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The ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Finale Exit Survey

Lexi’s play has ended. A beloved character is dead. Now we have to pick up the pieces.

HBO/Ringer illustration

The second season of Euphoria ended with a bang and a whisper: While Fezco’s apartment was raided by police and Cal’s midlife crisis was halted by an arrest, characters like Rue and Jules and Lexi found quieter resolutions. It was a twisty, wild eight episodes—so let’s try to discuss it all, as well as what could be in store for the show’s third season.

1. What is your tweet-length review of the Euphoria finale?

Andrew Gruttadaro: Glorious! Terrible! Deliberate! Random! Illuminating! Confounding!

Jodi Walker: Sam Levinson will pay for his crimes. (And I will be charged as an accomplice because I can’t stop watching them.)

Aric Jenkins: Sam Levinson, come here, I just wanna talk (about getting a full writers’ room immediately).

Alison Herman: Too many actually high stakes, not enough inflated teen drama. Euphoria is a delicate balance between the two, and this finale skewed way too far toward armed confrontations.

Justin Sayles: Feel like pure shit, just want them back.

2. What was the best moment of the season?

Herman: The memes.

David Lara III:

Gruttadaro: Lexi’s play, and everyone’s subsequent reaction to it, was the cosmic high of this season, and also the clearest example of the meta/bonkers brilliance Sam Levinson sometimes stumbles into.

Sayles: TV doesn’t get more cathartic than Fezco beating Nate lifeless right before “I Just Died in Your Arms” kicks in.

Jenkins: As harrowing (and at times nonsensical) as it was, Rue’s descent into withdrawal in Episode 5 is brilliant acting from everyone involved; for Zendaya, specifically, it’s one of the most automatic “Yup, that’s gonna win an Emmy” performances I’ve ever seen.

Walker: I wanna say Lexi’s play so badly. As a former theater kid, it was the good kind of Euphoria surprise to suddenly see myself represented in a series that is so often about hot girls in two-piece sets doing molly at carnivals. But there’s simply no denying that “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” was the peak of the season. The fifth episode achieves something that Levinson and his star, Zendaya, are uniquely capable of achieving: a visceral, visual, haunting journey through addiction, interspersed with unreal moments of levity. The scene when Rue’s withdrawal-addled mind suddenly realizes that, in order to escape her second intervention of the episode, all she has to do is expose Cassie’s relationship with Nate to Maddy—and the subsequent look on Zendaya’s face when she realizes it’s working—is perfect.

3. What was your least favorite part?

Jenkins: I know Sam Levinson did not give Dominic Fike four entire minutes of screen time to strum a guitar while multiple unresolved plot points hung in the balance.

Herman: The negligent homicide of Kat Hernandez. I’d call it a character assassination if the season didn’t seem so disinterested in her character!

Gruttadaro: So, hold up—the finale’s gonna be full of real-life consequences but we’re gonna pretend Rue doesn’t owe a drug dealer thousands of dollars?

Sayles: I’m a little confused as to why Laurie seemingly dropped her plans to human-traffick Rue so quickly and without any explanation. Either that plotline is coming back next season or it gets buried in the graveyard of unresolved Euphoria threads alongside McKay’s college career and Kat’s entire character.

Walker: Broadly speaking, any time Fez is sad. But on a more narrative level, it was getting invested in story lines that just … evaporated into thin air. I’m so glad that Rue is clean, but I also can’t stop thinking about the time she went full Shark Tank and secured a (now-outstanding) $10,000 suitcase of drugs from a drug dealer who has repeatedly threatened to sell her body. If there’s a reasonable explanation for how Rue is still roaming these streets—or what happened to Kat’s fascinating swings at confidence, or Jules’s whereabouts for the back half of the season, or the identity of the third Jacobs child—then we don’t know it.

Lara: Probably Nate Jacobs’s dad having his glizzy out in front of his family for no reason other than to piss on the floor.

4. We now know why Fezco missed Lexi’s play. How do you feel about the reason, and what’s next for the character?

Jenkins: It’s fairly bizarre that for two seasons Fezco and Ashtray have been portrayed as street-smart criminals calm in the face of high-intensity situations—only for Ash to unnecessarily stab someone in the neck in the middle of a police sting. Did Ash think that shooting up the cops would result in Fezco not going to prison? Because, um, there’s still a whole ass corpse in the living room and Fezco was caught holding a knife with blood on it. I love Fezco, but I can’t imagine a logical scenario in which he doesn’t go to jail—but the popularity of his character and Euphoria’s plot holes probably means that he isn’t.

Walker: As far as RSVPs go, a SWAT team arriving at your door because your adoptive little brother has, more or less, become a brutal killer in the past few months is a pretty solid reason to send regrets. But on a more personal level, Ashtray’s complete disregard for Fez’s well-being in forcing a shootout felt uncharacteristic, even for a frequently homicidal tween. I’m confident that “what’s next” for Fez can only be a rival-gang story line between him and likely fellow jailbird Cal. But personally, I’m manifesting a future full of baby farm animals for Euphoria’s cuddliest drug dealer.

Lara: I hated it only for the fact that Ashtray dies, but I think we see Fez spiral in a Rue-like fashion now that his brother is gone. Still, I need Sam Levinson to give us more Fexi.

Herman: I predict many heart-to-hearts with Lexi through a solid wall of Plexiglas.

Gruttadaro: First of all, goodbye to my favorite lil murderer, Ash. Second of all, it is truly weird for reality to suddenly become a factor for a character who’s been openly dealing every drug to every high schooler out of a convenience store for years. Third of all, if there’s a scene in Season 3 when Lexi and Fezco touch hands through prison glass, I am going to quit.

Sayles: A season of Fezco behind bars isn’t going to work for anyone. My dude will hopefully be under house arrest—assuming there’s much of a house left. Lexi can visit and help with Grandma.

5. Who was the MVP of Season 2?

Gruttadaro: Whichever tiny stage assistant once told Sam Levinson that art should be dangerous.

Sayles: It’s impossible to overstate how good Sydney Sweeney was as she transitioned to the top of marquee. Not only did Cassie own this season’s best moments—including, but not limited to, hiding in one tub and puking in another—but Sweeney played them with a mixture of comedy, empathy, and just the right amount of naivety, weaving together a deeply human performance that could’ve easily come off as a caricature. In the end, Cassie proved she was, in fact, “crazier than” Maddy. And while that’s not something the character should be fucking proud of, it is a performance that Sweeney deserves awards for.

Jenkins: Lexi. Much more involved than last season, one half of the best couple on the show, repeatedly called Cassie out on all her bullshit, questionable playwright but great directing chops.

Lara: Controversial but: Faye. She did end up saving Fez’s life, somewhat.

Walker: A tie between Zendaya and Labrinth (and even better: a crossover between Zendaya and Labrinth).

Herman: This may be an ensemble cast, but it’s still Zendaya’s show. Even Lexi couldn’t get a whole play to herself without Rue’s voice-over butting in!

6. Is Nate Jacobs still the most evil character on TV?

Lara: No—that title belongs to Sam Levinson.

Jenkins: Logan Roy is pushing him but Nate still wins out; nothing is more evil than repeatedly flashing loaded guns just for the sake of it.

Sayles: He’s a victim as much as anyone on this show, and despite Cal’s midseason babyface turn, the sins of the father have clearly fucked this kid up beyond repair. But also: Nate still has the most punchable face on television, so you decide.

Herman: To be truly evil, you’ve gotta have a more complex backstory than “I hate my dad.” (There’s only one true Oedipussy on the HBO starting lineup, shout-out Kendall Roy.) Nate is simply too boring and one-note to be the terrifying villain Sam Levinson wants him to be.

Gruttadaro: He does deserve some recognition for having his dad arrested for the crime of being over 45 years old and still drinking Natural Light. And I guess being able to diagnose your own dysfunction is healthier than the alternative. But Nate is still the worst, and could probably use another beating.

Walker: Game of Thrones is over right? And Ramsay Bolton got eaten by dogs? OK, then yeah, it’s definitely Nate. I would love nothing more than to see the Yellowjackets girls get just one hour in the woods with this guy. Eat his ass up, ladies!

7. What was the best or most absurd needle drop of this season?

Herman: My entire TikTok feed has been scored by “Right Down the Line” for weeks on end, so that’s the most impactful sync, at least—and Euphoria is all about making a splash.

Walker: “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS. If it didn’t make me have to think about future Cal Jacobs whipping his dick out in front of his family, which then makes me think about Nate and his mom having the worst kitchen island conversation of all time—oof, this family—my single favorite moment of the season would be the dance between young Cal and young Derek. What a feat in wordless storytelling.

Sayles: With all due respect to the beautiful and ridiculous “Drink Before the War” montage, I’m fond of the cold open of Fezco’s childhood from the premiere, which plays like a ’70s gangster flick thanks to the O’Jays and Billy Swan drops.

Jenkins: For real, though, the “Stand by Me” cue was very endearing.

Lara: I was absolutely living for Ethan’s “Holding Out for a Hero” dance number in Lexi’s play. It was so absurd and hilarious it caused Nate and Cassie to break up.


8. What was Season 2 of this show about?

Herman: Why we should always beware of theater kids.

Jenkins: WE GET IT: Kodak film stock looks better than digital. Your point has been decidedly proved and I just bid on a Super 8 camera on eBay. Wish me luck!

Gruttadaro: The second season of this high school fantasy drama was somehow all about how consequences actually exist? (Except when it comes to stealing thousands of dollars worth of drugs from a person who knows human traffickers.)

Lara: Relationships—be it the dissolution of Nate and Cal’s, the breaking and re-stitching of Rue and Jules’s, or the blossoming of Lexi and Fezco’s.

Walker: Get out your tip jars, because mama’s about to be real generous: Season 2 was about friendship. Not in a saccharine way, or even a particularly revealing way, but it gets at almost every kind of friendship an adolescent girl may encounter in high school—good and bad, toxic and transcendent—and the lasting effects they’ll ultimately have on her life. Lexi tells us over and over that her play is about friendship, and much like her IRL double, Levinson, she muddies up that theme reaaaal nice with gloriously phallic musical numbers and elaborate visuals. But I was rarely more moved during Season 2 than when watching Lexi and Rue, clear-faced and stripped of pretense, just making a plan on the phone to meet up at Lexi’s house because when the earth has been scorched and the euphoria has dried up, they’re what’s left standing. There are better shows about adolescent friendship, and there are better shows about high school theater (Pen15, I’m talking about Pen15), but even if Season 2 wasn’t about friendship, then almost all of its best moments were.

Sayles: In a literary sense: Stepping out from the shadows, whether it’s the one cast by your reputation, or your overbearing sibling, or your secret life. In practice: It’s about embarrassing your sister by writing a play about that one time she took too much ecstasy and had an orgasm on the carousel.

9. The finale has a sense of resolution, but Euphoria is coming back. So where does it go in Season 3?

Jenkins: Laurie and her goons better show up (while blasting Gerry Rafferty) and demand that Rue pay them their money.

Lara: I predict we get more Rue and Elliot—possibly switching parts, with her having to save him. I also hope to get to see Lexi and Fez confess their love for each other (from jail, of course).

Herman: Season 2 was all about making up for how Season 1 neglected Lexi and Fezco. Hopefully Season 3 will try to make up for what Season 2 did to Kat, and to a lesser extent Jules.

Sayles: Give the people what they want: more BB.

Walker: Rue’s narration explaining that she stayed clean through the rest of the school year suggests at least some kind of time jump for Season 3. As a fan of Euphoria’s vignette episodes, I’d be happy to hand over individual hours to follow each and every one of these girls’ first year out of high school … and none for Nate Jacobs, who I hope chokes.

Gruttadaro: Euphoria: The College Years is going to be so good.