Euphoria‘s second episode opened with an extensive hallucination as Nate Jacobs found himself in and out of the emergency room after the New Year’s Eve party; the party ended with Fez hitting Nate’s head just to usher in the new year.
Fans analyzed the hallucination – which saw Nate fertilize Cassie and then watch a pool next to the pool Cal Jacobs, his father, continue to baptize her erotically. And so Redditors now apply every Freud theory they know to unpack the sexual symbolism of perhaps the strangest fantasy (Dothraki bedroom sex aside) to date.
Here’s a quick summary of the fantasy, which, by the way, we’re still not convinced is Nate’s fantasy; Rue tells the whole saga, which means we probably only have access to things that Rue testifies to or hears about. (We’m not sure who Nate revealed the fantasy to, but we’ll definitely keep that shit to ourselves.)
As Nate lies in the emergency room, Cal sitting next to him, we see a very pregnant Cassie leaning against Nate and reading What to expect when you expect. Rue tells us Nate is convinced that he will be a better father than his father, that he will not “fuck his child like his father fucked him – and like his grandfather fucked his father.”
In the fantasy, Nate and Cassie tan on lawn chairs with Cal doing shirtless yoga by the pool. We then see Cal perform oral sex on an unidentifiable man before overcoming him and inviting Cassie to take a dip in the pool. He performs this strange baptism with Nate watching. Nate then imagines Cal dying of a heart attack, a fantasy shattered by images of Maddy finding Cal’s sex bond with Jules. He then wakes up violently in the hospital bed while scenes of Cassie giving birth, Nate looking at his father’s tires and masturbating, and Jules, Maddy and Cassie having sex with Nate – all of this – flash in quick succession. Then Fez hits his face, and Nate wakes up.
Cast title credits.
What does Nate’s fantasy mean?
The father figure as an obstacle to sexual gratification is Freud 101, and it is clear that Rue or author Sam Levinson, or author Sam Levinson by Rue, has Freud in mind. But Freud is boring. Reddit knows better.
An Editor took a simpler reading: because Nate had been exposed to Cal’s sex tapes since a young age, and probably used those tapes for self-satisfaction, he could not experience “normal” sexual fantasies without his father somehow interfering not. At one point, we even see Cassie on the sex tape, as if Nate’s fantasies always have to be tied up so he can finish – which is kind of what the final awakening in the hospital suggests: climax.
(That climax is also caused by his future son’s birth and the prospect of his father’s death, implying that the ultimate climax for Nate breaks the paternal legacy of abuse.)
Other Redditors saw Cal’s “non-heterosexuality” as the ultimate threat, as it reminds Nate that he is not strictly heterosexual either. We learned in season 1 that one of the reasons Nate loves Maddy is that she’s extremely feminine. The same can be said of Cassie and why she “brings out the best” in Nate. Both Maddy and Cassie allow Nate to practice strict heterosexuality and therefore feel traditionally masculine. Meanwhile, we occasionally see Jules in the fantasy, a reminder that Nate is still attracted to her. Some Redditors suggest Nate focus on Cassie as a guarantor for Jules.
No matter how you read the fantasy, it seems like Cal is the ultimate obstacle to Nate’s perfect vision of his future.
And we know how Freud suggested that this frustration play out.
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