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Euphoria season 2 review: No amount of glitter can steer Zendaya’s Rue Bennett away from self-destructive patterns

Rue Bennett’s self-sabotage knows no bounds (Picture: HBO)

**Caution: Spoilers ahead for season 2 of Euphoria**

‘I don’t think anyone understands, drugs are the only way I can be myself,’ is a tale as old as time for our Rue Bennett. Euphoria’s season one finale saw the troubled teen relapse after three months of sobriety, but now, the real question is, will this beloved character that we’re all rooting for find peace, or is dancing with the devil her true kryptonite.

We can’t answer that just yet, but East Highland’s group of colourful yet slightly disturbed students indulge in more debauchery than ever before. So expect hook-ups, heartache, and a whole lot of glitter.

The second chapter of HBO’s boundary-pushing drama immediately picks up from the events in the Christmas special. We must warn you the opening sequence has a real Quentin Tarantino-esque vibe to it, which will have you questioning if it’s Euphoria you’re actually watching, but nevertheless, it doesn’t take long before violent showdowns turn into vibrant shindigs.

We’ve got to start with our leading lady, (Zendaya) who finds herself wrapped up in Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) shady business once again. This time Rue is enjoying every second but don’t be fooled; it doesn’t take an expert to see that Rue is seriously unhappy, and all the bad jokes and smiles are just a fake front that juxtaposes everything she’s feeling within, a big fat empty amount of nothing.

Despite Rue’s faults, fans have always appreciated her unique storytelling. In the previous season, her brutal honesty and witty persona peeled back the traumatic layers of her peers: Jules Vaughn, (Hunter Schafer) Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), and Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney).

What’s next for Rue and Jules? (Picture: HBO)
Meet Elliot, a new member of the squad (Picture: HBO)

And this time round, we thank director Sam Levinson for adhering to the structure which allows viewers to understand the inner psyche of Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane), Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow), Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira), and Ali (Colman Domingo).

Let’s take it back a little further, in the final two minutes of season one episode eight (to be precise), Rue and BFF/girlfriend Jules made the impulsive decision to run away and start a new life together in the big city. However Rue wasn’t ready to leave her little sister Gia and her mother Leslie behind without an explanation, so Jules travelled solo, which triggered a devastated Rue to start using again.

Fast forward a week later and cue in new boy Elliot (Dominic Fike) who forms a close bond with Rue due to their shared interest. Their friendship starts off as innocent, but his intentions are later questioned after the fictional characters suspect he’s after something more with Rue.

But what would this mean for Rue and Jules? Let’s be honest, with everything the show has presented us with so far, a love triangle would be the least dramatic thing to occur.

A new season means new drama (Picture: HBO)

Now, if you thought the highly-anticipated eight-parter wouldn’t hold a flame to season one’s momentum, then think again. Zendaya’s performance is just as sublime and captivating as it was in the first. The 25-year-old triple threat’s ability to tell a story and have viewers hang on her every word is simply effortless.

Meanwhile, Elordi brings the heat in ways we didn’t expect. His character goes through the most physically and mentally, after finding out that his father and hero Cal, is actually a sexual predator who engages in frequent hook-ups with young men and trans-women – which strays away from the conventional proud family man image he’s worked so hard to obtain.

The shocking revelation resulted in Nate questioning his own sexuality, and unfortunately, his repressed feelings lead to more devastation.

Elsewhere the phrase ‘love is blind’ fits Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) to a tee this season. For those who were left exhausted after watching the downward spiral of Maddy and Nate’s nauseating love affair the first time, you might want to prepare yourself because… Maddy’s best friend Cassie is now involved in their madness. Oh boy!

While viewers are desperate for Rue to fix up and walk away from the tumultuous lifestyle, each episode shows her taking one step forward and two gigantic leaps back, and it all comes to a dramatic head in episode five.

Rue’s latest drug dealing venture will leave you intrigued and frustrated at the same time, which we must admit is a genius move on Levinson’s part.

To put it simply, there is so much going on with every single character that it’s very hard to keep up, but it’s all still entertaining nonetheless.

Verdict on Euphoria season 2

We were a little apprehensive over the direction it would take, but alas Levinson has done it again. This is a creator who drew inspiration from his personal battle with drug addiction and funneled his early experiences onto the small screen.

The way Levinson and cinematographer Marcell Rév utilise saturated colours to exaggerate the mystery and the melodrama can be lost in translation at times, but overall it’s pretty remarkable.

Euphoria is the perfect show to usher in 2022 – the heightened emotions, the never-ending drama, and Labrinth’s beautifully constructed soundtrack present a level of teenage angst we’re not used to, but at its core, it reemphasises the light at the end of a tunnel.

We don’t know what the future holds for Miss Bennett but we hope a potential third season will grant her the peace she desperately craves.

Episode one of Euphoria airs on January 10 at 9pm on NOW TV and Sky Atlantic with new episodes premiering every Monday.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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