‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 3, delves into the backstory of Cal, Nate’s father. The backstories help us understand how the past can affect the present and how certain decisions are based on experience. The series provides every character with an opportunity to lay bare, where we learn the good, the bad, and the ugly. Human emotions are complex and cannot be compartmentalized and labeled. Euphoria handles such emotions with care, while the narrative is important, often the characters take over.
Also Read: ‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 2: Recap/Ending
Ruminations: Big And Little Bullies
In the third episode, we revisit Cal’s high school years. Cal always used to spend time with his best friend, Derek. While initially, their friendship was like any other, Cal felt a certain attraction towards him after some time. After learning of Cal’s history, his present can be reasoned, minus his encounter with Jules. “Euphoria,” Season 2, Episode 3, also sheds light on how Rue was trying to deal with her addiction, and not in the best way. While the people around her feared a relapse, Rue started finding ways to indulge more in her addiction.
Meanwhile, Cassie is obsessed with getting Nate’s attention, and she comes up with a morning routine to help her deal with her secret Friday night relationship with Nate. In the present scenario, Cal attempts to find more about the disc that contained a video recording of the night he spent with Jules from Fez, though it turns out to be unsuccessful. A special bond between Jules and Elliot starts to develop, while Rue comes up with a plan to get more drugs without spending as much.
With a mixed bag of past and present, the third episode is able to construct each character with the help of additional elements. “Euphoria,” Season 2, Episode 3, also experiments with the narrative form in an innovative way.
What Was Cal’s History?
Cal shared a special friendship with his best friend, Derek. Cal watched Derek’s skin brush against his shorts and felt aroused. He tried to overlook his attraction, and it became a lot easier when he met Marsha. Marsha pushed Cal’s boundaries, and he was grateful for that. Cal introduced Marsha to his family when his conservative father doubted Derek and Cal’s friendship. Soon, Derek started dating a girl as well, and the four spent their time together. Even though Cal was attracted to Marsha, his love for Derek overpowered.
As they kissed their girlfriends, Cal could not stop himself from staring at Derek in that intimate moment. When they graduated from high school and were enrolled in colleges, the best friends decided to celebrate. The idea was to spend time without their girlfriends. They drove while it rained, and they treasured the companionship. Derek asked Cal to drive to a particular location where he believed they would be served drinks, but as Cal entered, he realized it was a gay bar. Hesitant at first, Cal gave in to Derek’s excitement and gulped down one shot after another. The two young men in love shared a dance and finally got the opportunity to physically express their desire for one another. The two shared a passionate kiss that left Cal emotional. After all, he was never really sure if Derek felt the same way. Cal’s affirmation brought immense joy in his life, though it did not last long.
The next morning, Cal received a call from Marsha. She shared that she was pregnant and had tested thrice already. Cal expressed his joy over the phone, but after hanging up, he cried and grieved for the love that became unattainable.
Throughout the first season, we knew Cal as the strict father who was deeply flawed. His impact on his son was negative, leading to the growth of various problematic behaviors in Nate. Euphoria, Season 2, Episode 3, helps us understand Cal’s past. We can further comprehend the reason why he chose to live a double life, though the series did not try to reason with the present. It goes without saying that the way he dealt with his sexuality caused great harm to his family and the people he chose to video record.
Rue’s Genius Plan
Rue is an addict who has no desire to change her ways. She never really planned to give up drugs, but instead searched for ways to fool the people around her. She learned that it was futile to deny that she was not doing drugs. People tend to know eventually, so instead of lying. It is better to agree. Therefore, to agree, one has to find a cover drug.
The cover drug was weed. Whenever someone asked if she was doing drugs, she could simply say it was a little bit of weed. Nothing harmful, yet she did not have to pretend to be sober. A gray area per se. When she informed her sister about her plans to take weed, she was met with anger. So, to manipulate her sister, she gaslighted her to believe that weed would help her from committing suicide, something she thought about whenever she was sober. Knowing her condition, her sister agreed with her idea of weed consumption, and Rue had her best excuse ready.
While she was able to manage her friends and family with lies, her next concern was getting more drugs than she could handle at the moment. She believed that she was the genius the world was waiting for in terms of finding a way to make more drugs available. She approached Fez with her genius plan, but Fez refused to hear her out, knowing Rue’s whims. Refused by Fez, Rue decided to approach the school teacher turned drug supplier, Laurie.
The plan was to pay her high school friends money to sell drugs, and in return, they had to upload their phone’s storage to Rue’s cloud as a way to confirm their commitment. If they ever decided to snitch, their phone information would be used against them. Laurie was impressed with Rue’s plan, though she warned Rue that if she failed to pay the money, she would kidnap Rue and sell her to get her money back.
The fourth wall was broken in the segment where Rue discussed her steps to finding a cover drug. She directly addressed the audience and even added how she felt with the usual expectation of the audience from Rue’s character. While she was aware of how people expected television to provide some ray of hope, she would never be that hope. This approach was extremely interesting, considering how the series reflected on the overall reception of Rue’s character.
What Happened At The End Of “Euphoria” Season 2, Episode 3?
Cal was on the lookout for Fez, and Ashtray finally brought him to Fez’s house at gunpoint. Cal explained that he wanted to get the disc; Fez was confused, as he was unaware of the existence of such a video. It can be understood that Nate had probably blamed Fez for stealing the disc to help Jules. Cal could not understand that Nate lied to him about the disc. He begged Fez to allow him to leave as he had messed things up. Fez agreed to let him go if only he promised to keep his son away from Fez. Cal agreed to do as was asked of him.
Meanwhile, Cassie gradually became obsessed with grabbing Nate’s attention. She woke at four in the morning to get ready for school, though it was only the day that she dressed like Maddy that made Nate notice her. Nate and Cassie started spending Friday nights together, but by the end of the episode, Nate canceled his plan with Cassie and instead chose to meet Maddy. Maddy had the disc, and Nate was determined to get hold of it.
‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 3 ended with Jules having an honest conversation with Elliot. Elliot confessed that he indeed had a crush on Rue but believed that Rue was either gay or asexual. Jules denied saying Rue could also express her intimate desire, though her words did not have conviction and she eventually agreed with Elliot.
Elliot appreciated Jules for being the woman she was. He found her to be creative and smart. She was both an extrovert and an introvert, and her art was worth recognition. Added to that, she had the same haircut as Kurt Cobain. All these features fascinated Elliot. A sense of affection could be felt in the way Jules stared at Elliot, especially because Rue never really expressed her appreciation for Jules in words, as Elliot did. All this while, Rue carried a trolley full of drugs and snapped at her sponsor for asking what the bag consisted of.
Clearly, Rue is on the path of destruction. Her plan and her involvement with a drug dealer were nothing short of a ticking time bomb. ‘Euphoria’ has always managed to develop every side character with details. Even though Rue is at the center, equal importance is given to all the characters involved in creating the high school drama. As the story keeps getting more complicated, we’ve got to wait to find out more in the next episode!
‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 3 is streaming on HBO Max and Hotstar.