Euphoria: Seasons 1 and 2 Review

Euphoria came on HBO/HBO Max in June 2019. It has since exploded as a cultural phenomenon. The show was the talk of Twitter all through its Season 2 run, which recently concluded on February 27 of this year. It has been picked up for season 3 which is rumored to return in 2024, due the main casts busy upcoming schedules. Leading lady, Zendaya, won an Emmy in 2020 for her portrayal as the drug-addicted teen Ruby “Rue” Bennett.

I remember when I first watched the show back when season 1 was airing. I was fascinated by the cinematography and Zendaya’s acting. I was invested in Rue and the rest of the characters. Season 1 was like lighting in a bottle.

Season 2 was originally supposed to come back in 2020, but the pandemic delayed that. So, instead of a season 2 in late 2020, we got two special episodes. Rue’s special episode was an honest conversation between her and her sponsor. Jules’ special episode was a candid conversation between her and her therapist. The special episodes served as an update on two of the main characters since we now had to wait an entire year for Season 2.

Season 2 premiered on January 9, 2022, to the highest viewership the series had ever seen. The amount of people logging into HBO Max caused the app to temporarily crash.

Season 2 was a rollercoaster for all of the characters, but especially so for Rue and Cassie 😤 🙄😦. I don’t want to spoil anything, but at this point if you haven’t seen the memes from this season, I side eye you. LOL. This season was definitely darker than season 1, but it was necessary for the stories they were trying to tell. One thing for sure, Zendaya better be nominated for, and WIN, another Emmy because her performance in episode 5 of this season was phenomenal.

I rewatched both seasons and the special episodes to craft this spoiler free review, and while I did enjoy season 2, season 1 was definitely a bit better. I think it’s difficult for shows to outperform a phenomenal first season, which is why season 2 of hugely popular shows sometimes suffer from what is known as the sophomore slump. I wouldn’t say season 2 of Euphoria was a slump, but it was a bit disjointed in parts due to the pandemic and the admitted last minute storyline changes. Overall, I’d give season 2 a B minus as compared to Season 1.

Another big thing from this show has been its soundtrack and score. British singer-songwriter Labrinth is responsible for the show’s score. The soundtracks for both seasons includes music from 1970s all the way up to today. Several artists have also contributed songs to the show’s soundtrack including James Blake, Lana Del Rey, Tove Lo, and Zendaya. Zendaya is featured on “All for Us”, the season 1 finale song, and two songs in Season 2, “Elliot’s Song” and “I’m Tired”. She wrote both “I’m Tired” and “Elliot’s Song” with Labrinth. Her co-star Dominic Fike, who plays Elliot in season 2, shared vocals with her on “Elliot’s Song”.

Euphoria is not a show for everyone, as it deals with mature themes and does include graphic depictions of drug use, sex, and violence. There is a reason it’s on HBO and rated TV-MA. Zendaya herself put out a content warning before the show first premiered back in 2019 and put another content warning out before season 2 premiered.

I enjoy the show and I have theories of how I want season 3 to go. 2024 is a long wait, but it’s well worth it.

Euphoria can be watched on HBO/HBO Max. The official score and soundtracks can be found on all music streaming services.

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