Euphoria Season 2 Episode 3 “Ruminations: Big And Little Bullies” may be the smartest episode of TV to come out of 2022 so far. 

Euphoria is a high-school drama series created by Sam Levinson, based on an Israeli TV series of the same name. Zendaya stars as Rue Bennett, a teenager suffering from mental illness and crippling drug addiction. The series follows her journey through life, as well as the lives of Rue’s friends, enemies and her girlfriend, Jules. I binged the series this week in anticipation of this episode, and I was blown away. 

The high-school drama genre isn’t the place you’d expect to find the best television of the year, but here we are. Sam Levinson’s TV series features some of the most amazing cinematography, musical selections, and performances I have ever seen, which shocked me. The show tells such a compelling tale of addiction, abuse, loss and love, and presents it with unmatched visual flare. 

Euphoria Is A HBO High-School Drama From Sam Levinson

Euphoria

Though Zendaya is the obvious highlight of the show, each and every supporting character will hook you and reel you in. Some of the East Highland locals are despicable (looking at you, Cal and Nate Jacobs), while others like Fezco, Ashtray and Kat are troubled but ultimately quite lovable souls. No one in this town is perfect, everyone has secrets, and the web of deceit grows larger each week. 

Without spoiling much of this week’s episode, there were three remarkable elements of “Ruminations: Big And Little Bullies” that elevate Euphoria above the competition. 

Firstly, I used to be concerned with the impact Euphoria might be having on impressionable viewers. Many critics claimed that the hit HBO series glorified drug use, physical and mental abuse. This week’s episode centers on Cal Jacobs, one of the more vile and antagonistic characters on the show. 

Euphoria: “Ruminations: Big And Little Bullys” Is Cal Jacob’s Episode 

Euphoria Season 2 Episode 3 "Ruminations: Big And Little Bullies" Review: Wicked Smart, Chaotic Teen Drama Never Fails To Impress - The Illuminerdi

Approximately the first half of the episode is spent in the past, focusing on a young, closeted Cal Jacobs. This frightened me, because Cal Jacobs had been portrayed as a horrible, abusive person who takes advantage of his sexual partners, recording their rendezvous without consent. Thankfully, Sam Levinson fleshed out Cal’s character, showing the trauma he suffered as a youth, without ever condoning his actions or trying to paint Cal as a good person. In fact, Cal’s sins of the present were thrust violently into the spotlight later in the episode. 

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Another highlight from this week was Rue Bennett’s narration sequences. She tells us yet again that she is not a reliable narrator, speaking more directly to the audience than ever before. Rue states that while she may be a beloved character whom many are rooting for, she is not someone who should be idolized. To prove her point, Bennett then admirably gives us a crash course on gaslighting and how to get away with doing hard drugs under the nose of friends and family.  

Euphoria Season 2: How Will Rue Get Out Of This One? 

Euphoria Season 2 Episode 3 "Ruminations: Big And Little Bullies" Review: Wicked Smart, Chaotic Teen Drama Never Fails To Impress - The Illuminerdi

Finally, I have seldom seen a TV show place the lead character in such dire straits only three episodes into the season. How Rue Bennett will survive her current predicament is a mystery to me. By all accounts, it seems likely that she will die from an overdose, or worse, sooner rather than later. Alas, this episode of Euphoria left us on a massive cliffhanger, so we’ll have to wait until next Sunday to learn her fate. 

Euphoria was created and written by Sam Levinson. Levinson directed a majority of the series, including “Ruminations: Big And Little Bullys”. The show is a very loose adaptation of an Israeli series of the same name, created by Ron Leshem and Daphna Levin. Euphoria stars Zendaya as Rue Bennett, Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, Barbie Ferriera as Kat Hernandez, Angus Cloud as Fezco, Maude Apatow as Lexi Howard, Sydney Sweeney as Cassie Howard, Javon Walton as Ashtray, Eric Dane as Cal Jacobs, and Jacob Elordi as Nate Jacobs. 

Euphoria returns on Sunday, January 30, 2022. Season 2, Episode 4, “You Who Cannot See, Think Of Those Who Can” airs at 9 PM EST on HBO and HBO Max. 

What did you think of this week’s Euphoria? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media