Season 2 of HBO’s Euphoria has come and gone, and as usual, our favorite characters have been through hell and back, then back again.
But which of the characters had the most compelling story? Well, some disappointed, and others exceeded viewers expectations – here’s a breakdown of what the characters of Euphoria endured:
Rue started her journey by casually getting back into drugs, seemingly out of nihilistic despair, reuniting with Jules just as her addiction crept back. It was poetically poor timing, and we watched her doomed balancing act tumble to rock bottom over the course of the season, alienating her from everyone she cares about. Finally, she ended up in the vile clutches of Laurie, and narrowly avoided being sex trafficked.
Rue’s story highlights the horrors of addiction, how drugs can reduce users to a state of chronic desperation, as they lie and steal from their loved ones, or are taken advantage of by predators, blinded by the pursuit of the next high.
Rue went on to make a surprising recovery, seemingly helped by watching her life narrativized by Lexi’s play, which was seemingly less of a story, and more of a lecture to her friends and family.
Rue’s final words seem to be spoken from a future free of drugs, but sadly, without Jules. Rue’s life, however, can’t be too tranquil just yet – Laurie is going to come back to collect her money at some point.
Cassie suffered her share of trauma from the last season and seemingly dealt with it by leaping into a relationship with the most unhinged person she knows, who happened to be her best friend’s ex. Amusingly, she didn’t really have a reason to, other than simply finding Nate hot – that was enough to betray her bestie.
It wasn’t a good decision, and Cassie continued to make terrible, terrible decisions, crying enough tears to fill a hot tub; the character never seemed to experience a moment of peace. Hell, Nate was guilt-tripping her even when he was going down on her.
Cassie’s story culminated in Nate breaking up with her after she had already burned all her bridges, prompting her to explode in rage at Lexi’s play, which cruelly parodied her cringy behavior. It wasn’t much of a victory for Cassie, and by the end, she was left with nothing but regret.
Cassie certainly didn’t experience much growth or change this season, but there’s something deeply compelling about watching a character make nothing but bad decisions, doubling down when they really shouldn’t.
Plus, she did provide most of the drama, and inspired most of the best memes, along with Maddy.
Maddy spent this season trying to distance herself from the abusive, manipulative Nate, until insecurity and loneliness pushed her back. Soon, she found herself hurt, wounded far worse than the first time, as she learned of Cassie’s betrayal, before being traumatized by Nate’s pistol and the “just joking” game of Russian Roulette.
Maddy finished her story by exploding at Cassie one final time, before accepting what had happened, perhaps helped by Samantha’s advice. Overall, Maddy proved very likable this season, her fiery attitude and loyalty highlighted as her big strengths.
We never got to see her move on from Nate, but hopefully, Maddy has grown wiser from her time spent being manipulated and abused, and will truly move on in season 3.
Lexi’s slow-burning romance with Fez proved a surprising highlight of the season, a sweet moment between two seemingly mismatched characters who actually have quite a bit in common, when they take the time to sit and talk.
Lexi’s tendency to sit back and watch others, rather than engage in drama herself, is underlined as she slowly writes her play, which proves pivotal. She and Fez share conversations about how the play might be perceived, reenacting the debate about how much inspiration one can mine from their personal life without crossing a line.
Lexi very much crosses that line, creating characters that are direct matches to their real-life counterparts, ensuring that everyone in the audience knows who Cassie’s “character” is, then showcasing the most embarrassing moments of her sister’s life.
Lexi also does the same to Rue, taking her most personal wounds and exposing them onstage – seemingly, the play is Lexi’s attempt to deliver a firm lecture to her friends and family. Maybe she should try talking next time! The ending paints Lexi as some kind of misunderstood genius, not really delving into the depth of her betrayal to Cassie.
It’s a story that feels oddly inauthentic for Euphoria, which has never pretended to be a realistic, grounded series, but usually feels more emotionally honest than this.
Fez has had an interesting journey this season, sparking a connection with Lexi, and almost sabotaging it by beating the crap out of Nate, just like his Grandma taught him. Before that, Fez inadvertently hooks Rue up with a terrifying drug dealer, after facing some consequences for Mouse’s murder.
Fez and little Ash prove a likable duo, as Ash constantly is on alert for danger, having saved Fez’s skin more than once.
Sadly, just as Fez and Lexi’s relationship looks to be getting serious, the police swarm their apartment, Mouse’s murder returning to haunt them again. Hence, Fez loses his little brother, his downfall foreshadowed by his brutal act of violence towards Nate. The violence instilled in both boys by Grandma Fez proved to be their undoing; poor Fez just wanted a peaceful life, it seems, but couldn’t quite escape his upbringing.
At least, not yet; perhaps the soft-spoken dealer will turn a corner in season 3 – after he gets out of jail.
Euphoria’s resident sociopath began this season’s journey having his skull shattered by Fez, his concussion seemingly convincing him that he should pursue Cassie, who already proved more than willing to engage in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Nate’s control freakery came out in full swing this season, as he attempted to manipulate both Maddy and Cassie for as long as possible, seemingly drawn more towards Maddy, perhaps because she wasn’t as easy to conquer.
Nate also managed to triumph over his father by going after his one weakness – the sex tape, which lead to Cal mentally unraveling and leaving the family house. Nate achieved everything he wanted, but had his reputation damaged by Lexi, prompting him to go after Cal again, and send the police evidence of his father’s sex crimes.
Nate ends the season having achieved an aggressive victory over his father (and damaged his real estate business), but might have lost both Maddy and Cassie for good – perhaps he’ll aim for Jules next season.
Nate’s father can surely be blamed for many of his son’s worst tendencies, and was one of the many creeps that have prayed on Jules. However, season 2 took an unexpectedly deep dive into his past, and Cal proved just as interesting as any of the main characters.
Cal went on a dramatic journey, starting as a repressed, respectable man desperate to preserve his image, to embracing his true identity and abandoning his family for a more … bohemian lifestyle, before finally ending up arrested.
Cal was revealed to have lost his teenage love, becoming a father against his own instincts, and raising a very broken and unstable person along the way. Cal might be out of the picture now, but his story showed how even an extremely unlikable side character can be fleshed out into a believable person.
Suze received a lot of fan love this season, for being the “fun” mom who is seemingly in touch with the kids, at least, when she’s not yelling at them. Sure, she’s got a drinking problem and other flaws, but Suze comes across as the kind of parent who a teen could comfortably approach with a problem, without being judged – plus her delighted reaction to appearing in Lexi’s play was hilarious.
Ash doesn’t have much of a personality – his primary characteristic is his willingness to inflict horrendous violence on his enemies, but the unusual character left quite an impression on fans, and many were devastated to see him die. R.I.P. Ash – he and Fez’s unbreakable brotherly bond was one of the strongest pairings in the show.
Faye didn’t have a lot to do this season but she did eventually speak up and have a hero moment, even if her attempt to save the boys failed – probably should have said something earlier.
Kat started off with a strong storyline, pulled into some very imaginative sequences as she stressed over the fact she didn’t really care for Ethan. Then she just disappeared – it was a disappointing diminishment of an interesting character.
Elliot waltzed in and completely destroyed Jules and Rue’s romance, and got Rue back into drugs, providing a consistent supply of substances and a cool person to do them with. He didn’t do much else, but his chaotic-yet-laidback energy really matched the vibe of the show.
Jules seemingly just exists at this point for people to fall in love with her. She’s a cool character and all, but her ability to turn everyone into a simpering, swooning admirer is getting to be kind of funny, considering that we don’t really know all that much about her – perhaps season 3 will show us why Jules is so magnetic.