Existential Binge-Watching: ‘Euphoria’ is back and more brutal than ever

As crazy as it sounds, it’s been almost two and a half years since Euphoria first successful screens in June of 2019. Thanks to some global pandemic that brought the entire world and the entertainment industry to a halt, fans only had a few special episodes to hold them over until the next full season. And while those promotions were incredibly well done on their own, the season two premiere of Euphoria was a very welcome sight after such a long hiatus.

It was only fair to wonder which direction the series might go in its sophomore debut. It’s always hard for a show to come back for its second season, let alone one like Euphoria which so intensely captured the attention of viewers around the world. Not to mention, after the success of the specials that premiered during the quarantine, the series could easily have chosen to take a step back from its visceral approach to storytelling.

It’s safe to say that wasn’t the choice made. In the best possible way, though.

The first episode of season two, quite simply, delivered in every way. And for those who think the first season was tough, this one looks set to be even tougher and more brutal than its predecessor. So much so that Zendaya even released a sweet and kind Warning that this series is not an easy watch for everyone.

Euphoria is meant to be gritty, highlighting a huge amount of dark facets of life and the struggles that can come with growing up and coping. As for the first season, no, this is not meant to be your ordinary everyday high school. There aren’t many high school kids in real life who look or act like the ones in Euphoria and go through everything they do. But the series takes all of these topics, all of these prevailing issues, and locks them into one place and one story in order to illuminate and explore them in greater depth.

There’s an episode now, this second season doesn’t necessarily feel bigger than the first, but it does feel much more tense. Every scene – and especially the ones like the part in the car with Nate and Cassie – is filled with this almost suffocating intensity. Euphoria has established this feeling before, but now it’s to the point of being almost hard to watch. The premiere clings to you and doesn’t let go until the credits roll, which will be interesting to see if that holds up for the rest of this new season.

These emotional extremes are wonderfully successful because it seems that everyone involved in Euphoria rightfully flexes its cinematic muscles. The cinematography looks better than ever, with every frame bordering on art that could be framed in a museum. The lighting is impeccable and truly unlike anything seen in any other series or film. And it’s all really tied to the return of Labrinth soundtrack which is featured in most series.

And all this without mentioning the production, the writing, the actors involved. It’s impossible to really single out any of them from the season two premiere, but some attention needs to be given to Angus Cloud for his portrayal of Fez, who seems to be in more of the spotlight this season. But literally everyone does a ridiculously fantastic job.

As mentioned with Zendaya’s warning, Euphoria is not an easy or even healthy show for some to watch. But for those who can: watch it. Season two is already beating the ratings recordings and production is finally leaning more towards normalcy again than quarantine restrictions, so the show is more comfortable and confident in what it’s doing than ever. And if the premiere – and that explosive ending – is anything to go by for the rest of season two, there won’t be a single image that doesn’t have its eyes glued to the screen.

Episodes air every Sunday, so while it’s not a light or laid back way to start the week, it’s a vital and important series that needs to be heard and experienced as it continues to cement itself in the history of television.

Jackson Horvat is a senior journalism student at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The post office. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting it at @horvatjackson.

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