Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door
Episode 1 of Euphoria Season 2 starts this long-awaited second series in a very different direction. A cold bit of narration turns the attention across to Fezco, and in particular his grandmother. She shoots a club owner in both his thighs, barely blinking, while he sits with his penis out, screaming.
With a young Fezco in the back of her car, this blonde-haired guardian isn’t exactly a great role-model, but teaches Fezco everything he needs to know about drug dealing.
With his grandmother absent – at least emotionally – Fezco is left to deal with his new brother, Ashtray. No matter how unconventional this set-up is though, for them they’re a family. At least to begin with. When his grandmother dies, Fezco is left to deal with the whole family business and simultaneously looking after Ashtray too, who he regards as a blood brother.
One of their customers happens to be Rue, who we see in the backseat rapping while very clearly high. We’re back in the present, on New Years to be precise, as Ashtray and Fezco are angsty as they head to a deal.
Imploring Rue to stay in the car with a girl called Faye, she starts taking heroin. The girls are immediately grabbed and taken inside, where they meet hotheaded Bruce, the man in charge. Paranoid, he demands everyone strip off to show they don’t have a wire on them. While Rue is initially hesitant, Bruce throws her in the shower and demands she strip.
Fezco eventually vouches for Rue’s integrity. “She may f*ck around but she’s not an addict.” He says. Once the deal goes down, and the trio head back in their car, Fezco calls out Rue’s nonchalance and laughter, reminding her that this is serious business.
Meanwhile, big drama ensues at the New Years Eve party. Cassie goes rogue and heads off to the shop alone, leaving Maddy to scramble around trying to find her. She’s not picking up her phone either, and part of that comes down to Nate. He chats up Cassie outside and offers her a ride.
Drinking while driving, Nate begins ploughing down the road at breakneck speed, reaching over 100mph. When they eventually arrive at the party, Cassie and Nate end up kissing, getting hot and heavy in the bathroom. The thing is, Maddy shows at the door, pounding and asking to be let in. Cassie eventually hides in the bath, hand on her mouth while the shower curtain is drawn.
Elsewhere, Fezco starts talking to Lexi, commenting how he likes her name. The pair start t grow closer together, discussing their own views on religion and life. They’re obviously very different people but it’s a really nice moment that shows a bit of vulnerability from Fezco, especially when his ideals are challenged.
Fezco eventually admits that talking to her is the highlight of his whole year, managing to get her phone number in the process.
Rue circles the periphery of the party, continuing to take drugs and fly off the deep end. Jules begins to worry, trying to find Rue who keeps taking drugs.
Back in the bathroom, Cassie is saved by her phone buzzing. Maddy leaves the bathroom with the sleazy partygoer trying to hook up with her, giving Cassie a window of opportunity to leave, despite another partygoer arriving and using the toilet.
The time comes for Fezco and Ashtray to get to work, and they ask Rue to join them. With a minute until midnight, Jules learns that Rue relapsed the night she left, and she’s devastated. As the lights pulsate, Rue opens up to Jules and apologizes for being mean initially. Rue has been having a rough time of it, but it’s nothing compared to what’s happening with Fezco and Nate.
As the crowd cheer a New Year, Fezco beats Nate down to a pulp, smashing a glass over his head and pummeling his face. Given his promise to kill him next time they meet, that promise is almost carried out, only stopped by others pulling him off. Lexi can only watch in horror as Nate is dragged outside.
The Episode Review
Euphoria is finally back and this episode storms back into action with a Fezco-centric chapter that really hones in on the values that have driven this guy from childhood. He’s had a really rough upbringing but his virtues – honour, loyalty and respect – are important traits. That’s especially true when it comes to Nate, who has deserved his beatdown, regardless of how brutal it was to witness.
The entire party turns on a dime, with Fezco beating the man to an absolute pulp without even batting an eyelid. This is an important scene but equally the early parts of this chapter diving into his past and seeing the estranged upbringing and harsh circumstances he’s had to face, make this scene hit that much harder.
Rue and Jules are still the main gravitas of this series and their moment at the end, finding each other and discussing their real feelings, is a nice moment of light in what’s otherwise a pretty gloomy and dark slice of teen drama.
This show has always excelled when it comes to depicting the true horrors of drug addiction, and that much is still the case here. As someone who used to do drugs heavily, and witnessing first-hand my friends overdosing – convulsing, passing out or frothing at the mouth – it’s hard to convey that on the screen but this show has always been pretty accurate at that.
This second season promises to be every bit as dramatic and enthralling as the first, and this is a great episode to kick things off.