The following contains spoilers for Euphoria season 2 episode 2.
Euphoria’s second episode picks up where episode one left off: at the New Year’s Eve house party where Fez attempts to follow through on his threat against Nate, namely, by killing him. He doesn’t. Nate is carried to a car by several people as Rue’s narration begins.
Each Euphoria episode tends to favor a single character with Rue acting as third-party narrator. Episode 1 featured Fez, whose adolescence Rue chronicles from criminal witness to criminal. Episode 2, though it begins with Nate, will make several character jumps, accessing multiple people’s thoughts and activities. In other words: it was a wild episode.
How Rue is able to make these moves has always been suspect. Several times this episode she reminds us she wasn’t there—or sober—to know exactly what happened. She tells us anyway. At this point, nothing Rue says should be taken without a pinch of powder. Her unreliability has been proven several times over, as we often see things that don’t actually occur, or jive with her telling of them. (Her and Jules’ matching tattoos, for example.)
This unreliability allows the series to dial up full bombast. Maybe these events are happening. Maybe they are stylistic hyperbole. Maybe the entire show is a lie Rue tells to a group of addicts in an AA meeting. Who knows.
What’s important for episode 2, however, are things we learn about Nate’s post-assault state: he inexplicably loves Cassie now.
The rest of the episode proceeds from there.
Here’s what happened in episode 2.
Game After the Party
According to Rue, Nate begins falling for Cassie as he is transported to the hospital. He imagines a life with her, including her bearing his child. He also imagines his father dying, which frees him from most of his current woes—including the fact that Maddy still has a recording of Daddy Jacobs hooking up with Jules, an object which seems to have become Nate’s grail quest.
Next, we return to school where Rue and Jules mack in the hallway, Rue narrating, explaining she finally has everything she always wished for. Then Elliot shows up, Rue gets weird (she’s been hanging with Elliot and doing drugs, even though Jules thinks she’s sober), and Jules leaves upset.
Meanwhile, Cassie becomes increasingly awkward around Maddy, her best friend. (Remember, she hooked up with Nate at the NYE party.) Cassie decides she wants to be single even though she has never really been single, and, like, totally does not want to be single. Maddy later tells Cassie that Nate texted. Cassie is jealous. Cassie doesn’t want to be single.
Maddy tells her this while babysitting from a house somewhere in the California hills. Turns out Maddy is trusted around children—also super rich children. We learn she mostly babysits so she can try on all of the mother’s clothes in their walk-in closet. When the parents return, Maddy almost gets caught. Instead, the mother asks Maddy to help her unzip her dress and the camera lingers just a bit too long, leading us to think there might be some weird stuff about to happen between Maddy and this mom.
Game Back at the School
The girls are in the bathroom where Kat is asked about her sex life with Ethan. Through Rue, we learn that Kat thinks Ethan is sweet, but there’s something upsetting her. We see a recreation of Kat and Ethan making out. Ethan leaves to go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, Ethan is impaled by a Dothraki warrior who then enters the bedroom to “conquer” Kat. They have sex. Kat tells the girls in the bathroom it was Ethan doing the conquering. Clearly, it was not.
Pause. A couple things here. Obviously, this is Kat’s fantasy—and one symbolically substituting rough Game of Thrones sex (really, rape) for what is likely an impotence issue in her relationship with Ethan. Euphoria has been committed to showing male genitalia on screen, perhaps as a criticism of its own medium—a premium cable TV company that has gratuitously shown female genitalia for decades. The fantasy is a dig on Game of Thrones, which was criticized for its dramatized sex. Here in Kat’s bedroom, however, it is the man who is under our gaze, not Kat. Okay, critical theory discussion over.
Meanwhile Cassie is freaking out because she thinks Maddy will find out about her and Nate—and kill her. Jules is freaking out because of Elliot. And then Cassie and Lexi are freaking out because Daddy Jacobs is in their living room asking them who beat up Nate. Cassie tells him. Lexi is pissed.
We learn here that Lexi struggles with doing what she knows to be right. We see her threaten Rue to tell her mother about her drug usage—a bluff that Rue calls. Later we see Lexi woken up by her mother who tells her Rue has overdosed (likely the season 1 finale). Lexi blames herself. This time, wanting to warn Fez, Lexi decides to see him in his convenient store. Outside, we see Daddy Jacobs reach for a gun.
Game Sometime that Night
Meanwhile, Nate is driving around with Cassie, trying to break up with her but being typically predatory about it. He takes her to a construction site where they hook up (after he chases her, like a gentleman). Maddy calls both Nate and Cassie, but the calls aren’t answered. She looks suspicious.
During all this, Elliot and Rue smoke up. Elliot asks Rue if he brings out the worst in her, a question Jules’ father simultaneous asks Jules about Rue. (They’re supposed to be hanging. Instead, she’s with Elliot.) Later Elliot’s mother asks about Rue, insinuating that Elliot doesn’t often have girls over.
Rue then heads to an AA meeting where she meets Ali who notes that Rue is still on her suicide mission.
During all this, Kat is having another crisis about Ethan. She realizes it’s probably her fault for not loving him. (We see her sitting in her room having an argument with several hallucinated models who tell her just to love herself—an obvious critique of self-love messaging. The problem is Kat can’t love herself. She’s fucking depressed.) Instead of seeing Ethan by herself, she invites him bowling with Maddy and Jules. Maddy later tells Jules she wants to get back together with Nate, even though he’s terrible for her.
Game Back to the Convenient Store
Lexi stops in to see Fez, but before she can talk to him, Daddy Jacobs shows up. He gives Fez a dramatic warning and then leaves. He never draws his gun.
Ali later drives Rue home, introducing himself to her mother. Rue is nervous Ali will tell her mother that she started using again. Ali does not.
In the final scene, Daddy Jacobs confronts Nate who reveals he knows all about the Jules sex tape. When Daddy Jacobs ask if Nate has it, he just stares off into the show credits.
Josh St. Clair
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine.
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