Recap: ‘Euphoria’ S2E4: The saga of Cal Jacobs

“Euphoria” season two, episode four attempts to humanize the show’s villain in stunning color. “Euphoria” airs on HBO Max, with new episodes debuting every Sunday.

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HBO released the fourth episode of the second season of “Euphoria” on Jan. 30. Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) is the on-and-off girlfriend of Nate (Jacob Elordi). (Photo by Eddy Chen/HBO, courtesy of Warner Media)

Shreya Wankhade, Contributing Writer

Spoiler warning: This recap includes spoilers for “Euphoria,” seasons one and two.

The fourth episode of the second season of “Euphoria” might just be its most visually appealing episode yet. 

Filled with pop culture references such as the “Titanic” flying scene, the “Brokeback Mountain” tent scene, and even a remake of Annie Leibovitz’s iconic picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone, the episode’s opening scene consists of Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) portraying the famous pairings in a montage of love. 

In each of the couples that the pair portrayed, one of the lovers tragically died, implying that either Jules or Rue will have a disastrous ending. The opening scene cuts to Rue and Jules having sex and Rue narrating how she is unable to feel anything due to the amount of drugs she is on. Aware that Rue faked an orgasm, but unaware that it was because she was high out of her mind, Jules confides in Elliot (Dominic Fike) that she believes Rue doesn’t find her attractive. 

Elliot then kisses Jules’s hand which creates a palpable tension. Before viewers can grasp what they are watching, the two begin to make out until Elliot is interrupted by a text from Rue saying she is outside.

Meanwhile, Cassie’s guilt has been growing since the first episode of the season when she started hooking up with Nate after finding out that he and Maddy might get back together. Cassie and Nate argue about the state of their relationship in his bedroom where Nate accuses Cassie of only caring about herself. For the first time this season, Cassie stands up to Nate by blackmailing him into leaving Maddy alone and refusing when he asks her to stay. Is Cassie finally becoming somewhat bearable again?

Although there is little screen time for fan-favorite Lexi (Maude Apatow) in this episode, there is a short scene in which she auditions actors for her play using lines derived from an interaction between her and Cassie. In the scene, Lexi expresses concern about Cassie’s weight which Cassie takes as an insult, turning the conversation into an overblown fight. The narration switches between Cassie and a girl who is auditioning for Cassie’s role.

There is also not much of Fezco (Angus Cloud) except for a short scene where he is informed that the girlfriend of the man he killed in a drug-deal-gone-wrong in the first episode of the season is becoming suspicious. Hopefully, there will be much more of Lexi, her play and her budding relationship with Fez in the following episodes. 

Back to the strange love triangle between Rue, Jules and Elliot. The three decide to play truth or dare, which ends in Elliot daring Jules to steal alcohol. This was infuriating to watch because Elliot knows that Rue is still using, and mixing alcohol with drugs can be a deadly combination. At this point, it becomes clear that Elliot is trying to sabotage Jules and Rue. Drunk and high on the way home from the liquor store, Rue tells Jules that she “can’t fucking stand her” and demands that Elliot let her out on the side of the road. 

Elliot is not the only one in this episode to commit a felony, as a belligerently drunk Cal (Eric Dane) goes on a joyride back to the bar which was introduced in the previous episode’s flashback. Cal begins to imagine that the random person he is dancing with is his teenage love Derek and tries to wrestle the poor guy. This gets him banned from the bar and he says “you can’t do this to me, I’ve got good memories in here.” Director Sam Levinson does a fantastic job of humanizing the first season’s most hated character while still repudiating his monstrous past.

Meanwhile, at Maddy’s birthday party, Kat (Barbie Ferreira) is shown sulking as she complains to Maddy about her boyfriend, Ethan (Austin Abrams). Toward the end of the party, Nate shows up to give Maddy a present while ignoring Cassie, which prompts Cassie to get extremely drunk. Kat, Maddy, Nate and Cassie end up in the hot tub together, where Maddy and Nate get into a fight about what their relationship is. When Cassie hears Maddy talk about the promises Nate makes to Maddy and how strong his feelings are for her, she throws up in the hot tub and keeps repeating how sorry she is to Maddy. It is only a matter of time before Maddy will find out about what the two most important people in her life are doing behind her back. 

Though this whole episode came as a shock to viewers, the final scenes have to be the most jaw-dropping. Rue is shown in her room taking a lethal amount of drugs, which leads her to hallucinate and think she is embracing her dad. But the biggest shock of the episode is the last scene which revolves around Cal. Back from his bar excursion, he stumbles into his house and urinates all over the foyer. He proceeds to tell his family members that he is bisexual and then leaves them in a fit of disappointment. 

The episode ends with captivating stills of Cassie, Elliot and Jules, leaving viewers eager for next week’s episode.

Contact Shreya Wankhade at [email protected]