Following an extended hiatus, HBO’s Euphoria has returned for its second season, which begins with a dramatic introduction to Fez’s grandmother, a violent and drug-dealing matriarch who saved Fez from his abusive father and raised him in the only manner she knew how.
As Grandma Fez enters the sleaziest of strip clubs, she walks past greasy customers ogling strippers until she reaches the owner of the establishment, Fez’s father, who is enjoying an act of fellatio, only to be rudely interrupted by two flesh-piercing bullets, the sequence appears to be intended to communicate that we are in for a season of sex, violence, and melodrama.
Grandma Fez takes off with little Fez and doesn’t waste any time in teaching him the ropes of the (drug) trade. She soon comes across a little sibling named Ashtray, whose mother had left him as collateral and never returned.
However, while Grandma Fez is far from a positive role model or a responsible caregiver (Ashtray is named for his penchant for tasting cigarette butts as a baby), she appears to care for the boys in her way, and the two brothers form a strong bond despite being in an environment of depravity and squalor.
The story continues in the present day, when Ashtray, motivated by brotherly love, murders Fez’s extremely abusive drug dealer and his acquaintance with a hammer in an act of brotherly love. To this end, Fez, Ash, and Rue pay a visit to the dealer who was above the dead dealer to come to a new agreement.
Funny enough, the drug dealer sequences in Euphoria are so over-the-top, much like the cutscenes in Grand Theft Auto, that they almost come off as a bit comical. After being ordered to strip nude by a roided-out, permanently enraged thug (to demonstrate that no one is wearing a wire), the gang must determine whether or not they can be trusted by the group’s boss, a former school teacher called Laurie.
Even after they make it safely back to their car, Rue appears to have enjoyed herself; she claims that the rush of adrenaline feels almost as good as getting high on the experience. A little box of heroin was also taken by Rue, however, she does not appear to be interested in injecting herself with it at this point in the story.
Once in the home party, Rue immediately sniffs out some cocaine, bonding with another intoxicant fanatic, Elliott, and suffers a little overdose, only to be calmed by Adderall, the chemicals in her body dissolving into a stable mix, in some mysterious way.
When Maddie, Kat, and Jules arrive at the party, Lexi informs them that she has not been able to locate her sister, Cassie and that she is beginning to be concerned. According to Cassie’s confession, she has already arrived at the party and is engaged in an intense sexual encounter in the restroom after being spotted at a gas station by hulking psychopath Nate, who volunteered to take her there.
Even the brief, simple scene inside Nate’s car feels tenser than all of the drug-dealing scenes put together, as Nate gulps down an excessive amount of beer and steadily increases his speed, to the point of being potentially life-threatening, while Cassie alternates between feeling deeply unsafe and feeling turned on.
The two are stopped in the middle of coitus when Maddie bangs on the bathroom door, needing to urinate. This causes fear in Cassie, who doesn’t want to be seen having sex with Maddie’s abusive ex-boyfriend, especially because she is Maddie’s best friend.
During this scene, Maddie’s knocks get more and more frantic, and she “accuses” Nate of taking a dump, as if human bodily functions should stop during house parties.
Scene: Maddie is the killer at the door, and if she breaks in and finds out about the juicy betrayal, blood will be spilled.
When Nate is desperate, he tells Cassie to lie down in the bath and closes the shower curtain, which allows Maddie to come into the bathroom without being seen. Cassie gets a urine-soaked towel in the face from Maddie, who threw it carelessly and is forced to stay in the bathtub while Travis flirts with Maddie. Travis is a smooth, confident partygoer with a strong joint.
Cassie is found by Travis after her phone vibrates with calls from her worried sister. Maddie doesn’t even bother to look; her only goal is to dance with Travis and make Nate jealous, and she doesn’t give a damn about a drunk girl in the bathtub.
She did well. Nate is enraged, filled with insecurity, and desperate to get his hands on both Maddie and Cassie, who are now overflowing with alcohol and testosterone.
In the middle of the night, Nate is very worried about McKay and wants to know what he did while alone with Cassie in the bedroom.
Nate is a great villain because he hides a rage that only comes out from time to time. This scene is very uncomfortable because he looks like he’s about to get violent with every breath he takes.
Fez and Lexi have been getting to know each other in a way they didn’t expect. They see each other as outsiders in this party full of glitzy attention seekers. Lexi even takes Fez’s number, but soon, something more important takes his attention.
There were a lot of problems for Fez last season when Nate called the police without telling anyone. That opening scene with Grandma Fez shows that Fez isn’t as soft as he appears to be. When Nate lets his guard down, Fez beats him to death, even though he says he wants to make peace.
When Fez is beating Nate, Lexi is disgusted. Rue has reunited with Jules and says that she relapsed the moment Jules left her. People don’t know for sure if the two are in love or if they’re having a drug-induced hallucination.
If Nate isn’t dead by the next episode, we’ll find out what happened at this house party. He’s too powerful an antagonist to kill off.
You can say that Euphoria’s first season was full of color and sex and violence, but the second season is just as good. It’s nice to have it back.