Sunday, June 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Euphoria' - Rue Risks Another Overdose While Nate Continuously Hurts People in 'Stuntin' Like My Daddy'

HBO's Euphoria - Episode 1.02 "Stuntin' Like My Daddy"

On the first day of school, Rue's excited about her new friend, Jules, but struggles to put the past behind her and gets into trouble at Fezco's. Nate becomes obsessed with Maddy's hookup, Tyler, while trying to get back together with Maddy. Kat finds out that a video of her has surfaced online. McKay takes the stress of college out on Cassie.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Euphoria.

"Stuntin' Like My Daddy" was written by Sam Levinson and directed by Sam Levinson

It was previously established that Rue had overdosed and her body was discovered by her younger sister at the start of the summer. More of that event is actually seen here. Her abuse of drugs actually informed everything about her summer and makes her essentially have a panic attack during the first day back at school when the teacher asks an innocent question about memories from the last few months. This episode then proceeds to show Rue risking an overdose once again because she is so desperate for that high. Sure, she prays to a god for the strength that it doesn't happen again. She continues to present a convincing story to her family that she remains clean and sober after being released. And yet, she is constantly looking for a score. She gets it when she is intimidated by Fez's drug connection. That's a scary and intense sequence. One where everywhere is worried that the worst could happen to Rue once more. But that's always the state of mind for an addict. They understand the risks that come from abusing these substances. And yet, the joy and elation that they receive because of that high can also make their lives substantially better and more manageable. That's the way that Rue has always viewed her life. It doesn't matter that her best friend calls her out as having a split personality. Rue will continue to damage her most personal relationships. It means Fez and Jules feel the responsibility to take care of her after this latest scare. Nothing seems to happen besides her getting incredible high. But that too could only fuel her descent into addiction further. Elsewhere, this hour really illuminates who Nate is. It's such a despicable portrait of white privilege and the rage that comes from such entitlement. The show explains that Nate is the way he is today because of seeing how his father acts both in life and on the various sex tapes he has made over the years. That's very twisted but it makes such an impression as well. It means that Nate has grown up with the mentality that he needs to project strength no matter what. Gay panic is a near constant urge he feels in the locker room. He looks at women with sexual fascination and nothing else. It's all about what they are doing that arouse him. It's never about Maddy as an individual person with meaningful and insightful feelings. Instead, it's about all of the things he is attracted to physically. And then, he is fueled by this idea of being her personal protector and savior no matter what. It's startling to see him actually be willing to commit violence in order to defend her honor. He views that as acceptable behavior that is placed upon him because of these strong emotions. And yes, the show highlights how Maddy is playing games in this relationship as well. But it's sinister to watch as Nate stalks the guy she was making out in the pool with at McKay's party. H then breaks into Tyler's apartment to physically assault him. It's absolutely horrifying. It all stems from this aura of anger and superiority issues. It may not be all that original for a character in a high school set drama. But the execution paints a bleak portrait of how young men are raised in this specific way. Their horrifying actions always have a root cause. That should also concern the audience very much when it comes to him flirting with Jules over an app. He does all of this to defend Maddy but is actively seeking out more sexual pleasure for himself because he feels entitled to that as a man whose sexual prowess must be on point and respected every single day of his life.