A film within a film or a film within a television show has been a concept in many films and tv shows. We’ve seen it in the Scream film series and tv show, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Boogie Nights, etc. The latest episode of Euphoria features this concept. It also shows that no matter what, the past repeats itself.
Before we go further, I would like to issue a trigger warning. I will be discussing some pretty harsh things and realities in this review. So, read further at your own risk.
The episode itself starts off with the story of a young Cal Jacobs (Elias Kacavas). We see how he and his friend Derek (Henry Eikenberry) went from childhood friends to lovers. Cal even as an adult is bisexual, and that aspect has been shown. He falls in love with Derek over a course of time while also dating Nate’s mother Marsha (Rebecca Louise). The two boys have life planned out and things are perfect… Until Cal gets a call from Marsha that she’s pregnant with Nate.
This episode of Euphoria as a whole was focused on Rue (Zendaya) and her addiction. She lays out the three steps of how addicts can manipulate the people they care about. She continues her wrath by manipulating her sister and later being complete trash to her sponsor, Ali (Colman Domingo). We see her try to manipulate Fez (Angus Cloud) as well, but an addict can’t fool a drug dealer. He loves Rue and doesn’t want her to mess herself up even more. So she goes to Laurie (Martha Kelly) and hatches her plan, and Laurie warns her that if she messes her over… She will be a victim of human trafficking. Because if there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s screw over a drug dealer.
The episode’s focus is Rue and her addiction, but like the other two episodes this season there is a lot of subplots. Our big subplot continues to be the Cassie/Nate/Maddy love triangle. Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) seems to be fine with being the other woman and lying to her best friend Maddy (Alexa Demie) about it. Nate (Jacob Elordi) is juggling the situation and playing with both women knowingly. While his parents Cal (Eric Dane) and Marsha (Paula Marshall) let him do so without intervening. Either way, it makes for an entertaining subplot.
Our other subplot is the Fezco/Ashtray (Javon Walton) V. Cal/Nate subplot. In the last episode, Cal went to the corner store Fez’s family owns and attempted to confront Fez. He again is outside of Fez’s home and Ashtray spots him and takes him inside the house. The boys interrogate him with Faye (Chloe Cherry) in the room, and while Ashtray is bashing Cal’s head in; Fez is just trying to figure out what’s going on. Cal explains that Nate told him he has the video of him and Jules (Hunter Schafer) having sex. Fez gets even more confused and eventually has Cal leave after a very hilarious exchange.
Seemingly, we are beginning to get a Jules/Rue/Elliot (Dominic Fike) love triangle. Jules doesn’t want Rue and Elliot to hang, so she interrogates him and tries to understand him. The trio eventually forms some sort of very strange bond. What started off to be a bond between Elliot and Rue, seems to be forming off to Jules and Elliot. With Rue kind of going through it, we don’t know how she will react to this.
Lexi (Maude Apatow) and Kat (Barbie Ferreira) are also included in their own subplots within the episode. Lexi, is planning on putting a school play for a script she wrote. We see Rue describe her as somebody that just observes, and never intervenes. Rue gives us a narration on her and gives us more insight to our tv show within a tv show. Kat goes to dinner with Ethan (Austin Abrams) and his parents. She realizes even more now how botched their relationship is that everybody is jealous of. Which seems to be a bit demoralizing, and while it was only a brief scene… I’m sure we will get more Ethan and Kat soon.
The concept of this episode is an old concept. Sam Levinson had to find a new way to use this concept in Euphoria and he did. He gave us sequences with Rue as the director and as Lexi. It was interesting to see how the approach was and how it was executed. Rue is always the narrator but to have her essentially break the fourth wall was cool to see. It was an added element from Levinson that not many of us expected.
The writing for this episode while holding the same amount of subplots as the last, seems to be more thought out. There is more of a flow to this and it isn’t as congested. Each character is allowed a moment in some way shape or form. The development is also there and we can see it as an audience. It’s really good to see this turnaround all things considered. It still could’ve been trimmed a bit, but it worked out for the better.
This was most definitely a fun ride in the Euphoria universe as we traveled to the past and present. The clothes and designs were really incredible to see in the flashback. The music fit the episode as well, and it just felt very early 90s. I’m sure we will revisit that flashback in present day. This was a refreshing way to look at a new concept though, and I hope you guys enjoyed the episode as much as I did. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Euphoria premieres on HBO/HBO Max on Sundays at 9pm/8c.