'Euphoria' Season 2: What We Know

Reactions to the second season of the hit HBO drama have been mixed.

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(Image credit: HBO)

Break out the glittery eyeshadow and the Zendaya fan art: In 2022, Euphoria season 2 finally dropped. Fresh on the heels of Zendaya's history-making win at the 72nd Annual Emmys—the 24-year-old actress snagged the Lead Actress in a Drama Series trophy for her portrayal of teen addict Rue Bennett—HBO confirmed that the pieces were finally falling into place for the second highly anticipated season of Euphoria. On January 9, 2022, the first episode of the second season finally aired; the remaining episodes aired Sunday nights at 9 p.m. until the end of February 2022.

Is there a trailer for Euphoria season 2?

Yes! On December 20, 2021, HBO Max dropped a trailer for the second season, with the cryptic tagline "REMEMBER THIS FEELING." The almost three-minute clip opens with Rue wheeling a suitcase into a Narcotics Anonymous meeting; then we hear Rue's voiceover about Jules, saying, "When I first met her, I was just immediately in love." The rest of the trailer gives us glimpses of Rue and Jules dancing, Rue making a new friend, Cassie having a bathroom fashion meltdown, Maddy considering pregnancy (?!), Rue fighting with her mom, and what can only be a disastrous New Year's Eve party. Can't wait!

What happened at the end of Euphoria season 1? 

The eighth and final episode of season 1, titled "And Salt the Earth Behind You," saw Rue relapsing (in a surreal musical sequence); Jules leaving for the big city; Kat and Ethan getting together at the winter formal; Cassie seeking an abortion; and Maddy swiping an incriminating CD from Nate's room that could expose Nate's father. 

What has the cast said about Euphoria season 2?

Talking to Stylecaster, Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie, teased at a season 2 story arc that is apparently so over-the-top that it shocked even her: "I can tease that, when you ask about season 2, my heart drops. In a you-guys-have-no-idea-what-you’re-going-to-watch way. Cassie really needs to get her shit together. I can’t say anything else. Cassie has a crazy storyline in season 2 that I did not expect. Every time I read a new episode that Sam writes, my jaw is on the ground and I can’t believe this is something coming out of someone’s mind."

In July, Zendaya told Teen Vogue: "It's definitely challenging, it's a challenging season. It's gonna be hard and it's gonna be devastating sometimes, but I think Rue really deserves all of that care when it comes to her character, because I think she represents a lot for so many people. And I hope to make those people proud with our depictions of Rue [and] where all the characters go. I think this season's not going to be easy, though. It’s not going to be a fun watch, I don't think. Sometimes."

Jacob Elordi also offered the vague, tantalizing tease that fans should expect an "insane" sophomoric season and "a completely different show" when it returns to the screen. He also teased to Esquire that in season two, "there's a lot more time in his house, with his family."

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(Image credit: HBO)

In a September story for British VogueEuphoria showrunner Sam Levinson confirmed that the new season is going to be...dark, to say the least. "It’s such a brutal season and what I love the most about Z is she’s able to go to those dark places and then as soon as I call cut, she’s hanging out behind the monitor, eating Cheesecake Factory and cracking jokes."

Meanwhile, the show's makeup artist Doniella Davy told CNN that the second season is "a more grown-up Euphoria...A lot of time has gone by. Everyone's grown up a bit. We're picking up in the same place, but the world has shifted a little bit. The Euphoria world, just as our world has as well."

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in February of 2022 about the backlash towards season two, Zendaya said, "It was important for certain characters who we didn't really get to see much of last season having more time to get to know them and explore their characters. But it's kind of also Rue as an unreliable narrator, in the sense that she's just trying to skate by without people noticing that she's doing what she's doing, and trying not to get caught."

Did the whole cast of Euphoria return for season 2?

Showrunner Sam Levinson had previously confirmed that Rue didn't die in the finale. "I think Rue has a big journey ahead of her, and a tough one," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, adding, "It's not something I want to cut short because of who Rue means to me as someone who has battled with addiction and come out the other side, and because I think that there's a lot more to delve into and unpack in terms of the effects of addiction on Rue and on her family and those around her. The possibilities are endless in many ways."

And while season 1 ended with Jules hopping a train out of town, Hunter Schafer spoke to EW about her hopes for her character's season 2 arc, confirming she'll be reprising her role.

"I think I want to continue to see Jules work on herself in that she’s still got some major issues and to continue to dissect that and feel it out," Schafer said. "I think she learns from experiencing things. And so to experience what she needs to, without being messy, that’s from the sort of loving parent/sister relationship I feel like I have with her. That’s what I want for her, although who knows how it will play out. I’m sure it will be more messy than I would hope for her."

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(Image credit: HBO)

Did anyone new join the cast of Euphoria season 2?

In August, HBO confirmed three new additions to the cast of Euphoria: Minka Kelly, the Friday Night Lights alum and TV mainstay; Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr.an acting newbie recently cast in 50 Cent's Black Mafia Family; and singer and performer Dominic Fike. Of the new season of Euphoria, Fike told Variety: "It feels like a long music video." 

In addition, actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. (LuceWaves) joined the cast in season 2. He reportedly was supposed to be in season 1 but couldn't due to a scheduling conflict, so Levinson rewrote a part for him. “Sam’s still figuring it out, but from the table-reads, I know this character is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the screen,” he said. Added Levinson to GQ: "I honestly have no idea how to describe this character, but I can say that Kelvin is one of the most talented actors working today.

Lil Nas X has said that he's a fan of the show and would have liked to have been on season 2, but that scheduling conflicts stopped him from making an appearance. "I was actually going to do Euphoria but I didn’t want to take time from finishing my album. It was going to be great...Season 3 it is," he told Variety.

What happened in the in-between Euphoria episodes?

To help bridge the extremely long gap between seasons 1 and 2, the show put out “special COVID episodes.” Zendaya first hinted at the in-between episodes during an interview in August on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “I don’t really know how to describe it, but an episode that we can do with a limited amount of people in a safer environment," she said at the time. "Because we also miss Euphoria, as the people who create it, too."

The early December episode was titled “Trouble Don’t Last Always” and followed Rue's Christmas celebrations. The second episode, titled "F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob," was co-written by Levinson and Schafer.

In an interview with Vulture, Schafer opened up about the bridge episode's unique title, revealing it came about unexpectedly during a conversation Levinson and Schafer were having about which animals they best identified with. "Mine in particular is this little sea blob or sea angel," she said. "It’s this gelatinous, beautiful, transparent, glowing thing with wings. I’m like, If I could inhabit a vessel like that…maybe in another life."

The title and the sea blob is particularly significant to Schafer's identity, she added. "Wishing you could inhabit another vessel is relative to transness in some ways too, to people who aren’t satisfied with the largely binary, static idea of how to be a human, which is handed to us from the beginning. It’s basically saying, 'Fuck anyone who’s not down for that.' But also, low key, everyone is down for that; everyone wants that. So it’s not really fuck anyone. It’s more 'Fuck standards.'" 

What did critics say about Euphoria season 2?

Complex's William Goodman gave the second season a glowing review, writing: "Euphoria’s extreme nature makes it easy to compare the series to a rollercoaster ride. We’re on the other side of the drop now, and there’s a certain level of stillness that comes with realizing you’re falling. It’s in this quiet space where the show’s sophomore season solidifies itself as the best showcase of young acting talent on the air right now."

Meanwhile, Alan Sepinwall penned a more middling review for Rolling Stone: "The new episodes offer scenes that are so insightful or artfully presented that Euphoria can feel in that moment like one of the very best shows television has produced in a while. Then others are so exasperating and self-indulgent that they can leave you questioning whether you liked the better parts at all."

"Maybe I'm projecting," wrote Alison Foreman for Mashable, continuing, "But two years into a global crisis, Euphoria feels remarkably grown up in its broadening of traditional teen narratives for an audience permeated by insecurity and fear at all ages. 

Wrote Naomi Fry for New Yorker: "Despite their endlessly harrowing moments, the first four episodes of the second season were the first time that “Euphoria” actually felt fun to me...Every up, however, has a down, and the laughter dies in Episode 5, which suddenly pivots to the hellish car crash that the previous episodes’ extended joyride has been leading to. “Euphoria” sold me the drugs, and now it was telling me that it was time to go to rehab."  

The second season has so far earned an 84 percent audience score and 83 percent critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the "critical consensus" reading: "As willfully provocative as ever in its second season, Euphoria still isn't for all tastes—but when its addictive ingredients are mixed just right, the results remain intoxicating."

As Marie Claire’s Senior News and Culture Editor, Neha oversees all things entertainment, pop culture, and current events from TV shows and movies we can’t stop bingeing to celebrities we can’t stop 'shipping. She loves a hot-take, has an extensive knowledge of award shows, and knows the astrological signs of everyone in the royal family and the 'Friends' cast. Before joining Marie Claire, she held positions at Glamour, Brides, Condé Nast, and Mashable, and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.