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All The Hidden References In ‘Euphoria’ Season 2, Episode 7 & What They Mean

Photo: HBO

The penultimate episode of ‘Euphoria’ sees Lexi Howard tackle the age old question of whether the truth really is stranger than fiction as she stages her weird, wacky and wonderful play that is based on the real lives of the HBO show’s characters.

The entire episode features Sam Levinson’s heavily stylized take on emotional realism and probes each character’s subjective understanding of how they’re portrayed in Lexi’s play. 

Levinson, as has become typical for ‘Euphoria’ episodes, also decorates that realism with plenty of not-so-realistic moments which feature important literary and artistic references. 

Here are some of the references in ‘Euphoria’ season 2, episode 7.

The episode title, ‘The Theater And It’s Double,’ is a reference to Antonin Arnaud.

The episode title is almost identical to the French playwright’s essay collection “The Theatre And Its Double.”

Levinson changes the meaning slightly — and makes a grammatical error — by inserting an apostrophe, for reasons that seem to be left for interpretation.

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Throughout Arnaud’s essays, he takes what would have been considered a radical stance on theater in the 20th Century. 

Arnaud argues that theater and real life are doubles of one another. At the time that Arnaud wrote his essays, theater was ruled by playwrights and their texts served as an all-important guide for staging.

Arnaud, however, believed that theater should be an artform in its own right. His ideas gave rise to what became known as ‘director’s theater’, in which the ideas or interpretation of the director takes precedence over the text.

This idea sets the stage for the events of episode seven. Lexi’s interpretation of her life dominates her play, the plot of which isn’t necessarily indicative of actual events but rather of how Lexi, and the characters watching her play, imagine them. 

The episode forces the characters to look at themselves – or at least a version of themselves that Lexi has conjured up – thus creating a double for their own lives.  

Nate’s mirror scene replicates René Magritte’s ‘Not To Be Reproduced.’

Playing with the theme of doubles again, the episode features a somewhat odd dream sequence from Nate.

At one point, Nate is seen looking at the back of his own head in a distorted mirror reflection which has been compared to René Magritte’s 1937 painting “La Reproduction interdite (Not to Be Reproduced).” 

“Reproduction” suggests multiplicity and points to the many, often biased, narratives in art and life.

The painting, and Nate’s entire character, explores the hidden sides of ourselves and what we keep in the dark.

It also, perhaps, demonstrates Nate's inability to truly “see” himself.

The book that lies on the mantle in Magritte’s painting is Edgar Allan Poe’s “Les aventures d'Arthur Gordon Pym,” (the French translation of “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.”)

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Allan’s narrator, like Nate Jacobs, leads himself and others down many dark paths in the novel.

Both the book and the painting play with the concept of unreliable narration — something Levinson explores frequently in ‘Euphoria.’

Cassie seems to reference ‘Carrie’ in episode 7.

Nate’s dream sequence comes at a point in the episode during which Cassie has exited her sister’s play and is seen crying in the school’s bathroom.

We see her attempt to regain composure as she prepares to return to her school’s auditorium. 

Levinson seems to reference two infamous movie villains, or at least that’s how fans have interpreted the scene.

Smiling into the bathroom mirror before stoically returning to the play, Cassie replicates “Carrie” and “The Joker” – two characters who wreak havoc on their peers after being repeatedly humiliated. 

The entire season has shown Cassie sink deeper and deeper into villainy and Lexi’s play may have just pushed her over the edge. 

Cassie also recreates a scene from ‘Jurassic Park.’ 

The episode concludes with Cassie once again returning to the play, this time after following Nate as he stormed out of the theater.

Cassie, who has now ruined her friendship and familial ties for Nate only to get dumped by him after he feels embarrassed about the events in Lexi’s play, seems to be at breaking point.

She is seen peering back into her high school’s auditorium with a menacing look in her eye and she rather frantically breathes against a glass window.

The scene has been likened to a scene in the 1993 movie “Jurassic Park” in which a velociraptor chases two children into a kitchen as it unleashes fury on its former captors. 

One can only imagine, and fear, what this means for poor Lexi once Cassie gets her hands on her in the season finale of “Euphoria.”  

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.