Euphoria Season 2 Ending Explained: The Tangled Web Of Lost Girls And Lies

Well, folks. "Euphoria" season 2 has finally come to a close, and with it, all the wonderfully excessive weekly tweeting about the show (we missed you these last few episodes, Angus!). After we (im)patiently waited two years for its arrival, it seems like the new season has come and gone just as fast as our hope for any — literally any — plot, character development, or hell, even lines for Kat this season (yes, I am among those that are very bitter about this). The season finale was, as is expected, an emotional roller coaster. There were plenty of ups and downs and even a few funny moments, but was it really the ending we had all hoped for — nay, that we all deserved? Many fans are (understandably) upset over some of the decisions made by show creator Sam Levinson this season, leaving a lot of us to wonder just what his plan is for the recently greenlit third season.

After a bit of a slow start, "Euphoria" season 2 really piled on the drama with a deeply addicted and quickly spiraling out of control Rue. Cassie became everyone's least favorite character after she betrayed Maddy and essentially lost her damn mind over sociopath Nate Jacobs. Everyone fell in love with the unlikely coupling of Fezco and Lexi Howard (please God, just let them have their little house on the prairie), and fan-favorite characters like Jules and Kat were basically relegated to the sidelines for most of the season for literally no good reason at all. After that extremely emotional season finale (R.I.P. Ashtray), fans are left wondering what's next for many of the beloved student body of Euphoria High. So let's take a look at where their storylines have been left and what we think might be in store for them next.

Justice for Rue

After watching Rue tediously struggle with her drug addiction through season 1, she really hits rock bottom in season 2. Her friendship with the polarizing Elliot both pushes her to her limits and plays a role in bringing her back from the brink of her own deadly addiction. We saw some of Rue's darkest moments this season, but we got of her strongest, as well, and as many have said already, she is the true spirit of "Euphoria." Without her, the show just would not be as successful as it is. Still, her story feels wildly unresolved, and even though the final episode ended on a hopeful note, we can't help but feel uneasy about what's in store for her down the road. 

This season focuses on Rue's struggle with addiction as it relates to the death of her father. In one of the more vulnerable scenes between Rue and Elliot (not the four-minute-long awkward singing, my god), she blatantly tells him, "To be honest, if my dad was still here, I'd probably still be doing this s***" before casually doing a line. It is a Rue that we are familiar with — overly cocky and self-assured in her decision to use — and yet she feels fragile as Elliot says he thinks her dad's death was really not as long ago as she seems to believe. 

By the season's end — after nearly overdosing and getting sexually trafficked by crazy drug lord Laurie — Rue has seemingly come back to herself, albeit tediously. And yet she really seems like she finally understands her father's death may have more to do with her struggles than she previously thought. In a heartfelt conversation, she reassures Lexi that her father loves her even though he is an addict, and in some ways, it feels like Rue is reassuring herself of the same thing. "I can't hold on to it forever," she tells Lexi about her father's death. "It just doesn't feel good." 

Let's hope season 3 brings us a recovery-focused Rue. After everything she's been through, she deserves to have a good shot at staying clean. Just let our girl flourish for once, and for god sake's keep Laurie away.

The (lost) ladies of Euphoria

Now let's talk about the lost ladies of "Euphoria." First, there's Kat who has one of the worst plotlines of the entire season. She's mostly on the sidelines wearing very un-Kat-like clothes and having barely anything to say. She unnecessarily destroys her relationship with her Very Kind Boyfriend Ethan without any real explanation or development, and we never see her continued success as a cam girl, leaving a lot of us to wonder if she even still cams? Her story was one of the strongest in the first season, so it's disappointing to see her cast aside. I hope she and Levinson work through their reported beef so that Kat can come back in season 3 better than ever.

Jules is another lady of "Euphoria" that also started off moderately strong and then got sidelined by the season's end. She was a fan favorite through all of season 1, so to see her as an almost non-entity in season 2 is extremely jarring. Her character has always been empowered and self-assured, but suddenly she seems stripped of all of that and left as nothing more than a seemingly empty shell that is pining for both Rue and Elliot. 

The best thing about Jules was that she was so much more than her relationship with Rue in season 1. She was a complex character, and the special episode dedicated entirely to her really did a lot of work in showing that. But this season she becomes more of a side character who barely has any lines, and she truly, truly deserves so much more than that. Perhaps Levinson needs to get it together and let Hunter Schaefer co-write the Jules storyline with him more often because he seems to have no idea how to accurately portray her. 

To be honest, Jules and Kat's plotlines this season are arguably the most disappointing if only because it seems like Levinson took two of the most powerful women on the show and shoved them into restrictive boxes. It's almost as if they became too much for him to comprehend or handle, so instead of doing his research, his solution was to just shut them up when they deserved to shine. 

A tangled spiderweb of lies and betrayal

While Cassie and Maddy's storyline this season was thrilling to watch, it was also extremely disturbing. Because of her poor decision to take a ride from Nate Jacobs to the New Year's Eve party, she inexplicably finds herself in a dangerous relationship with one of the most loathsome characters on the show. I think the reason fans turned on her so fast is because she should have known better than to get mixed up with Nate, especially after being Maddy's sounding board for all of the horrible things he did to her while they were dating. It's hard to feel bad for Cassie when she had all of the facts about Nate upfront and still managed to think she could change him. And yet, Cassie is human and her need to be loved is clearly tied to deeper issues involving her own father. 

Maddy, on the other hand, became one of the season's most celebrated characters. So much so that people seemed to absolutely forget that she helped Nate frame the wrong man for her alleged rape all the way back in season 1! She proves herself to be a bad bitch, and we come to respect her more as a fiercely loyal friend. Still, both her and Cassie have a long way to go before they're passing any kind of Bechdel test, and it would be wonderful if we could see them come together over something other than the men in their lives. In the final episode of season 2, after Maddy clearly gave Cassie the beating she deserved, we are treated to a somewhat tense yet still tender scene of the girls in the high school bathroom — their spot to meet and gossip — tired, broken, and maybe even ready to forgive one another. Maddy tells Cassie, "Don't worry. This is just the beginning," simultaneously giving Cassie and Nate her blessing, as well as warning her of the (horrific) abuse to come.

I truly hope that both Cassie and Maddy find ways to both work past their issues but also find the love that they deserve next season, but something tells me that Levinson is not going to be too keen on giving happy endings to anyone in season 3, which means we will probably have more of the Nate/Maddy/Cassie love triangle in store. 

Like father, not like son

Cal and Nate Jacobs have been the "Euphoria" villains from the very beginning. This season attempts to try to redeem them in various ways, but ultimately this ends up falling a bit short. Season 2 finally gave us a Cal Jacobs breakdown where he finally accepts his sexuality, but in doing so, leaves his whole family behind. It's a tense scene, and a necessary one, but it does little in the way of making us feel for Cal. While I do sympathize with Cal and his shame surrounding who he truly is, I fail to see how his own suffering negates the fact that he sleeps with underage children and illegally records himself doing so. I want to see and understand the grey areas of Cal's personality, but Levinson just never really seems to hit the mark here.

When Nate finally makes the decision to turn his father in, he tells Cal that the reason he's reported him is because he doesn't think Cal can change. It's a moment that feels critical of Cal while also allowing for Nate to make room for his own possible redemption in direct defiance of his father's ways. I think we are supposed to feel heartbroken for Nate as he watches as his father gets handcuffed and taken away, but really, there was very little sympathy flowing from me during this scene. Nate is a horrible person, and yes, he is arguably horrible because of his traumatic upbringing. But I still can't get over the whole Maddy/gun scenario (and everything else, really), nor can I find it in myself to pity him. If Levinson wants the Jacobs men to elicit sympathy from his viewers, he's going to have to do more than just a few half-hearted attempts at redemption. These men need to really be held accountable for their horrible actions, otherwise they are nothing more than narcissistic, manipulative plot devices thrown into the show just to stir things up. And oh! Can somebody for real tell us where the hell the other Jacobs sibling is?! 

Fearless Lexi Howard

Lexi Howard is one of the most fully developed characters of season 2. Relegated to mostly a side character in the first season, she comes into her own and begins to find confidence in herself and her story. Many of us love Lexi this season because of her budding romance with everyone's favorite drug dealer, Fez. But she is also an amazing character because of what she manages to accomplish on her own. Over the course of season 2, she writes through her childhood and her life as the little sister of popular Cassie Howard, and the results are phenomenal. In a scathing production of her own play titled "Our Life," she ruthlessly takes down those who need a bit of a reality check (Cassie, Nate) while simultaneously building up those who need support (Rue). 

What makes Lexi's story this season so great is that she comes to it on her own and in her own way. Never does it feel like she is trying to impress anyone other than herself. Her focus is on her wants and needs, and this is empowering. Lexi's story is an example of "Euphoria" when it's at its best: when characters are more than just the drama that surrounds them, wholly complex in their many layers and always trying to do their best. Lexi is one of the best surprises of season 2, and I'm so grateful that Levinson decided to give her a bigger role this season because not only is she a powerful woman on the show, she is also a beacon of hope. The Fex and Lexi romance is also just a wonderful little sideline from all the horrible emotional drama, and I suspect the reason fans have taken to them so much is simply because their interest in each other feels pure and unmotivated by anything other than a mutual attraction to each other. In a show where so many of the relationships are built on power and abuse, it's nice to see two people just falling in love for once, sans drama. Here's to hoping we get more Lexi and more Fexi next season. 

We gotta talk about Fez (And Lexi and Ashtray and Faye)

I've saved the best (and also most heartbreaking) for last, and that is the ballad of Fez and Ash. If I were to sum up my feelings for this particular story line this season, it would be nothing but screaming and tears. In many ways, I do not understand how things ended up the way they did for these two. After getting the backstory on Ash, we are suddenly faced with a character that was once a charming kid and is now a ruthless killer. So ruthless that he murders multiple people without even the slightest hesitation, leaving me to question his sanity. I mean, his first reaction to the police coming to the raid the house is to load up on his weapons "Rambo" style and come out guns blazing. What?! A large part of me does not buy that logic and feels like Levinson just really wanted to film a crazy, "Scarface" inspired shootout and then kill someone off for dramatic effect. 

Then there's Fez who is one of the most beloved characters on the show. Despite being one of the least moral individuals, he just might be one of the few who's not completely self-interested. This makes him extremely likable and redeemable despite the bad stuff, which is why it's so heartbreaking to see him trying to protect his younger brother from a life in prison. We all know that Fez has been mixed up in some bad s***, and yes, perhaps he should not have hit Nate over the head with that Tito's bottle back in episode 1 (what am I saying? Of course he should have). But he did not deserve to go down like this, and I think many fans will never forgive Levinson for the heartbreak. We all just want Fezco to live happily ever after, free of a life of crime, on his farm with his goats and chickens and three children and Lexi, and honestly, is that really too much to ask? 

I think it's safe to assume that Fez will still be alive at the start of season 3, but his life is going to be drastically changed. Hopefully we get more Fezco scenes (and more Fexi, please!), and maybe, just maybe, Ash's death won't be in vain. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, "Euphoria" has always been about addiction, whether that's to drugs or to people or to power or something else entirely. This season really saw the characters face their demons in realistic ways. Gone is the glamour of the dance floor, the rave club, the excitement of chasing and getting that high. Levinson really wanted to put the cast through some of the worst pain of their lives, and in some ways he succeeds. But in other ways, he fails to comprehend his own creation.

"Euphoria" is best when it's focusing on the grey areas, blurring the lines between what is acceptable and what's not. We love Rue despite her addiction, and we know that she is a good person even though she has done and said bad things. The same rule applies to Fez, to Maddy, to Cassie, to everyone on this show. But Levinson doesn't quite lean into this concept with each of his characters. Many of them, like Cal and Nate, never really get a redemption arc that feels deserved more than it feels like misplaced sympathy for the powerful white guy on screen. Both men still continue to do horrible things to get what they want even when they are trying to make amends, and they never really seem to learn from it. 

Other characters who have proven themselves to be dynamic and powerful like Kat and Jules, find themselves in plots that relegate them to the background, stripping them of their power and their complexity in favor of a more succinct exploration of their personalities. If season 1 was all about the glamour, season 2 is about that other side of the coin where you are faced with having to look at yourself in the mirror the morning after a party. But not all of the characters in season 2 are brave enough to really take a close look at just who is staring back at them. Some of them fail to even look at all. Hopefully season 3 will bring some much needed positivity to the world of "Euphoria," showing us the complexity of human relationships while also giving us hope.