HBO’s “Euphoria” brings in sophomore season the right way — a backstory and a booze-fueled party

The second season of HBO’s “Euphoria” finally premiered on Jan. 9, and it didn’t disappoint. The first episode uses parallels and various lighting techniques to capture the various storylines that ultimately intertwined by the end of the episode.

The episode began with the backstory of Fez, Rue’s friend who’s in the drug-dealing industry. We learn about Fez’s grandmother and how they “adopted” Fez’s little brother. One of the interesting things about Fez’s backstory with his grandmother were the parallels between his relationship with his grandmother and the relationship Fez has with his little brother, Ashtray.

In one instance, his grandmother had taken him to a drug deal. The other person involved wondered kind of person brings a child to drug deal — Fez’s grandmother claims that Fez is his “business partner.” Fez ended up doing the exact same thing with Ashtray later on.

Fez’s backstory takes up a good chunk of the beginning portion of the episode, which allowed a deeper dive into the character that we weren’t privy to during the first season. The episode transitions from the backstory to a drug deal gone awry to a drama filled party.

The party serves as a connection point for all of the characters. The second half of the episode deals with one large scene that contains smaller scenes. Even though we’re someone’s house, we see almost every single room and space within that house. It fits the movie trope for parties as it captures the controlled chaos of a high school party.

With that in mind, we see these interesting transitions from one situation to another. The transition typically consists of someone walking around the house through the darker hallways. For example, Nate had walked out of the bathroom after his moment with Cassie, into the common areas, and he proceeds to look around him. Nate sees all of the people that he screwed over last season, making eye contact with Jules at one point.

Lighting was another interesting aspect of the episode, especially towards the end. There’s a huge spotlight that would focus on each main character for a moment. The light focuses on each pair or group of people who tied together. The light follows Rue and Jules after they had their conversation as they walk away from another. The pair eventually meet up again.

As they’re speaking to one another, a light focuses on their faces and the camera is extremely up close. The light is dimmer than what it was before, but it’s still brighter than normal. The way the camera and light is set up, it’s as if they’re only people inthe world. The rest of the people are in the dark background where we can barely see them.

The set up allows for the audience to focus on Rue and Jules only without any distraction. The lighting and close ups can easily represent the pair’s relationship as they tend to focus on one another. So much so that Rue essentially hinged her sobriety on her relationship with Jules.

The intensity of their relationship was exemplified in a moment when Jules and Kat had a conversation. Jules and Kat had a conversation in the living room and Jules admitted she wasn’t spending enough time with her.

Back to the bright spotlight, we see how film and television can be intentional. Each moment is set up like a high fashion photoshoot. If you paused each moment that was shown in the spotlight, it’d be great enough photo series for a magazine spread.

The return of “Euphoria” did not disappoint as it was able to deal with various storylines at once. A party was a perfect way to entertain everyone’s storyline in a controlled yet chaotic setting. The HBO series uses parallels to dive into another character’s history while using extreme lighting to push forward the future.