Euphoria Season 2 Episode 1 Review

Story posted 5 days ago in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio.

Before reading this article, please note that this article discusses complex topics such as drug addiction and abuse along with physical abuse. For resources on drug addiction/abuse, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline. For resources on physical abuse, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.

This past Sunday, the hit series “Euphoria” returned to HBO for its second season.

Following an eight-episode first season released in 2019 and two one-hour specials released in December of 2020 and January of 2021, season two of “Euphoria” has been highly anticipated by fans.

While many teen dramas are associated with poor quality, “Euphoria” has been met with an abundance of critical acclaim, including an Emmy, which was won by Zendaya, the star and main character of the series. Season 2 of “Euphoria” has already started with a bang with the first episode of the season entitled “Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door.”

Following the same structure of the previous season, the episode opens with the backstory of a character; this episode is focused on Fezco, also known as Fez.

While Fez was a big part of the previous season, he was more of a second-tier character, and fans of the show will be excited to see what this episode brings to Fez’s development. The opening of this episode illuminates Fez and his brother Ashtray’s upbringing and how they got into their drug dealing business makes these two extremely likable characters even easier to empathize with.

The majority of the episode follows all the character’s separate storylines interwoven at the New Year’s Party they are all attending.

As set up by the previous season, Rue (played by Zendaya) is battling her drug addiction. While she maintained some sobriety during the first season, she still relapsed as she was at the end of season one. The “will-they, won’t-they” relationship of Jules and Rue will continue to be essential to the plot of season two.

However, with Rue continuing her drug abuse and new character Elliot (played by Dominic Fike), who is seemingly a bad influence on Rue thus far, it will be interesting to see how that on and off relationship will play out.

Other storylines from the previous season that will be heavily highlighted are Nate and Maddy’s abusive relationship. While the couple is still broken up, new love interests and outside influences allow the opportunity to push the couple back together or apart for good.

Nate (portrayed by Jacob Elordi) is one of the most complex characters. His abusive and possessive behavior towards women is going to be further discovered this season.

Maude Appatows character Lexi was a more secondary character in season one, but this episode has made it evident that Apatow will have more screen time in this upcoming season.

This episode was the perfect way to kick off the new season of “Euphoria.” The show proved that this series has a lot more story to tell and will keep the same quality as the first season’s story.

The real highlights of the episode are consistent with the highlights of the first season; the cinematography, the soundtrack, and the acting. Keeping with the previous season, the cinematography of “Euphoria” is an incredible highlight. Even when the story may slow down, the show is shot in a way that keeps the story moving incredibly well.

Fans of “Euphoria” will be glad to know that Labrinth was brought back to do the soundtrack for the second season. After the first season’s soundtrack was such a success, there is no question why Labrinth would come back, and he has done an excellent job thus far.

The acting performances from the cast are incredibly deserving of the critical acclaim they received from the previous season. Zendaya continued a phenomenal performance as the complicated drug addict that won her an Emmy.

Other significant performances come from Eloridi, Sydney Sweeny, who portrays Cassie and most notably Angus Clouds’ performance as Fezco. It is impressive that the Euphoria writers have created an immersive world within their show. With the second season already hinting, secondary characters such as Lexi and Fezco are developing more.

Both these characters are huge parts of Rue’s lives, and by them becoming more developed, the viewer can understand Rue and other characters even more. Apatow and Cloud made it apparent in this episode that they have the acting ability to become captivating characters.

The only honest criticism of this episode “Euphoria” is one that the series as a whole falls victim to. It is brutally graphic, especially considering the show is about high school students. Between the frequent nudity and drug abuse, there is a valid complaint about these activities and behaviors becoming glorified or romanticized.

This episode is a highlight of the entire season and did a perfect job getting viewers to want more from this new season. If the rest of season two of “Euphoria” can remain up to par with this first episode, this second season has the potential to outshine its critically acclaimed first season.

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her email sgd5184@psu.edu.