Who are the best Euphoria characters? The award-winning TV series first exploded onto our screens in 2019, treating us to an ensemble cast of established and breakout talent, including Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney, Angus Cloud, Barbie Ferreira, and more.
While the TV series has sometimes faced as much drama and challenges off-screen as on-screen, with alleged feuds between cast members purportedly leading to rapid rewrites, that hasn’t stopped it from becoming something of a phenomenon. Dune star Zendaya, who also acts as a producer for the show, even brought home an Emmy in 2020 for Best Actress.
Euphoria season 2 faced some controversy this year for supposedly ‘glorifying’ drug use, but the buzz around the show and its critical consensus speaks for itself. A huge reason for the drama series‘ success is the engaging, multi-faceted characters that lead the show. They’re incredibly human in their flaws, leading to you rooting for them one minute and hating them the next. I imagine my opinions will change next episode, but at least for now, here are my rankings for the best Euphoria characters.
Euphoria characters, ranked from best to worst:
- Lexi Howard
- Rue Bennett
- Maddy Perez
- Jules Vaughn
- Cassie Howard
- Kat Hernandez
- Nate Jacobs
My sweet, dear Fezco. As ironic as his role is, oftentimes selling drugs to addict Rue and other members of the group, he’s definitely the kindest and purest soul out there. He’s shown genuine concern for Rue’s addiction — refusing to supply her on occasions — and even paid off a debt she had to gangsters to keep her safe. In his own way, he’s looking out for people.
As we found out in his solo episode, he quite literally dropped out of school to sell drugs for his Nana (sorry, Riverdale) and didn’t have the best time and chance growing up.
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But that doesn’t stop him from being a decent person who just wants everyone to be happy. He also punched Nate in the face, which probably caused more cheers to the screen than at an MCU premiere.
In this house, we stan Fezco. And more importantly, we stan Fezco and Lexi together.
You know what? I’m just going to say it. Lexi Howard deserves better. Cassie’s kid sister always draws the short end of the straw and exists on the outskirts of the group, but when it matters, she’s there for all of them. Even though former childhood friend Rue isn’t hugely reciprocal when it comes down to it, Lexi is willing to drop everything to help her time and time again — even faking a urine test for her.
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Lexi also feels like the only character there with half a brain cell most of the time: far removed from the hysterical melodrama her glittery gang frequently finds themselves in. She also seems to be the only one able to put Cassie in her place, which, let’s face it, is desperately needed.
As the protagonist and narrator of the show, we’re meant to root for Rue. And largely, that’s exactly what we do. It’s made clear from the outset that she’s struggling with addiction, and from her tender scenes with Jules, it’s clear that she’s caring and has a lot of love to give.
Played expertly by MCU movie star Zendaya, it’s clear that Rue’s relationship with drugs is dark, messy and complicated: a far cry from the ‘glorification’ it’s claimed to be.
Her tendency to self-destruct and hurt those closest to her — especially in season 2, episode 5 — shows that she has her flaws and has a long way to go before becoming the person she’s capable of being. And that’s what makes her relapses and decline all the more painful to watch.
Maddy is the definition of a ‘girl boss’. She’s fiercely loyal, put together, and determined to get the kind of life she wants. She wears her high ponytail and metallic lids like armour, and while some might write her off as a materialistic ex-pageant girl, she’s a lot more intelligent than that.
She’s calculating and knows what roles she has to play and depending on who she’s with, in order to get what she wants.
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The problem is that Nate is her Achilles heel, and that in season 1, she sat by and let him wreak havoc on innocent people’s lives like Tyler. But while it’s easy to see her as a bystander to Nate’s crimes, she’s also the biggest victim of them all as a long-time recipient of his abuse.
Fortunately, after Nate’s unforgivable actions in season 2, episode 6, we have a feeling Maddy has finally untethered herself from Nate’s toxic influence.
Oh Ashtray, you crazy little man. If you thought Fezco was raised on the wild side, then Ashtray is a full-on animal. When we first meet him, he’s literally a child, and when we see him in season 2 he is now a young teenager with a lot more fire in his belly.
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Ashtray is fiercely loyal, perhaps to the point of being too dangerous, and he certainly has a temper. We love Ashtray; a young man of very few words, and who will always act first and ask questions later.
Jules is one of those characters where you can’t quite make your mind up about her. While we can’t dismiss her part in sending Tyler to jail, she was blackmailed and left with no other choice.
Although she broke fans’ hearts in season 1 by leaving Rue at the train station, season 2 revealed that things were a lot more complicated than they seemed, as she already struggled most of her life with an addict parent.
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It’s also clear that she doesn’t fully reciprocate Rue’s feelings, and that being the one thing stopping her from relapsing is a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a teenager.
But this season, the scales towards Jules tip a little bit towards negative because of her interactions with Elliot. They invite Rue along to rob alcohol then act shocked when she drinks it; she kisses Ethan while Rue is in the other room before making Rue kiss him to absolve her guilt. Worst of all, she sleeps with Elliot and can be seen trying to give Rue an intervention while wearing his clothes.
In season 1, Cassie was one of my favourite characters. While she clearly had her flaws, her vulnerabilities and insecurities made you highly empathetic.
All you wanted was for Cassie to find the love and security she craved, and her abortion scenes in the first season remain one of the show’s best.
But as she begins to get entangled with Nate — who is not only her best friend’s boyfriend but also her abuser — it is clear that some of the empathy you felt in the last season was perhaps manufactured.
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We’ve seen Cassie’s appeals for sympathy and pity in light of her betrayal all too clear, and this time, when her eyes fill with tears, it’s clear that this time, they’re crocodile tears. She might seem sweet, innocent and vulnerable, but betraying your best friend like that on multiple levels is unforgivable.
In a show where everyone is beautiful, skinny, and free, Kat was a refreshing and relatable character in the show’s first season. Watching her grow in confidence and find empowerment as a cam girl was great to see, and her budding relationship with nice guy Ethan seemed like the icing on the cake, but everything changed in season 2.
Seeing her struggle to find herself in her relationship with Ethan, and deciding to end the relationship, doesn’t make her a bad person. But what does make her a bad person is the way she faked a brain disease and tried to gaslight him in order to take accountability for her actions. It’s a strange and sad fall from grace this season, but hopefully, she can turn a corner before the season is out.
If Nate Jacobs has a million haters, I’m one of them. If he has a thousand haters, I’m still one of them. If he has one hater, it’s me. If Nate Jacobs has zero haters, it means I have left this world. If the world is against Nate Jacobs then I am with the world.
In short, I hate Nate Jacobs. While some may argue he’s struggling with his sexuality, or that being played by rom-com heartthrob Jacob Elordi somehow precludes him of responsibility, the reality is that he is a deep, dark and twisted character: possibly the product of his equally-twisted father, Cal Jacobs.
Nonetheless, throughout seasons 1 and 2, we have not just seen him physically abuse and attack on-off girlfriend Maddy — leaving her with bruises from choking her in season 1 and holding a gun to her head in season 2 — he has also blackmailed other characters like Jules, a minor, with videos of her sleeping with his father.
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He’s rude, arrogant and spent the whole of season 1 slut-shaming Cassie before realising how malleable and easy she is to manipulate. He might be pretty removed from the drugs scene that surrounds the show, but his squeaky-clean image hides a lot of evil.
Both seasons of Euphoria are available to watch on the streaming services HBO Max and NOW TV. Euphoria is available to stream on NOW (with Entertainment Membership). Get ready for the Euphoria season 3 release date with our guide to all you need to know.
Or, for upcoming releases, here is our guide to all the new movies heading our way in 2023.