Euphoria may have debuted to controversy and sensational headlines, but season one went out on top.
The finale, which aired this past Sunday, garnered the highest ratings yet for creator Sam Levinson’s HBO drama about a group of high school kids navigating sex, romance, drugs, social media and plenty of teen angst. And the show even found a fan in Leonardo DiCaprio!
At the center of the series is the drug-addled Rue (played by Zendaya), who spent the first half of the school year trying to bounce back after an overdose sent her to rehab during summer break. In the finale, after deciding not to run away with new best friend Jules (Hunter Schafer), Rue returned home, where she flashed back to the day her dad died of cancer. In a fanciful sequence involving Zendaya singing a new edition of composer Labrinth’s “All for Us,” it appeared that she relapsed, only to collapse in the final seconds of the episode.
Co-stars Storm Reid, who plays Rue’s younger sister Gia, and Algee Smith, who plays college freshman footballer Christopher McKay, opened up to Katie Krause at Variety's Power of Young Hollywood event about what they thought happened in that moment.
“I feel like it’s for your own interpretation,” Reid said, before praising Levinson and Zendaya on all their hard work. “To see it all come together was incredible... that last sequence was wild.” And when it came to the song heard in the finale, the actress didn’t even know it was her co-star singing at first. “I was listening to it on set when [Zendaya] comes through the kitchen. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s such a good song,’ and [then] I was like, ‘Wait, is that you?’ She was like, ‘Yeah, it’s me,’ so nonchalant and cool about it.”
Meanwhile, Smith thought the ending was all about showing “that everyone isn't perfect, you know? And that’s the point,” he said, adding: “We have to love the people around us and really continue to talk to them because although we may want this beautiful ending, that’s not really how life goes. So comfort the people around you, love the people around you that are maybe going through the same things.”
Ahead of the finale, HBO officially renewed the series for a second season, meaning that the fans will eventually find out what happens next. “We’ll get the final answer, I feel like, in the first couple episodes of season two,” Reid teased.
“We'll be back next season to show you some more,” Smith added, before revealing that he thinks “there’s always room for reconciliation” for McKay and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), who seemingly broke up after she revealed she was pregnant with his baby. “With our writers, you never know where it could go.”
In fact, in another conversation with ET, Sweeney refused to confirm if the show’s central couple had officially broken up while suggesting that “McKay’s not in the picture.”
While their relationship remains a questions for season two, Reid is more confident about where Gia’s headed next season. “I feel like she will definitely evolve and you will see more of how she feels in her perspective,” Reid said. “Because right now, she’s just the little sister that stays on the sidelines. But I feel like she’ll really come to life in season two.”
Reid is not the only sister hopeful for more screen time when Euphoria returns. When asked about Cassie’s sister Lexi (played by Maude Apatow), Sweeney said they told Levinson they need more scenes together. “There’s such a cool sister relationship to build and see onscreen. We definitely explore more of that.”
In the meantime, when it comes to the news that DiCaprio is a fan of the series, the stars had plenty of ideas for getting him on board in the second season. “Maybe he will come in as an adviser,” Reid quipped, while Smith said that Drake, who serves as an executive producer, would have to reach out to him. “If I can make a call myself I would. I’m trying to get Leo in my life,” he joked.
Euphoria season one is now available on HBO GO/HBO NOW.