This season of the explosive hit series “Euphoria” made me realize that I only watched the show for its popularity and Zendaya. Season two confirmed that the show’s eye-popping makeup, visually pleasing cinematography and heightened teenage drama can’t save the plot and character arcs, which have transformed into plot and character downfalls.
Any good film or show is good due to its storytelling. This is the foundation that should be built upon while visual detailing, background noise and any other element is only meant to make it more concrete. With a rollercoaster of a series like “Euphoria,” the plot can understandably get a bit hectic with all the characters being explored and frantic events unfolding. But even with a manic plot there should be a reasoning behind the madness. Season two felt like a fever dream with pointless plot twists.
Besides Rue, the star this season was Cassie, and her storyline was probably the hardest to watch. There was a lack of character development, despite the increase in screen time. This season followed Cassie as she struggled with confidence through validation by others, specifically by Nate. To me, the entire Cassie-Nate relationship seemed frivolous from the get-go — it’s painfully long and unnecessary.
Season one dissected Cassie’s personal life and her relationship with McKay and her unplanned pregnancy. Instead of examining the effects these traumatic events had on her, Cassie’s character falls perfectly into the “boy crazy” trope — especially in the first episode — as well as the melodramatic teen girl trope.
Most of Cassie’s screen time is her whining, complaining and justifying her disloyal behavior toward her friend Maddie. What put me off was Cassie’s character amounting to nothing but an unhinged teen girl acting out for no real reason, merely because she needs validation. There is no scene that properly justifies her actions, so she is just portrayed as insane, and nothing but a laughing stock viewers can get annoyed with.
It’s equally unsettling to see her character being sexualized even more so than it was last season. For a character whose trauma stems from men only seeing her as a sex object, it’s really odd that Sam Levinson — the creator of “Euphoria” — felt the need to show off Cassie’s naked body so frequently. That and the fact that she turned into the show’s villain in seconds proves that Euphoria is badly written by a man’s external observation of a woman with daddy issues.
Ignorant writing is a seedbed for clichés and a futile plot.
Many characters this season were not only examined poorly, but totally written out of the story. After the first few episodes, Jules’ role in the show dissolved. If anything, Jules is used as a plot device for Rue after she helps stage an intervention with Rue’s family and Elliot. Rue vocally belittles Jules in a fit of rage when she sees that Jules is a part of the intervention, but after this heartbreaking scene, we never get to see how Jules is affected by Rue’s harsh words alongside her life without Rue, and we never explore her budding relationship with Elliot.
Jules’ character is reduced to nothing but a catalyst for mistakes and reactions.
Kat was another character that disappeared this season. After highlighting her sexual and confidence journey last season, her character in season two had almost no screen time, and when she was on screen, all of her growth from season one disappeared. Any hint of confidence and stability Kat gained from sexually experimenting and practicing self-gratitude ends, and we are left with her comparing herself to other girls and disliking her boyfriend. That’s all we get from her this season.
One of the reasons I kept coming back to the show was for Fez and Lexi’s relationship. It was the only wholesome, non-toxic relationship in the series. Lexi is the only character not plagued with some monstrous issue that causes her to act out. She’s the relatable one, and I liked her — until her play, which basically detailed the personal lives of her friends, classmates and sister.
Her play was poisonous. As a viewer, it’s nice to see your most hated characters like Nate or Cassie being called out for their misbehaviors, but a lot of the contents of the play were not Lexi’s to share. They belong to those close to her, those who confided in her and shared their traumatic experiences with her. She betrayed them by sharing their intimate details with the entire school.
This play felt like an act of vengeance, which is so out of character for Lexi. She was supposed to be the morally superior character who actually knows right from wrong. Instead, she is roped into another half-baked story line.
There are many other butchered plot lines that hurt the show — McKay’s season one assault plot hole, Rue owing the drug dealer thousands of dollars plot hole, Nate being delusionally depicted as some kind of hero for turning in his dad, Cal’s cheating and predatory actions being justified because of his sexuality and backstory, Cassie’s season one abortion plot hole, Elliot’s useless role, Nate pointing a gun at Maddie for shock value and nothing more, etc.
Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s objectively good, and “Euphoria” is the perfect example of that. The show’s fantasy-like feel and visually stimulating imagery doesn’t save it from being another messy teen show that displays an unnecessary amount of nudity, drug use and mistakes galore.
Thank goodness for the phenomenal acting done by the cast, because if it weren’t for them, the unstructured story would have been a lot more apparent.