As soon as that trailer dropped announcing the return of the infamous coming of age hit show Euphoria starring our fave Zendaya, all the memes started flooding our timelines.
Many focused on what the cast would be wearing, the hair and makeup ordained in rhinestones and not a school book, bag, or pencil in sight - just vibes.
It’s almost like the writers looked back at the last season and said, “how do we turn this up a notch?” The opening scene threw us straight into the deep end with a POV of Fez’s tumultuous upbringing displaying the bizarre relationship, or shall I say “partnership”, that he had with his grandmother and how it led him to where he is today. It’s clear to see that the relationship that Fez had with his grandma, despite its violent and illegal nature, is where a lot of his morals developed. He’s aware of the flaws in his childhood but he still learned vital lessons on the meaning of family and going to war for them.
Towards the end of the last season, it was clear that Jules, Hunter Schafer, was Rue’s “why”, why she wanted to get clean and start living a healthier life. But once their relationship starts to fall apart, so does Rue, which leads her back to drugs and back to Fez. Despite them almost dying at the drug deal, Rue appears to be unshaken as she rambles in the backseat in awe of the drug dealer in charge because she’s a woman. Even whilst they were on the way to the drug deal Rue is happily rapping along to Tupac in the backseat!
Meanwhile the rest of the cast, in true Euphoria fashion, are making their way to a New Year’s Eve party in a huge house that surprisingly only has one toilet? Every time Nate is on screen he makes my skin crawl and we’re reminded throughout the first episode that a lot of his issues have in fact remained unresolved.
Rue, Fez, and Ashtray arrive at the party and Rue immediately starts scurrying across the floor trying to avoid Jules. Whilst Fez appears to be getting to know Lexi, potential love interest?
The New Year’s Eve party is like one big game of cat and mouse, people trying to avoid each other, chasing after one another, and trying to appear to be having more fun than they actually are. And I'm not surprised. After a year of heartbreak, relapse, and abuse for the majority of the cast, what is there to celebrate? Despite the positive connotations of the show’s title, unironically the cast never seems to reach that dream state of euphoria and are on a lifelong search for something they haven't experienced and can’t describe.
“Hello, heart. I thought I lost you.”
I don’t think there’s been an episode where Rue has done so many drugs in one day? She doesn’t appear to be stopping when she bumps into a new character, who’s like the male version of her, and goes into cardiac arrest. For Rue, her search for euphoria, an intense sense of excitement and happiness, used to be Jules but now it’s only the side effect of all drugs that she’s been taking. It’s obvious that Rue is in an even worse place than she was last year. Even multiple near-death experiences can’t shake the feeling of needing more to the point where she is continuously hitting self-destruct. It’s going to be interesting to see how her shared kiss with Jules will impact her and whether it will be in a positive way.
With Zendaya being announced as one of the executive producers for the show, it is no surprise that the whole episode felt like a high-quality cinematic experience. The show-stopping moment for me was the flashing moving stills, capturing snapshots of each character in their final moment before the year comes to an end. The flash was so bright it was almost exposing all of their individual flaws. The whole scene was a work of art, which we have cinematographer Rina Yang to thank.
The euphoric moment is cut short once Fez tells Ashtray to go get the car ready. Throughout the night Fez is keeping Nate in his eye line. Last season Fez threatened Nate and we didn’t have to wait for him to keep his promise. Small talk with Nate about New Year's resolutions rapidly ends in a bottle smashed over Nate's head followed by a series of blows.
This week's episode only proves that Fez really does not play when it comes to Rue. He sees her as his little sister and will do anything to protect her because that’s what he was taught to do, without hesitation. It’s going to be interesting to see how the relationship between Fez and Lexi progresses and I’m looking forward to seeing him outside of the context of his and Rue’s friendship.
There’s no doubt that this season is going to pack a punch… literally.