Ruminations: Big and Little Bullys
Episode 3 of Euphoria Season 2 starts with a look at Cal Jacobs and his relationship with best friend Derek. It’s very clear that these best friends have more on their minds.
Despite his affection for Derek, Cal ends up hooking up with a girl called Marsha. Derek also gets a girl of his own, leading to the four getting along like a house on fire.
The thing is, the relationship these two have together is palpable and as they head out together to a bar one night, their dancing beautifully paves way for hugging… and a kiss.
These feelings have clearly been festering for a while and Cal struggles to hold back tears as they embrace. The lyrics to the song in the background – “they can never tear us apart” – is bittersweet, as we know that’s exactly what happens.
That tearing comes from Cal finding out Marsha is pregnant. And that news tears his heart to pieces, as he hangs up and starts crying.
Back in the present, we open our timeline with Rue dancing about her room and the house. Gia is actually sitting on her laptop in the living room and sees her. Realizing she’s high, Gia calls her out for it and the pair inevitably fight.
The thing is, this is all a ruse (a Rue-se, you might say. Sorry, I’ll see myself out) as we see her spinning the drug taking into something that helps with her anxiety. Specifically that she’s kicking her harder drugs by relying solely on weed. It’s enough to convince Gia, and everyone else at school too, that this is what’s going on with her.
Jules though continues to suspect Elliot has more than friendship on his mind. Through an interrogation – complete with shining lamp and pressing questions – Jules seems to come around a little, believing he genuinely does want to be friends.
Meanwhile, we see a bit more about Lexie’s backstory too. The reason she froze during the Fezco and Cal situation is that she’s an observer – and has been all her life. In order to get her feelings down, she’s taken to writing.
Another character that’s observing here is Cassie, who puts a lot of effort into getting ready for school every day. With a 4am alarms, she tries her best to grab Nate’s attention. Well, she eventually does… but only because she’s wearing the same outfit as Maddy.
The next day, Lexie’s writing manifests itself into a play of Oklahoma, which everyone believes Cassie is auditioning for, given her outfit.
There’s a beautifully written, bouncy bit of a dialogue here, as all our main characters join together in the girls’ bathroom and begin questioning Cassie. She eventually snaps, admitting she’s in love with Nate Jacobs…but that’s not what she actually says. Instead, this little scene plays out in her head and she stays quiet, staring right on ahead.
The dynamic between Cassie and Maddy continues to simmer though, with the former playing the best friend… and Nate’s secret lover. Yes, Cassie has been sleeping with him for the last 3 weeks over at Nate’s place.
Cal however, is haunted by the disk. This is a big part of his motivation of course, and he decides to try and get it back from Fezco. Now, unbeknownst to him but obvious to ourselves as the audience, Fezco doesn’t have the disk. Still, Cal arrives and receives a shotgun held up to his face for his troubles.
Ashtray brings him inside and after repeated bashes across the forehead, covering Nate’s dad in a pool of blood, Fezco reveals more of what’s actually going on. He doesn’t know about the disk, nor does Fezco know about Jules sleeping with Cal and it being recorded.
After admitting he’s not involved, Cal walks away, safe in the knowledge that Fezco is telling the truth. He also holds another bit of leverage against him given the Jules situation. Cal promises not to let Nate mess about with Fezco, Jules or Rue in the future. Stumbling out the front door, he heads home.
Meanwhile, Rue strikes a deal with that dealer we saw on New Years, Lori. She decides to start selling drugs for her, showing up with a jacket and a big pitch as if it’s a proper interview.
Rue intends to sell drugs on a big scale at school, but that also comes with its own disadvantages, despite mentioning three girl who can help her. If Rue messes this up, Lori promises to kidnap her and worse. No pressure then!
As the episode closes out, Nate collects up a bouquet of flowers and prepares to meet Cassie for their usual weekly booty call. Only… he doesn’t show. Instead, he messages Cassie to tell her something has come up and appears at Maddy’s door while she’s babysitting instead.
The Episode Review
The opening section, diving back through time and learning more about Cal Jacobs, is beautifully written. There’s a really nice ebb and flow to this section, honing in on Cal’s conflicting feelings and his need to be loved.
His affection toward Derek has seemingly never been filled, and his comment to hiss wife – “Oh what I wouldn’t give to be back in high school” – is a direct nod toward his time with Derek. However, Cal does learn his son has been lying and the disk is with someone somewhere, but he doesn’t know who.
When this blows up (and it inevitably will) it’ll be interesting to see just what the ramifications are.
Meanwhile, the drama between Jules/Elliot/Rue continues to pedal the tamest love triangle over the year. The gang just sorta hang out and while that may be true to real life, it does feel a little at odds when you compare it to the extreme stakes when it comes to Cassie/Maddy/Nate.
When the latter does blow up and the truth is unveiled, I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a nasty and vicious fight between the two.
This episode feels much more creative, bouncy and genuinely interesting compared to last episode which seemed to be juggling way too much. Thankfully this return to form is joined by a palpable energy that looks set to explode at any moment.