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We’re All Addicted to “Euphoria”, But What Are All the Characters Addicted to? A Character Analysis

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Season Two of “Euphoria” is up nearly 100% from Season One. Plus, if you’re on TikTok, you know there’s no place to hide from this type of content. The “Euphoria” explanations, recaps, and conspiracy theories will find you and drag you down a six-hour rabbit hole of content. And we truly wouldn’t want it any other way because this isn’t your normal high school drama with the underlying theme of underage drinking and romance. “Euphoria” makes “Degrassi: The Next Generation” look like a walk in the park. A trailblazing show that always dealt with heavy topics – sexual assault, teenage pregnancy, cheating, and drug use – has been succeeded by the even more hefty topics that we find in “Euphoria”. “Degrassi” walked so “Euphoria” could run. 

The allure behind “Euphoria” for its primarily Gen Z audience is a blend of anxiety, scandal, and fashion. I say anxiety because almost every episode I’ve watched this season has had a multitude of scenes where I was on the edge of my seat or had to legitimately cover my eyes because I couldn’t take the suspense. Anyone who watched Episode Five knows this feeling. The scandals on this show are also top-tier: whether it’s Cassie and Nate’s Friday night rendezvouses or Rue and Elliot’s laundry room bonding time. Just when you think the show can’t get any juicier, Sam Levinson will pair two random characters together and create a new subplot chock full of drama. The costume design in this show is unlike any other. “One Tree Hill”’s cast looks like a Christian youth study group in their early 2000’s halter tops, flare jeans, and flip flops compared to the cast of “Euphoria”. “Euphoria”’s costume designer takes on a 90’s fashion base and fuses it with chic rave girl energy. Overall, the style is comparable to what we see at CU Boulder actually. 

Addiction is a major theme in the show. For obvious reasons, given Rue’s biggest vice is her drug addiction, a theme that drives the show’s plot. While I was watching last week’s episode I got to thinking. Every character in this show has an addiction. Was Sam Levinson trying to show viewers that not all addiction is rooted in the typical drug, alcohol, and gambling tropes? That maybe we can be addicted to a feeling? And that if we’re addicted to a feeling instead of a substance, is that really a bad thing?  The answer is, well, I don’t know. But I have thought a bit about this and I’d like to share my findings. Without further ado, I present my analysis of each main character’s addiction. 


Rue’s character is addicted to drugs. Albeit her addiction started with opiates when her father was in hospice care. But, now her addiction has spread to any type of drug that can get her the best high.


Jules’ character is addicted to being loved. Hers and Rue’s relationship may be at a standstill for right now, but she is a hopeless romantic. The train station scene in the Season One finale is highly dramatic but also gives that Nicholas Sparks vibe that when it comes to love, everything is final. It’s now or never. And that seems to be a theme in their relationship. In Episode Five of Season Two, Rue even yells in Jules’ face that Jules sucks the love out of everyone around her.


Nate’s character is addicted to power. He’s lived on the edge in his father’s shadow all of his life. He’s never felt like he had a choice or control over any of his decisions, so now he’s taking advantage of the parts of his life in which he feels like the puppeteer. He manipulated Maddy into thinking they were getting back together so he could get the tape of his father back. All the while he was hooking up with her best friend in secret. He knows he has Cassie wrapped around his finger so he’s keeping on the bench while he sees if things can play out with Maddy and Cassie at the same time. His brief relationship with Jules in Season One was so curated and controlled by him because he had the ulterior motive of cleaning up his father’s mess the whole time. He’s a puppeteer who manipulates those around him so he can end up on top. 


Maddy’s character is addicted to drama. She craves the wildfire love that burns hot and heavy, wreaking havoc on any and every surrounding environment. If it’s not quick to burn it doesn’t feel passionate enough for her. That’s why she still finds herself gravitated to Nate. It’s why even when the two talked about potentially getting back together in Season Two, Episode Four, she picked a fight with him when he expressed his uncertainty about their future.


Cassie’s character is addicted to male attention. Cassie is just another character who struggles with her self-worth and seeks validation from the male perspective to fuel her self-worth. We saw this in her relationship with McKay when she cheated on him with the boy at the Halloween party. She felt unseen by McKay and like she was on the back burner since he was focused on fitting in at college. We also see this need for male validation in the first episode of Season Two, aka the beginning of her and Nate. Even though Nate is the last person she should be going for (#GirlCode).


Kat’s character is addicted to fantasy. She’s not happy in her relationship with Ethan anymore. She thought she needed a stable relationship with a nice, wholesome guy like him. Except, this isn’t what she really needed nor what she wanted. She loves fantasy and we see this in Season One with her side hustle as a cam girl. She wants to live on the wild side and doesn’t like the safeness that comes with her reality with Ethan.


Lexi’s character is addicted to normalcy/peacekeeping. This one was hard to decide on because Lexi by nature is the most stable and level-headed character on the show. She doesn’t stir the pot, at least not yet. Once her play “Oklahoma” comes out, there will certainly be some mixed reactions. We’re starting to see some evolution in her character. She’s through sitting back while Rue and Cassie continue to bring unnecessary drama into her life. She wants to stand up for herself and start telling people how she feels. I think we’ll see this come to fruition in the next episode.

This is obviously completely subjective and just my personal analysis of “Euphoria”’s characters. While addiction has a stigma surrounding it, I think “Euphoria” does a really great job at showing that addiction to feelings such as validation and love are commonplace. This show has a way of normalizing humanity’s flaws in a really authentic way. While Season Two will soon come to a close, I’m excited we get to see these characters continue to evolve and grow for another season. Let’s go Season Three!

Jess MacAulay

CU Boulder '22

Jess MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism major here at CU Boulder. She loves 30 Rock and The Mindy Project and thinks more people need to watch these shows because they're the best TV shows of all time. When she’s not writing for Her Campus she can be found hanging out with friends, standing in the sun, or mourning the closing of Cheba Hut on the Hill.
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