Euphoria is currently three episodes in to its second season. If you’ve been keeping up with it, you’ll understand why that just doesn’t sound right. I’m just under three hours, Euphoria has already delivered some truly crazy moments in TV history.
The brutal beat down of one Nate Jacobs by Fezco, the surprisingly heartbreaking origin story of Cal Jacobs, and of course, Rue’s constant struggle to balance life, love and drugs always going on in the background.
One moment in particular has fans at the edge of their seats, even a week after it aired. The scene centers around Kat, friend to all and lover of Ethan. Although, that last part might be changing if this season has anything to say about it. Kat, like almost everyone her age, is having second thoughts.
Not just about her relationship with Ethan, but with herself. Kat’s gone through quite the journey since we met her last season. Her venture into self-discovery and sexual exploration ended with her finding someone who truly made her feel special. But that’s the thing about receiving validation from others; it doesn’t always replace validation from yourself. A lesson Kat learns in a powerful, and quite triggering scene.
As always, when thinking of sitting down and watching just about any scene from Euphoria, remember to check in with yourself and make sure you’re in a good state of mind before pressing play. This show covers some rough topics, and that HBO logo should definitely be read as a warning that you’re about to see some “not for cable” stuff. Kat’s breakdown is no different.
It’s nothing like an earlier scene with Kat, where she fantasizes about a Dothraki straight out of Game of Thrones killing Ethan and… uh… ”conquering” her. But it’s still quite a man emotionally heavy moment.
As Kat writes a list of pros and cons for her sweet bf, she begins to realize that maybe Ethan isn’t the problem. Truthfully, Ethan is probably the nicest and most innocent character on the show. He’s certainly no Nate Jacobs, and his treatment of Kat has been a breath of fresh air for viewers tuning into a show that barely allows for that.
Instead, Kat comes to the realization that the problem with her relationship might be on a more internal level. Despite undergoing several changes since she first debuted, Kat still hasn’t discovered who she is, or where she really fits in her world.
It’s a discovery that’s damn near impossible to make for most of us. Self love is hard to acquire, and as Kat learns, you can’t always get it from someone else. Even if they treat you like a queen. So how do you love yourself? If I had the answer, I probably wouldn’t still need a day job.
Truth is, it’s different for everyone. Which is why it’s hard to help others achieve the level of self love they need and deserve. It’s also why a lot of us tend to default to the self-help book quote answers when trying to help.
“You are beautiful!”
“Become a bad bitch!
“You just have to love yourself!”
These are real things said by Kat’s imaginary icons as she wallows in her bed, heartbroken over her inability to love herself. More and more female figures appear on screen, spouting comments about self love and denying the standards of the patriarchy. All true statements, sure, but not exactly helpful.
The scene acts as satire, a parody of the kind of self-help mantras bannered by Pinterest boards and toothy-grinned speakers trying to promote their newest coffee table photo album. As these mirages start to multiply, surrounding Kat and screaming “Love yourself!” at the top of their lungs, the message becomes clear.
Kat should love herself. But just saying that won’t help, and making it seem like her inability to love herself is in any way a fault of her own isn’t helpful.
And look, we’ve all been there. We’re all guilty of this. Knowing the right thing to say or do in a situation like Kat’s is tough. We say things like “Love yourself” or “You’re a bad bitch!” to remind our loved ones that even though we may not understand completely, we’re still there to help.
Kat’s imaginary icons aren’t trying to hurt her. But Kat’s discovery of self love, just like everyone’s, has to start with the acknowledgment that she doesn’t love herself right now, and that’s okay. It’s not that there’s nothing to love, of course there is, but it can be harmful pretending that self hate doesn’t exist.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to help. If you or someone you know is struggling with self hate, depression, anxiety, or any of the other themes shown in Euphoria, go here for a list of resources that can help; including a hotline number to text or call at any time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you think may need your help.
Euphoria airs Sunday nights on HBO Max. Stay tuned for more coverage as the season goes on.