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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Out of touch, not out of ideas: Episode 2 of “Euphoria” Season 2

Episode 2 goes all in when it comes to plot development, weird imaginary scenarios and nudity.
cal
HBO Max
Cal finds out vital information about who assaulted his son and decides to make a visit. Screenshot by Deniz Orbay (HBO Max/Euphoria)

Episode 2 is out! Even more insane than the season premiere, which set many plotlines in motion, this week’s episode, dubbed “Out of Touch,” is “Euphoria” at its most “Euphoria”—which is both praise and criticism.

The Nate-Cassie-Maddy triangle is in full force and it’s as terrifying as ever. I legitimately do not know how messed up a group of three people can get, but this psychotic trio is definitely up there. 

Nate, going through a post-beat up epiphany, decides he’s in love with Cassie, dreaming about her while on his hospital bed. But the montage of Cassie acting sexually in the weirdest scenarios is overkill to say the least. I think Sydney Sweeney said she was ok with nudity and director Sam Levinson just ran with it. Her lying naked on a bear skin rug, though, is the definition of doing too much.

You know what else is too much? Another shot in that montage, which involves Cal Jacobs doing something. I’ll let you find out for yourself what that is.

I would deem the whole Nate-Cassie situation extremely unrealistic, especially how Cassie falls immediately in love with Nate, if not for the fact that Nate is very, very hot. That’s actually what makes his character so interesting, because we all know no one would give the time of day to a sociopathic, violent, toxic dude who is not 6’5 and jacked.

It also helps that Cassie is in love with being loved, a trait that is starting to prove damaging to her character. Throughout the episode she constantly fears the repercussions of her actions, especially Maddy’s reaction, but hearing Nate say “You don’t know how much power you have” just makes it all worth it for her. 

Speaking of Maddy, her arc in this episode felt entirely unnecessary, which tells me the one interesting scene that did happen has to be a set up for something big later on in the season. Maddy is now a babysitter, spending her days trying on the clothes and the jewelry of the mother of the child she sits. When the mother comes back home, though, she and Maddy have a weirdly sensual moment when she asks Maddy to unzip her dress, making us speculate whether that was foreshadowing a future entanglement.

Throughout all of this, Maddy still wants to get back with Nate, even though she is aware of how bad a person he is. The absence of Nate has left a hole in her life, which she admits needs to be filled with toxicity because she cannot see herself in a loving, healthy relationship. Jules consoles her while they watch Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and Ethan (Austin Abrams) together, a relationship they believe is loving and healthy. Unbeknownst to them, however, Kat is not so sure about that.

This episode in general went too far with the imaginary scenarios, starting with the Cassie nude-fest, and Kat’s scenes are no different. Her uncertainty about her relationship with Ethan manifests itself in a barbaric Khal Drogo-type hunk slitting Ethan’s throat then having rough sex with her. Her realizing that there’s nothing wrong with Ethan after doing a pros-cons list (“Friends” did this 25 years ago, come on) and that the problem is actually her then manifests itself as several women materializing in her bedroom and yelling at her to love herself. Yes, it was weird.

Kat has always been a character that is mostly outside of the main web of interconnected plots and characters. She is pretty much doing her own thing, so I hope we can see her in a more active role in the rest of the season, preferably after she figures out how to love herself first.

I want to give credit where credit is due: the show excels in writing flawed characters that look for toxicity because they don’t think they deserve any better. We see this scenario play out with both Maddy and Kat, so I assume we are going to see a healing arc for those two this season. I really hope so, because I will not forgive Kat if she breaks Ethan’s heart.

Lexi, who unlike Kat did manage to weave her way into the main web, is finally becoming more active, after a tragic flashback to Rue overdosing helps her realize that she always remains passive in situations where she probably should intervene. She then decides to tell Fez that Cal knows the person who beat up Nate. What comes next is a tense situation when Cal decides to drop by, too.

Here I think the show is creating conflicts out of thin air, because when Lexi shows up and sees Faye next to Fez, she immediately gets jealous and retreats back into her shell. It feels to me that Faye only exists to further the miscommunication trope that we are going to witness between Fez and Lexi, a trope I think is overused at this point. I know Fez can’t exactly explain why Faye, the girlfriend of a drug dealer that is running from the cops, is staying with him, but it is tiring to see two people that are obviously interested in each other not advance their relationship because of a misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, Rue and Jules are having their own arguments, the main topic being Rue and Elliot’s relationship. Rue acts secretive about being close with him, as Jules doesn’t know that they are doing drugs together. An unexpected jealousy arises from Jules, an indication that she expects Rue to act like how she herself did when she went to the city back in Season 1.

This episode did not match the beauty, grace and tension of the season premiere. I am happy, though, that the main debacle involving Cal is gaining speed, as we end the episode with Nate finally telling his dad that he knows everything about his wrongdoings and implying that video evidence might be in his hands. The only time I root for Nate is when he is against his dad, so I can’t wait to see how that situation escalates.

New “Euphoria” episodes come out at 8 p.m. CST every Sunday on HBO Max.

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About the Contributor
Deniz Orbay, Former Senior Staff Writer
Deniz Orbay (25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science double-majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science and minoring in Cinema and Media Arts. He writes for Life and News, is a big movie nerd and is better than average at every sport in which a ball is used. You can reach him at [email protected].
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