HBO series “Euphoria” finishes its second season without a conclusive, properly paced plot.
For the past eight weeks, Sunday has been known to many as “‘Euphoria’ Day.” For fans of the hit HBO original series, each week they could anticipate a new episode where their favorite (or least favorite) characters would undoubtedly make a new string of life-altering decisions. For many TV shows chronicling the experience of high school students, such decisions may not be so serious to those existing outside of their close circles, but “Euphoria” steps outside of the usual high school hum-drum to tackle how today’s youth might handle grief, drug addiction and complicated matters of personal identity. Complete with trendy outfits, a catchy soundtrack, powerful performances and lots of glitter, “Euphoria” has managed to take popular culture by storm once again in 2022 for its second season.
Fans waited patiently for the arrival of “Euphoria’s” second season after its smash debut in 2019, but many were upset to realize that episodes would be released weekly, rather than all at once as they had been before. Despite the initial disappointment surrounding this decision, such a schedule seemed to work well not only for promotion of the show, but for the experience of its viewers as well.
The weekly release helped to build excitement for each episode, made the results of each plot more satisfying when they were finally revealed and gave the audience something new to look forward to each Sunday. It also seemed to help develop a more tight-knit culture surrounding the show, as the internet exploded in memes before and after each episode, either reacting to what had happened or predicting what would happen next. It helped to enhance the in-person experience as well, planning watch parties with friends for each new episode or texting one another every time something shocking happened. My go-to question after every weekend started to become, “What did you think of the new episode?”
The trailer for season two promised a plethora of new plotlines to keep each character moving through their respective relationships and struggles, and the season delivered on this front … sort of. Although there were many new conflicts introduced as well as several new characters, only one or two problems seemed to reach a conclusion by the final episode.
My number one critique as I cycled through the show was that in every episode it felt as if so much happened, but not a single loose end was tied. In several instances it took the entire season to reach the climax of a certain situation, leaving no time for the situation to reach its peak while also being resolved. The pacing felt very slow, feeling even slower because of the weekly release of episodes.
The entire season felt very “middle,” and in my opinion the middle is always the worst part. Season one set the audience up for an exciting story while focusing on making sure we could get to know the characters. Season two seems to have taken those characters, shaken them up a bit and given them a lot to work on. For some this meant new relationships, the demise of old ones, and further struggles with issues that have haunted them since season one. Although this sets the stage for an exciting season three, which has already been confirmed by HBO, it left season two with little to be desired, especially after such a long wait for its release.
Despite losing some of the excitement and charm that the first season used to grip its viewers, season two of “Euphoria” was by no means a bad season. At the end of the day, the show’s characters made up for the moments where the show sometimes lacked in plot, as we were able to learn more about the characters, meet new ones and watch relationships develop or fall apart.
Many fans praised the increased screen time of certain characters, and in several instances their development accounted for much of the excitement surrounding the season. The performance from the actors behind each character helped to sell the show more than ever in this season, with stunning performances most notably from actresses Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney. The quality of acting within the show, as well as production, design and the show’s signature aesthetic ensured that season two was just as successful as season one, and still as enjoyable for viewers to watch. Even if the plot (or sometimes lack thereof) is of little interest to you, “Euphoria” is worth the time because of its quality of production and the experimental approach it takes to the typical high school drama.
“Euphoria” is available to watch on HBOMax.