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Episode 3 of Euphoria is now streaming on HBO Max. (Photo provided via @euphoria on Instagram)

TV Review: Cal’s backstory is revealed on ‘Euphoria’

Euphoria creator Sam Levison proves yet again why he’s brilliant with show format-bending. 

Last week on Euphoria, the audience faced some tension, as Lexi (Maude Apatow) started to rise up, Cal (Eric Dane) faced off with Fezco (Angus Cloud) and Nate (Jacob Elordi) was juggling his feelings for both Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney). 

This week, Cal gets a bit of the spotlight, as we get some of his backstory to better understand the character. The audience gets a lot explained from Cal’s backstory, including why he hates his life and the truth behind his sexuality. 

Additionally, Rue (Zendaya), Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Elliot (Dominic Fike) are trying to navigate their friendship together while Rue and Jules navigate their relationship. 

Though this episode had a lot of “filler episode quality” moments, it seems to act as a build up for the tipping point these characters are bound to reach. Euphoria season one was shorter, with only eight episodes, meaning it’s likely this season will be shorter as well. We’re already at episode three, and tensions just keep growing. 

This episode did have one of the funniest scenes, and it’s when all the girls are in the bathroom talking about Lexi’s play, when Cassie walks in and looks like she’s auditioning for the cast of Oklahoma!. However, the number of times they all say “Oklahoma” and are all getting confused at each other is comedy gold. 

The beginning of the episode, though, is extremely memorable. Going back in time, Levinson sets the tone with beautiful cinematography: the dreamlike, filmy quality of the olden days, showing the seemingly perfect childhood of Cal, having it all crash down so quickly when he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. It’s one of the reasons we love Levinson: he always knows just the right way to format-bend Euphoria to keep audiences interested. 

As if that wasn’t enough, he adds in another format for Lexi: that she’s the creator, director and star of her own film about her life. The story in and of itself is compelling — Lexi using a fictional movie setting to cope with the realities of her life—– but Levinson takes it a step further by actually incorporating the set of Euphoria as Lexi’s fake film set. It is, like everything else Levinson does, masterful.

Overall, though the audience wanted to root for Rue, after her confrontation with Ali (Domingo Coleman), she’s already starting to get off the rails, and it’s only episode three. 

Here’s what people are saying on Twitter:  

Euphoria airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO MAX and HBO. 


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