Euphoria Season 1 Episode 1 Review: WTF Just Happened?!

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Because it's a teen drama on premium cabler HBO, there was some initial anxiety before watching Euphoria. 

It's not your typical HBO series, by any stretch of the imagination, and that's because it aims to shine a light on the trials and tribulations that come with being a teenager in today's world. 

Zendaya Plays Rue - Euphoria

There are many horror stories in the U.S. alone about what it's like to just exist in those formative years, and Euphoria Season 1 Episode 1 captures a lot of it in its own heightened sense of the word. 

It makes sense then that the pilot of Euphoria is unsettling in many places, but if viewers are in the market for a show that's very similar to Skins -- the U.K version, that is -- then this may be the show for them. 

What do you think this is, the eighties? Catch a dick.


It moves from scene-to-scene at a breakneck pace which makes me think that even if HBO claims the show is geared at an adult market, it's most definitely not.

Searching for Purpose - Euphoria

The younger audience is fickle. If there's not a lot happening on-screen, it's easy for them to switch the channel or put on something that better keeps their attention. Some of the scenes play out similarly to Instagram or Snapchat stories, and that's got to be intentional. 

Related: Get HBO via Prime Video Channels for Addictive Dramas, Hilarious Comedies & Hit Movies!

Zendaya turns in a stunning performance as Rue, a teenager whose first taste of drugs came after suffering panic attacks after her father receives a terminal diagnosis. 

I promise you. If I could be a different person, I would. Not because I want it, but because they do. But here's the thing. One day, I just showed up without a map or a compass, and at some point, you have to make a choice ... about who you are and what you want. And therein lies the catch.


From the get-go, it is clear that Rue is struggling to cope with the pressures of being a teenager.

The most striking part of her story is that the first time she felt truly comfortable in her own head was when she is given liquid valium to calm her down at the hospital. 

Making a Connection - Euphoria

That's where her thirst for drugs really began, and it's a cautionary tale about what type of medicine people in positions of power are giving people who need help. 

It only takes a small search of the internet to confirm that Valium is an addictive drug. Would Rue even be on drugs in the story if it were not for that encounter? There's no way of verifying that. 

Rue: I've got an idea.
Jules: Should I be concerned?

The positive here is that It could have prevented her younger sister from witnessing her overdose. That was dark. 

Related: Euphoria Review: HBO's Answer to 13 Reasons Why is a Resounding Success

Euphoria is very self-aware, and Zendaya has a grasp on the younger generation that HBO does not. Her casting is yet another thing that has to be intentional. 

No Idea - Euphoria

There's a lot of pain behind Rue's eyes, some of it stemming from when her parents were concerned enough to take her to a doctor.

Without performing much in the way of checks on Rue, conditions such as O.C.D and Bipolar disorder got tossed around ... all while the younger iteration of Rue was in the room. 

That's damaging for a child to hear, especially because the parents also have to find a way to break the news to the child in a succinct way that allows them to process it and attempt to move on. 

I'm envious of your generation. You guys don't care as much about the rules.


More damaging is when Rue's mother starts listing names of celebrities who have had very public breakdowns in the media. Rue doesn't have a breakdown of those sorts, but her mother's quick thinking leads her to believe it's only a matter of time before she self-destructs. 

Learning More - Euphoria

Rue's issues are present well before ger first taste of valium, and I can't shake the feeling that she could have gotten help if she was taken to the right professionals. 

For now, Rue is unsure whether drugs are going to kill her, but she can't give up that feeling of being comfortable in her own head, even if it does lead to an early death. 

Related: Euphoria: HBO Picks Up Zendaya Series

It's a harrowing thought that someone has to go to these measures to feel happy, but it's an epidemic that's plaguing not only the younger generation but people of really any age. 

The drug addiction storyline will likely be the one viewers will connect with the most, because many people know someone who has battled an addiction. 

A Trip to the Mall - Euphoria

Not even a stint in rehab could change Rue's perception of drugs. She had it all planned out in her head, how she was going to get her next fix, and more importantly, how she was going to pass the drugs test. 

Rue: You think because I went to rehab I stayed clean?
Dealer: I mean, ain't that the point?

She's a teenager who knows what she wants, and does not care about the hurdles she has to go through to get it. Her tenacious personality would be commendable if she were using it for more healthier activities. 

Through all of it, Rue is a very likable character. She's smart, resourceful and knows how to manipulate situations in her favor. 

The Struggle to Exist - Euphoria Season 1 Episode 1

Striking up a friendship with Jules is either going to take her further down the dark path, or they will mutually help each other fight their vices. 

Related: 13 Reasons Why Review Renewed for Season 3

Being the new girl in town, Jules wanted to attend a party, and have an introduction into the world she was about to join. It's just a shame she crossed paths with Nate during the final act. 

It was quite the revelation that Nate's father, played by Eric Dane, was the man Jules met in the motel for sex. Those scenes were very unsettling, but while Cal asked Jules her age, his reaction made it clear he didn't give a darn whether she was underage. 

Cal is messed up, and based on those few scenes we witnessed of Nate, he's messed up in his own way. Nate's anger was fueled by witnessing Maddy having sex with a rando in the swimming pool. 

Nate has deeply rooted anger issues, and he was a complete and utter ass to Jules at the party. Jules handled herself very well, and I doubt she's going to be forgotten any time soon. 

It's going to make for some tense scenes when Nate inevitably learns about his father's extra-curricular activities, and by extension, his meeting with Jules. 

Hunter Schafer, Zendaya - Euphoria

This was a solid pilot for this new series. It left this reviewer wanting more. There's no teen drama on the air quite like this. 

What did YOU think?

Were some scenes too much, or do you think this is an accurate representation of what the younger generation gets up to? 

Hit the comments below. 

Euphoria continues Sundays on HBO. 

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (41 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Euphoria Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Every time I feel good, I think it'll last forever, but it doesn't.


I promise you. If I could be a different person, I would. Not because I want it, but because they do. But here's the thing. One day, I just showed up without a map or a compass, and at some point, you have to make a choice ... about who you are and what you want. And therein lies the catch.