to watch a character audiences have become  so attached to destroy herself  and jeopardize each relationship she is barely maintaining. The purpose of pushing this character down over and over again is to teach compassion as well as understanding. Although all the events that take place in the show might not happen to most audience members, there are valuable lessons for everyone.

Unfortunately, most audience members can connect to having a relationship of any form with an addict, being in an abusive relationship, struggling with self-identity, or at least navigating the complexities of friendships.

With the finale of season two that aired on Feb. 27 fans had to face the reality that Season 3 will not air until sometime in 2023 or 2024. After a whirlwind second season, leaving fans full of conspiracy theories and unfulfillment from multiple plot holes and unresolved threads, the finale episode was expected to make or break for the future of the show.

To say the finale brought satisfaction and answered all the unknown questions would be a complete lie. It was hard to follow what exactly was happening and at times the scenes were so chaotic and intense it was overwhelming. Along with that, the producers of the show decided to make a dramatic cast change that no one wanted and certainly wasn’t appreciated. But just like the first season, the show is left on a cliffhanger, of course while not answering one of the biggest questions that surrounds Rue.

All negativity aside though there will be a very impatient wait for the release of Season 3 and all of the chaos that will follow.