Euphoria Season 2 Yearbook: Wash Your Hands

We're here. We made it to the end of "Euphoria" season two, and what do we have to show for it? Off the top of my head, I'd say: trauma, memes, catharsis, rage, and makeup inspiration. The show definitely delivered on writer-director Sam Levinson's early promise to make the season feel like a party that just won't end. When it did finally come to a close this week, after eight rocky weeks, it went out with both a bang and a whimper.

This is the last we'll see of our "Euphoria" yearbook for the time being, so let's dig into it, hand out some superlatives, and crown, for the first time ever, our Most Likely To Succeed.

Biggest surprise (sort of): Ashtray and Fez ended up in a shootout

Lexi and Fez were always too good to be true. I was drawn to their sweetness and the innocence of their relationship like a moth to a flame, and I know so many other fans were too. And yet. And yet! Fez is a drug dealer whose brother recently killed someone. It was so easy to forget about this when he was grooving along to the end credits of "Stand By Me," or when, in this episode's flashbacks, he was talking earnestly with Lexi about his hopes for the future. But the finale brings the dangerous realities — or, because this is "Euphoria," hyper realities–of his life back into the foreground.

Fez is about to head out the door to see Lexi's play when Custer tries to get him to start talking about Mouse's murder. Faye drops a glass, and when she stoops to pick up the pieces, she gestures to Fez to stay quiet. Then she starts trying to cover for him, ostensibly turning on her own boyfriend as she makes up a story about Laurie being the killer.

Trigger-happy Ashtray does not catch on. He senses Custer is a threat but doesn't realize there's a wire, so he naturally does his Ashtray thing and plunges a knife into Custer's neck. In a brutally effective moment, Fez has to hold a hand over the man's mouth, suffocating him to finish off the job, all while we see flashes of his optimistic conversations with Lexi. If the Fez plot had ended here, it would be upsetting but realistic. Instead, though, it devolves into a full-blown "Scarface"-style shootout.

Initially, Fez tries to take the blame for Ashtray. "Go wash your f***ing hands," he says. "I love you, brother." Once again, Ash has other plans; he knocks Fez out and barricades himself in the bathroom with a whole stockpile of guns. This is where things get a little ridiculous. We don't know Ash that well, but if he was raised by Fez, wouldn't he have a similar live and let live attitude? What made the little dude so bloodthirsty and bull-headed? We'll never know because when a SWAT team busts down the door, they execute him. Fez, who takes a shot himself, sees it all happen. I've always been less into the exploitation-lite half of "Euphoria" than the emotionally vulnerable half, but this part especially felt unearned to me. In the season's most vexing plot conclusion, Fez is dragged off by the police, his bloody note to Lexi lying unopened on the ground.

Moment that'll come up in therapy later: Nate got his dad arrested

When the camera first showed a close-up shot of someone loading a revolver while driving, I initially thought it would be a flashback to Fez's badass grandma. But I should've known it was Nate, the town's resident beer-swilling, high-speed driver. He heads to a warehouse, where his dad Cal is hanging out with an assorted group of cool young folks. Despite the loaded gun, Nate stays calm this whole scene. He asks his dad if he's happy, and when Cal doesn't give a straight answer, he asks if he's at least happier. Nate's voice breaks a little when he says it.

The scene takes a turn when Nate brings up his nightmare about his dad violating him. Last week, I was sure this was simply a nightmare, but other viewers thought it was proof he'd been harmed by his dad in the past. Now, I'm not so sure. When Nate shares his dream, Cal doesn't seem surprised. He simply asks everyone to leave so the two can talk. I may have been too deep in the theories about Nate's secret younger brother this past week, but this whole conversation seems intentionally vague to me. Despite telling Cal he discovered his video stash at age 11, Nate says he's been protecting his dad his whole life. Cal says he refused to keep Nate safe. In what way?

We don't find out, because Nate reveals both the loaded gun and a flash drive that presumably contains all of Cal's homemade sex tapes–including at least one with an underage partner, Jules. It's then that the cops arrive. I was sure this scene would end with someone dead, but instead, it ends with Cal in handcuffs, and Nate as stoic as ever. The gun turns out to be little more than a protective measure here, like the box cutter Jules hid up her sleeve when she met with Nate a few weeks ago.

Best season-long payoff: Cassie and Maddy duke it out

Meanwhile, Lexi's play has just hit an unexpected intermission. Cassie stomps into the theater, her footsteps echoing with comic loudness as if she's Godzilla. Everyone sees her storm by, but no one stops her. Cassie gets on stage and does her best to humiliate her sister. "Isn't she brave?" she says sardonically, speaking to the school as a whole. The audience can't tell if this is a play or not. This goes on for a while until Suze gets on stage in an attempt to break it up (after complimenting multi-talented Ethan, of course).

Cassie isn't having it and goes for Lexi's jugular with her next lines. "I'm the one who takes risks," she says, in a passionate tell-off that all but calls Lexi a nobody. "I'm the one who falls in love. I'm the one who gets hurt, not you, Lexi." When the actor playing a version of Cassie starts comically gyrating against a merry-go-round (oh, season one), Cassie loses the last of her composure. She lunges for the actress, which finally spurns Maddy into action.

"Oh, this b**ch needs to be put down," Maddy says, leaping up from her seat for the mano-a-mano battle we've all been waiting for. She gets on stage and quickly lands a slap, then chases Cassie down the hallway where she slams her into a wall. It's an epic moment, but it's also a surprisingly restrained one; the camera doesn't relish showing their fight, and the scuffle isn't even very two-sided. The next time we see them, they're nursing their wounds, side-by-side in the bathroom where they've spent so much time together. Our girls are together again. Cassie, nose bloodied and hair a frazzled mess, laments the fact that Nate broke up with her. "Don't worry," Maddy says knowingly. "This is just the beginning."

Biggest gut punch: Rue and Lexi reconcile

Every time I think I might be done with "Euphoria," or at least done enjoying it enough to recommend it to others, it brings us back to Rue. It all comes back to Rue. In the climax of the play, we see the ways she and Lexi's lives have been echoes of one another; one has a dad who left, and one has a dad who died. Both events led to Lexi visiting a loved one in the hospital, quietly storing away her own pain for later examination–through this very play.

The two talk about as much in a scene that, confusingly, seems to exist both after and during the play. The behind-the-scenes commentary that aired after the episode confirms that it was a real conversation between the pair, who come together as friends for the first time in ages. Rue calls Lexi and tells her the play was beautiful; Lexi says she's probably the only person who thinks so. When the two meet in person, it's for a quiet, cathartic conversation about how far they've come, and where they still need to go.

The pair talk about the complicated realities of missing their dads. Rue tells Lexi the play is proof she's figured out how to deal with her trauma, which Rue hasn't done yet. She says she needs to figure out how to let go of everything to survive, and how to make meaning from everything that's happened. It's a lovely, unembellished scene between two people who clearly hold a lot of tenderness for one another in their hearts. "I think you play was the first time I was able to look at my life and not hate myself," Rue admits. They share a hug.

Most likely to succeed: Rue! No, really!

"Euphoria" ends its chaotic, relentless second season on a note of tremendous maturity and tentative peace. When Jules approaches Rue after the play to tell her she loves and misses her, Rue gives her tender kisses on the head, then leaves. She walks down the hallway, looking healthier than she ever has. Her voiceover sounds more like Lexi's now, imbued with a sort of nostalgic structure that's night and day when contrasted with her previously depressed and fragmented thoughts. She thinks about how Jules was her first love, but admits she was too high to treasure the love that was there. It feels like a door closing, gently. Then she gets omniscient for a minute, telling us she stayed clean through the school year. Thank God.

The finale ends with Rue's thoughts, clear and sure as she leaves the auditorium and walks out into the evening air:

"I don't know if this feeling will last forever, but I am trying. I remember Ali said, 'The thought of maybe being a good person is what keeps me trying to be a good person.' Maybe there's something to that."

Even more superlatives

Best musical moment: In a poignant moment that goes on a little longer than the slight character arc may have earned, Eliot sings Rue a song about "a couple sinners making fun of hell." I can't help but contrast this from last year's final musical number, "All For Us," which used complicated choreography and a layered musical arrangement to communicate Rue's orchestral descent back into using drugs. Now, she's clean and sober, and the song that celebrates her life is a simple, acoustic joy.

Best dressed: Lexi blossomed this season, and you can see it in her outfit as she takes to the stage. She wears double-winged eyeliner, a golden headband, and a dark, velvety dress with what appear to be gold and jade green accents. She's a star.

Extra credit: There's no extra credit this week. School's out! Stay safe out there!