By Cynthia Andary
The HBO exclusive show, Euphoria, began its second season debut on January 9, 2022, more than two years after the first season’s finale. Euphoria aims to spread awareness about teenage struggles with identity, mental and physical abuse, trauma, and addiction. No fan could have imagined that the show could possibly get more intense after the first season, yet, the series creator, Sam Levione, continues to push the boundaries of what is acceptable on television in terms of nudity and violence. Zendaya (Rue) shows the audience how extremely difficult achieving soberness is, and how even more difficult it is to maintain sobriety when she relapses after Jules leaves her. Rue found herself yet again in a downward spiral until she reunites with Jules and confesses her still strong love for her. Best friend and former lover of Rue, Jules, contemplated the best way to approach Rue with help while still trying to make sure her own mental health stays stable in the process. Rue meets a new druggie best friend at the New Year’s Eve party, Elliot. They did drugs at the party and he ended up saving her life. However, He was more than bad for her. He encouraged her drug habits by doing them around her and with her. Eventually, Jules joined them and they became somewhat of a trio, with an odd relationship. Rue’s former drug dealer Fez starts off the new season with a flashback, where his grandmother is introduced as being the ultimate drug dealer. It is about the time she went to a strip club that he was at with his father and she shot his dad. This gives us the background of how because of his family he was roped into the life of violence and drug dealing. Speaking of toxic relationships, Maddy and Nate have broken up. After their breakup, Nate continues to prove himself the villain of the series after hooking up with Maddy’s best friend (Cassie) at a party, but still being jealous of Maddy’s new relationship with Tyler. Nate develops an obsession with trying to win her back. He wants to control her and in his sick mind, he convinces himself that she is his possession. The toxic relationship between Maddy and Nate conveys to the viewer how easily one can be manipulated by a so-called “lover.” Although Nate wants to be with Maddy, he keeps Cassie wrapped around his finger by lying and telling her he loved her. This was proven in episode four to be a lie at Maddy’s birthday celebration. Nate was invited and Cassie was hosting. She fell into a deep sadness when seeing her best friend and supposed lover get back together, so she drank past her limits. Cassie claims she and Nate are meant to be because they aren’t toxic. In episode three, a scene in the school bathroom with all the girls shows Cassie going off to Maddy that she and Nate were also together, which turned out to be not true because although she wanted to say all those things she didn’t. More specifically, Euphoria offers a life lesson to its young audience, how to recognize toxic behavior and the actions to take to escape it. Although the show isn’t traditionally appropriate for most, Euphoria has yet to see a drop in its viewer base, with the constant shock value and scary reality of abuse and addiction. Sam Levoine does a terrific job at creating an informational yet engaging plot, especially in the heavy environment that Euphoria sets itself in, both in and out of the show.