Euphoria season two attempted a quintuple axel, and there was no way it could ever completely stick the landing. There were some undeniable misfires this season—including, but not limited to, sidelining compelling characters like Kat Hernandez, or a love triangle subplot for Cassie that reduced her character to one-note hysterics —but if there’s one constant we can champion from January’s New Year’s Eve premiere to last night’s bullet-riddled finale, it’s Angus Cloud’s empathetic drug dealer Fezco. An important, but under-developed character in season 1, he grew to be the heart of the series this year. He opened the season delivering the show’s most cathartic comeuppance to date, and ended as the recipient of its most tragic.
It was clear Fez was going to be a key part of season 2 when the premiere gave him one of the show’s long-awaited origin story flashbacks—“Fezco’s grandma was a motherfuckin’ G” are the first words we hear to bring us out of a three-year hiatus. By showing how Fez was forced to grow up and provide for Ashtray after his grandmother’s sudden medical crisis, it established that he operated in a kind of liminal space between the Euphoria’s chaotic teens and checked-out adults. That made him something of an audience conduit for older viewers, and he maintained credibility even when his plot points felt tonally inconsistent with the rest of the show.
The drug-dealer-with-a-heart-of-gold archetype is one that’s been depicted in plenty of movies and shows, so it’s a credit to Cloud that the character has resonated so deeply with millions of viewers. We were shown glimpses of Fez’s soulfulness in season 1, particularly in his protective dynamic with Rue, and those seeds pay off hugely this year. In the fifth episode (otherwise known as the Zendaya Emmy Reel), when Fez finds Rue rooting around for pills, Cloud conveys an aching sense of deep disappointment. The physical acting between him and Zendaya is heartbreaking and electrifying, one of the best moments in the whole series. On a show full of duplicitous characters, dueling agendas and petty betrayals, Fezco, with his matter-of-factness and clear moral code, is an easy person to root for. Embarking on the show’s most innocent depiction of high school romance with Lexi, another intriguing season one character who took center stage this year, just raises his stock even further. (Were they the real Romeo and Juliet of Euphoria?)
Euphoria’s characters are almost always looking for attention, and it was refreshing that Fezco–for reasons both personal and, uhh, professional–was simply trying to stay out of the spotlight. The way the show slowly built his relationship with Lexi, from their initial meet-cute at a New Year’s Eve party to their sweet phone calls to the moment the note he intended to give her at the play hits the glass-strewn ground after the shootout was a masterclass in tragic romantic storytelling. In the end, they didn’t have Fez do anything brashly out of character, like abandon Ashtray and Faye to attend Lexi’s play. He knew the moment Ash killed Custer that possibility was out the window, and the way he insisted on taking the fall for his adoptive little brother felt consistent with his personality. Beyond the extremes of romance and tragedy, season 2 let Cloud flex new, unprecedented strengths—who among us would’ve predicted Fezco of all characters would be the lynchpin in one of the series’ funniest scenes across all 16 episodes?
Obviously, Cloud’s performance didn’t happen in a vacuum, and it wouldn’t have been so captivating without Zendaya, Maude Apatow, Chloe Cherry, and Javon Walton as strong scene partners. Lexi dedicating the second act of her play to Fez, for whom she had saved a prime seat, packed a wallop, as did their sweet “Stand By Me” duet in the sixth episode.