Euphoria season 1 recap – the ‘TV Show of a Generation’

Posted on 18 January 2022
By Tess Penman
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Euphoria, starring and produced by Zendaya, is being heralded as the ‘TV Show of a Generation’ which sheds light on the darkness facing young people today.

The highly anticipated second season of HBO’s drama premiered last Sunday night with more than 2.4 million people tuning in to watch it, breaking HBO Max’s ratings record.

And for those who didn’t watch the first season – here’s what you missed.

The show is centred around a 17-year-old drug addict, Rue, portrayed by Zendaya who won an Emmy for the dramatic role last year.

The story begins with her leaving rehab, which is only scratching the surface of the problems the teenagers face in Euphoria. By the season finale she has relapsed. So, what happened during her sobriety?

Rue meets Jules, a 17-year-old Trans Manic Pixie Dream Girl. For the viewers out there whose favourite trope is friends-to-lovers, you will want to tune in for this relationship alone.

Jules becomes Rue’s only reason for staying sober, a burden too heavy for anyone to carry.

Meanwhile, Jules explores her own sexuality online and decides to have random hook-ups with strangers.

One specific encounter secretly films her and this becomes increasingly significant when you realise the encounter actually involves the father of Jules’ classmate and this secret footage is technically statutory rape.

To all the Grey’s Anatomy fans, Eric Dane’s portrayal of the filthy father is anything but McDreamy, you’ll be sorry to hear.

The classmate we’re talking about is fellow abuser Nate, who is under suspicion by the police for strangling his girlfriend Maddy. I wish I could say their toxic relationship gets better, but this is Euphoria and nothing ever gets better.

Nate’s childhood has been spent lusting over his dad’s collection of underage porn and he happens to stumble upon that specific encounter.

Desperately needing a way to clear his name of charges he is definitely guilty of; Nate catfishes Jules so sends nudes to him which makes her guilty of distributing child porn.

This is the blackmail he needs so Jules will stay quiet about his perverted father. He decides to kill two birds with one stone and forces Jules to tell the police she saw somebody else strangle Maddy. That, ladies and gentleman, is how Nate makes it to season two as a free man.

Maddy ends up finding the stolen footage of the specific encounter in Nate’s bedroom, along with several d*** pics on his phone.

In Maddy’s eyes, this justifies his abuse to her. She thinks he’s not angry at her, he’s angry at himself because he’s bisexual. Something else that Nate vehemently denies.

Maddy’s best friend, Cassie, will do anything to feel loved by a man, which is another way of saying she has had many sexual encounters.

Yet again, this is another instance of an underage girl being secretly recorded. However, the person who sees it is McKay, Cassie’s not-my-boyfriend-but-is-basically-my-boyfriend.

McKay loves the idea of being with Cassie but can’t accept the reality of her past. Nevertheless, they do the deed, and do you know what this chaotic show is missing? Teen pregnancy.

McKay doesn’t respond how every girl hopes their partner would to a pregnancy announcement so Cassie, with the support of her sister Lexi, gets an abortion.

Lexi is the childhood friend of Rue who relies on her for a urine sample every so often to prove her sobriety. Remember, Rue is meant to be sober but that doesn’t mean she is. It is only by using Lexi’s sample that Rue can continue to get high and not get caught.

How does she get high? Fezco. The local high school dropout drug dealer. Rue spends most of her time with him and his little brother Ash, who is Fez’s “business partner”.

During a “business deal” Rue is forced by Mouse, Fez’s drug supplier, to take a shot of fentanyl. To the shock of nobody, Rue almost overdoses and Fez refuses to sell drugs to her again. He may be a drug dealer, but he does have some morals.

Kat represents the bigger girls who want to embrace their sexiness, no matter how much society acts like they shouldn’t. She is friends with Cassie and Maddy, who both get male attention from pretty much everybody.

In order to feel seen, Kat decides to have sex with a random boy to lose her virginity. What is the one thing we’ve learned about hook-ups in Euphoria?

Yep. Secretly recorded. However, her hidden sex tape is uploaded to Pornhub and instead of feeling violated, Kat is surprised at the response it gets and she decides to become an anonymous cam girl.

The season ends once Jules finally tells Rue about Nate’s blackmail. Rue’s revenge plan involves Fez threatening to kill Nate. Nothing major. But this is Nate Jacobs we’re talking about, and he won’t be threatened by anybody.

An “anonymous” tip off to the police causes Fez’s house to be raided and his entire stash of drugs is flushed down the toilet. Not the smartest move by Nate, but he’s an impulsive narcissist, what do you expect?

Feeling defeated, Rue suggests that both her and Jules leave town together, away from the drama and blackmail to the inner city. So, Jules does exactly that. Rue, on the other hand, panics on the platform and Jules leaves her and the town behind.

There is only one thing that can fill the void of Jules’ absence and it’s the one thing addicts shouldn’t use. But Rue does anyway.

This show certainly doesn’t pull its punches and should be watched with guidance. Be aware of trigger warnings.

Catch episodes of season two on HBO Max or Sky Atlantic at 2AM every Monday morning.