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Like Father, Like Son: “Euphoria” Season 1, Episode 2 Review

Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Season one of “Euphoria”.

To recap this week’s episode, things get more intense as we see two sides of Nate (Jacob Elordi), a bit more into Rue’s past, and Kat’s brand new interest. The series shows no fear in going all out, but remains true to its themes and doesn’t lose focus.

We begin by seeing a flashback to a young Nate, where he finds his father’s collection of homemade porn, that in itself is hyper-violent and degrading to his participants. This continues with a speech his father, Cal (Eric Dane), gives telling him of how different he is and how the world won’t like him, which plays into Nate’s desire to be the best. His father’s infatuation with trans and male partners seems to be a set up for that locker room scene. Through the in-your-face nudity and Nate’s, along with the audience’s unease, I see it more as representing Nate’s struggle with his sexuality, particularly after being exposed to it at such a young age. 

Going back to Rue’s (Zendaya) life, she’s asked to speak in front of the class about her summer. The question causes her thoughts to jumble as she remembers leaving the hospital following her overdose, waking to see her mother (Nika King) and younger sister (Storm Reid) sleeping by her hospital bed and a painful fight between her and her mother. Her mind is represented through a high-paced montage that jumps between the scenes mentioned above. The scene that stuck out the most to me was the argument between her and her mother. It greatly shows the range Zendaya has and her growth from her expected innocent roles. When most childhood stars transition into provocative roles it feels forced, but I think it’s done the opposite and has opened the doors for less restrictive roles.

Zendaya in Euphoria. Image via HBO.

Furthermore, minor but important details for another character arc includes Kat (Barbie Ferreira) doing some serious damage control. A video of Kat losing her virginity at that party emerges, but she manages to convince one of McKay’s twins to retract the rumors. Of course, the idea that everything on the internet stays on the internet stands when she finds the video uploaded from another user. Her initial panic is sidetracked when she notices the positive feedback she’s received. I think that this leading to her wanting to join the porn industry is a bit problematic for a couple of reasons. That biggest reason being male approval. I think it’s important for women to want to own their sexuality, but it shouldn’t be because men accept it or not. If she genuinely wants a career in the industry for herself, then go ahead, but if it’s because she wants to feel like she’s ‘more’ it’ll be more damaging for her. 

Barbie Ferreira in Euphoria. Image via HBO.

Moreover, Rue shows up at Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) house. He lets her in, but he’s very urgent to get her right back out, as he keeps speaking about his ‘guy’ that’s coming through. Rue gets wind of an older woman lying in a hospital bed and I get suspicious since we’ve learned that she first got into Oxycontin while caring for her sick father at 13 and we don’t necessarily know how desperate she is to get another high. We soon meet Fezco’s supplier, Mouse (Meeko) that introduces Rue to fentanyl and despite Fezco’s pleading, she takes it. I think the intensity of the scene shows a great contrast between someone raised within crime, i.e. Mouse and someone more than likely forced into it, i.e. Fezco. Fezco is willing to spot Rue in many instances and even pays double when Mouse finds that she doesn’t have the money to pay him, whereas Mouse is insistent on her finding other ways to pay him. It ultimately shows that in dabbling with things, such as drugs, you’re not always going to run into someone kind hearted like Fezco and you’re not always going to be as lucky as Rue. 

Collectively, we all felt bad for Tyler (Lukas Gage), the guy Maddy (Alexa Demie) slept with at the party. He finds Nate waiting for him in his house who immediately starts reeling off the lie she told him about her being blackout drunk during their hookup. Despite Tyler’s persistent denial, in a fit of rage, Nate tells him to get on his knees (yes I thought this was going to take a disturbing turn) and begins to beat him, asking him over and over “Did you rape her?” to which the guy honestly replies, “No.” Now back to my issue. This, I think, is important in telling the dangers of lying about sexual assault. Nate could have easily killed this guy and that would have been innocent blood on his hands because a girl didn’t want to look bad based on her reckless decisions. By the end of the episode, we see the guy Jules (Hunter Schafer) is on about — Shyguy118. The camera pans across the rooms from Jules’ house to someone else’s and at the end of this scene, we see that this guy is Nate.

Overall, this episode was a hit. A lot happened but it didn’t feel like too much. The camera work made a great deal of the intensity of each scene and provided subtle hints for future scenes or references. The actors, of course, showed their immense talent. Nate, at least in comparison to his interviews, seems like a completely different person on screen and effectively makes himself appear as a bad guy, especially during that gruesome assault. This week was relatively a step-up from its pilot episode and offered development in its plot to balance its shock value. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see the intention of characters such as Nate in his relationship with Jules and how it impacts Rue’s attachment to Jules. 

Euphoria airs every Sunday on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.

Featured image Via HBO.

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