On Feb. 27, HBO’s popular hit, “Euphoria,” premiered its second season finale with its eighth and final episode. For two months, fans have been hooked by the thrilling plot twists and crazy storylines that follow an intense group of high school teenagers, all of whom carry varying personal and private issues with them. While the show portrays harsh concepts, it is done with the intent to inform viewers about drug abuse, sexual assault and more, rather than to glamorize the wrongdoings of such awful behaviors.
Spoiler alert: If you have not watched the finale of “Euphoria” yet, and plan on doing so in the future, you might want to pause this read for another time.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, for my season finale review I would like to start off by discussing the aspects of the episode that I really enjoyed since I have more questions than I do praise. Like every other fan posting on social media, I of course, enjoyed watching Maddy finally get her chance to fight Cassie; something that should’ve been done the second she found out about her and Nate’s secret relationship. Even further, I loved the attitude Maddy gave Cassie by saying “it’s just the beginning” after Cassie shared how he broke up with her. She’s totally insane for falling in love with someone she watched her friend fall victim to for years! But, in time, she will hopefully learn her lesson; because we all know Nate won’t be the one changing.
Additionally, I appreciated the closure I got between Nate and his father, Cal. While it had me tearing up because Cal’s background explained how he became the person he is, I agree that Nate calling the police on him to receive punishment for non-consensual voyeurism is the only solution he can really face. However, I can’t help but still feel sympathetic towards Cal because I know he was never able to live out the life he truly wanted to have and was never able to feel truly happy in his life besides his night at the bar with Derek. This, in total, means that writer and director, Sam Levison, did a wonderful job making viewers feel empathy for a horrible character; one of the greatest accomplishments for a screenwriter in my opinion.
Now, onto the “what’s up with this” part, because there are just so many. Don’t get me wrong. As a writer, I am a strong believer that cliffhangers are a necessity at the end of a television show since it leaves the audience in suspense, counting down the days to the next season. But, there were just so many missing pieces that were left out.
What happened with the whole Laurie situation? If she truly is this “grandeur drug dealer” and human trafficker, why hasn’t she sent someone to kidnap Rue as payback for all of the money she lost? Isn’t that what Laurie threatened Rue when she was entrusted with the $10,000 suitcase full of drugs. Maybe, Levinson is saving the answers for next season, but I feel like he should’ve added a two-minute scene foreshadowing what is to come, leaving viewers to come up with predictions. This type of discussion will undoubtedly enhance the series following.
This leads to the question: what happened to Kat’s storyline? She was such a big character in season one and now has gotten pushed to the side. In the finale especially, I don’t even think she had more than five lines.
Furthermore, I think not explaining what happened to Fezco is an amazing suspense tactic, but I just didn’t understand why Ashtray was so sadistic in this episode. There was no reason for him to stab Custer when Fezco told him he had it figured out. And on top of that, the shoot-out with the S.W.A.T. Team made even less sense. It wasn’t because he was trying to protect Fezco, since he shot him, and it wasn’t because he’d rather die than go to prison because he was in shock seconds before his death. So, I’m having trouble finding the purpose. Maybe you can say he was a confused and scared kid who acted on heightened emotions, but I feel like that isn’t good enough of a reason to lead to something as big as that. Especially when he has lived a life surrounded by crime starting from birth – it makes no sense!
Lastly, like pretty much everyone else I have talked to, Elliot’s song took up so much unnecessary screen time. I knew immediately that the inclusion of the tune was a marketing tease for actor Dominic Fike’s upcoming EP or single, but after it lasted longer than 30 seconds, I was so confused. And once it passed three minutes, I was just plain angry. In an episode that’s only an hour, especially a season finale, four minutes is a very very long time that takes away from the action and other more important plotlines. Plus, not only does he sing to Rue, whose girlfriend he slept with and is still not mentioned, but if someone sang me a song for that long and I had to stand there, I would probably cry out of awkwardness. And that’s exactly how the scene was portrayed. Zendaya honestly just looked uncomfortable and bored.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Dominic Fike’s voice and music, but I think it would’ve had the same effect (or maybe even better) if it was cut short so listeners could be curious about what the rest of the song sounds like outside of the show. With that, we would also get an extra scene or two of action that actually correlates to the plot.
Even with these points of criticism, I am still a huge “Euphoria” ride or die fan. I believe that the cast could not be better, the soundtrack is absolutely breathtaking and the plotlines are incredibly thought-provoking. I’m excited to see what season three will bring to the table, but hopefully, it comes out before 2024 as predicted, because I am dying to know what happened to Fezco!