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What Went Wrong For Jules In The Second Season Of Euphoria?

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Euphoria has returned to our screens after a year’s absence. Back in 2019, Sam Levinson’s critically acclaimed baby was praised for its technical excellence as well as its frank portrayal of high-school life portrayed from a variety of angles.

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Its unapologetic devotion to provocative attracted both praise and criticism, but whether you like it or not, you can’t say Euphoria pulls any punches. However, two episodes into the new season, something doesn’t feel quite right.

Season two retains its sucker punch nature, and the show’s exceptional aesthetic is elevated to new heights in both episodes; the trouble is, season two doesn’t appear to know what tale it wants to convey.

What Went Wrong For Jules In The Second Season Of Euphoria?

Euphoria appears to have lost its concentration. Each episode in season one felt tied to a significant character – Stuntin’ Like My Daddy had Nate, ’03 Bonnie and Clyde had Maddy – and we learned about their quirks, establishing their unique paths naturally linking them to the season’s larger narrative.

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In season two, we’re given the gift of a Fez-themed episode, only to be rushed through his life like a scrapbook to get to the party’s funfair-like frame. We jump around in place and time from there, never resting on a particular character’s path, emotions, or sensations.

This lack of focus is shown even more in episode two, when we check in with practically every single character on the show, even though most of them, except Fez and Lexi, as well as Cal and Nate, have seen little growth. Like Kat’s sabotage of her and Ethan’s bowling date to include Maddy and Jules, it’s as if Levinson is frightened to leave us alone with them.

Surprisingly, Levinson appears to be more concerned about shocking his audience. These events are frequently intricately linked to the development of the central plot and the audience’s comprehension of the characters in season one.

The montage of Nate’s father Cal’s sexual exploits not only informs us about Nate and his father’s troubled (to put it mildly) relationship but also sets the triangle of Nate, Maddy, and Jules in motion. Kat’s animated One Direction fan fiction segment reveals who she is and who she is trying to be on a personal level. These are startling but necessary moments.

What Went Wrong For Jules In The Second Season Of Euphoria?

Season 2’s moments don’t feel like more than a “gotcha!” moment of excess. Even by Euphoria’s standards, Fez’s beating of Nate is shocking, but it’s quickly resolved; Kat’s muscular Viking warrior murdering Ethan is one of many times this episode emphasizes their relationship problems, and Nate’s Cassie-as-mother fantasy is entirely unexpected (given Cassie’s entire pregnancy plot, shouldn’t she be the one with this fantasy?).

While it’s pleasant to see Nate receive the beating he so richly deserves, it doesn’t appear to have had any lasting effect, which is true of most of season two’s similar situations. Instead of the dramatic, instructive scenes we saw in season one, these felt like fan-scripted “what ifs.”

Euphoria relies on its flair to compensate for the lack of content. The photography and blocking in season two’s first episode are stunning, but it feels like an artistic ruse to hide a terrible narrative.

Jules and Rue’s reunion and reconciliation felt hasty, and the couple’s emotional complexity and unexpectedly personal exceptional images were all too easily glossed over. Similarly, despite the wealth of psychological pain observed in season one’s end, Nate and Cassie’s relationship feels forced, as if it arose from a lack of knowledge of how to continue Nate’s story.

Even Ethan and Kat’s relationship issues seem manufactured; Sam Levinson has thrown in conflict for the sake of drama because he hasn’t come up with a better plan. This hyper-stylized, hallucinogenic high-school drama’s intriguing backbone is authenticity, and it doesn’t feel authentic.

Half of Out of Touch feels like the penultimate episode narratively because of this lack of focus, not to mention the reliance on stylistic shock, due to the lack of a distinct overall plot spanning these separate adventures.

What Went Wrong For Jules In The Second Season Of Euphoria?

On the other hand, the second half is over-reliant on Euphoria’s dream-like visual to deflect from poor writing. Why does it feel like Sam Levinson spent all of that time contemplating how to create viral tweet-able events instead of thinking about how to cultivate these relationships?

Invite the performers to participate in the storytelling experience to refocus Euphoria’s emotional authenticity.

It worked wonderfully well for F**k Anyone Who Isn’t a Sea Blob, with Hunter Schafer’s co-writing credit, which included the significant influence of a poem she composed after graduating from high school, contributing to the film’s uniqueness. Everything is in service of portraying the emotional psychology of Hunter-as-actress and Jules-as-character while incorporating that hyper-stylization and a shock or two (as always).

“It was honestly the most cathartic artist experience I’ve ever had,” Schafer said (via NME), “there’s a raw honesty and sensitivity that individuals like Levinson could never communicate.” Simply inviting new perspectives is never a bad thing, especially for a program like Euphoria, which features a wide range of gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status perspectives.

We’re just two episodes in, so it’s certainly feasible that Euphoria will find its way back to the captivating focus that drew in viewers in the first place. Otherwise, this program risks losing the critical adulation it previously had, and HBO might quickly end up with a one-hit-wonder. We need that raw, intimate attention, or we’ll switch off if the hyper-stylish gloss isn’t enough to keep folks interested.


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