To be very clear, this is a review of the season overall WITHOUT spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen it yet or the whole thing in its entirety, you’re good. You may or may not know, but I am a big Zendaya fan. She has probably been a role model of mine since about 2010 when Shake It Up first premiered on tv. I literally resonated with her character, Rocky Blue, on another level. Anytime my best friend (at the time) and I would do their dance routines, I was always Rocky Blue. That being said, I was very excited to hear that Zendaya would be in this new show. Euphoria is definitely her breakout role (from Disney). And, I would tell you why, except this is a Euphoria review and not a Zendaya fan blog, unfortunately…
I want to start by saying that there is a disclaimer/warning before every episode for a reason. I’ve seen some reviews of the show that say it is vulgar and to not let your kids watch it. That’s fine if you don’t let your own kid watch it, but there is a literal warning there for a reason. It’s for people to decide whether or not they want to watch the show based off of things that some may find triggering. No need to try to bring the whole ship down because as an adult, you feel the need to give it a one star rating because you don’t agree with some of the themes in it. Zendaya, herself, posted several warnings on her instagram and twitter!
Euphoria is a beautifully raw show that follows many different types of people and the struggles they endure in high school/college. It includes many topics from drug addiction to slut shaming to abusive people/relationships to porn to pedophilia and so on. Not every character might seem relatable to you, but that’s the point. There is never one type of person in school. It’s always an interesting mix of different personalities often leading to very different situations. How you handle the situations that you end up in, determines who you are.
Take Rue (Zendaya), for example. She is a drug addict because her situation growing up led her to make some poor choices. All of season one is her trying to get clean from the drugs. She has a mother, Leslie (Nika King), who looks out for her and wants her to get clean and sister, Gia (Storm Reid), who looks up to and admires her despite the drug addiction. Rue tends to lean on a girl she just met, Jules (Hunter Schafer) who has her own problems related to evening excursions (I won’t spoil what it is) and one giant mess of a family (not her own).
Along with Jules, Rue has friends/acquaintances/enemies, Lexi (Maude Apatow), Chris (Algee Smith), Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Nate (Jacob Elordi), Kat (Barbie Ferreira), and Maddy (Alexa Demie). Lexi has been Rue’s friend since childhood and often comes to her aid when she needs it. Chris is a star football player who wrestles with maintaining a football scholarship in college and his relationship [with Cassie]. Cassie fights with having a happy relationship with Chris while also dealing with how society over-sexualizes and slut shames her. Nate deals with coming to terms with who his father is, trying to be the perfect son, and keep his girlfriend [Maddie]. Maddie, on the other hand, struggles with an abusive relationship [with Nate] and a lack of self control/self worth. And, last but not least, Kat deals with her new found self empowerment through some unconventional practices.
Someone I did not mention was Nate’s father, Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane). He plays an interesting role in the season as far as family dynamics go and a particular interest he has in someone. Also not mentioned was a fan favorite, Fez (Angus Cloud). He is in the predicament of being a drug dealer, but also wanting to help Rue get clean. There’s your quick run down on who the characters are and what their storyline was like this season!
As far as directing and cinematography go, ten out of ten all around because it honestly just made the show so much better! I recall this one scene when Rue was getting high and she was basically walking up the wall onto the ceiling, back to the wall and then the floor. Another one was when she was high on drugs (again) and Zendaya just stared at the camera giving us many different emotions while the lights changed colors. I remember the music making me feel like I was also high. That scene is just so utterly perfect that you have to check it out for yourself:
Something that also needs to be talked about is the soundtrack and acting. The soundtrack was heaven sent and each song fits the vibe of the scene perfectly. The stunning soundtrack was crafted by singer-songwriter, Labrinth. The season finale includes a special treat that you should check out, if you haven’t! The acting is phenomenal from everyone. You really have to appreciate how much effort and time these actors put into making their characters come to life. Everyone forgets that these characters/situations are based off of real experiences that the creator (Sam Levinson) took from his own past. I truly enjoyed this season and am looking forward to when the next season comes out!
I give this show a 9/10!
If you haven’t seen Euphoria yet, go check it out on HBO!