A season 2 with more sex, more drugs, more violence, and even more nihilism. It’s been two and a half since season 1 of Euphoria made a splash on HBO in June 2019. Since then, the world has been hit by a global pandemic, Zendaya, who plays Rue, the heroine of HBO’s adult teen show , who became a superstar, won an Emmy for her performance… A lot has changed in the world. For better or for worse, after two special episodes in December 2020 and January 2021, season 2 ofEuphoria, whose first episode airs this Monday at 8:40 p.m. on OCS City, essentially picks up where it left off without quite succeeding in reinventing itself. Worse, she loses sight of her own strength.
The first episode of the eight parts of season 2 ofEuphoria opens like a Martin Scorsese film, with a ten-minute flashback that looks back at the childhood of drug trafficker Fezco (Angus Cloud) with his gangster grandmother (Kathrine Narducci of the Sopranos, seen at Scorsese in The Irishman), narrated by Rue. Ultra-trashy footage with a baby eating a cigarette, strip club nudity, a full frontal, and multiple scenes of violence.
The soundtrack with Jump Into the Fire by Harry Nilsson, title used in the sequence of helicopters of the Freed and I Walk on Guilded Splinters by Johnny Jenkins, whose version of Paul Weller is played on the cutout at the end of Season 4 of The Wire, cements the idea that Sam Levinson, creator, writer and director ofEuphoria, tries to push further the standards in terms of nudity, sex, violence and drugs posed by these two masterpieces of the gangster genre. Season 2 explores the past of some of the protagonists, their parental relationships and childhood patterns to better understand what they have become.
Rue’s descent into hell
The first season ended on a sad note. After making a plan to escape their claustrophobic town, Rue decided to let Jules (Hunter Schafer) go aboard the train. Broken, Rue returned home in tears and relapsed into drug addiction.
At the start of season 2, Rue finds himself with Fez and his brother Ash at the home of an improbable former teacher who has become a drug lord. This second season will therefore follow the descent into hell of the young woman struggling just as much with her addiction as with dangerous situations defying death. This season 2 is worth the detour for the trajectory of Rue, a combination of adrenaline rush and drama.
Eliott, new recruit for season 2
After this sequence worthy of an episode of Breaking Bad, Rue will eventually find himself celebrating New Year’s Eve with the rest of the East Highland high school students. Season 2 will follow the fallout from this very eventful night.
Obviously, over the course of the episodes, the young woman will have more and more difficulty in hiding her relapse from her relatives, her godfather Ali (Colman Domingo), her mother Leslie (Nika King), her sister Gia (Storm Reid) and Jules (Hunter Schafer). She finds comfort in this season’s newcomer Elliot (Dominic Fike), with whom she can take drugs freely.
Alas, in this season 2, the fascinating Jules is only defined according to the evolution of her relationship with Rue and this new character. Euphoria fails to better integrate Jules into the larger social fabric of the series.
Cassie, more and more unbalanced
“I don’t know if I’m a good person,” says Cassie (Sydney Sweeney, another side of her talent that has been appreciated in The White Lotus) in tears during the first episode. Cassie, who after having an abortion last season and breaking up with boyfriend McKay (Algee Smith) finds herself single for the first time. Euphoria Just tap by scrutinizing throughout this season 2 his emotional degradation, but bogged down in a doomed romance and a love triangle between three main characters (no spoilers) whose plot is the most repetitive of the season.
Some of the young adults spend more time in the spotlight, including Fezco and Lexi (Maude Apatow), the younger sister of Cassie, Rue’s childhood best friend, behind the school play that will take center stage.
Some secondary characters badly exploited
Unsurprisingly, Maddie (Alexa Demie) ‘s toxic relationship with star and tortured high school quarterback Nate (Jacob Elordi) takes a seemingly irremediable turn. Relationships begin and end. Sexualities continue to be explored.
The most elaborate secondary characters of season 1 are unfortunately sidelined. McKay, played by Algee Smith, appears for the first episode and then disappears… Kat (Barbie Ferreira) has an arch that could have been developed in two episodes but that stretches out over the entire season.
As in season 1, Euphoria explores themes of drug addiction, domestic violence, the search for sexuality, toxic relationships and deep-rooted trauma. As in season 1, Euphoria delivers ultra-referenced and stylized sequences, mixing dreamlike and reality, with a crazy soundtrack. Corn Euphoria is a show so preoccupied with its own mastery that it doesn’t realize all the other things it does well. Those who hoped she would learn some lessons from the special episodes, ripe and stripped down, will be disappointed. Euphoria is an imperfect gem, sometimes messy and overloaded.