Cassie Howard on Euphoria cosplaying as her best friend Maddie (Left) and looking a whole fool

Euphoria’s Cassie Howard Needs Help & a Reality Check

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HBO’s Euphoria has a lot of characters going through it, but Cassie Howard is out here acting a full clown for Nate, and I need her to get help.

Spoilers for Euphoria

The show’s second season is only three episodes deep, but the characters are already in the middle of an emotional rollercoaster. Rue (Zendaya) is trying to be a functioning drug addict, while keeping her addiction secret from everyone in her life. Kat is drowning in her low self-esteem, and Jules is actively being gaslit by someone she loves, while also trying to find her own identity. It’s all chaotic, but where my blood is racing is the storyline between Cassie, Nate, and Maddy.

Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi) is terrible and has been in a long-term, on-again-off-again relationship with Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie), best friend of Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney). The relationship between Nate and Maddy has always been toxic, with Nate being physically and emotionally abusive. Nate’s rigid, toxic masculinity-steeped upbringing has caused him to act out in violent, rage-filled ways against others, and especially women. That toxicity is what made him decide to rope Cassie into his orbit.

Cassie’s main characteristic is her desire to be loved. Rue told us in the first season, “[Cassie] fell in love with every guy she ever dated. Whether they were smart or stupid or sweet or cruel, it didn’t matter. She didn’t like to be alone.” As a result, she’s felt pressure to perform in a hyper sexualized way, because of the way men view her figure, even if she didn’t really want to. Her boyfriend in the first season, McKay, constantly feels a mixture of pride at having such a desirable girlfriend, and disgust due to his internalized sexism that makes him slut shame Cassie for her past.

Vulnerable and freshly single Cassie falls into Nate’s fly trap of affection and ends up becoming his side-piece, sneaking out with him on Fridays while getting dressed at 4AM every day for school in order to look good for him. In last night’s episode, the only time he actually responds is when she shows up dressed exactly like a mirror-verse version of Maddy.

It’s embarrassing, and the internet let her know.

Euphoria is deeply polarizing for a lot of valid reasons, and yet, it’s these moments of raw emotion that just keep me coming back. Cassie has been stuck on clown mode, but Sydney Sweeney has knocked it out of the park. The scene in the bathroom where she “confessed” was amazingly done, and her ability to go from moment to moment with such raw emotion is really compelling.

People spend a lot of time on Cassie’s body, but the reality is Sweeney has offered much more than that with her acting, despite where the camera’s gaze may go.

Every week, I’m stressed about what is going to happen when Maddy finds out and whether Cassie will ever see herself as valuable outside of a guy. We can hope.

(image: HBO)

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