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TV Recap: ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Episode 7 – “The Theater and It’s Double” A Story Within a Story

INTRODUCTION

Spoilers Below

In Euphoria Season Two Episode Seven, “The Theatre and It’s Double,” written and directed by creator Sam Levinson, wallflower Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow) stops merely observing her community. Instead, the introvert reveals her truth in front of everybody through her staged play Our Life. “The Theatre and it’s Double” is another meta episode where Our Life re-tells events that happened within the world of Euphoria. A smaller story within a larger story. The seventh episode flashes between the play Our Life and “real life” scenes from mostly Lexi’s point of view.

“The Theatre and It’s Double” starts with Lexi in her dressing room psyching herself up to perform Our Life in front of her classmates, friends, and family members. In Our Life, Lexi, a.k.a.” Grace,” reveals how she lost her best friend “Jade” (Aja Bair), a.k.a. Rue Bennett (Zendaya), to drugs. Next, the playwright deals with the complicated relationship with her popular big sister “Hallie” (Eden Rose), a.k.a. Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney), who’s addicted to love and the trauma she faces dealing with an absentee alcoholic father. Finally, Our Life tackles the fact that “Marta” (Izabella Alvarez), a.k.a. Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie), masks her pain over her family’s dysfunction with confidence. Along with how “Jake” (Ethan (Austin Abrams)), a.k.a. Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), uses beautiful cis-gendered women to erase his possible queerness. Lexi’s community has differing reactions to the play, from her joyful laughing mother, Suze Howard (Alanna Ubach), to Cassie, who wants to murder her little sister by the end of the episode.

Rue learns from her mother, Leslie Bennett (Nika King), that her little sister Gia Bennett (Storm Reid), is struggling. Gia is now Leslie’s priority. Fezco (Angus Cloud) gives Lexi a lot of moral support right before the performance. He promises the playwright that he will come. That night Fezco blissfully gets ready to see Our Life while Faye (Chloe Cherry) and Ashtray (Javon Walton) nervously watch Custer (Tyler Chase), who plans to betray the brothers.

RUE THROUGH LEXI’S EYES

Our Life reveals how much Lexi understands Rue and how much she values her as a person. Sequences that merge the flashbacks to the teenage girl’s younger years and scenes from the play bring out the depth of their friendship. Rue sees her value through the eyes of Lexi.

The sequence that best job shows how much Rue’s friendship helped form Lexi is when their thirteen or fourteen-year-olds selves hang out on top of Fez’s drug store. (I will use Euphoria’s character names to make everything more straightforward when describing the flashback. When referencing Our Life, I will use Lexi’s alternative names for everybody.)

Lexi eats her ice cream sitting on the drug store’s roof while Rue climbs up. The camera pans up as Lexi tells Rue that they should figure out all their flaws, so they can change them before high school starts. Then there is an edit to a long shot of Grace and Jade’s back while sitting on a prop drug store roof in front of an audience. Grace continues Lexi’s sentence, saying that they can become popular kids. Jade tells Grace that they don’t need to be “cooler.” Finally, there is an edit to a medium-long shot of Rue in the audience, smiling, remembering those events. Jade and Grace continue to chat about how what is “cool” changes all the time, so they should stay the way they are.

The camera pans back to Grace and Jade on stage. Grace asks what if they are left out because they are not popular. Jade says that is a good thing because her Dad says he wouldn’t want to be a part of an organization that wanted him as a member. Rue grins in the audience, realizing her positive impact on Lexi and remembering how sweet their friendship was.

The stage goes dark, pointing a spotlight on Grace as she starts monologuing about how “Jade was the first person who made me feel okay about not being cool.” Lexi tells Rue that she misses her and that their friendship helped mold her into the artistically free person she is today through Our Life. Unfortunately, she couldn’t express her feelings through words because she was trapped as the background character in her life for too long.

THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES THROUGHOUT THE EPISODE

Sam Levison utilizes different theatrical techniques in the “real life” scenes to enable the audience to see the episode as a piece of theatre. Euphoria Season Two is an artistic television show that utilizes cinematography, art direction, lighting, editing, and sound to create a dream-like atmosphere that demonstrates all the character’s mental states. “The Theater and It’s Double” has several instances where the play Our Life merges with the television show Euphoria.

After Lexi waits backstage for the play to start, there is an instrumental overture. A medium shot of a glittery fake flower with an “Overture” inter-title as a melancholy classical instrumental piece plays over the primarily dark grey. Many operas or musicals have an overture right before the performance starts to set the tone. This overture preps the audience for the emotionally charged Our Life performance.

Another example of the use of theatrical techniques is a more surreal scene that erases the line between “real life” and the performance. Cassie tells Nate that she is essentially willing to be his slave as she makes love to him. The scene begins with Cassie lying on top of Nate in his bed, right on stage in front of the audience. There is a spotlight on the couple while everything else on the screen is dark. Nate asks Cassie if she is worried that people will look down on her for following his every command. Cassie looks straight at the camera, speaking to the audience. She says, “At least I am loved.” The spotlight highlights how she wants everybody to know that she belongs to Nate. The dialogue demonstrates that Cassie has such low self-esteem that she will allow a teenage boy to control her every movement for essentially “fake” love. A love that turns out so shallow that when Nate is agitated by a musical number that mocks him, he kicks Cassie to the curb. Lexi outs his queerness through a homoerotic workout musical number centering on his character Jake.

LAST THOUGHTS

Fezco never shows up at the high school theatre. Does that mean he died or was arrested? Will Cassie beat up Lexi for “ruining” her relationship? What will Nate do to Lexi for writing the play or Ethan for playing Jake? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Written by Paloma Bennett

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