Fans of HBO’s gut-wrenching drama knew they were in for a ride when the Euphoria season 2 trailer dropped right before Christmas. Now in the aftermath of the first episode, viewers are left devastated, invigorated, and hungry for what’s next.
The show follows 17-year-old Rue Bennett-played by Disney starlet turned Hollywood breakout Zendaya, as she struggles with addiction, first love, and high school drama.
Euphoria has been simultaneously praised and criticized for its depiction of teen drug use, sexual content, and violence. Some say that portraying these issues is more important now than ever due to the young adult mental health crisis and increase in teen substance abuse.
Others complain that casting these issues aside from aesthetically pleasing makeup and outfits, experimental cinematography, and dramatized monologs are actually encouraging teens to engage in risky behavior.
Nonetheless, the season 2 premiere received 2.4 million reviews, causing the streaming site much difficulty, some viewers experiencing crashing and pixelated images during their viewing.
The surge in views, however, broke a record for HBOMax making the premiere the most viewed release within 24 hours of its initial release.
“Euphoria” remained at number 1 on trending on Tumblr throughout January 10th and drew in millions of Tik Tok and Twitter posts from teens around the world, dubbing January 9th “Euphoria Day”.
As for the actual content of the episode, a black screen with a written trigger warning starts it all off before audiences are immersed in the young life of Fezco, the quintessential drug dealer with morals.
Each episode starts off with a character backstory narrated by Zendaya’s character, explaining their life experiences and what influences have shaped them to be the person they are today, starting with Rue in the pilot episode and now being updated to include Fezco’s story.
The episode then transitions into a terrifyingly brutal drug deal scene that ends with the arrival of a legendary New Years’ Eve party featuring the characters we’ve been missing since the first season concluded in August of 2019.
Two special hour-long character deep dives were released in November 2020 and January 2021 featuring the mental states of our main protagonist and her girlfriend Jules, played by Hunter Schafer. Though stagnant in their settings, the episodes delivered us with just a hint of what was to come in the next season and more importantly what was next for “Rules”-the ship name for Rue and Jules.
After the party scene kicks off, we’re introduced to a troubled Cassie(Sydney Sweeney) a worried Lexi(Maude Apatow), a finally happy Kat(Barbie Ferreira), a fiery as ever Maddy(Alexa Demie), and a predatory and sick-minded Nate(Jacob Elordi) which was pretty much expected from him.
The characters undergo a night full of heavy drinking, scandalous hookups, reconnections, and a fight that breaks out in the last minute of the episode sending shockwaves amongst fans hailing it as the best part of the episode.
Due to the first episode and the trailer alone, “Euphoria” is sure to continue spiking up the drama and delivering a raw portrayal of the issues that plague teens today in an uncertain and unsupportive world.
Zendaya herself said in an Instagram post right before the premiere dropped, “I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that Euphoria is for mature audiences. This season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch”…
Even with the show’s controversial reputation, viewers are already anticipating next Sunday as the show will feature new episodes weekly following in the footsteps of Disney+’s streaming strategy.
You can watch Euphoria on HBOMax. New episodes every Sunday.
The post The Hit Teen Drama “Euphoria” is Back-and It Has More Drama Than Ever appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.