Thoughts on Season 1 and 2 of Euphoria


Oliver Folan, Arts and Entertainment Editor '22

It was the summer of 2019, and the pilot for this new show called Euphoria was making waves on Twitter. I didn’t really know much about it at the time, other than the fact that Zendaya was in it and that A24 had some hand in its creation, but I was eager to check it out. It was around 2 in the morning when I decided to put on the first episode. I only intended on watching the first few minutes since I was on the verge of falling asleep, but there was something about it that really woke me up. The first episode was far from perfect, but it had this infectious energy to it, an energy that I have never felt before while watching TV. However, it wasn’t until episode 4 titled “Shook Ones, Part II”, which takes place at the carnival, that I realized this season would impact me in a way that I would never forget. It’s hard to describe how genuinely perfect this episode is, from the dramatic beats to the smaller character moments, to the beyond incredible camera work, it is without question one of my favorite episodes of television.

The show managed to maintain that energy for the rest of the season. I could on for pages about all the individual moments from the first season that I love and adore, but my biggest takeaway is that everything came together to create something meaningful, something that stands on its own. Each character was thoroughly explored and developed, and each episode felt distinct and unique.

The first season of Euphoria will always hold a very special place in my heart, as well as a defining time capsule of the late 2010s, so I went into season 2 with high hopes. That being said, I did not love season 2 like I did the first. In fact, I found this season to be largely mediocre. I do admire how the creators took the show in a much different direction in terms of its vibe. It’s not at all trying to recreate the energy of the first season, but it’s also because of this that the show loses most of what it had going for it.

Instead of shooting on digital, they shot on film, and instead of using Labyrinth’s music, the majority of music used in this season is licensed songs from the ‘60s and ’70s, because nothing says “high school in the modern era” like Ennio Morricone. And look, I love the look of film, and there is some genuinely stunning cinematography in this season, but there wasn’t anything about the visuals that grabbed my attention in a commanding way. The first season had a visual presentation that was visceral and demanding, while the second season just looked pretty. It was such a major step down.

As far as characters go, it was a mixed bag. Fez and Lexi were easily my two favorite characters this season. I enjoyed watching Rue, Jules, and Elliot interact, but their relationship didn’t evolve into anything all that interesting. I thought Nate and his dad were handled well, which is good given how they were also the most interesting characters in the first season.

I did not at all care about the beef between Cassie and Maddy. I think Maddy is such a cool character, but I couldn’t care less about Cassie in this season. They just made her really unlikeable but not in a way in which the audience can sympathize with her. She’s just really annoying. I also despised how they handled Kat in this season. She had probably the most pronounced character arc in the first season, but here she does literally nothing.

I was surprised by how little I cared for this season. I didn’t even hate it, there just wasn’t anything remotely interesting about it. There wasn’t a single moment or episode that I fell in love with or blew my mind, which is sad. Maybe I’ll rewatch this season sometime in the future and find some new meaning in it. Who knows.

Season 1- 9/10

Season 2- 5/10