'Euphoria': 8 of the HBO Drama's Must-See Moments

10:30 AM 11/23/2019

by Tara Bitran

Even Leonardo DiCaprio sang the show's praises at the 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' premiere.

Courtesy of HBO

  • Nate Beats Up Tyler

    Episode 2, "Stuntin' Like My Daddy"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    After his girlfriend, Maddy (Alexa Demie), tells him that Tyler (Lukas Gage) raped her at a party, Nate (Jacob Elordi) starts stalking Tyler and beats him up. "He's quite methodical, and his emotions get the better of him when he's dealing with women," Elordi tells THR of Nate's emotional state. "His girlfriend, Maddy, makes him get quite unhinged, and then every time he sees Jules [whom he's been texting], he isn't really sure how he feels, so it's loaded emotionally." When it comes to Tyler, Elordi adds that he doesn't feel his character is "frightened by him; he's just like a chess piece that has to be moved. While it's built from anger, I think he's actually quite calm, and that's why he can talk to him so long in the room because he knows exactly how it's going to go. He's laid out every single option and exactly what he needs, so it's almost enjoyable. It's kind of like a lion playing with a mouse."

  • Diaries of a Cam Girl

    Episode 3, "Made You Look"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    Embarking on a side hustle as a cam girl, Kat (Barbie Ferreira) takes her sexuality into her own hands. "Everyone around her is having sex or is thought of as desirable, and she just doesn't feel that. She feels that she's lacking in sexual experience, and she is not trying to be a prude or a virgin, and it's almost like this frustration that no one wants to explore her sexually," Ferreira says. "To see a world in which all of these anonymous people who don't need to be nice to you see you as a sexual person who's hot, taking that power back and being the object of desire she's never been, especially in this seedy place that's inherently sexy and taboo, it plays into her need to be anonymous online and get validation."

  • Confrontations at the Carnival

    Episode 4, "Shook One Pt. II"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    After discovering that her former hookup Cal (Eric Dane) is actually Nate's dad, Jules (Hunter Schafer) excitedly goes to meet up with "Tyler," the boy she's been texting, for the first time. But shockingly, "Tyler" is really Nate. "When Nate reveals that it's actually him, everything comes crashing down in that moment and it's a major turning point for her to sort of distrust not only herself but also this system," Schafer tells THR. "I remember coming to set that day; Jacob and I were really tight throughout the series and filming, but that day was hard for us because we knew what was coming. I remember both of us staying in our own headspaces, which I think helped create some tension, which was palpable."

  • You've Got a Friend

    Episode 4, "Shook One Pt. II"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    In the pilot, Rue (Zendaya, right) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) instantly become attached after they meet. After Jules finds out the truth about "Tyler" in episode four, she turns to Rue, who she knows harbors feelings for her, and their friendship blossoms into something more. "Jules' understanding in that moment that she can find the feeling she's been searching for in all of these men with her best friend who knows, loves and supports her and would love and support her through anything is so exciting," Schafer tells THR. "Rue and Jules represent a home that only they can really bring to each other. More than anything, they can make each other feel safe, and when they're together or making each other laugh or in each other's arms, nothing else really matters, which I think to some degree is what they're looking for. They've used different vices to acquire that feeling, but when they're together, the vices don't matter as much and they really can just push into each other."

  • The Devil You Know

    Episode 5, "03 Bonnie and Clyde"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    The previous episode, "Shook One Pt. II," ends with Nate violently choking his girlfriend, Maddy (Alexa Demie), after she probes him about questionable photos on his phone. When she returns to school in episode five, Maddy tries to disguise the bruising with makeup and a hoodie, denying that he hurt her to school officials. "I think even though he's the one who hurt her, it's a very dark, vulnerable time for her," Demie says. "She's seeking comfort in the relationship that she knows, and it's weird because as much as it's a violent relationship, she also feels a certain safeness in being with him." Despite her best efforts to cover up the abuse, Nate still gets suspended. "I think she's pissed that it happened, but she's hiding it, and she's pissed that everyone is in her business. She just wants it all to go away. Her plan didn't work, so she's just upset that everyone is involving themselves."

  • Conceal, Don't Feel

    Episode 6, "The Next Episode"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    McKay (Algee Smith) has felt pressure from his dad all his life, and that struggle continues as he's figuring out his identity in college as a former high school football star. When his girlfriend, Cassie, comes to visit him, his frat brothers assault him in a frightening hazing ritual that he tries to brush off afterward. "His father tell[s] him to take his emotions and bottle them in, and when you get to the [football] line, that's when you let it snap," Smith shares with THR. "He tells him to not let it show, that the measure of a man is defined by how much he can take; that's one of the lines his father gives him. So when he's in the mirror, he's going back to that moment and hearing what his father said; he's taking all of that that just happened and he's bottling it up. You can see that once he bottles it up, he comes back with a calmer, or numb, state of mind."

  • Cassie Finds Out She's Pregnant

    Episode 7, "The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    In the penultimate episode, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) finds out that she is pregnant. "She's a teenager, so she's of course terrified and scared, but there's the underlying fear of being alone," Sweeney tells THR. "In that moment, there's a thought and a realization that maybe she could never not be alone, but being pregnant and having a child, she'd always have somebody. That makes her feel safe, being able to have someone all of the time, like a best friend who will always look up to you, and you can be that superhero." But the reaction she gets from her boyfriend, McKay, is far from what she was hoping for. "When McKay shuts that entire idea down, it breaks Cassie's world, and that's why she says, 'I just want to dream about it,' because even though it wasn't expected and she didn't try to get pregnant, it was like, 'Maybe this is my path, maybe this is what I'm supposed to do.' "

  • All For Us

    Episode 8, "And Salt the Earth Behind You"

    Eddy Chen/HBO

    The season one finale sees Rue relapse after Jules leaves town. Her unraveling is set to Labrinth's original song "All for Us," which Zendaya performs with a crowd of dancers all donning Rue's red hoodie. Showrunner Sam Levinson told THR how he first broached the idea with Zendaya. "Z is so unbelievably fucking gifted that it felt like something that we had to tap into because it's an expression of the character and it is so much of this show and it becomes another way to enter her emotional experience," he says. "I remember after we shot the pilot, I told her that I wanted to do a musical number, and she was like, 'Are you for real? Are you fucking with me?' And I was like, 'No, no, I'm serious.' She was like, 'Let me see it first. I'm curious how you're going to pull this off, but I trust if anyone is going to do it, you could do it in some way that feels right.' "

    This story first appeared in a November stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.