‘Euphoria’ review: Eric Dane as Cal is the best show

SPOILER WARNING: Don’t Read If You Haven’t Seen “You Can’t Watch, Think Of Those Who Can,” January 30 episode of “Happiness. ”

At the risk of writing too personally about a show about personal upheaval, I wondered if parenting might turn me off “Euphoria.”

I was an admirer of the show’s first season, which aired in 2019, but after becoming a parent in 2020, I doubt that portraying American adolescence as a tempting garden is misleading. breaking might not make me as curious as it used to be. Certainly, I have felt an almost visceral sense of rejection of various works of art in which children are threatened within the past two years or so. And the two specials that aired in between the show’s seasons didn’t convince me, as they relied almost entirely on style and lighting. (Yes, “Euphoria’s” has always been stylish and flashy, but these seem to be using sophistication to its own advantage, not reinforcing what the show’s narrative is doing.) I wonder, after the second part, whether the show ran out of things to say, or if I was the one who changed.

I shouldn’t be worried. In the new season, “Euphoria” has established itself as a work of incredible emotional power, a source of visual talent and deft narrative that ranks among the best on television. And its most recent episode – an actor showcase Eric Dane – hints at the limitlessness of the show’s ambitions, going beyond the doors of high school to make a statement about the inability to connect people with one another.

On this week’s episode, called “You Can’t Watch, Think Who Can,” we were treated to a flashback to the personal history of Cal, whom we only know as played by Dane as an adult. Dane’s character is the father of Nate (Jacob Elordi), a violent and sadistic gourd of Euphoria High; Cal passed on to his son all of his worst qualities. We’ve seen Cal through his impact on others – his fervor at home, gloom and alienation from his desires make sexual encounters with him so rewarding. concerns for Jules (Hunter Schafer).

Things weren’t always like that: In high school, Cal was fun and agreeable, upbeat in a way that basically no character in “Euphoria” allows himself to be. Played by Elias Kacavas, Cal is in the process of first figuring out who he is and what he wants. A scene in which he and his best friend and wrestling buddy Derek (Henry Eikenberry) celebrate how well their lives are going with a night of drinking and dancing, split into a moment. Emotional engraving feels euphoric, in a good way. The couple’s path across the dance floor and into a kiss is filled with the joy of self-discovery and the deeper joy that comes with wondering how much good news may lie ahead.

It did not form. Cal learns that his girlfriend is pregnant and his burgeoning, newly deciphered understanding of himself as a gay man has been effectively erased. We were left to fill in the blanks for the rest of his life until the moment we first met him; he seems to have lost the paternity he never wanted and an unsuitable identity, committed to the feeling of “euphoria” that means the show’s title, an empty pursuit of pleasure empty to rewrite what was lost, or what never was.

Among the most powerful cases performed by “Euphoria” was the last one that could never escape oneself. The show’s characters set out to change their lives – changing their romantic partners, their way of life, their approach to sobriety – but in the end, again and again, where they started. (The fact that Zendaya, the series lead, plays an addict who always decides not to bother with staying sober becomes the epitome of this). And his dramatic break with reality, and with family, feels less like an attempt to meaningfully change his life than burn it down. The Dane is simply breathtaking as he, vision clouded by his drink, explores the contours of a memory, then ignites it, playing violently with the other patrons of the bar without being able to. Allow yourself to reflect on what could have been longer.

What follows – an abrasive scene in which a drunk Cal confronts his entire family, peeing on the floor before stepping outside – is part of the signature grandeur of “Euphoria,” an element of the show that alienated many viewers the more attractive it became. The most talked about “Euphoria” show is the 2015-19 drama “Mr. Robot. Both of these series aspired to experiment with purposeful visual and narrative ideas to convey the mental states of the characters, who were not only bored but also addicted by their inability to follow the drama. copies were laid out for them. In the late 2010s, for “Mr. The protagonist of Robot”, which means a total rejection of life under corporate America. Today, for the characters of “Euphoria”, it is a disappointment that cannot be felt by all senses at once. The show’s big swings – like its season-opening depiction of a character’s drug-trafficking history, for example – strike viewers as an attempt to be completely open to possibility, smearing every paint color. up the palette as a way to, ultimately, discover within the chaos something small and real.

As such, I find Cal’s telling of his family not only a heartbreaking culmination of the character’s position but an astonishing piece of writing and directing (both by creator Sam). Levinson) as well as acting. With no idea for himself, Cal tries to demean his wife and sons, but he walks out the door of his house not nearly as satisfying as he casually walks in. Here, the show tells us, at least the future for some of the students at Euphoria High – removing themselves and what they want to perfect to the point of humiliating their families seems like a legitimate response. reasonable, or at least worth a try. It expands and for all of the subjective fascination of adolescence and tumultuous emotions, it has an adult feel to it.

As a parent – and as an insider – “The euphoria” often terrifies me. I wouldn’t want what these characters go through to be suffered by myself, my children or anyone! But the show doesn’t use its tragedies simply to give us something to deal with. It tells a story about trying, in moments of apparent desperation, to see ourselves fully, overcoming all the distractions we create. And Dane’s indication of that stretch extending well beyond high school sets the bar high for an exceptional series.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/columns/eric-dane-cal-euphoria-hbo-1235165489/ ‘Euphoria’ review: Eric Dane as Cal is the best show

Fry Electronics Team

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