lingering questions

All the Things We’re Still Waiting for Euphoria to Address

Photo: HBO

“The show goes on,” Lexi says through tears in Euphoria season-two finale “All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name,” and that moment both sums up this episode’s somewhat defensive posture and alludes to the cliffhangers left dangling by series creator, writer, and director Sam Levinson. The observations Lexi weaves into her play Our Life insightfully lay bare the complicated relationships between her friend groups at East Highland High School. But as a way to end this season, was that performative meta-ness effective and entertaining, or underwhelming and — as stage manager Bobbi warns against — boring? Well … a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B!

In column A: The onstage antics of Our Life lead to some resolution by the end of these 61 minutes. Nate, spurred into action after realizing he’s become a school laughingstock, interrupts his father’s new “single and loving it” lifestyle to turn him over to the police. Cassie and Maddy sheathe their very manicured nails after fighting over Nate for — days? weeks? Euphoria is not the best at depicting lengths of time! And Rue, seeing in Our Life a reflection of her friends’ concern and love for her, reconciles with former bestie Lexi and stays clean through the remainder of the school year.

In column B: Whether those endings are earned through the storytelling of this final episode is another question. After an unevenly paced season with an array of dangerous and dramatic moments, so many subplots just disappeared into the ether of “All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name.” As quick as an Ethan Daley costume change in Our Life, let’s run through a selection of them as we begin the wait for Euphoria season three.

What did Nate turn in Cal for? 
As viewers, we know Cal had sex with Jules when she was 17 years old (she lied and told him she was 22), and he captured it on video without her knowledge. If Nate is turning in Cal for recording sex without the approval of his partners, wouldn’t the cops need to contact those people first to verify Nate’s claims about their lack of consent? Or verify their ages? And if Nate is turning in Cal for having sex with Jules, doesn’t that blow up her life and go against every promise he made to her previously? Getting rid of Cal is fine, but the details of this are puzzling! Putting Nate in the middle of all these Riddler-like plans … I do not believe he would be capable of planning and executing schemes that are this complex!

What happened to Jules?
What was her arc this season? Did she have one? She goes from saying in “Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob” that she is no longer interested in men, to jumping into a hookup routine with Elliot, about which she lies to Rue. When Rue says to Jules that she’s addicted to being loved — that would have been interesting to explore, if the show had bothered doing so! Alas.

Kat: Still MIA?
Barbie Ferreira could walk away from Euphoria and no one would blame her. After a thoroughly diminished second season for Kat, the entirety of her role in the finale episode is to chase after Maddy and say her name as she tries to break up the Maddy/Cassie fight. Remember when Kat had an arc? That was nice, while it lasted.

What about Laurie?
Martha Kelly is absolutely terrifying as Laurie, and she was very believable in her threats to Rue over the lost profits from that suitcase. But she’s just … fine with never getting paid back? Rue owes her thousands of dollars! This woman casually mentions sex trafficking, and she has a mysterious locked door in her apartment; I sincerely doubt she would let Rue walk around free, especially now that Fezco is arrested and Rue doesn’t have him to serve as a buffer for Laurie.

Can you beat heroin cold turkey?
Genuine question: Is this possible? Why amplify Leslie’s desperation for inpatient care for Rue earlier in the season, and have Rue’s character development end with, “Actually, she kept hanging out with the exact same people and going to the exact same school and had no relapses at all, everything was dandy!”? When Leslie told Rue she was going to focus on Gia to try and give her other daughter the attention she deserves, that felt like a little bit of reverse psychology, not a genuine “do whatever you want” message to Rue. I don’t quite buy that Rue could handle sobriety so well, with absolutely no changes to the routine that was triggering for her in the past. And hey, where is Gia?

Fezco and Fexi: 💔?
When will Rue and Lexi, two of the most important people in Fezco’s life, talk about the fact that his house was besieged, his little brother was killed, and he was arrested? If those charges include two counts of murder for the deaths of Mouse and Custer, potential assault charges for beating up that doctor in the first-season finale and Nate in the second-season premiere, and drug dealing and possession … that could be a lot of time! That’s a pretty major thing for two reconciled BFFs who have Fezco in common to not address or discuss in this finale.

Who stepped into the drug-dealing vacuum left by Fezco’s arrest? Who is taking care of his grandmother? What happened to Faye? Will Lexi stand by Fez? Is Fezco going to get his own The Night Of story line? There is huge narrative potential in the aftermath of Fezco’s downfall, although I personally don’t care for it. But Ashtray’s decision, and the fact that he put Fezco in so much danger to begin with by locking that door and emptying all those guns against the cops, doesn’t quite track for this family who is so defined by its loyalty.

It’s only been one school year?
Jacob Elordi, bless his heart, is a grown-ass man. Those are not teenage shoulders. Euphoria has an Ozark problem, and I am not averse to a time jump.

What does being a Euphoria producer entail?
It’s hard to pinpoint a particular Euphoria-related controversy given that so many raise eyebrows, but playwright Jeremy O. Harris tweeting that Euphoria fans had “an intellect for CINEMA and not the impatience of TELEVISION” was a good one. Way to insult the medium of the show for which you are a co-producer! But hey, fingers crossed that we’ll get a word as meme-worthy as “Gesamtkunstwerk” from Harris’s tweets about season three. That’s what Euphoria meant when it said “art should be dangerous,” right?


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All the Things We’re Still Waiting for Euphoria to Address