Depression, Love Island & Cassie’s Woes
As we reach the business end of HBO’s teen drama, Euphoria begins with a look at Cassie’s childhood. Her potential rise to ice-skating fame fizzles out thanks to financial issues with her Father before we see Cass grow into a teenager. Here, we see her good looks change everyone’s perceptions of her. Family relations begin to break down and her Father falls off the wagon. This catches us up with present day Cassie who takes a pregnancy test and stares into space, shocked. She’s pregnant.
Tyler Clarkson is imprisoned for what happened to Maddy while Rue goes on a mission to find out exactly what happened, sensing there’s more to the tale than meets the eye. Rue pieces together the clues and begins making some calls in a nice throwback to old detective thrillers. She smokes a cigarette and surrounds herself in pictures, figuring out about Jules and ironically finding herself riding a natural high because of it.
Cassie tells the other girls that she’s going to confess everything that happened with Daniel to McKay. Maddy tells her not to while Kat chimes in by grilling Maddy about Nate. She curses Kat and laments her new attitude, prompting her to leave, crying. Cassie asks Lex what she would do and her sister advises her not to say anything.
Rue has trouble adjusting to her Mum’s new boyfriend and after a pretty awkward conversation between the two, Jules and Rue’s relationship continues to sour while Rue watches an obscene amount of Love Island. After visiting Fezco, she has hallucinations around the drugs laid out on the side asking her to eat them. She manages to resist temptation though but instead, falls into a suffocating, endless loop of depression.
Meanwhile, Jules gets on a bus and heads off to see old friends. Singing in a car, she hangs out the sunroof completely carefree. As the camera swings smoothly around, Jules meets another friend and they put on make-up together while discussing their lives. High as a kite, Jules debates whether to text Rue before kissing a girl in the club, all the while cutting back to Rue who continues to have issues with her kidneys. Nate arrives soon after and apologises to Jules for everything. However, as the two begin kissing it’s here where we realize Jules is simply hallucinating and it’s actually the same girl as before. As she comes down from her high, she looks on with regret.
Cass does eventually tell McKay she’s pregnant and the two discuss the ramifications of this on their future while Kat has an uneasy webcam conversation with someone using a black screen and a voice distorter.
Nate and Maddy then show up at the petrol station Fezco works at. He asks Nate to stop going after Rue and squares up to him, prompting Nate to set his sights on the drug dealer. Unblinking, Fezco tells him if he keeps messing with Rue and her friends he’ll kill him. However, later that evening the police get a tip-off from Nate who arrive at Fezco’s while he and Mouse do their best to flush all their gear.
The episode then ends with all our characters taking a proverbial deep breath as next week’s finale looms on the horizon.
After 7 episodes, Euphoria has twisted and turned its way through various melodramatic subplots and interesting developments. Rue’s character continues to be the one whom the drama revolves around, with her early episodes as a drug addict replaced by a different kind of addiction throughout the episodes. It’s pretty accurate too if I’m honest and speaking from my own experience, I threw myself into writing and video-games (including a particularly memorable 22-hour session on Fallout 3), to get my mind off the drugs.
This is the side of drug addiction you rarely see on TV and I’m glad Euphoria have chosen to depict it in this manner. Rehab is a long, exhausting road and there will be pitfalls and temptations along the way. It’s not as simple as throwing up a little and getting clean; those mental ticks and neurological changes to your brain need time to rewire. Seeing Rue’s kidney problems really typify this and between her obsession with Jules and the 22-episode Love Island binges, those addictive tendencies are still there to see in all their ugly glory.
The rest of this teen drama is still interesting of course and the melodramatic bubble looks set to burst next week during Euphoria’s finale. I do hope this one is renewed for a second season but if not, there’s enough here to make for a solid stand-alone show nonetheless. Whether Nate will get his comeuppance remains to be seen but for now, Euphoria continues to deliver the goods with another well written slice of teen drama.