Monday, July 22, 2019

REVIEW: 'Euphoria' - A Halloween Party Causes Lots of Tension for Rue, Jules, Cassie and McKay in 'The Next Episode'

HBO's Euphoria - Episode 1.06 "The Next Episode"

On Halloween, Rue worries about her reliance on Jules, while Jules starts exhibiting concerning behavior. McKay questions his future in football. After a weird night with McKay, Cassie spends time with Daniel. Business is booming for Kat as she continues to push Ethan away. Nate comes up with a plan to get his life back on track.

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.

"The Next Episode" was written by Sam Levinson and directed by Pippa Bianco

It remains unclear if the show has much depth beyond its central argument that men are simply the worst. This hour shows just how terrible the entire gender can be. It all stems from the way that they were raised into believing the need to be tough and strong is the only way to present and be respected as a man. The idea of vulnerability and doubt can never creep into one's mindset. That can be such a toxic mentality though. The show has already been exploring just how vicious and brutal Nate can be in order to get exactly what he wants. This hour delves further into McKay's story. It shows how high school can really make people feel independent even though they remain attached to an insular life. It's not until college that they are truly hit with the reality check of what it actually means to be an adult. Of course, high school students unfortunately operate with the belief that they are invincible and can do whatever they want. Some of them are pushing that reality to its extreme. And yet, they are all exhibiting troubling behavior that is bound to lead to major consequences. The show is no longer really asking the audience to care about Rue's sobriety. That seems like the least pressing issue even though Rue should remain the central character everyone else in this world pivots around. Now, Cassie realizes that she is late with her period, Kat is receiving everything she wants from guys online and Nate is orchestrating an entire conspiracy built on blackmail in order to get away with assaulting Maddie. It's all despicable behavior that almost leaves some of them feeling validated by their life choices. For the longest time, Cassie felt empowered because she could turn all the boys' heads with her looks. And yet, she's at a complete loss over what to do when McKay is assaulted by his own teammates. That too showcases how the art of hazing is extremely problematic and dangerous. It exposes McKay in this very intimate moment and essentially ruins whatever dynamic he and Cassie were hoping to have. He can't be vulnerable with her. Instead, he just feels emasculated if he doesn't finish having sex with her. That too is horrifying and shows how his values are out of place. He may understand that he lacks the skills to make a professional career out of football. And yet, he also lacks the convictions to speak up and be understood by his father who continues to push him without truly knowing and accepting everything that's going on at college. McKay is adrift. But that's part of the growing pains that comes from trying to be an independent person in this world. He still lives under the influence of his peers and the pressure of his parents. He just doesn't know what else could possibly define him. Meanwhile, Cassie is demeaned to the point where she is considered to be no more than a sexual object that men wish to conquer. She projects a sense of importance because everyone wants to believe that they are special. But she doesn't quite understand the charms she is putting out into the world. Instead, her drama could lead to very major consequences. It should be fascinating to see if the show actually commits to these fears as well. Will McKay and Cassie actually have a baby? Will the police actually expose the monstrous tendencies of Nate? That remains up in the air because the show continues to operate more as a cautionary tale that pulls the curtain back on behavior that is rampant amongst the current teenage population. It teases the possible repercussions but Rue remains the only person who has really had to deal with the bleak realities of life so far. The show is still struggling to define itself even though it is admirably trying to expand its narrative while increasing the stakes for the overall season.