In the end, weeks of being characterized as Boring Girl representation for Euphoria allowed Maude Apatow’s Lexi to shine. It was by her own design: she designed it herself
She’s been working on a play based on her experience in season 2, and episode 7 was when it became a fully produced, very well-funded production. While Lexi was most concerned about how her sister would take it, the splash radius was actually rather larger owing to the fact that most major characters were the inspiration for her substantially fictionalized performance.
With “The Theater and Its Double,” Euphoria enters the long line of combining a play with another medium to try to figure out what the characters have been through.
The storytelling technique of the Plot-Driven Storyline is based on conventions that date back a long time—Hamlet, for example, employed the motif to elicit bad guys face their misdeeds. However, it’s given us some really fantastic TV moments (see: The Simpsons’ Hamlet recreation). Euphoria goes above and beyond in terms of convention breaking.
After all, the program is no stranger to mimic high art as much as it is to translate itself into incomprehensible options like as Kat ignoring her lover until he breaks up with her.
There’s a case to be made for high school being the setting for so many turbulent, nonlinear changes. A staged reenactment of events (on stage or otherwise) manages to capture both the narrative twist while also eliminating some of the awkwardness surrounding it, as opposed to a Twitter thread or an artist’s statement.
The Last Airbender’s “The Ember Island Players,” a virtual clipshow of the series reinterpreted by the authoritarian Fire Nation, finally clarified for the audience what happened to Jet at the end of season 2. “You know, it was really unclear,” Sokka remarks.
Finally, and most importantly, the play-within-another-thing is a mechanism for characters to revisit and process their feelings that doesn’t necessitate having them go through an inane psychotherapist who encourages them to split their psyche only to say, “that’s our time.”
“This is what happens when you put a child in front of the camera without warning,” he says. “It’s beautiful to see someone’s reaction overwhelm them in real time, whether it’s Abed’s father seeing his son’s film about the divorce in Community. In How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby is struggling to deal with his complicated feelings about getting married and becoming someone else’s romantic comedy.
It reveals something more profound about their relationship.
In Euphoria’s “The Theater and Its Double,” these silent moments are mostly wordless, at least to the audience. We don’t get to hear what Maddy and Kat are saying. People tend to work in isolation, but it’s interesting how they check in with one another — Rue takes most of the revealing tales Lexi tells about their friendship in stride, but she frequently scans the crowd for Jules or Nate’s response.
Euphoria has utilized this concept before, albeit with a limited perspective. After a full year of Rue’s droll narration chronicling the experiences of people around her, Jules’ unique episode gave her the opportunity to tell her own narrative. Her episode was a trip through her head, and her dreams and anxieties slipped in and out of each scene. Lexi received the same treatment this week, with writer-director Sam Levinson allowing Lexi’s attention to shift between her on-stage memories and their past relevance to her current problems.
In a way, Cassie is both of those things. She’s also, in many respects, Euphoria’s protagonist most swept up by the momentum of the story, unwilling or unable to accept culpability for hooking up with her friend’s ex-boyfriend.
Her attention is naturally with Nate during the performance, and how he’s dealing with this new viewpoint on his life. But while performing a staged father-daughter dance with her character, Cassie also looks to her mother, who does not appear to consider looking back. Instead, Cassie crumples up in tears and pushes the memory away on her own.
The sheer impracticality of trying to communicate with your sister by writing and staging a play only serves to sweeten the whole thing. Euphoria has long been plagued by irrelevant concerns about ” realism” and “The Theater” is deliberately devoid of them, as the production value of (a student-written!) play gives way to rotating sets and a massive. homoerotic musical number
As the crowd applauds for the number, Cassie seethes from the corridor, while Fezco’s fate is left hanging in the air by way of “To be continued…” The whole sequence is indulgent and dramatic, and it’s exactly what Euphoria should do more frequently.