The following contains spoilers for Euphoria season 2 episode 2.
Euphoria‘s second episode begins where episode one ended: at the New Year’s Eve house party where Fez tries to carry out his threat against Nate, namely by killing him. He does not. Nate is carried by several people to a car while Rue’s narration begins.
Elken Euphoria episode tends to favor a single character with Rue acting as a third-party narrator. Episode 1 had Fez, whose adolescence tells Rue from criminal witnesses to criminals. Episode 2, though starting with Nate, will make several character jumps and gain access to various people’s thoughts and activities. In other words: it was a wild episode.
How Rue can make these moves has always been suspect. Several times in this episode, she reminds us that she was not there — or sober — to know exactly what happened. She tells us anyway. At this point, nothing Rue says should be taken without a pinch of powder. Her unreliability has been proven several times already, as we often see things that do not really happen, or tell her about them. (Her and Jules’ matching tattoos, for example.)
This unreliability allows the series to turn up full bombast. Maybe these events are happening. Maybe they are stylistic hyperbole. Perhaps the whole program is a lie that Rue tells to a group of addicts in an AA meeting. Who knows.
However, what’s important for episode 2 are things we learn about Nate’s condition after assault: he now inexplicably loves Cassie.
The rest of the episode goes from there.
Here’s what happened in episode 2.
After the Party
According to Rue, Nate starts falling for Cassie while he is being transported to the hospital. He imagines a life with her, including that she is giving birth to his child. He also imagines his father dying, freeing him from most of his current misery – including the fact that Maddy still has a recording of Daddy Jacobs joining Jules, an object that apparently became Nate’s grail search.
Next time we return to school where Rue and Jules are standing in the hallway, Rue tells and explains that she finally has everything she has always wished for. Then Elliot shows up, Rue gets weird (she hung out with Elliot and used drugs, even though Jules thinks she’s sober), and Jules goes away upset.
Meanwhile, Cassie becomes more and more uncomfortable around Maddy, her best friend. (Remember, she joined Nate at the NYE party.) Cassie decides she wants to be single, even though she’s never been really single, and, like, does not want to be single at all. Maddy later tells Cassie that Nate sent an SMS. Cassie is jealous. Cassie does not want to be single.
Maddy tells her this while she’s babysitting from a house somewhere in the California hills. It seems that Maddy is trusted around children — even super-rich children. We teach her babysitting mostly so she can try on all the mom’s clothes in their walk-in closet. When the parents return, Maddy is almost caught. Instead, the mom asks Maddy to help her zip off her dress and the camera lingers just a little too long, making us think that maybe some weird things are going to happen between Maddy and this mom.
Back to School
The girls are in the bathroom where Kat is asked about her sex life with Ethan. Through Rue we learn that Kat thinks Ethan is sweet, but there is something that upsets her. We see a relaxation of Kat and Ethan making out. Ethan leaves to go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, Ethan is put on the pole by a Dothraki fighter who then enters the bedroom to “conquer” Kat. They have sex. Kat tells the girls in the bathroom it was Ethan who did the winning. It was clearly not.
Pause. A few things here. Clearly, this is Kat’s fantasy – and one that symbolically replaces rough Game of Thrones sex (really, rape) with what is likely to be an impotence problem in her relationship with Ethan. Euphoria is committed to showing male genitals on screen, perhaps as a critique of its own medium – a premium cable TV company that has been showing female genitals for free for decades. The fantasy is a dig up Game of Thrones, who has been criticized for his dramatized sex. Here in Kat’s bedroom, however, it’s the man under our gaze, not Kat. Well, critical theory discussion over.
Meanwhile, Cassie is startled because she thinks Maddy will find out about her and Nate — and kill her. Jules loves Elliot. And then Cassie and Lexi get scared because Daddy Jacobs is in their living room and asks them who hit Nate. Cassie tells him. Lexi is dirty.
We learn here that Lexi is struggling to do what she knows is right. We see her threatening Rue to tell her mother about her drug use — a bluff that Rue calls. Later we see Lexi being woken up by her mother telling her that Rue has taken an overdose (probably the season 1 final). Lexi blames herself. This time, to warn Fez, Lexi decides to see him in his convenience store. Outside, we see Daddy Jacobs grabbing a gun.
Somewhere that night
Meanwhile, Nate drives around with Cassie and tries to break up with her, but is typically predatory about it. He takes her to a construction site where they hook up (after chasing her, like a gentleman). Maddy calls both Nate and Cassie, but the calls are not answered. She looks suspicious.
During all this, Elliot and Rue smoke up. Elliot asks Rue if he brings up the worst in her, a question that Jules’ father simultaneously asks Jules about Rue. (They are supposed to hang out. Instead, she is with Elliot.) Later, Elliot’s mother asks about Rue, and insinuates that Elliot does not have girls left often.
Rue then goes to an AA meeting where she meets Ali who notices that Rue is still on her suicide mission.
During it all, Kat has another crisis over Ethan. She realizes it’s probably her fault that she did not love him. (We see her sitting in her room arguing with several hallucinatory models who tell her to just love herself – a clear critique of self-love messages. The problem is that Kat can not love herself. She’s fucking depressed .) Instead of seeing Ethan alone, she invites him to bowl with Maddy and Jules. Maddy later tells Jules she wants to be with Nate again, even though he’s terrible for her.
Back to the Convenient Store
Lexi stops to see Fez, but before she can talk to him, Daddy Jacobs shows up. He gives Fez a dramatic warning and then leaves. He never draws his gun.
Ali later drives home to Rue and introduces himself to her mother. Rue is nervous Ali will tell her mother that she has started using again. Ali does not.
In the last scene, Daddy Jacobs confronts Nate who reveals he knows everything about the Jules sex tape. When Daddy Jacobs asks if Nate has it, he just stares into the program credits.
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