Parents can be flawed in many ways, but one thing they usually are is loving. No matter how many flaws a child may have, they love that child until the end of time. There are exceptions. Sometimes, no matter how perfect a child, they despise them. The latest episode of Euphoria gives us the latter. Maternal figures are found dealing with their children with all of their flaws, as well as nurturing and loving them. We also witness a mother and son bond after a father abandons them. There may be blood on the trees, but there’s also love to be shared.
In last week’s Euphoria, Rue (Zendaya) went on a path of destruction, subsequently ruining friendships and making things hard for friends that still love her. She outed Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) and Nate’s (Jacob Elordi) “situationship” in front of Maddy (Alexa Demie), gave Fez (Angus Cloud) hell, and completely destroyed her house. Oh, and she basically told Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Elliot (Dominic Fike) they could both go to hell. Then, she managed to almost get herself kidnapped and trafficked by Laurie (Martha Kelly). Eventually, Rue made it back home to Leslie (Nika King) and Gia (Storm Reid).
This week’s Euphoria is the fallout from that previous catastrophe as well as some other subplots that have been weaving throughout the season. No, we did not get a fight between Maddy and Cassie (unfortunately). Let’s start with Rue, as we see her struggling to open a Jolly Rancher wrapper. She’s going through withdrawals from not having any dope in her system. Besides being scared out of her mind about what Laurie may do to her or Fez, she’s going through it. We see her crying, having to be bathed by her mother. She even calls Ali (Colman Domingo) and apologizes. He comes over for dinner, and cooks for Rue and her family.
Cassie and Maddy’s situation is by no means resolved. Maddy explains to Kat that she’s hurt and heartbroken by both Nate and Cassie. All the times Maddy had been consoled by Cassie when she was hurt by Nate, and then Cassie does this. Maddy also opens up to Samantha (Minka Kelly), the lady she babysits for. Samantha tells her the story of how she messed around with her best friends boyfriend as well. It may or may not have opened up Maddy’s eyes a little bit. Especially considering Maddy was talking about murdering Cassie in cold blood. Nate, who is slightly afraid of things to come, takes matters into his own hands.
Nate speaks with his mother Marsha (Paula Marshall) about his father. She seems relieved about Cal (Eric Dane) leaving, and so does Nate. Nate’s older brother, however, is upset his father has left. Nate and his mother discuss his relations with both Maddy and Cassie as well as discuss the dynamic of the situation. His mother tells him not to deal with anyone he went to school with, but also tells him that she prefers Cassie to Maddy. Nate decides to make a hasty decision.
In the first season of Euphoria, Cal and Jules had sex, and Cal recorded it. Somehow, Maddy ended up with the recording. Last night’s episode, Nate goes over to Maddy’s house and threatens her with a gun. He wants the tape, and leaves as soon as he gets it. Maddy is left crying in bed and alone. She’s been betrayed and threatened by somebody she loves. It’s very apparent that Nate is looking out for himself and doesn’t care who he hurts, but so is Maddy. Nate gives the video to Jules, and then picks up Cassie, as he has chosen who he wants.
When Maddy is at Samantha’s home, she always tries on Samantha’s clothes and jewelry. When she texts Maddy to tell her she’ll be home in 15 minutes, the camera pans to Samantha’s alarm clock. The clock has a camera on it, that nobody ever noticed until now. So it seems Samantha knows Maddy tries on her clothes, and she doesn’t seem to mind it. She even offered Maddy wine and ended up having a deep conversation together. It’s an odd relationship, but a good one (kind of).
There’s a lot going on in the world of Euphoria. Fez and Lexie (Maude Apatow) spend some time together watching Stand By Me. Meanwhile, Custer (Tyler Chase) is working with police to pinch Fez. He meets Faye (Chloe Cherry) outside and explains to her what exactly he’s doing. Ashtray is a little suspicious, considering Faye runs straight to the shower when she comes inside. Kat also breaks up with Ethan (Austin Abrams). Lexie is still trying to put her play together, but her sister going crazy because of Nate is a bit of a huge distraction. She even comes to realize the reason why Cassie told on Fez. Their relationship is growing complicated.
Leslie loves Rue, and she shows it. Even at the end, she’s pleading on the phone with the hospital to get her help. The scene is devastating as it pans to where Gia and Rue can hear their mother crying. Suze, who is trying to watch her TV show, loves Cassie but is annoyed with her daughter’s decision making. She knows Cassie made a really stupid decision, but she can’t control her. Cassie argues with her about Rue after she says that Rue is a good person. The argument, while funny, is also a tad bit pathetic, all things considered.
Sam Levinson continues to show his deep love for Euphoria. He gives us another great addition to his story with this episode. He’s cleaned up his messiness with the help of editing. Labrinth delivers a great score yet again. Levinson has so many characters to juggle that it sometimes feels like the episodes aren’t long enough. At its core, the show is about Rue, but the other characters deserve a spotlight too. Levinson mastered that in the first season. While he hedged it a bit this season, he’s back to making sure that spotlight happens. It’s great to see these characters grow and develop, as well as get the proper care from their writer.
This episode of Euphoria was fantastic. Considering the last two gave us some all-time great Zendaya, Sweeney, and Dane performances, this one definitely held its own. I can appreciate each episode in its own right, and this one is no different. The audience is being treated to good television, and it’s great to see. We are two episodes away from what is sure to be a grand finale. I trust Levinson to give us exactly what we want or need. Possibly even both. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Rating – 8.5/10
New episodes of Euphoria premiere Sundays on HBO Max at 8pm/9c