Euphoria’s Return

 By Nina Wilhelmy 

The Seven Hills School— After a two-year hiatus excluding two special episodes aired in late 2020 and early 2021, Euphoria is finally back in business with season two. 

The premiere aired on Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. EST, and the traffic generated crashed not only HBO max but the predominant pirating site. Most viewers were unable to stream episode one until 9:20, increasing the incredible amount of anticipation for the new season. Since then, four episodes have been released in total, each bringing about a multitude of polarizing arguments regarding the nuance of the characters, actors, and plot. Many topics of discourse have provoked thought as to whether or not Cassie is forgivable, Nate is gay, or the season will end in a death, and many more. Euphoria has taken over the internet over the past few weeks as fans hash out their theories and predictions. 

What really stokes the fire surrounding the series as it continues to burn into this new season is its evolution into something larger than ever before. Creator Sam Levinson said that the series is meant to feel like a high school house party. What’s special about it is that season one is meant to feel like 2 a.m., while season two is at 5 a.m., long after everyone should have called it a night. This scenario captures the exhaustion with their situations the characters experience at such a young age. It also envokes nostalgia in viewers which is magnified by the fact that the season is shot on film, which along with the cinematography creates an experience akin to walking down memory lane. Kodak specifically brought their Ektachrome film back for the show which has not been in production since 2013. The new tone of nostalgia in contrast to an in-the-moment setting in season one draws fans back in as if season one wrapped yesterday. 

Another reason the series has remained captivating is that its production has always been flexible. The cast and crew manage to portray a very accurate depiction of a modern society influenced by drugs and technology, yet is visually entertaining, artistic, and captivating all around. They do so by dressing the characters in current fashion trends, choosing a soundtrack full of timeless songs, and even involving the actors in the writing process. The two special episodes were co-written by Zendaya and Hunter Schafer, who was able to give extremely accurate insight into her struggles as a young trans woman. The actors are given freedom and encouraged to do a considerable amount of improvisation during every scene to make for realistic encounters full of emotion. They are also included in the segments following each episode in which they can explain their relationships with and takes on their characters. By not pushing the series to continue during the pandemic, the crew has been able to meticulously set up each episode to be full of symbols and explore each character’s inner turmoil and their backstories. Season two has been amazing so far because of this flexibility that the series has. 

Tune in on HBO max on Sundays at 9 p.m. to be included in the series of this generation. 

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