Last week, Euphoria season two kicked off with a wallop – or should we say several wallops, thanks to Fezco (Angus Cloud) ringing in the New Year by beating Nate senseless. His bloodied, half-conscious face is the first thing we see in episode two, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) and Maddy (Alexa Demie) looking over him as a reminder of the other big drama from last week’s instalment.
Fortunately, Fez doesn’t inflict much lasting damage on Nate (Jacob Elordi). After some time in hospital spent fantasising about starting a family with Cassie and – more bleakly – his dad dying of a heart attack, he’s released to wreak more havoc on the interpersonal relationships of his classmates at East Highland High School. Perhaps to his credit, even after having his head used as Fez’s personal punching bag, he doesn’t rat the drug dealer out, shutting down his dad Cal’s questions about his attacker on the ride home from the hospital.
Cal, though, is unsatisfied with his son’s refusal to give him a name and decides to take another route. He sharply pinpoints Cassie as a weak link in the student body, who it’s implied have all claimed not to know anything about the assault, and pays a visit to the Howard house. When she returns home from school, her mum and her sister Lexi are sat at the table with her new fling’s father waiting for the interrogation to begin. She repeats the lie about not knowing who beat up Nate, but Cal forces her hand, threatening to get the chief of police involved and have him subpoena everyone’s phones and text histories.
Should that happen, Cassie and Nate could be in big trouble – not over the assault, but their joint betrayal of Maddy, Cassie’s best friend and Nate’s ex-girlfriend. After New Year’s Eve, Cassie decided hooking up with Nate in the bathroom at the party had been a mistake and texted him to tell him as much, but did little to cloak what she was talking about in the message. Seconds later, she received a phone call, with him warning her: “Don’t ever put that in writing again.” Back at the dining room with Cal, that caution ringing in her ears, Cassie cracks and snitches on Fez.
Meanwhile, another New Year’s rendezvous is threatening another of East Highland’s relationships, the reunited Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer). All seems well until Elliot (Dominic Fike), with whom Rue spent much of the party doing dangerous amounts of drugs, appears in the corridor, distracting Rue when Jules tells her she loves her. Instead of buzzing with romance, she’s thinking: “If this asshole says anything about doing drugs I will literally slit his throat in the quad.” She doesn’t have to worry about that, but she should be doing more to check her own behaviour, making Jules and Elliot’s introduction incredibly weird and awkward. Jules walks away from it thinking Rue has a crush on him and goes to cry in the girls’ bathroom.
Later, Elliot sees the pair fighting and asks Rue if he got her in trouble. “I feel like we should do drugs,” he suggests as a solution and the new friends head off to his house – where they’ve been holed up a lot since NYE – to smoke weed and rack up lines. Between imbibing, Rue tells him drugs are the only way she can be herself, which leads into a conversation about love and loss, the death of her father, and keeping her addictions hidden from her girlfriend. Elliot suggests he and Rue might not bring out the best in each other and, as we watch Rue cycle off to her NA meeting incredibly high, he might have a point.
On her way, Rue sees Cassie running to Nate’s car and kissing him when she gets in the passenger seat. Once she’s at the location of her NA meeting, she lazily takes a stairlift up the stairs and finds her sponsor Ali is waiting for her at the top. He immediately spots that she’s high and tells her she’s on a “suicide mission”. Once the meeting is done, he gives her a ride home and walks her to her door so he can introduce himself to her mum. Rue is nervous he’ll tell her she’s still using, but when asked if she’s doing well, he just says she has “a long way to go”.
Elsewhere, Kat (Barbie Ferreira) is struggling with her relationship with Ethan (Austin Abrams), which – as Maddy later puts it – has “no darkness, it’s just sweet”. Kat feels bad for not being happy with him and, when he’s in the bathroom, fantasises about a shirtless warrior murdering him before seducing her. Later, imaginary demons appear again in the form of beautiful women spouting trite self-help cliches about needing to love herself and find her inner warrior.
Lexi (Maude Apatow) is struggling with how Fez flipped from being so nice to her at the party to, 10 minutes later, almost killing Nate. She decides to confront him, but when she gets to his store is shaken by the presence of Faye (Chloe Cherry), who is staying at the house for a while. During Lexi’s visit, Cal turns up and begins asking Fez questions. Just when it seems like he’s going to pull a gun on the dealer, he instead calmly pays for his gum and crisps, responds to Faye’s question about his identity by saying he’s “just a concerned father” and drives off.
Nate drives Cassie out to an isolated part of town by a construction site and tries to break up with her, but when she runs off into the half-finished building, he follows her and they hook up again. Back at home, he finds his dad waiting for him, wondering why “some punk drug dealer” beat him up. Nate tells Cal that Jules had told Rue, who had, in turn, told Fez, about their sexual encounter and that he’d been trying to stick up for his dad when they threatened to go to the police. Cal tries to apologise, but Nate rejects it and reveals he knows he filmed Jules. Panicked, Cal asks him where the disc is, but Nate just stares back silently, foreshadowing more drama to come over Cal’s big secret.
On the soundtrack
- An unidentified cover of Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan’s ‘Live Or Die’ plays as Nate is in the hospital, building his dream life with Cassie in his head.
- The chaotic hyperpop of ‘Haunted’ by Laura Les evokes the fire burning in Lexi as she decides to not sink into the shadows but confront Fezco.
- The loose meandering groove of Can’s ‘She Brings The Rain’ soundtracks Rue’s cycle while under the influence.
‘Euphoria’ airs every Monday on Sky Atlantic at 2am in the UK – it is repeated at 9pm. Stream it via NOW