Euphoria Season 2: Darkness Prevails

Season 2 of Euphoria started off with the warning that it was going to be even darker than the first. Did it live up to its premise?

When the first season of Euphoria dropped in the summer of 2019, the world was caught off guard by this gritty and deeply uncomfortable show that grabbed everyone’s attention so quickly. Zendaya was already a well-established superstar in Hollywood before the show but she truly proved any doubters wrong through her portrayal of the main character Rue. In fact, all of the acting has been lauded by the critics and the viewers alike.

So much substance is rooted into each episode with character development and story lines that will undoubtedly affect anyone watching. However, the main thing that always stood out in almost every scene was the cinematography and directing. Sam Levinson, the writer and creator of the show, clearly knows how to catch the eye of the viewer. There are sequences that make you sit there and wonder just how on earth everything was pulled off so flawlessly.


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Generally, season one was considered a dark-themed show with realistic explorations of drug abuse and its effects on young people. Some of the other themes explored included sex, gender, bullying, peer pressure, anxiety, and depression. Another key component of what made the first season so great was the score.

Labrinth, the British producer and singer songwriter, produced the entire music himself. Some of the songs became global hits and were especially huge on TIkTok even after they had been out for a couple of years. Though some of the overstated nudity and the fact that the main characters are teenagers living these outlandish lives were somewhat criticized due to the heavy writing of the show, this did set up the second season perfectly. Though, the world had to wait for more than two years to get it.


Season 2: Even Darker

Zendaya posted on her social media, before the premiere of season two, warning viewers that this season, in particular, was going to be even heavier than the first. Certainly, it’s never been an easy show to watch but the second season takes things to a whole new level. Rue is struggling more than ever and her character arch throughout the season is not pleasant in the least. Not for her and definitely not for anyone close to her. In particular, episode five, titled Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, is a stand out for Zendaya. She may have set herself up for another Emmy win with that incredible performance and the chase sequences were so anxiety-inducing, they felt like they would never end, in the best possible way.

Some of the other main characters were slightly sidelined, unfortunately, and some others became almost irredeemable. Kat barely has any screen time in season two for starters. Her fascinating character arch in season one has been entirely thrown away without much explanation. Cassie goes through a very unlikable transformation from episode one to the last. Her ties with Nate make her not only a bad friend to Maddy but also just unbearable and illogical to watch or understand. Thankfully though, Lexi is given a lot more room to shine this season. Everybody loved her in season one but she barely got any time for herself and now, especially towards the end, she gets all the glory she deserves. Her potential relationship with another very likable character on the show, Fezco, is a fan favorite for a reason. Jules also gets much less screen time. By the last few episodes, she’s barely on the show at all. That’s a bit of a shame because her special episode, released in between seasons one and two, titled F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob was truly special. It showed a side of Jules that we hadn’t seen before and promised not only a changed Jules but a more intriguing one that was going to accept parts of herself with grace. Instead, none of that was actually explored in season two and most of the time it felt like the show forgot that special episode ever even aired.

All in all though, by the end the show brings everything together in great fashion and leaves room for some of the storylines and characters to grow in season three. Critics have received the second season even better than the first. The beforehand issued warning that the show was going to be dark was a fair one. Some of the scenes involving Rue alone may be enough to drive some viewers away. It is not an easy watch but it is a great one. Greatness often extracts a heavy toll and Euphoria is a prime example of that.


Photo: Kathy Hutchins/


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