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I Caved & Watched Euphoria: A Review

One of my post-graduation goals was to binge watch Euphoria (yes, that was an actual goal, and yes, it was the most exciting thing on the list). Though it took me well over six months to watch eight 1-hour long episodes, I finally finished it. Before the new season comes out (literally tomorrow), I wanted to share my thoughts on several different elements of the critically acclaimed show.

Before we get into it, I wanted to quickly mention that I had previous knowledge of the show’s plot because I watched Ashley Ippolito’s reaction videos:

Euphoria Technicalities

Created by Sam Levinson and executively produced by Drake (yes, that Drake; I am shocked too), Euphoria follows the life of a high schooler named Rue (played by Emmy winner Zendaya) who is a recovering drug addict straight from rehab. The show also explores the lives and stories of a star-studded supporting cast (Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demi, Barbie Ferreira, the list goes on).

As far as the technicalities of the show go, I understand the hype regarding the cinematography. The cinematography and editing of Euphoria is out of this world; my mind was literally blown with these two elements alone when I watched episode one. As I made my way through the show, I recognized how much attention the crew paid to the details. It is such a visually pleasing show.

Labrinth, You Musical Genius

I spent most of 2020 listening to the soundtrack for season one of Euphoria (yes, I waited an entire year to start the actual show), which is why Labrinth was my top artist of 2020. When “When I R.I.P.” came on, you bet your bottom dollar I sang along. I appreciate the subtle hints of “All for Us” throughout different episodes; I feel like there was meaning behind each time it was strategically played, but I can’t figure it out for the life of me. Labrinth’s music is perfectly timed in every episode; in fact, none of the music is overbearing.

Speaking of non-Labrinth music, I would love a playlist compiled of non-Labrinth songs that were used in the show (I can confidently say there was Billie and BTS and that’s it). I would probably watch season two/re-watch season one simply for the music, both the Labrinth originals and the selections from other artists.

Was there any sort of award given for the masterpiece that is the music and composing on this show?

All Hail the Queen: Zendaya

Zendaya is beyond deserving of her Emmy; we all know this. Her connection and portrayal of Rue is beautiful and breathtaking.

Teacher Rue in episode three is everything.
Protective older sister Rue in the Halloween episode is my favorite.
Detective Rue is a powerhouse (and Lexi, played by Maude Apatow, is the best sidekick)

Random note, but I appreciate Zendaya loudly singing “that’s Oakland baby” to whatever song is playing at the dance in the final episode (since she’s from Oakland, CA).

Common Enemy #1: Nate Jacobs

Jacob Elordi has the perfect punchable face to play Nate, but he’s also obviously above high school age; he could at least pass as a junior in college (should we throw it back to him saying playing a high schooler is taxing?).

Nate’s cocky personality in episode one screams LDE, and it becomes so immediately obvious that he is overcompensating for something. Spoiler: he’s literally hiding from his sexuality, which made him kissing Jules (played by Hunter Schafer) make me want to throw up. Nate and Maddy’s (played by Alexa Demie) toxic relationship caused me so much unnecessary stress, which made ending the show relieving.

The scene of Rue repeatedly shooting Nate while he’s on fire is iconic and probably describes how everyone felt while watching Nate.

Barbie & Kat

Barbie Ferreira deserves the world; she is absolutely gorgeous, both internally and externally.

Plus, she completely bodied her character Kat. My favorite scene is when Kat is owning her body type while strutting in the mall with “you should see me in a crown” by Billie Eilish playing; that is the energy I want to emulate every time I walk into work.

Also, I randomly appreciate the quick scene of Kat (Barbie) in the bath tub; it’s like a small nod to her love of baths, which she talks about in her video with Vogue:

People Who Own My Heart

Ethan: I love him. I needed more of him. Austin Abrams is the perfect person to play him. The whole scene about his virginity completely melted me.

Lexi: The most underrated, loyal sidekick on the show. Lexi needs love and deserves the entire world. Her dressed as Bob Ross in the Halloween episode lives in my brain, and I’m not mad about it.

Gia: It amazes me how much Storm Reid passes as Zendaya’s sister, both in real life and on the show. Though her role is relatively small, Storm Reid did a phenomenal job playing Gia. The way she said “I don’t want to be like you” to her mom hit way too close to home; if I didn’t watch that scene at a friend’s house, I probably would have bawled my eyes out in a corner.

Fezco/Fez: Played by Angus Cloud, Fez is the sweetest drug dealer I’ve ever seen on TV. He does what he does to take care of his grandma; when they showed him giving her a sponge bath, my heart could not stop saying “awwwww.” When Rue thanked him for not selling her drugs, my soul was touched. (side note: this man totally looks like Mac Miller; you can’t tell me otherwise).

So… Ummm…

This was my face for the last fifteen minutes or so of the finale episode:

After finishing Euphoria and sitting in my astonishment for a while, I’ve realized there’s no true protagonist in the show, and I find that so interesting. I kept struggling to figure out who to root for.

I know there’s so many moving parts for the show, but the basis of it is Rue and her relationship with Jules, which I strategically chose not to dive into (honestly, there were other moments that stood out more), but I did take note of Rue relying on Jules to save her because she can’t rely on drugs to help her escape reality.

There’s so much to Euphoria, but to sum up my first time fully watching the entire show (well, season one): I understand the hype.

December 30, 2021 Jamilah: I don’t see myself watching season two of Euphoria since it took me forever and a day to get through season one, but that will not stop me from listening to the season two soundtrack and supporting/rooting for the cast.

January 6, 2022 Jamilah: …Or do I watch it? …Can I mentally and emotionally handle another season of Euphoria right now?

“You’re not a burden.”