Zendaya in Euphoria Season 2 Episode 1
At last, Zendaya is back on the silver screen! Following a pandemic-extended hiatus, teen drama Euphoria returned for Season 2 on Jan. 9, affirming that we are in for another wild ride. Like any good new high school era, things kicked off with a big party. Celebrating New Year’s Eve, everyone was back at their usual antics: Rue was too high, Jules was just trying to have a good time, Lexi was just trying to find her sister and Cassie was maneuvering her way out of trouble. Meanwhile, Maddie and Nate are still butting heads and continuing to exert alpha dominance over anyone and everyone. A lot can happen in the Euphoria universe in just an hour, so we looked back at the six defining moments of the Season 2 premiere.
Each Euphoria episode dedicates a bit of backstory to its ensemble of characters, and this time was dedicated to the show’s sweet, caring (sometimes brutal) drug dealer. It kicks off with a look back at how Fez’s grandma, a drug dealer, became his primary caretaker, resulting in Fez becoming her business partner from a very young age. We also learn Ashtray joined their family when his mom left him with Fez’s grandma as collateral, but never came back. Ultimately, it’s cemented that his primary role in life is not drug dealer, but caretaker.
Rue stumbles through the party’s house after shooting up heroin and comes across someone taking a bump off a washing machine. Lo and behold: it’s Dominic Fike. “I’m not sure it’s a good thing we met,” he says as Elliot, who had to administer Rue her emergency stash of Adderall to keep her heartbeat from dropping too low.
Finally! Lexi Howard finally has a moment not dedicated to worrying about her sister or Rue. The first season ended with the sidekick friend asking her sister how she decides who to hook up with. Could it have been a foreshadow of what was to come? Sparks fly between Fez and Lexi as the polar-opposite pair chat on the couch during the party. He even asks for her phone number and tells her she has a nice name. Lexi welcomes it all, but upon the episode's final scene, it looks like she might change her mind.
Nate rolls up to a local convenience store and finds Cassie munching on some powdered donuts. He offers her some beers and a ride to the party that is less a lift and more a dance with death. Roaring over a hundred miles an hour, Cassie’s fear spins into seduction and the two wind up in the bathroom having sex. Things come to an abrupt halt when Maddie demands to be let in. Given the look on her face, Cassie would probably be less afraid of a masked, knife-wielding madman than the wrath of her best friend. She successfully hides from Maddie in the bathtub, but not before a bit of karma comes back around. The toilet paper is out and Maddie resorts to using a towel to wipe, which she tosses into the tub and lands on Cassie’s face.
The Euphoria team was kind enough to toss us a few treats over the near two-and-a-half-year break with the release of two special, standalone episodes. One focused on Rue and the other Jules, giving an even deeper understanding of their respective stories, relationship and problems. These stepping stones hyper-intensified the moment Rue and Jules finally come face-to-face at the party over a fire pit. They take a moment to thaw, but come midnight, the couple kiss.
Fulfilling a promise from last season, Fez rings in the new year by nearly annihilating Nate. He walks over as cool and collected as ever, and then switches gears with a sudden bottle smash over Nate’s head. Fez ensures the damage is done and continues to punch Nate’s face over and over, only stopping when McKay and the party host pull him off.
Photography by: Eddy Chen/HBO