Euphoria’s characters represent a broad spectrum of archetypes – the goody-two-shoes turned rebellious artist, sweet best friends turning into love-drunk monsters, and Nate, who’s pretty much always been the worst that humanity has to offer.
Using the Dungeons & Dragons model of moral alignment and its appropriate archetypes, it gets easier to understand Euphoria characters’ motivations, merits, and blindspots. Different labels come with their alignment archetypes that are also helpful in seeing why each character fits into their alignment. Needless to say, Euphoria has a knack for creating complex characters who make plenty of mistakes and, occasionally, achieve redemption.
Lexi Howard: Lawful Good
Even among issues of violence, substance abuse, and assault, somehow, the Euphoria characters are still capable of substantial good. Lexi’s big move in season 2 – putting on a play about her real-life family and friends – demonstrates the dangers of honest art more than it betrays malicious intent. Her play isn’t grounded in the caricatures around her; it’s about her own coming-of-age journey and the challenge of living up to the larger-than-life personalities she deals with every day.
Creative outlets are one of the least damaging routes for taking out frustration, and Lexi’s play ultimately serves as a therapeutic exercise within a controlled medium. Fulfilling her role as the “Crusader,” a truth-teller who shows others the consequences of their actions, Lexi honestly thinks the play is a vital mirror to hold in front of others so they can assess their own paths and behavior.
Rue Bennet: Chaotic Good
Rue struggles to see the good in herself, which leads her to believe she is only capable of hurting the people she loves. However, by the end of season 2, the audience finally sees Rue processing the trauma of losing her dad and the challenges that made her choose the chaotic path she did. Finally, Rue realizes she isn’t an innately terrible person and that she doesn’t have to be defined by her mistakes forever.
Zendaya’s heartfelt portrayal of Rue on Euphoria demonstrates an impressive range of the character’s positive and negative traits, and alignment in the “Rebel” role makes sense for a teen going through what she has. The actions that led Rue to hurt others are primarily driven by her addiction. And though Rue may be unpredictable and impulsive, she is a supportive friend to Lexi and sister to Gia when she’s at her best.
Fezco: Chaotic Good
Fezco is definitely one of Euphoria’s most chaotic characters, especially when his sweet flirtation with Lexi leads directly to a brutal assault on Nate. The only way he’s learned to deal with conflict in his life is through violence, and Fez is ultimately dedicated to protecting those he loves.
Fitting the “Rebel” model, Fez’s moral compass is not regulated by the law but rather by his own belief system. However, Fez’s alignment is further complicated by the fact that his only means of supporting himself, his comatose grandmother, and Ashtray is his occupation as a dealer, which was directly responsible for Rue’s early drug use.
Jules Vaughn: Lawful Neutral
This alignment is also called the “Judge” – though, as a character, Jules’ judgment isn’t always the greatest. She played with Rue’s emotions in season 1, left her at the train station and ran away from home, and got up to mischief in season 2 when she stole liquor from a convenience store with Elliot. When considering the worst things Jules has ever done on Euphoria, it becomes clear that she is still a teen figuring things out. And Jules may be a bad match for Rue, but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad person.
Still, Jules certainly has enough judgmental opinions to go around and has difficulty seeing in shades of grey regarding her friends’ life choices. It seems as though she holds herself in a moral category distinct from others – especially when she accuses Rue of cheating with Elliot, then proceeds to do the same herself.
Elliot: True Neutral
Some fans argue that Elliot’s Euphoria character arc was undeveloped, and show-runner Sam Levinson could’ve easily cut a few minutes of Elliot’s song and replaced them with some backstory. Still, the viewer does get a pretty clear sense of Elliot’s vibe through his easygoing approach to gender, sexual exploration, and substance use.
Fans might argue that Elliot’s character was neutral to a fault since he knowingly did drugs with Rue even though she had a severe history of addiction. The True Neutral alignment is also called the “Undecided,” which fits Elliot’s passive approach to watching Rue secretly self-destruct. He ended his streak as the “Undecided” when he told Jules that Rue had been using. But this set off a chain of events that ultimately had little to do with him, so he remained a relatively neutral party in the conflict.
Maddy Perez: Chaotic Neutral
Commonly known as the “Free Spirit,” this description could fit several of the ultra-cool teens on Euphoria. Maddy is a particularly complicated character – fans were on her side as the wronged ex-girlfriend during the Cassie and Nate debacle in season 2, but they seem to forget that she framed an innocent boy for assault in Season 1 to protect Nate.
Maddy has always had a hard exterior but generally seems against harming others unprovoked. However, from what viewers know of Maddy’s past and her propensity toward violence as a means for justice, it’s no surprise that she took the stage to slap Cassie around. Realistically, Cassie’s aggressive behavior toward Lexi at the play warranted at least some kind of consequence.
Kat Hernandez: Chaotic Neutral
It makes sense that these best friends occupy a similar plane of existence. However, Kat’s character arc is a lost cause in Euphoria season 2, with a dead-end relationship and a streak of petty behavior as her only storyline.
She fits the “Free Spirit” alignment because she embodies the individualist, someone who tends to stay out of the moralistic fray and look for escape routes when she feels boxed in. While it’s unclear what Kat’s motivations are in season 2, season 1 found her gaining new confidence in her body, sexuality, and style. Perhaps season 2 Kat is just going through some growing pains since it doesn’t fit her personality to actively harm others. And though neutral alignments tend to be self-serving, the way she broke up with Ethan was entirely unconcerned with his feelings and bordered on gaslighting.
Cassie Howard: Neutral Evil
Cassie was relatively harmless in season 1, but season 2 resulted in the character experiencing a full-on breakdown, in which right and wrong, love and humiliation, all became convoluted. Cassie’s only ambition is to love and be loved, and she fits the “Malefactor” description in that she doesn’t care who she hurts on her path toward those goals.
In addition, supporting someone who has abused someone close to you – as was the case with Nate and Maddy – is the definition of being neutral in the face of Evil. Cassie also never owns up to her mistakes and attacks Lexi for reenacting them in the play.
Nate Jacobs: Chaotic Evil
Nate is the definition of the “Destroyer” since he is completely driven by his worst impulses and emotionally unaffected by their results. Nate’s deep-seated anger toward his father is redirected toward every woman he meets through emotionally abusive and violent behaviors. He is also in constant competition with Euphoria’s men to reassure himself of his masculinity. Even Nate’s mom thinks he’s been a lost cause since age 10, and she tells him as much in season 2.
Nate ultimately takes up a kind of vigilante-style terrorism, ruining people’s lives with focused methods, then changing up the plan as he wishes. In a scene with Nate, characters could be supported, demeaned, battered, or completely ignored (in Cassie’s case). Nate seems somewhat self-aware by the end of season 2 and understands that he will never be a good person. And though he gets his father arrested, he does it more to serve his own ego than to seek justice for his father’s victims.