Review: ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 builds characters, captures fans in new light


Alyssa Clark

In a graphic made by Executive Opinion Editor Alyssa Clark, an edited cover of Euphoria’s Season 2 is shown. The show announced its third season Feb. 4, and fans can expect to see the new season in 2023. “Zendaya constantly raises the standards and quality of what acting means,” Clark said. “The peak of this talent can be seen throughout the season, especially in Episode 5.”

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After the success of its first season in 2019, HBO Max’s original series “Euphoria” debuted its second season Jan. 9. The series follows stars including Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi, Hunter Schafer and Alexa Damie. The plot follows Zendaya’s character, Rue, as she navigates high school with her addiction to pills, and as she narrates the subplot lines of the supporting characters. The show announced its third season on Feb. 4, and fans can expect to see the new season in 2023. A review by Caleb Audia of the music seen in Season 1 can be found here.

Alyssa – 7/10

The character progression and development of the characters, Rue and Lexi especially, amazed viewers, and showed growth and movement in the plot from the first season. Even though some characters took a turn for the worse, they still changed somehow, so I thought that was cool. I also really appreciated how the fashion and style experts for the characters made significant changes to some characters to show their growth – you can see a lot of this in Cassie, as her style seems to change more into Maddy’s, while Maddy’s high confidence matches her consistent style.

The acting in this season is next level for a TV show. Zendaya constantly raises the standards and quality of what acting means, and the peak of this talent can be seen throughout the season, but especially in the fifth episode. If it were up to me, she’d win every Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy she could be nominated for.

The commitment to character that Sydney Sweeney brings made me want to actually hit Cassie, who used to be a favorite of mine, as she plays the part so well. Maude Apatow, the actress behind Lexi, is brilliant. Her character shines in the spotlight toward the end of the season, with her play – and with her budding relationship with the lovable Fez.

The show never left me bored, and when an episode would be released weekly on Sundays, that became my favorite day, with #EuphoriaSunday trending on Twitter for some time. It was so fun to go into big discussions about the episode with my coworkers in the days after, and even have little get-togethers with friends to watch an episode and spend time together. This season was easy to keep up with, but I could never guess what would happen next, even though I always tried. The finale was breathtaking, heart-aching and beautiful. It was my absolute favorite part of the whole season – despite my tears.

However, even with all the good, there’s always some bad. One of the things that lost my interest was the loss of screentime for Barbie Ferriera, who plays Kat. Kat has one of the most interesting character developments in the show, and she lost all of that this season. After an argument with director Sam Levinson that supposedly caused her time on the show to be diminished, fans were left upset and confused. This is another example of unprofessionalism on the show, as many of the actors refuse to work together, which hurts plot lines. I also believe that the show really changed from the original plot, even though there were some moments that highlight Season 1 scenes – such as Rue giving a lesson with Jules, and doing the same with Elliot this season, to Rue biking through her neighborhood – I still feel a little disappointed that the stories had really changed.

To me, I feel like the end of Season 2 left a wrap on many of the plots, leaving fans curious about what Season 3 is really going to be about. But, I’m always excited for more Labrinth music with Zendaya collaborations – which I know Caleb is all over – and the extremely glittery, over-the-top make-up looks.

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Caleb – 8.5/10

Much like Alyssa, I think that the character development between many of the main characters made this season so great and enjoyable to watch. Rue’s development within the final episodes of the season showed a drastic change from her character in Season 1, and ended off in an enjoyable state with the season finale.

Twists and turns occurred everywhere this season. You have to watch each episode more than once to fully grasp and understand everything that’s going on. Euphoria is one of those shows where, while there’s a “main character,” each character takes nearly the same amount of screen time and plot work. In a show with more than seven characters, this can get overwhelming sometimes, and you’re bound to miss some of the story elements with just one watch.

The fifth episode of this season is definitely something to watch out for. After the episode aired, fans were quick to jump onto social media sites, claiming Zendaya deserves an Emmy for her performance – and I could not agree more. Zendaya truly plays Rue’s part phenomenally, and many of the scenes were hard to watch due to the emotional constraints in the plotline. Nonetheless, Zendaya played a huge part in the success of this season, and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves.

While the first episode was my favorite when it aired, the directors listened to what the critics had to say, and changes became apparent after the second episode. For example, Season 1 and the first two episodes of Season 2 were filled with unneeded and overwhelming sex and nudity scenes that rarely, if ever, contributed to the plotline of the episode. Specifically, episode two was so overwhelming, that various TikToks mocked how ridiculous the show was becoming – and I agree. But, luckily, there was an abrupt cut-off of some of the objectionable content, and the show continued with more emotional scenes that better played the part. For this reason, looking back, I think that the first and second episodes were one of the worst ones of the season.

Now, there’s no way that I could leave out, who I think, is a phenomenal part of the show. The musical composer, producer, songwriter and singer for the show, Labrinth.

Everyone around me knows, I’m a fan of Labrinth. I first became a fan when I heard his track for the Wonder Woman film, “To Be Human.” Ever since then, I have followed his every move, including writing an opinion when the Season 1 soundtrack was released. In my opinion, music is one of the most important aspects of setting the tone for a film, or a season, and Labrinth has done his job perfectly with the Euphoria score. In fact, the season finale track, “I’m Tired” with Zendaya reached top-10 charting placements on Apple Music, Spotify and even debuted in the Billboard Hot 100. Labrinth has also teased the release of the Season 2 Soundtrack Scoring, which many fans speculate will be coming soon.

In fact, my favorite scene of the whole season is known amongst viewers as the “church scene.” This scene takes place after Rue is on her second relapse of drugs, and hallucinates herself in a church where Labrinth is waiting for her at the alter. Labrinth performs his solo version of “I’m Tired” while Zendaya’s character, Rue, imagines hugging Labrinth as hugging her father. This scene was heartbreaking enough – and to add on, the dialogue between Rue and her father truly gave the scene powerful emotional bearing that made the hairs on my arm stand up. Everything about this scene was perfect, and I feel as if it’s seriously underrated, despite rewatching the scene at least 20 times.

Much like Alyssa, I am very curious to see how Euphoria is going to start its next season. The majority of characters’ plot lines were wrapped up at an agreeable stage. While I do think that some of it seemed rushed, it felt like a good place to end off. Overall, I think this season did things that other shows were not able to do, especially paired with Zendaya’s acting and Labrinth’s music.

It definitely earns a high rating from me.