‘Euphoria’ Season 2 review: Zendaya’s teen drama is gorgeous, riveting television

The acting is top-notch and has created characters who might not be very loveable or identifiable, but definitely worth investing time and emotion in

Published - March 02, 2022 06:20 pm IST

A still from season 2 of ‘Euphoria’

A still from season 2 of ‘Euphoria’

The “constant anxiety” that showrunner Sam Levinson said informed the filmmaking process continues in the second season of the cult drama, Euphoria. Adapted from the 2012 Israeli series of the same name, Euphoria tells the story of 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya), her friends, classmates, associates and parents who are struggling with a bunch of issues. 

Just like all those teen rom-coms are nowhere close to real life, it is difficult to imagine the bunch of troubled teens of East Highland High being an accurate picture of growing up in the United States; for one thing, young people that age are not so well turned out. Levinson has drawn on his experiences of growing up and his struggles with depression and addiction, and Euphoria is a lovely-looking and sounding show, and a riveting drama to boot.

Season 1 ended with Jules (Hunter Schafer), leaving Rue on the platform and the two excellent specials looked at that event from Rue’s and Jules’ perspective. In season 2, we follow different stories arcs even as we watch Rue’s horrific descent to rock bottom with her mother, Leslie (Nika King), sister, Gia, (Storm Reid) and sponsor, Ali, (Colman Domingo). 

We learn about Rue’s drug dealer friend, Fezco (Angus Cloud) and how his adoptive brother Ash (Javon “Wanna” Walton) got his name. His friendship with Lexi (Maude Apatow), Rue’s best friend and Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) younger sister, is one of the sweetest things about the show. 

Euphoria
Season: 2
Creator: Sam Levinson 
Episodes: 8
Starring: Zendaya, Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Eric Dane, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Storm Reid, Hunter Schafer, Algee Smith, Sydney Sweeney, Colman Domingo, Javon “Wanna” Walton, Austin Abrams, Dominic Fike 
Storyline: Storyline: Further adventures of Rue, her friends, their siblings and parents

Nate (Jacob Elordi), the jock with anger issues, continues to hurt everyone he comes into contact with, including Maddy (Alexa Demie) who he wants to get back with, Jules, who he catfished, and Cassie who he believes he has feelings for. The beginnings of Nate’s father, Cal’s (Eric Dane), double life is revealed as well as the effect it had on Nate.

Kat (Barbie Ferreira) seems to have successfully fought for body positivity but hates her boyfriend, Ethan (Austin Abrams) for being too normal! Elliot (Dominic Fike) is Rue’s new best friend after the two get high together at a New Year’s Eve party. He, however, comes between Rue and Jules.

The two-part finale with Lexi’s play is a daring choice as the past and present collide to reveal dangerous, disturbing truths, half-truths, lies and misinterpretations. The play serves as a mirror to the many characters and Fez getting ready to go for the play is just so moving.

Zendaya continues to be narrator of the show, in the long tradition of articulate youngsters with a quirky look at love, life, death and drugs. The acting is top-notch and has created characters who might not be very loveable or identifiable, but definitely worth investing time and emotion in. The episode titles again have esoteric origins from Bob Dylan, Henry Miller and Robert Rauschenberg to the French Surrealists, Antonin Artaud and Hunter S. Thompson. 

Season 2 ends on a cautiously optimistic note and it has been renewed for the third season. A discussion on Nordic noir many moons ago, prompted a comment that going by the amount of crime fiction that comes out region, one would believe the Scandinavian nations are a cesspool of serial killers, neo Nazis, rapists and human traffickers. That is definitely not the case and nor too could every high school in America be filled with fragile, broken people with major identity issues. However, just like scandi-noir makes for compelling reading, the trials and tribulations of Rue and her friends sure makes for gripping television.

Euphoria is currently streaming on Disney+Hotstar 

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