Euphoria’s season two digs plot-holes it can’t refill

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Jia Takayoshi

The second season of Euphoria delivers an intensely captivating yet unfulfilling plot.

Suhani Kashyap, Staff Writer

Long-awaited, the award-winning HBO series “Euphoria” returned for a heart-throbbing, hilarious, yet intensely heavy second season. With weekly episodes since January 9, 2022, each release urged conspiracies and controversies within its watchers. However, many of these questions, including those from the first season, have yet to be answered despite the season finale airing on February 27, 2022. 

PLOT

The gaping plot-holes left in the storyline are credited to Sam Levinson, the sole writer and one of the directors of “Euphoria.” Despite his visionary panache as a director, his writing has been evidently sloppy compared to the first season. Levinson left watchers dangling off of season one’s cliffhangers while opening up plenty more in the new season. Who was the black screen on Kat’s (Barbie Ferreira) camming business? What happened to the relationship between Nate (Jacob Elordi) and Jules (Hunter Schafer)? Who is the third Jacobs brother? 

Furthermore, the new season was also very different from the first in terms of intensity. Each episode covered various levels of sensitive topics, from drug addiction to sex trafficking. The new season is very obviously not intended for the light of heart. 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

While watchers were left astray with certain plot holes, it’s clear that the new season was an attempt to start a fresh story. The show’s director of photography Marcell Rév commented on the new season, explaining the significance of the new cinematographic style, “Season one was very in the moment and contemporary, and Season two is more intimate and has something to do with the way we remember things,” said Rév in an interview with Indiewire. 

He goes on to reveal that the season was filmed on a discontinued Kodak Ektachrome film, compared to season one’s digital cinematography. This is what gave season two its nostalgic feel, whereas the first season felt more modern. 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

The actors outdid themselves during this season, with each and every actor embodying their character perfectly. It was easy for viewers to feel emotionally attached to them all. Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney both played characters who were notorious for their terrible decisions. However, their acting caused watchers to feel more sympathy than anger. One couldn’t help but feel connected to both of them.

Zendaya flourished in her performance as Rue Bennett, delivering one of her most gut-wrenching performances yet. Rue is a teenager who struggles with severe addiction to various drugs, leading to several mental illnesses. Especially after the death of her father, Rue felt that she had no one to turn to. She blocked many of her other relationships such as that with her best friend, Lexi (Maude Apatow), and replaced them with drugs. Many of Rue’s more positive traits such as her compassion and sarcasm are overlooked due to her depressive and bipolar condition. While many argue that “Euphoria” glamorizes drug addiction, Zendaya evidences the true consequences and pain tied to addiction. Despite her Emmy-winning delivery in season one, she came to outshine herself in the new season, especially her acting in the fifth episode where she was seen running away from rehab. While following Rue on her journey to getting sober was exhausting, the last few episodes were promising in regards to her finally getting clean. 

Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) character made the show much more entertaining, yet one can’t help but wonder how the sweet, naive character from season one became the most deleterious in season two. From betraying Maddy (Alexa Demie) to ruining Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) play, there is no doubt that Cassie was not favored by fans. She craves love more than anything, which acts as a massive roadblock for every other relationship in her life, including that with “Euphoria” watchers. Cassie-defenders were surely struggling this season.

FINALE

The season finale was an emotional roller coaster that unpacked a great deal in very little time. From Rue’s mission to stay clean to the death of Ashtray (Javon Walton), the finale had me go from laughing to sobbing within minutes. 

First and foremost, I think it is completely unwarranted to blame Ashtray for his decision to hide in the bathroom when Fez’s house was raided by the police. Ash was raised with plenty of adult responsibility by being Fez’s business partner as a 14-year-old. Growing up in the drug market led to much of his violent nature. Since he grew up so fast, it’s easy to forget that he was just a kid, and that kids make stupid, rash decisions. Right before his death, there was a brief moment in which watchers could see the childlike confusion on his face which was arguably one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the season.

There was much left to be unpacked, yet what felt like a week and a half went towards Rue and Elliot staring at each other during “Elliot’s Song.” That time could’ve been used towards anything else the season had to unpack. What is Laurie going to do to Rue since she still owes her money? What about the scratching behind the door at Laurie’s house? What’s going on with Maddy and the woman she babysits for? Did Lexi’s play even have a budget?

The piles of questions that “Euphoria” watchers have been left with are only all the more reasons to watch the upcoming third season. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take two and a half years this time. Best said by Maddy, “This is just the beginning.”