Season two launches on Sunday so why not join me in reminiscing?
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY © 2019 HOME BOX OFFICE
Gripping. Intense. Devastating. Immersive. These are all words I use when recommending Euphoria to friends. It’s a hard show to recommend, as there are so many trigger warnings. But there’s something refreshing about the way the show explicitly explores a range of topics ranging from drug addiction and detransitioning to sexual assault. The struggles of teen protagonists onscreen are often sugarcoated and simplified. But Euphoria offers a nuanced portrayal of those impacted by these struggles that we rarely get to see. Through all the grit and hardships, it keeps viewers on the edge of their seats hoping that the characters can find a way out.
The highly anticipated second season premieres Sunday 9 January. UK viewers can stream it on NOW TV. In preparation for the release, I thought I’d recap my favourite highlights for the show ahead.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for season one and the Christmas special episodes.
The comic relief
Rue’s use of humour as a defence mechanism is very relatable, and something many of us do. This paired with the show’s creative choices adds some emotional release from the range of challenging subject matters it explores.
The character arcs
Whilst the show focuses on Rue and Jules, it has an array of compelling side characters which are handled with care. We get to see the moments that shaped them in a way that doesn’t take away from the plot. I’m very interested to see more back stories explored in this coming season.
Rue’s relationship with her little sister Gia is heartwarming and breaking to watch. Gia’s had to endure the loss of her father, the near loss of her sister and the often heated home life as Rue clashes with their mother. Through it all, she’s worn her heart on her sleeve and continued to believe in Rue.
Easily one of the most amusing moments from the first season, it also reminds viewers of exactly why Zendaya was awarded an Emmy for this role. Her ability to portray a character through so many different layers, tones and styles will never fail to amaze me.
The dance sequences
Whilst this is the not first time the show used this form to abstractly portray what Rue is going through, it was the most moving as we watch Rue fall into the abyss. It was interpreted in a multitude of different ways, many left heartbroken believing that Rue had died. More contemporary dances in season two please!
Rue’s Christmas special
Fans were relieved when the show released a two-part Christmas special. The first episode showed that Rue is very much alive, but not doing good. This episode is set almost entirely in a diner and made up of a conversation with Rue’s older sponsor. As someone who usually dislikes dialogue-heavy episodes, I’ll be the first to say this was a masterpiece. It also allows viewers to understand where Rue’s head is at and makes us want to root for her to overcome her demons in the coming episodes.
Jules’ Christmas special
In this episode, we get another dialogue-heavy episode as Jules opens up to her therapist. It’s equally as moving as Rue’s. Throughout season one, Rue’s feelings for Jules have been clear to the viewer, whereas Jules were always more ambiguous as she seemed more distant. But through the use of flashback montages, we get to learn exactly how much the love is reciprocated and why this scares Jules. What I loved most about this episode was hearing Jules talk about her evolving relationship to her gender identity. During a therapy session, she shares that she’s considering detransitioning. The dialogue that this episode creates around gender is truly fascinating and rarely seen onscreen.
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