“Euphoria.” Toxicity, addiction, lust, and desire. In the hit HBO teen drama’s new second season, Euphoria” has taken all of those characteristics to a whole new playing field. Viewers have been introduced to new characters such as Eliot (played by Dominic Fike), a new teen drug addict that attends the same school as the rest of the cast. Viewers have also been rewarded with the long-awaited background stories of neglected characters such as Fezco (played by Angus Cloud) and Ashtray (Javon Walton). The entirety of season one revolved around Rue Bennett’s drug addiction (played by Zendaya, who won an Emmy for the role in season one), Nate and Cal Jacobs’ gory behavior (played by Jacob Elordi and Eric Dane respectively) and and a few scenes of the side characters’ plot.
Viewers were robbed of seeing more of McKay, Lexi Howard, Fezco, and etc, during that first season which was quite disappointing to say the least. Coming into the new year with the departure of McKay (Algee Smith), was devastating to say the least, along with the decline of of Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney), Jules, and so many other beloved characters. Their behavior has gone from tolerable to the utmost annoyance throughout the season so far. If these characters can cause such anger, it only says so much about how talented the actors truly are.
During the first season, viewers were given an episode dedicated to Nate Jacob’s traumatic childhood. Labrinth, the exquisite composer of “Euphoria,” embedded Jacob Elordi’s character with one harmonized song, “Nate Growing Up.” Each broken emotion creates a characteristic that these characters can’t escape. The perfect illusion to capture the character’s identity and the mystery that has yet been exposed to the audie;nce. When introducing Jacobs in the premiere of the second season, only a few seconds were played to inform viewers that Nate Jacobs is back with a twist. This theme song is attached to this character musically because of the unwitnessed battles Nate Jacobs struggles with.
The balance of the vocals that provide chills throughout the soundtrack quickly becomes that carpool karaoke song that makes you think that you sound like Adele. The music composed by Labrinth drowns the entire soundtrack with its power. In the fourth episode of season two, Zendaya’s character, Rue continues her battle with addiction, creating drastic damages, beyond repair. Throughout an impassioned church scene with the great Labrinth, a distraught Rue is seen in a depressed state, imagining her father. A mashup of the songs “I’m Tired,” written by Labrinth and “Until I Fall,” written by Lucinda Chua, expresses what Rue is feeling. The sequence spotlights the exhaustion and grievance Rue is dealing with, and quite possibly, the reason she still uses drugs.
Relationships vs. Sobriety
With every episode that is released, Zendaya Coleman as Rue, is one script away from her next Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy. Not even a full 10 minutes into the fifth episode of the second season, instant tears ran due to the authentic performance of Zendaya. Her depiction of Rue’s realistic and chilling pain of withdrawal, hit too close to home for many viewers. So far, this season has been focused on Rue’s relapse, but got quickly side-lined by Cassie’s new obsession with Nate Jacobs. It’s relieving to truly see what Rue was holding back during the first half of the season. The powerful message resulted in chills for viewers. The message was delivered flawlessly.
The season one finale that left fans distraught, was followed with special episodes that were specifically introducing the definite backbone of Rue and Jules. Between the Jacobs and Drugs being the ultimate antagonist, the tables turn on previously loved characters such as Jules and Cassie. Love triangles will turn any sane person against one member of the throuple. This occurred between Rue and Elliot, another student who was a user played by singer Dominic Fike. The toxicity that Jules is binded to, forces her to rethink certain attributes of this “love triangle,” her girlfriend and her new friend. The only relationship drama that truly matters is Rue and sobriety.
Powerful Production Values
“Euphoria’s” production values both amplifies the plot even as it thickens. In the first episode of season two, Jules, played by Hunter Schafer, and Rue reunite as if they are the only two people in the world. This interaction occurs in front of a crowd of drunken high school students, and yet the way the scene was shot, Rue and Jules are the only people in that room that matter. The camera lens and its angle, truly captures the eyes of the audience, allowing them to experience the euphoric attention. Presentation is key, and the production team of “Euphoria,” has it on lockdown.
New viewers experiencing this “Euphoria” lifestyle, are unaware of what truly unfolds behind the curtains of the show students put on — and the brave faces the display that hide the darkness.
Stories Teens Can Relate To
“Euphoria” is about addiction to lust, love, and drugs. It captures stories that most young people can relate to, whether that is being in love or falling for toxicity that one can’t resist. “Euphoria” captures the feeling that only modern day teens can relate to, and even stories that the older audience experienced at least once in their youth. While some details are fictionalized for the sake of HBO, the message is still delivered clearly. Everyone deals with their own demons behind that smile and laughter.
New episodes of “Euphoria” stream on Sunday nights on HBO.