Arts & Reviews

Reactions to Euphoria Season 2 So Far

By: Nicole Cordasco

The second season of HBO’s hit Euphoria premiered on January 9, 2022. The show is being streamed in the traditional cable format, one episode released every Sunday at 9:00 PM EST. Three of the eleven total episodes have been released, discussed and dissected by fans and critics. 

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Euphoria is a conceptual show with heavy focuses on fashion, makeup, pop culture and musical choices. At its best, it is a time capsule of modern pop culture phenomena and iconography. Characters’ styles are deeply influenced by different periods and previous style icons. Costume designer, Heidi Bivens, is “always looking for a way to communicate the story through costume.” Bivens told Vogue that she considers “how much is this character spending on clothes, what do their parents do for a living, what are they trying to express by the way they present themselves,” when designing costumes. 

Many scenes in the first three episodes of season 2 center the characters’ dreams, fantasies and imaginings as subjects of focus. The writer and director, Sam Levinson, has an affinity for creating scenes that are outside of reality, but exist in the minds of the characters. These moments provide insights into each characters’ individual experience. 

The show is a dive into the depths of teenage loss, love, and life. Euphoria is a dramatization of the universal high school experience. Certain elements are very emphasized and focused on, which may not happen to be everyone’s experience. The storylines are truly unsanitized and it could be considered a show of extremes. Levinson returned to his experience as a young person in order to write both seasons. In an interview, Levinson said the focus was on “trying to create this character that is constantly trying to navigate this world of heightened emotion and trying to either enhance the joy or kind of dampen the sadness or the darkness of it.” 

Levinson personally struggled with addiction issues when he was younger and that is a main reason why Rue, played by Zendaya, has the storyline that she does. Teenage drug use is not romanticized in Euphoria; it is confronted truthfully as the highly present issue that it is. Zendaya plays Rue with a meaningful depth that emphasizes the fact that addicts need to be portrayed more fully on screen. Zendaya warns viewers that this season of Euphoria is “deeply emotional” and “difficult to watch.” 

The extreme popularity of Season 1 has placed high expectations for the success of Season 2. Season 1 became iconography of the teenage experience as soon it was released and immediately attracted a cult following of fans. The characters in the show are so fully formed, honest and relatable that fans became heavily attached to their story lines. For these reasons as well, expectations are high for how the character arcs progress during the season. Can Euphoria season 2 avoid the “sophomore slump” associated with second seasons of hit shows? We’ll have to watch to find out. 

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