Let's Make Sense Of All The Time Jumps In Euphoria Episode 7
It felt like a fever dream.
Euphoria has never been the most straightforward of stories. Between the inebriated characters experiencing time and space differently to the general trippy atmosphere, the when of it all always feels a touch off-kilter. But thus far, there’s been nothing like “The Theater and It’s Double,” in which events are shown out of order on stage and then mirrored in characters' memories. It’s no wonder Euphoria’s Season 2, Episode 7 time jumps are hard to follow. Let’s attempt to sort out this tangled web Lexi weaves.
Warning: Spoilers for Euphoria Season 2, Episode 7 follow. Lexi Howard’s funhouse fractal rendition of Euphoria’s main characters are a dive through events of the past fans have vaguely heard about but never seen, with over-the-top musical numbers that feel like they were taken from American Horror Story: Glee.
Viewers at home were treated to (and mentally wrecked by) the play’s re-staging of past events, mixed in with the actual memories of the characters the events are based on. For example, the play opened with a scene set during “Jade’s” father’s funeral. It started with actors reenacting the moment onstage, before the viewer was immediately taken back to the actual event five years ago, with 13-year-old Rue allowing 13-year-old Lexi to read her a poem in her bedroom.
In between flashback scenes of Lexi fretting to Fez that her friends and family won’t like the play, in the theater, Lexi (playing a version of herself named Grace) recalled the jealousness she experienced when “Hallie” (the onstage version of her sister, Cassie) hit puberty. Meanwhile, the actual memory cut in, showing how Lexi looked at herself and didn’t measure up, with Cassie not helping the situation.
When Lexi-as-Grace pointed out that being hot isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Cassie’s memory flashed back to a few days prior, walking down the halls hand-in-hand with Nate, as everyone she passed judged her.
Even the play’s creator had flashbacks. When Lexi noticed the empty seat in the audience where Fez promised he’d be, she flashed to her nine-year-old self seeing her father passed out on the playground bench, then driving them home under the influence as she cried and her ice cream melted.
The whole episode followed this format. Grace struggled with Jade’s growing substance use disorder; Rue remembered lying in bed with Gia lying next to her, realizing she didn’t know her baby sister at all. As Grace smoked pot for the first time at Jade’s urging, Rue flashed back to an afternoon a couple of years ago at Fez’s, when she got Lexi high. As her BFF slept it off on Fez’s couch, Rue played silly pranks, drawing a beard on Lexi’s face. And then she flashed forward to now, sobriety, Jules, and how these moments felt lifetimes apart. Plus, there was the recent memory of her mother, telling Rue if the choice came down to saving one daughter over the other, she'd choose Gia.
Similarly, Hallie-as-Cassie’s BFF moments with Marta-as-Maddy played out from Lexi’s point of view; Maddy flashed back to when she did Lexi’s makeup and told her self-confidence was an illusion. In one of the episode’s most poignant scenes, Lexi’s re-staging of Marta and Hallie’s most intimate emotional moments were juxtaposed with Maddy and Cassie remembering the moment their relationship fell apart: After Rue revealed Cassie was sleeping with Nate, Cassie hid in the bathroom while Maddy railed at her.
Of course, you can’t talk about Lexi’s play without bringing up *that* musical number. Ethan’s brilliantly chaotic portrayal of Jake (aka Nate) brought up a bunch of flashbacks across the board: Cassie and Maddy both recalled sleeping with Nate; Maddy flashed back to her recent conversation with Samantha as she moved on from nannying. While Jules destroyed the DVD of her and Nate’s dad, Cal, Nate recalled learning she’d been assaulted by his father, which then became a dream of first Cassie and then himself being attacked by Cal. All of this then culminated with Ethan-as-Jake-as-Nate starring in a homoerotic dance number set to “I Need a Hero.” It brought the house down. But it also brought Nate down on Cassie, as he stormed out, utterly humiliated, kicking her out of his house and breaking up with her because of the play her sister put on.
To make things even more confusing (because somehow that’s possible), not every time jump was a memory sparked by the play. In multiple instances, the episode cut to Fez’s house, where he was shown getting ready to head to Lexi’s play. Considering he was all dressed and ready to go, this indicates the scene occurred, like, an hour or so before the play began. Of course, evidenced by shots of Fez’s empty seat during the play, it appears he never made it. Unfortunately, there was no flashback to what stopped him from showing up. I guess that’s what the "To Be Continued" message at the end of the episode was for.
Euphoria’s Season 2 finale premieres Feb. 27, 2022, at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.