Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Euphoria’s Season 1 Episode 6.
Euphoria’s sixth episode was directed by Pippa Bianco, a Sundance Film Festival winner, who earned acclaim for her 2019 film Share. The director proved to be well versed in the territory of tonights episode, which was great for tackling the frightening sexual assault that transpired this episode.
The Next Episode begins with a young McKay (Algee Smith) reciting the words of America, a poem dedicated to blacks in a racist society, by Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay (who I assume is the inspiration behind the character). This candid analogy reflects the contradictions often presented in the preludes of each person. His father teaches him, no matter how heinous (in this case, racist) the insults are, you bottle that anger up and save it for the football field. It’s a euphemism for the reality that the show assuredly tip-toes around. Instead of going further into the fact that McKay is a black kid in America, they give him a rushed, lousy storyline centered around a hardcore dad that cares about the football field more than his son. I’m not saying those types of households don’t exist, I know they do, I’m saying that they took a tactless approach to his character. When he’s sodomized by a group of frat boys and is left lying on the ground, clearly traumatized by the event, he quietly goes into the bathroom and tries to calm himself down through the terrible coping mechanism his father instilled in him. Subsequently, in his concern for his masculinity, he asks Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) if she’s still up for the hook-up, which she ends up agreeing to. With seemingly the same mindset he has on the football, this hook-up is aggressive and forceful, similar to their encounter in the pilot episode. In the back of my head, I wonder if the common denominator here is his insecurity and animosity regarding her sexual history.
This event leaves the door open for Daniel (Keean Johnson) who compliments her Alabama Worley outfit rather than judging it like McKay did. He suggests going all the way with her, but when she rejects his advances (to avoid guilt), he berates her and makes it clear that no man will want her for anything beyond sex. Daniel’s sudden outburst is harsh, but it’s the way many men react when they’re rejected. It’s also very much the case when a women with a ‘certain’ reputation (one we still haven’t fully seen) decides to make that choice, which escalates his anger. He can’t take a “no” because this entitlement makes him think, “if everyone else can have her, why can’t I?” It’s a terrifying mindset and this disrespect from men because of her sexual past is nauseating. After that, she goes home, starts downing a bottle and becomes aware of the fact that she may be pregnant. I can’t say that was surprising either, unfortunately, as it was foreshadowed. What did surprise me, however, was when I found out that Daniel was the boy mentioned in Kat’s past.
i was today years old when i realized daniel that was trying to get cassie’s cookies then 2 seconds later verbally abused her is the same danny that broke up w/ kat in middle school bc she gained weight #euphoria pic.twitter.com/LIn75rfncy
— tre ☯︎ (@life0ftre) July 22, 2019
Moreover, Jules’ (Hunter Schafer) behavior seems to progressively worsen throughout the show. She leans on alcohol throughout the entirety of the episode, and for a portion of the episode, we’re left in the dark about what’s going on. That is until we learn about Nate’s cartoonishly evil plan. In essence, he uses Tyler (Lukas Gage), the guy he beat up, and blackmails him into fessing up to the crime or taking the fall for raping Maddy (Alexa Demie) (which he didn’t). He then uses Jules’ nudes against her and makes her act as a witness to this so-called crime. This diabolical plan is so silly and unrealistic that it throws the flow of the show a bit. Any detective or police would be able to see through this plan, especially after seeing Jules’ tearful reaction to her potential punishment if found guilty in her part of the set up. Don’t even get me started on why Nate (or the writers in this case) would think the police would easily accept Tyler, who’s clearly been beat up and coerced, as the perpetrator. Jules’ distance from Rue (Zendaya) throughout the episode is hard to watch being that Rue is trying to do better. However, Rue manages to keep herself clean throughout the night, ultimately reconciling with Fezco (Angus Cloud) and bonding with Lexi (Maude Apatow). By the end of the night, Rue figures it’s Nate behind Jules’ behavior and I theorize that it’s Rue who takes down Nate, particularly after hearing about a scene Jacob Elordi teased between the two.
Then there’s Kat. At first, her and Ethan (Austin Abrams) seem to get along, but still reeling off her anger from the carnival, she cuts him off and tells him if he wanted to hook-up all he had to do was ask. When she realizes he’s a virgin, she practically belittles him as if she wasn’t in his shoes two weeks ago. At this point, I don’t expect to see much growth from Kat’s character until she gets caught up and based on the way she looked at Daniel, that time might come sooner than later.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed this episode, but I wasn’t too pleased. The most memorable moments of the night were Lexi and Rue’s interrogation of McKay’s brother Troy (Tyler Timmons) using references to The Wire and Lexi’s Bob Ross costume. If nothing else, the visuals of Euphoria has remained strong throughout the series which is something I adore about the show. The upcoming preview for episode seven is frightening nonetheless. We see that it’s centered around Cassie, but we also see a terrible car accident in the future. Of course people hope it’s Nate, but I’m not so sure about it. Unless another antagonist is set up after him, or unless his plan blows up (which is the realistic route), the producers won’t let him go just yet.
Euphoria airs every Sunday on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.
Featured Image Via HBO.