Photo Courtesy of HBO Max

Long Awaited Series Euphoria Shakes Things Up in its Second Season

The popular HBO series, Euphoria, had its second season premiere in January. Fans have been waiting three years for the second season after COVID-19 related delays slowed down production. Now, the show is back with one plot twist after another in each episode.

Euphoria follows a 17-year-old drug addict named Rue and her schoolmates who struggle with their identity, sexuality, substance use and relationships. Season one showed promise for Rue, who regularly attended narcotics anonymous meetings, had a mentor and was sober for a few months. Season two started off with Rue lying to her friends and family about her substance use after she relapsed. Over the last three episodes, she has fallen deeper into the depths of her vice and has resorted to dealing drugs to increase her supply.

A love triangle has formed between Rue, her sometimes-girlfriend Jules and a substance use-enabling partner, Elliot. While Jules was jealous of Rue’s new friend at first, she finds herself forming a connection with Elliot. A second love triangle forms when Nate, East Highland’s residential jock, hooks up with Cassie, his ex-girlfriend’s best friend. Nate refuses to acknowledge Cassie’s presence at school, which, along with lying to her friends about being single, pushes Cassie to the brink of insanity. Nate faces pressure at home when his father, Cal, realizes that his secret of having relations with an underage person outside of his marriage might be exposed. Lexi, Cassie’s quiet sister, has been observing this mess from the outside and decides to write her unsuspecting sister and friends into a play to be performed at school.

It is safe to say that Rue is at her make-or-break moment. As of the third episode, she has cut ties with her mentor and increased her intake and access to drugs. She has further isolated herself by using drugs, lying to everyone about her usage leaving no one looking out for her. If she continues this path, she will succumb to her addiction and this could have serious, life-threatening consequences moving forward.

The two love triangles forming in this season dance on hot coals. For Rue, Jules and Elliot, a slow burn might bring Jules and Elliot closer together and Rue becomes more isolated and avoidant. For Nick, Maddy and Cassie, one stray spark is all that is needed to ruin a close friendship between the girls and the confusing relationship between Cassie and Nate. Cal’s secrets, which lie on a disk circulating its way through this town, will be exposed eventually.

Euphoria shows the dramatic consequences of Rue’s substance abuse but never shows the other characters consequences for their actions. When Jules drank and partied all night on New Year’s Eve, the audience never saw the hangover that surely followed the next day. Elliot regularly uses the same drugs as Rue, but his addiction is never portrayed to be as bad as hers. For a modern-day show, Euphoria still gives its audience a black and white portrayal of substance use. On one side is Rue who is what most people would consider a typical drug addict. On the other are teens who can drink or do the occasional party drug without seeming to be affected. For Euphoria to accomplish its goals of showing the nuances of substance use,the director should show the effects of drug use as the abuser comes down from a high.
            Many twists and turns lie ahead of Euphoria fans and season two carries on this spring. Euphoria is available to stream on HBO Max with new

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