Euphoria 2, the review: the distorted chaos over the lines of adolescence

Euphoria: A moment from the HBO series

Write the Euphoria 2 review it means putting pen to paper a viewing experience that is unparalleled, at least at the moment, on the small screen. There serie HBO created by Sam Levinson returns almost two and a half years after the first season, bringing back the tragic, dramatic and painful stories of Rue, played by Zendaya, Jules, Cassie and the other high school students between drugs, adolescent distress, sex and identity. A very long wait partly satisfied with the two (wonderful) special episodes released a year ago. Forget that style in its elegant and refined way: these new episodes, of which we have seen the first in preview, will catapult you into an emphatic and chaotic universe. An exaggerated delusion on steroids that has no middle ground: take it or leave it. And if the latter is undoubtedly the easier choice, due to a consistently over the top tone that can easily slide the series into a dangerous area scult, missing this exciting journey into the distorted world of troubled adolescence of these heartbreaking protagonists would be a mistake.

Look at the abyss

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Euphoria: Sydney Sweeney in one scene from the series

The plot of Euphoria’s second season picks up the strings from that finale where we witnessed a breakup between Rue (Zendaya Coleman) and Jules (Hunter Schafer). A promise not kept, a train not caught, two broken hearts (later explored and dissected in the two Specials). A sudden relapse into the abyss of drug addiction for Rue that closed the season with a musical moment that catapulted us into her hallucinations. This will be the main tone of the season, which will prove to be dark, dramatic and quite painful despite the brief solar hints. It all starts with a New Year’s Eve party where the lives and stories of the protagonists will intertwine once again, kicking off the main themes of the following episodes. We will find the problematic couple composed of Maddy and Nate, continually in a limbo between fidelity and betrayal, love and hate, as opposed to the one composed by Kat, now far from the world of erotic camshows, and Ethan (although there will be inevitable doubts). We will have the opportunity to learn more about the character of Lexi, Rue’s best friend, a model student who in recent episodes had remained a bit too much in the background, and the drug dealer Fezco. Finally, we will follow the stories of one of the most suffering and fragile characters of the group: Cassie played by Syndey Sweeney, never so emotional as at this beginning of the season. With a first episode, except for a first act, completely set in a single location, Euphoria immediately reveals her cards: it will be a violent season, without filters, where emotions will speak and which, more often than not, will have something to do with. dealing with an existential discomfort that will plunge the characters into an abyss from which it will be difficult to escape.

Euphoria, the review of the second special episode: the confirmation of a series of absolute quality

The style of emotions

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Euphoria: Zendaya in one scene from the series

How to tell the turmoil of adolescence? By embracing the constant exaggeration, transform every problem, even the most common, into an insurmountable mountain, filter everything with an unsustainable existential weight. Cross and delight of the series, an element that at the same time makes it so unique in its genre and so alienating and criticizable, it is its style that has never been more extreme than this season, giving life to a sequence of hyper-glossy, obsessive and colorful video clips , arrogant of style and virtuosity, putting pure and simple writing in the background as it is normally considered. Because Euphoria’s style is itself writing, only that it passes through images and montage, betraying and hiding under the pop and kitsch blanket the evil of life of the characters. It is the contradiction that the title reminds us of every time it appears in that almost absent acronym: the white or colored word “Euphoria”, on a black background, the music that echoes and yet the logo remains there, fixed, immutable. An euphoria that seems to be missing. And this is how the HBO series decides not only to describe a problematic adolescence (but not only) without any kind of limit (only in the first episode we find numerous naked bodies, shots on the genitals, sex and scatology, alcohol and drugs, thoughts suicides and violence), but emphasizes their characters by transforming a comedy of misunderstandings into a horror or a slice of life into an anxious thriller, even if there are some moments more relaxed and centered in tone. Often the events are on the verge of credibility, among very young criminals, behaviors on the verge of suspension of disbelief and narrative drifts that seem to run in vain. One has the feeling that Euphoria is constantly looking to shock, provoke, break patterns and lines of what can be represented on television, even if in the long run the game can become cloying and slip into self-parody. As said at the beginning: take it or leave it.

Euphoria and the other TV series and movies about teenagers that shocked us

An addictive cast

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Euphoria: Alexa Demie in a scene from the series

With such a sophisticated, particular and exaggerated shape, there is only one aspect that needs to be completely centered for it to work. The glue that amalgamates and accompanies the spectator, provoking him continuous trust in what he is observing and that binds the very refined and detailed writing to a passionate vision. Fortunately, Euphoria has a cast incredible that gives voice and body to teenagers with a rare belief. The whole group is so perfect that one cannot help but believe in everything that happens, feeling an empathy that few television series can afford. Proceeding in viewing the episodes becomes almost an addiction because, under all the kitschy patina that screams desperation, there are personalities that one is fond of. Without mentioning once again the talent of Zendaya, Emmy winner precisely for playing the character of Rue, or Hunter Schafer, or Sydney Sweeney or Jacob Elordi, we want to focus on two actors who, thanks to the greater space available , prove that they are building yet another piece in this varied mosaic of characters. We are talking about Angus Cloud, in the role of the drug addict and drug dealer Fezco, who despite seeming monotonous hides many facets to discover, and of Maude Apatow who finally opens up to the public by discovering an equally fragile Lexi.

Conclusions

At the conclusion of our review of the second season of Euphoria we feel we are still under a strong adrenaline rush. Sam Levinson’s HBO show is unlike any other teen drama: exaggerated, extreme, stylized, with a constantly over the top narrative where emotions are staged. The style and some texture choices can tire or make a part of the audience uncomfortable, who will see impeccable formal packaging but without strong content. Those who, on the other hand, choose to descend into the abyss together with Rue, Jules and all the other characters excellently played by an exceptional cast, which constitutes a real cosmos of adolescent and existential crisis, will be faced with a unique series of its own. genre, which makes empathy under the glossy surface its strong point.

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Because we like it

  • Formal care is a pleasure for the eyes, between virtuosity and colors.
  • The cast brings to life a group of characters that it is impossible not to bond with.
  • The series is all about empathy, showing an almost unbearable existential unease, hidden under a kitsch and pop surface.
  • The rebellious spirit that shows the teenage world without filters is unparalleled and gives life to a one-of-a-kind series.

What’s wrong

  • The style so extreme and some narrative choices could be too exaggerated and become sculptural.

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