[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 4 of Euphoria, “You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can.”]
Playing dysfunctional dad Cal Jacobs to one of the show’s equally disliked characters, Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), Dane is stretching his acting muscles in ways he might not have otherwise been allowed to do on network television. Sure, viewers have fallen in love with him as Mark “McSteamy” Sloan, on ABC‘s Grey’s Anatomy or have followed him through the action of TNT‘s The Last Ship, but there’s something different about Cal.
Dane was charming and sometimes sneaky as Mark on Grey’s, but he never delved into the kind of volatile territory that Cal consistently touches upon in Euphoria. In the show’s latest installment, Cal set out to find some fun as he slowly unravels following his failed confrontation with Fez (Angus Cloud) in the previous episode.
Swigging a drink back and telling Nate he’s going for a drive, he ends up at the old bar he once visited with his best friend and first real true love, Derek (Henry Eikenberry). There, he finds many eyes turn to him as he takes a seat with his bandaged head, but it’s clear from his behavior that Cal feels freer than he usually does and that’s reflected when he finally does return home after being kicked out of the bar for his rowdy behavior.
It is in this timeframe that Cal essentially blows up his life, openly admitting to his extramarital affairs in front of his sons, confronting Nate, Nate’s brother, and his wife for their hypocritical behaviors, and literally urinating at the front door to show them how he feels. What could cause such behavior? Well, the threat of his sex tape with minor, Jules (Hunter Schafer) is definitely a concern, but perhaps it’s something that’s been building over time due to family tragedy?
As Cal begins to exit the family home, he snags a photo off of the wall that features the whole family, including a younger son that we haven’t met. Did Nate have a younger sibling? If so, where is he? Could there have been a tragic death? The possibility adds clarity to the Jacobs family’s toxic dynamic as they all deal with grief in their own ways.
But it is with this storytelling and the slow way in which this show peels back layers that Dane shines as Cal. He went from being one of the show’s most disliked characters to one that you kind of feel a little bad for, even if it’s just for one tiny millisecond.
There’s something about Cal’s unhinged side that allows us to see Dane in a different light, and we can’t help but wonder, is this his greatest TV role yet? Let us know what you think with the poll, below, and sound off in the comments section.
Euphoria, Season 2, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO