Review: ‘Euphoria’ season two reflects on raw human experiences

Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

By Clay Thompson | Reporter

(Warning: “Euphoria” is a show about teens dealing with realistic, but very traumatic issues. “Euphoria” depicts drug use, nudity, sexual activity, violence and mature language. Please be aware of your own tolerance level and health before deciding to watch this program; it is intended for mature audiences and states itself as such. Additionally, the show informs the audience of resources for viewers to use if they are dealing with similar issues.)

Having just finished the final episode of season two of “Euphoria” before writing this review, I have one word to start out with: wow.

When I first started watching this show, what drew me in was the character depth, the brutal depiction of real issues young adults face in today’s society and of course the stunning cinematography.

“Euphoria” season two is an excellent season overall, with even greater emotion, drama and realistic trauma, but a great second season did manage to continue with the first season’s shortcoming.

I think the main pitfall of the first season of “Euphoria” was its inability to fully flesh out and cover every character in its ensemble cast. In the first season, characters like Lexi and Fezco were pushed to the sidelines in lieu of Rue, Jules, Maddy, Kat and Cassie.

One thing I wanted to mention is that I am glad the show decided to let up on some of the more mature aspects which it started with. I understand the show is intended to realistically portray teenage issues, and some of those issues have to do with sex and drug use, but I am glad that what felt like a constant barrage of that in season one, season two took a different approach to, especially in the final four episodes. I really appreciated and felt like leaving those things out did not detract in any way from its overall quality.

While season two pushes these left-out characters more to the forefront, people like Maddy and Kat (especially Kat) were almost completely uncovered this time around.

It’s like the team behind “Euphoria” heard the fans wanting more character depth for Lexi and Fezco, but in doing so had to push others out to make room. I think perhaps one of the best changes that can be made for season three is to make this ensemble piece a true ensemble.

However, with that being said, “Euphoria” season two was great for three main reasons. First and foremost: the acting. Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Storm Reid and Maude Apatow get super special shoutouts for this season. Each moment of every episode, I was drawn in. The casts’ acting alone and their chemistry together is more apparent than ever this season.

Whether it was Rue’s self-destructive behavior, rage and misery in episode five, Cassie’s breakdown through most of the season or Lexi’s first bout of confidence in the final two episodes, every actor on the screen grabbed the audience and said, “We’re dealing with some real issues here right now.”

Season two did a mostly good job of continuing where season one left off, and I am so much happier with the end of this season than the last. Most of the characters, expect for Kat, had their storylines continued in what I saw to be natural ways.

While there were a few shockers, none of it felt totally out there to me, although maybe that speaks more about myself than the show. The storylines felt real and they were definitely emotional. If anyone didn’t cry at some point during the final four episodes then I don’t know what gripping drama is anymore.

Finally, I have to give props to the writing of the show. Most times, when watching other shows or movies, I felt like I knew where the dialogue was going when it was happening, and for the most part that’s fine by me.

However, for some reason, “Euphoria” continues to surprise me with how real the dialogue and conversations between the characters are, especially when it comes to discussing mental health and traumatic issues. Without giving too much away, I was constantly surprised by where most conversations lead in season two, in the best possible way.

“Euphoria” season two was a great successor to its first outing, taking away some of the shock value and replacing it with something better: raw emotion. I always say my favorite part of “Euphoria,” before season two was its special episodes in between the season. It wasn’t about those issues that the characters were dealing with at the moment, that audiences were forced to witness, but the characters explaining how they felt when those moments happened to them.

Those episodes really pulled back the curtain between the character and real human beings, but I felt like season two has done that and more. I personally cannot wait for the third season, and I hope that it will spell out much happier times for its cast of characters.