“Euphoria” threw a glitter bomb at its audience with Sunday’s finale, leaving them to put the tiny pieces together — all this explosive prettiness, what does it mean?

Did the polarizing musical number with a choir all wearing maroon robes — referencing Rue’s late dad’s hoodie — mean that she relapsed (and overdosed)? Was she kicked out by her mother? Or, given the embrace by her father, is she dead, as some fans have speculated all along? If she lives, what does this bode for the Rue/Jules romance (a.k.a. “Rules”)?

As if that wasn’t enough of a cliffhanger, many other story lines are still up in the air: What happens to fan favorite Fez? What did Maddy see on Cal’s incriminating disc? Are Cassie and McKay still together, post-abortion? For more on these teenage tragedies, read on.

‘“Euphoria”: Did (spoiler!) just die in the Season 1 finale?’ [USA Today]

“Flailing around her house and past her family, Rue languidly dances in the street, where she’s joined by a maroon-robed gospel choir and marching band. She climbs atop a horde of people and sings, ‘I hope one of you come back to remind me of who I was when I go disappearing into that good night,’ before falling as the screen fades to black. Could that ominous last shot and lyric mean that Rue fatally overdosed? After all, she wasn’t in the best physical condition when the episode began, after landing in the hospital with a kidney infection after becoming so depressed that she wouldn’t leave her bedroom or use the bathroom for days. And the sting of Jules’s seeming betrayal may have proven too much for Rue, who wasn’t subtle about her romantic feelings all season.”

‘The “Euphoria” Season 1 Finale Ending Explained, Because You’re Not The Only One Confused’ [Bustle]

“Could viewers have just seen the event that ends Rue’s life, revealing that yes, she’s been omnisciently narrating the whole show from the afterlife? To many, the symbolism of the ending will undoubtedly confirm this theory: the dreamlike sequence, the jump off the cliff, the white light. ‘Euphoriahas always tried to mimic what its characters are feeling with its camerawork and visuals, and this could be creator Sam Levinson’s way of giving shape to an experience as unknowable as dying. There’s also the bookend scenes of Rue’s mother reading a letter about Rue in church. Doesn’t that feel like the kind of letter you’d read at someone’s funeral?”

‘Modern Excess: “Euphoria” Got Better With Every Passing Week’ [The Ringer]

“Sometimes, ‘Euphoriawanted us to look past the panicked trend pieces and music video staging to the confused, conflicted people underneath. And sometimes, ‘Euphoriawas happy to camp out right there on the surface, leering at intoxicated kids and their impaired judgment like a ‘Datelinecorrespondent facing a deadline.”

‘“Euphoria”’s season finale is structural chaos’ [AV Club]

“It’s especially confusing that a show so concerned with aesthetics and art-housey direction can’t seem to find its rhythm or make sense of its own structure. ‘Euphoria’ experiments with form, seen especially in the final sequence — a gorgeous but ultimately hollow choreographed number that turns Rue’s relapse into a twisted ballet — but sometimes that experimentation is erratic and indulgent. Sam Levinson’s direction has an eye, but it lacks skin. There’s no connective tissue outside of the stylization itself. And it isn’t enough to really hold a story together and make it feel lived in. The finale is visually immersive but too chaotic in its narrative for anything to stick.”

‘“Euphoria” Is High on Scorsese’s Supply’ [Vulture]

“Levinson also shares Scorsese’s fondness for voice-over from unreliable narrators, tasking Rue with columns and columns of speedy exposition to keep the unloading of back story kinetic. Levinson constantly indulges in elaborate crane shots of questionable utility; when the ensemble convenes at a carnival for a night of debauchery and drama, Levinson stages an almost ostentatiously complicated shot that careens from ground level into the air and back down to earth, as if for no other reason that to show that he can.”

‘How “Euphoria” is trying to shatter what it means to be a “real girl”’ [Entertainment Weekly]

“If Nate is a definer and protector of femininity and Maddy is a veteran navigator of it, Jules is a disrupter. Like Maddy, Jules recognizes and plays into certain norms, but in her case, it’s more about safety than climbing the social ladder. As a trans girl, Jules has to play ball to minimize backlash that can come with defying binary thinking and living outside the gender binary for people like Cal (Eric Dane) — who displays fear seeing her outside the confines of his motel room — or Nate — who seems to be obsessed with her while also actively trying to destroy her life. Jules doesn’t check off half the things on Nate’s proper girl list, but that means she does check off the other half and that seems to be confusing and infuriating for an abusive and controlling, misogynistic gender essentialist like him.”

‘Dating While Trans Is Complicated. HBO’s “Euphoria” Pushed Me to Unpack My Online Romances’ [Mother Jones]

“A deep sense of shame fuels Nate in his convoluted scheme to silence Jules. The idea that his straight, married dad has these kinds of interactions is so dangerous that he’s willing to ruin a young girl’s life to keep the secret from getting out. I suspect Nate is also contending with his own attraction to Jules. ‘Over the past few weeks I’ve spent every moment of every day getting to know you,’ he tells Jules when they finally meet face-to-face. ‘I kind of feel closer to you than I do to anyone in the whole world.’ Since many other scenes depict Nate lying through his teeth, we don’t have much reason to trust him. But based on my exchanges with boys like Nate — who were high school quarterbacks, have girlfriends, and identify as straight — I think there’s a kernel of truth in what he says to Jules in private.”

‘For the Teens of “Euphoria,” There’s No High Like Getting Paid’ [Slate]

“The plot, the dialogue, the music all point to an element more desirable than the consumable drugs and sex: the money that enables them. ‘Euphoria’’s teens are thirsty for bills. They willingly and rapidly participate in a system that used to be scoffed at by youth culture for its moral bankruptcy. ‘Euphoria’’s relationships, many based in blackmail and social climbing, also read as transactional. The characters all speak the language of cash.”

‘“Euphoria” Star Angus Cloud Got Cast in a Hit Show Without Really Trying’ [GQ]

“Actors and filmmakers can spend entire publicity tours talking about authenticity. It becomes a narrative on which whole award campaigns have been built and Oscars won. Hollywood seems to be on a never ending scavenger hunt for genuineness. And when, on the off chance they do locate it, they homogenize and merchandize it, breaking it down for parts so it can be easily packaged and sold in your nearest Target. But here it was, sitting in front of me, thumbing through photos and getting ready to hop on a bus out of town.”

‘“Euphoria” Music Supervisor Jen Malone on the Finale’s Big Number and Soundtracking Season 1’ [Complex]

“The musical number was a huge undertaking. We originally had another song but Sam heard Lab’s ‘All For Us’ and absolutely fell in love with it and it has been a theme throughout the whole season. In addition to Zendaya doing the lead vocals, Sam wanted a marching band and choir on the track so we had to set up the pre-record. We took Lab’s track and ‘sweetened it’ by working with a music contractor who did a marching band arrangement of the song. After the demo was approved, we went to the studio and started with recording percussion, then brass, then winds, then a choir came in to do their parts to complement Z[endaya]’s vocals. Every instrument you hear is live, no synths.”

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