Euphoria is a harsh yet necessary look inside the mind of an addict and the realities of mental illness. The show doesn’t shy away from how sexually driven a teenagers world has become. This show might not be for everybody. Euphoria is as uncensored a show as I’ve seen on HBO. Some might refer to that as being raw, but sometimes the truth isn’t pretty. But if you dig deep into the show, Zendaya’s newest project deal with issues concerning female identity. Are girls defined by their sexual proclivities in high school?
The first episode centers around Rue Bennett (Zendaya) and her journey out of rehab and into her fast-living lifestyle. Everything changes when she comes across a transgender girl by the name of Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer) who like Rue is trying to find her way in this world and dull the pain of losing a father by any means at her disposal. Amid the debauchery and the beautiful cinematography in the first episode, what stood out to me was Hunter’s performance. She had a compelling presence in the first episode (and I’m guessing the rest of the series). She was able to covey such pain on screen. The simplest of looks often tell the longest tales. Pairing her up with Zendaya seems at this point to be an excellent decision.
I also quite enjoyed how the narrative wove in an out of different perspectives as a single moment was unfolding. One of the more interesting characters to me was Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow). She seems empowered on many fronts, and her character was extremely developed for the first episode. I’m interested to see where they take her role.
Overall, the first episode certainly introduced some interesting thematic elements and laid the groundwork for where this season might go. It seems that Euphoria is less of a show and more of a journey these characters are embarking on, and I for one am thrilled to be along for the ride.