Euphoria is finally back, and millions of us are waiting with bated breath to see how this season plays out after the first collection of episodes almost two years ago got us collectively hooked on the series.
This cast does a beautiful job at illustrating the issues our newer generations have and the romanticism that comes with it. While these fictional teenagers might not parallel the way that we ourselves lived our lives at sixteen, they are dealing with circumstances and experiences that every single human being has weathered.
From experimentation, to toxic relationships, to battling inner dialogues surrounding right and wrong, to strained family dynamics, grief etc — Euphoria covers a lot of ground. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the first season, it’s that Sam Levinson will never let us have a moment of peace. Because of that, predictions are almost impossible to cement, but it hasn’t stopped the internet from exploding with theories about how this second season will unfold.
Rue + Elliot
Rue and Elliot met in the first episode, and immediately bonded. Where we usually see Rue quietly off to the side finding it difficult to fit into certain social situations, with Elliot there is a sense of comfort that comes across her, solidifying him as a character that she will get closer to as the season unfolds.
While it almost seems too obvious, I do think that Rue will cheat on Jules with Elliot. Last year we saw Rue try her hardest to stay sober once she met Jules, only relapsing when she left. This season, we see a side of Rue that feels almost apathetic. While she says she deeply cares about Jules, she continues to lie about her drug use, and she isn’t motivated to stop for love like she was before. She seems numb to her reality, and that is often when people make mistakes.
I also predict that Elliot will overdose. As Rue and Elliot grow closer, we see how their colour stories (which have long been known for representing more than meets the eye) are similar. This signifies a deep, familiar, bond between the two, one that we have only ever seen with Rue and her father. When the duo is shown dancing around Elliot’s room, we see a direct parallel between the scenes of Rue and her father dancing, too. Rue opens up to Elliot about her father’s death, and it seems like he is a mirror of that. Symbolically, we think this is showing how Rue is dancing with death.
Fez + Lexi
In an interview Alexa Demi said that if she could play any character this season it would be Lexi because “she’s in charge.” While this was confusing at first, because Lexi’s character has always been submissive and docile, I think this has to do with the clear interest she takes in Fez, and the relationship that seems to be blooming between the two.
In the first two episodes we saw Lexi getting closer to Fez, but we also saw a lot of character development with her discovering a newfound sense of courage within herself. Because she has always been so straight-laced, it seems a little too obvious that Sam Levinson would push her into the “good girl turned bad” trope, but I do think that she is going to help Fez with the business in some way.
In both episodes, Ashtray is shown as being deeply protective of Fez, but it’s clear that he does not think through his actions when he is trying to safeguard the business. This was shown to the audience when he killed Mouse in the opening credits of the first episode, or when he was ready to shoot Cal at the convenience store. When Faye asks Fez “Did you really kill Mouse?” the audience gets insight into the fact that people have been talking, and they know about what happened. Fez could potentially end up in a lot of trouble due to who was killed on his watch — which means that the business will need to be taken care of. Ashtray is a … literal child, and he has been shown to be impulsive, which Fez is not. If something happens to Fez, he will need someone grounded, reliable, and under the radar to keep things running smoothly. I think this is potentially where Lexi’s storyline could come in.
Also, is Faye a plant? Fez is so worried about protecting his house, but should he be worried about who is inside his house? Fez taking care of her shows us a softer side of their friendship, but we have to remember that addicts are unreliable, and Sam Levinson doesn’t want any of us to be happy — so I think we are going to start trusting her only to be disappointed in the long run.
Nate + Cassie
This one is a lot to unpack.
While the Cassie and Nate plotline seems to have come out of nowhere, there were many ways in which season one of Euphoria alluded to the relationship. McKay blatantly came out and accused Nate of having a thing for Cassie, which he never denied. Nate romanticizes Cassie, but that is a parallel to the way his father spoke about her in the first season. Remember when Cal said that Maddie wasn’t worth Nate’s attention, but then spoke highly of Cassie when confronting McKay, telling him that he needed to work extremely hard to keep a girl like her in his life?
It is clear that Cal and Nate are men who struggle with masculinity and who therefore use dominance to overcompensate and showcase control and strength. Maddy is the kind of woman who is showcased as the epitome of assertive, strong energy. Those traits threaten the dominance Cal and Nate cling to. Cassie on the other hand is malleable — she will do anything to be loved, and finds most of her worth in the validation she gets from men. Nate liking her makes sense, because she represents that perfect, American Girl ideal his father has always put on a pedestal.
I personally don’t know if Nate loves Cassie because I don’t think Nate actually knows what real, genuine love is. He has been sold an illusion of it his whole life. He has been manipulated into seeing love as an extension of what he has always been told to want. With Cassie, we think he loves the idea of the redemption a “woman like her” could bring him.
In the second episode of the season, we see him fantasizing about their life together. She is perfect, bathed in light, her colour story is soft and pastel — a dream woman, a dream life, a white picket fence, an angel. However, even within his innermost fantasy, we see dark and textured apparitions from his past pulling him back and reminding him of who he was, and what he came from. His father being prevalent in all of his fantasies, even bringing Cassie into the pool with him, makes me think that while I would love to see a redemption arc for one of the most hated characters on television right now, Nate is going to try to redeem himself only to end up breaking our hearts the minute we start to trust him. Does he love Cassie, or does he love the control she allows him to have over her? We see it in the second episode when he reminds her of her power, only to degrade her and scare her when he asks her how she will ever look Maddy in the eye again. The minute we see softness from Nate, we are also pulled back into his darkness. Which will win?
On that note, everyone wants for the villain to change, but we also have to remember that at the end of the day, while it seems like Nate is finally standing up to his father, he will always be burdened by wanting his dad’s love. Nothing is more heartbreaking than knowing your own father doesn’t like you as a person. Either he breaks free from that, or he does something deeply upsetting in order to win his fathers approval.
If Nate does get his redemption arc, I think he will be killed off shortly after. Nothing quite like the audience loving that someone has changed, going through the rollercoaster of emotions finally feeling like they are on solid ground, only to have that ground pulled out from underneath them due to a character dying tragically or unexpectedly. This also lines up with the original screenplay, where Rue does blatantly say that Nate is dead, and that she killed him. Because Rue is an unreliable narrator, I don’t know if she actually does kill him, but the potential for Nate to die is there.