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‘Euphoria’ Season 2 is better than ever before: Review

When Euphoria premiered in 2019, Sam Levinson’s darkish portrait of recent adolescence shocked audiences. The Emmy-winning HBO drama wasn’t wholly decreased to on-screen penis tallies, however the collection’ toxically cool materials made it notoriously controversial. Levinson’s no-holds-barred strategy to medication, intercourse, and violence, paired with Euphoria’s tremendous widespread costume and make-up aesthetic, nervous critics who felt it glorified harmful habits for teenagers. Followers argued it was exactly that rebelliousness that made Euphoria’s oozing angst distinctive.

Then, towards the backdrop of the 2020-2021 vacation season, Levinson launched two Euphoria specials that have been notably tamer. The restrictions of the pandemic made the dialogue-heavy episodes smaller in scope and extra intellectually advanced. Every centered on principal characters Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) in a Marriage Story-esque narrative that lastly received into the heart of the star couple’s tumultuous romance and innate incompatibilities via prolonged, intimate scenes. The specials have been cozier and sadder than something we would seen from the present or Levinson earlier than.

Two years into a worldwide disaster, “Euphoria” feels remarkably grown up in its broadening of conventional teen narratives for an viewers permeated by insecurity and concern in any respect ages. 

It is from these dueling phases of Euphoria that its triumphant second season emerges at first of 2022. The seven episodes supplied to critics (there will likely be eight in whole, launched week to week) are as stupefyingly daring as any of Season 1. However in Season 2, Euphoria’s flagrant disregard for mainstream acceptability is elevated by an earned confidence in Levinson’s writing and course, making the collection’ ballsy bluster really feel better justified. If earlier episodes left you questioning what the children of East Highland Excessive College have been being put via all this emotional, psychological, and even bodily hell “for,” these new installments defend and deepen the that means of that struggling expertly.

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Perhaps I am projecting. However two years into a worldwide disaster, Euphoria feels remarkably grown up in its broadening of conventional teen narratives for an viewers permeated by insecurity and concern in any respect ages. 

(*2*)

Dominic Fike as Elliot.
Credit score: HBO

Levinson achieves this development, no less than partly, by incorporating extra grownup characters, highlighting the downward spiral of Nate’s father Cal (Eric Dane), relentless optimism of Rue’s mom Leslie (Nika King), and quiet alcoholism of Lexi and Cassie’s mom Suze (Alanna Ubach). Because the dad and mom of Euphoria lose management of themselves — having misplaced any management of their kids throughout, or lengthy earlier than, the occasions of Season 1 — the sense that this whole group is hurtling into chaos grows stronger. This present has at all times been a couple of feeling of panicked helplessness, the form of intangible anxiousness you by no means actually age out of, and this season each character displays that tortured way of thinking at one level or one other. 

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The plot mirrors this emotional precariousness via an unpredictability that pairs huge suspense with hyper-articulate character work. As with actual youngsters, the time between revelation and response is lightning fast. On the finish of the breakneck premiere, a miscalculation from Nate (Jacob Elordi) and a meltdown from Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) kicks off a season-long saga with Maddy (Alexa Demie) that by no means lets up. Concurrently, Rue’s habit drives her additional into dysfunction and deception as she reassesses her relationship with Jules and befriends newcomer Elliot (Dominic Fike). (This culminates in the very best hour the collection has ever seen, by the best way.)

Within the periphery, Lexi (Maude Apatow) and Fezco (Angus Cloud) discover an unlikely connection, whilst Fezco’s unlawful enterprise together with his brother Ashtray (Javon Walton) grows extra harmful via a bunch of recent characters.

Sydney Sweeney as Cassie.

Sydney Sweeney as Cassie.
Credit score: HBO

Occasional knowledge is provided by Rue’s sponsor Ali (Colman Domingo) and the rich mom of a child Maddy babysits (Minka Kelly). However for essentially the most half, Euphoria makes its second outing stick by letting the motion fly and leaving the viewers to observe its cataclysmic penalties. The fallout is much less predictable than final season — nobody will get pregnant, for instance — nevertheless it’s nonetheless Levinson’s knowledgeable rendering of all-consuming emotion that makes these numerous storylines, relating a dozen totally different corners of life, work as a coherent entire. 

That does not make for an particularly stress-free Sunday evening present — although the nail-biting agony is eased by Levinson’s mixing of actuality and fantasy. The collection’ characteristically trippy sequences return this time round with a second classroom lecture from Rue, a Martin Scorsese homage with Fezco, a Lexi stage play episode, and extra. If it may be stated that Levinson ever loses his means, then it is in some — however not many — of those reality-bending moments. There are these which might be spectacular, however there are others that really feel superfluous, bordering on hammy. Kat (Barbie Ferreira) suffers particularly. Her provocative on-line intercourse work plotline from Season 1 morphs right into a snooze-worthy drama along with her boyfriend Ethan (Austin Abrams) that culminates in some fantasy sequences, together with a dated Recreation of Thrones reference, that made me cringe.

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Angus Cloud as Fezco.

Angus Cloud as Fezco.
Credit score: HBO

Nonetheless, Euphoria’s intoxicating mix of putting music, visuals, and supercharged feeling makes for a dream-like watch. From intimate betrayals to public humiliations, the agony of those latest episodes channel existential themes past the outrage of 1 era; and Levinson delivers them in sufficient fashion to make the discomfort of that broad, cynical thesis bearable. To not point out, Zendaya is at a career-best with a efficiency so dazzling they may as nicely engrave her trophies now.

Over the following eight weeks, you may anticipate a gentle trickle of obsession-worthy tv reaching new heights in its sophomore season. That stated, ready till it is out is perhaps sensible. Euphoria Season 2 is an electrifying journey you will not need to watch for.

Euphoria Season 2 premieres Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Max.

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