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Euphoria Characters Ranked From Least To Most Toxic

"Euphoria" has pulled audiences in with the fascinating and disturbing world it creates. It's a dark, raw drama that takes an unflinching look into the personal lives and struggles of high schoolers in today's modern age, from drug abuse and family problems to mental illness and identity crises.

Only climbing in viewership as it entered Season 2, the characters and storylines of "Euphoria" are addicting because they're imperfect and reflect reality. Unfortunately, having imperfect and layered characters means they're not always going to be the best people all the time. They're going to make mistakes, and they're going to hurt people.

That's what makes the show beautiful, though — you get to watch your characters grow and better themselves. Audiences and cast members alike eagerly await each new addition to the show, every episode a chance for their characters to take a step in the right direction. With multiple seasons of "Euphoria" streaming on HBO Max and more on the way, there's still plenty of time for character development, but at this current moment, some of the show's characters are in desperate need of self-help books. Grab your gas mask and radiation suit because these are the most toxic characters of "Euphoria," ranked.

14. Ethan

Listen, we're all thinking it. Ethan does look like an incel. He's male, white, skinny, and probably not going to be captain of the football team or prom king anytime soon. If you saw him on the street, you would probably assume he spends his free time writing angry Reddit manifestos about how women just don't appreciate nice guys anymore.

This misleading appearance is a leading example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover because in reality Ethan is truly the sweetest, most harmless, and most genuine person on "Euphoria" — maybe even the planet. With a show plagued by a tirade of addiction, abuse, mean girls, and angry boys, Ethan is a breath of fresh air, a small flower blooming atop the world's largest steaming pile of trash. A small beacon of light that signals maybe, just maybe, not all human beings are garbage.

We've never seen Ethan be mean, cruel, manipulative, or do anything to suggest he's anything other than an all-around great guy. Even when Kat whipped him around all of Season 1 and steamrolled over his heart in Season 2, he never let his anger get the best of him. Instead, he opted to be patient and understanding, even when he had a reason not to. A beautiful person who would never and has never done so much as hurt a fly, Ethan earns the title of the least toxic person in "Euphoria."

13. Ali

When it comes to the unproblematic men of "Euphoria," Ali is our main man. As Rue's sponsor, and maybe even her stepdad someday (depending on how thing's go with Leslie), he's been nothing but a caring and reliable support system. Even if he doesn't even up being her stepdad, he's already stepped up to the charge of being there for Rue when she needs it. This is no small feat because, let's be honest — Rue needs it a lot.

Now, Ali is by no means perfect and carries a far from a squeaky-clean record when it comes to toxicity. He's an addict and was a terrible husband and father to his family. He abused them verbally, emotionally, and physically. However, he has owned up to that, and he's trying to better himself by making amends and being there for others, Rue especially.

As her sponsor, Ali has been exactly what Rue needs. He's there when she calls to lend a listening and semi-sympathetic ear, but he's also not afraid to call Rue out on her issues. He's not the nicest guy, but this list isn't about niceness — it's about being toxic. In fact, if he were any nicer, he would probably end up enabling Rue, and that would actually be toxic. The fact that Ali maybe isn't the most sensitive is the very reason he's the perfect sponsor for Rue. He knows tough love is what she needs because he did too.

12. Lexi

Lexi is a beautiful, kind, and almost painfully genuine person. She cares deeply about everyone around her, perhaps a little too deeply. It can't be easy for her to watch her Dad and her best friend struggle with addiction, especially for an empath like her. With the hand she's been dealt, it's a wonder that the world hasn't turned her into a resentful, bitter person by now. It's honestly a little scary how well she's handling it.

The one semi-toxic thing about Lexi's rise above the trauma and the chaotic people around her is that it can tend to go to her head. After all, it's hard not to think or act like you're better than other people when you are, in fact, better than them. This is definitely the case for Lexi, and she does come off as holier than thou at times. While it's clear that she has empathy for the more problematic people in her life, she also judges them and slightly resents them for it — especially Cassie.

The most problematic thing Lexi has probably ever done was her play. While it's based on real people in her life and the real things they've done, it's maybe not the most considerate thing to air out everyone's dirty laundry on stage for everyone to see. It's not necessarily toxic, but it's not not toxic. She's forgiven, though, as at least she got to be in the spotlight for once. She deserves it!

11. Fezco

Fezco is a real one. He's fierce, loyal, and fair. He's not going to mess with you unless you mess with him first, and that's on God. That sentiment also extends to those he considers family, and even though that's not always true blood relatives, he's going to care for them and protect them just the same.

That said, it's important to note that while Fezco is not a toxic person, he does occasionally do toxic things. Let's be honest, he sells drugs to teenagers. While those teenagers are probably going to find some way to get their hands on those drugs from someone else if not him, it's not great that he's an option. Also, while he tries not to sell to Rue, given her struggles with addiction, he is still the one who introduced her to drugs in the first place.

In Fezco's defense, he has good reason for what he does. Unfortunately, it's just the life he was raised into. It's all he knows. Also, he has no one else to look out for him and his loved ones, so he's just doing what he's got to do to put bread on the table. At the end of the day, no, he's not the least toxic person walking the planet — but he also isn't going out of his way to hurt people just for the sake of it. Not everyone on "Euphoria" can say the same.

10. McKay

McKay is basically your average guy. He wants to stay healthy, have a good career, and meet a nice woman to start a family with. The only problem is that he is still a guy, and so are his friends. That means that no matter how nice he might be on his own, he still might be dragged into some toxic situations from time to time.

We see this side of him come out when he hangs out with his guy friends and they start in on their misogynist shaming of women like Cassie. McKay doesn't appear to really buy into all of this, but it's clear he feels the pressure to play the part and fit in. On some level, he probably doesn't think that the number of sexual partners a woman corresponds to her value and integrity, but he cares a little too much about what people think not to let it get in the way of his relationships.

It's hard to give McKay a definitive ranking, but we can call him mildly toxic. He has no malicious intentions, but he's surrounded by toxic people in an environment that doesn't necessarily promote the most accepting or forward-thinking values. What's there to say? Boys will be boys!

9. Maddy

Maddy is a headache to figure out because there are a few perspectives to consider her from. First of all, Maddy is obviously toxic in the popular mean-girl tradition. It's the kind of toxic where she judges other girls and calls their clothes "so cute" when what she's really saying is they should go home, get under the blankets, and never show her face to the world ever again. She knows she has power and she loves imposing it on others. We're just going to put that aside, though, because there are way bigger fish to fry here.

In more pressing matters, Maddy is an enabler. She fell in love with Nate and continued to support him despite his anger issues, manipulation, gaslighting, and over-the-top misogyny. However, let's not forget that she's a victim, and victim blaming is just not the move. You can't judge people for staying in abusive relationships. It's a difficult situation, and even if they do want to leave, it's not always that easy.

On the other hand, Maddy has a good support system full of people who care about her and she's incredibly strong even without them. She's also not stupid, as she knows that Nate is abusive and she's smarter than that. Thankfully, she proves this by leaving him, but even if she didn't, it's not necessarily something she should be called toxic for. Let's just call these results inconclusive and circle back after next season.

8. Cassie

Cassie is a tricky one. She definitely likes to act like she's this innocent girl, but this image isn't necessarily the most genuine. She's definitely sweet, but it's hard to tell whether or not it comes naturally to her or if that's just how she likes to be perceived. One thing's for sure — she's not harmless. After all, not everyone cheats on their boyfriend and hooks up with their best friend's ex-boyfriend behind their back.

There are a lot of sides to consider here. McKay was really mean to Cassie when she cheated on him, but that doesn't make it right. Maddy and Nate were broken up when she slept with him, but she knew those two had a history, and she lied about it for a long time. She's not a great example to be setting for younger female viewers, that's for sure.

What this really comes down to is selfishness. She's a little too wrapped up in herself, her own needs, and what she thinks will make her feel good at the moment to really stop and consider how it might affect others. Cassie obviously feels guilty for her wrongdoings, but not enough to change. It's not the worst personality flaw, as a lot of people deal with the same issues, but she's not innocent by any means.

7. Jules

Jules is a divisive one when it comes to the question of toxicity. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion. Some fans feel that she can do no wrong, while others think she's evil incarnate. In an effort to consider all sides, we'll put her right in the middle. She's not the worst, and she's not the best. She just is.

From one perspective, Jules is deeply involved in a relationship with Rue that can be absolutely heartbreaking at times. She can be a little inconsiderate of Rue's feelings. If Jules is confronted with this, she'll just say she has no idea what Rue is talking about and she thought they were just having fun. Deep down, though, she probably knows what she is doing.

In her defense, Jules is a teenager! She doesn't have it all figured out yet! It's a lot of pressure to commit yourself to just one person at such a young age, especially if that person is a drug addict who relies on you for their mental stability and sobriety. Now, she did cheat on Rue when they do start actually dating, but Rue was lying about being sober, so let's call that even. The verdict is in — medium toxic.

6. Kat

Kat is complicated, to say the least. She starts as an insecure little girl who hates herself and, over the course of the show, blossoms into a confident young woman who knows her worth. She's a baddie now. She has no mercy, and she takes no prisoners. While this is probably a better mindset and self-image than what she started with, it has come at the cost of losing her more considerate and sensitive side.

In Season 1, Kat toys around with Ethan's heart like he is a brand new toy she couldn't wait to sink her teeth into. At first, this is all play, but Ethan comes out of it just as worn down and shredded as you might have expected. She flirts with him, then she shuns him, then she likes him again, and then she judges him and shuts him out again. Where does it end?

Certainly not there, because in Season 2 she breaks up with him out of the blue. Now, you have every right to break up with a partner if it's not working between you too, but it's the way she did it. Making up a mysterious illness and then guilting him when he calls her out on it? That's just not how you treat people unless you're toxic with a capital T! Sorry to be harsh, but every tongue that rises against precious Ethan must fall!

5. Rue

Does it even need to be said? Rue is an addict! She does terrible things that hurt not only herself but everyone around her. She steals, lies, gaslights, and lashes out, verbally and physically. She forces her loved ones to sit and watch as a beautiful life is slowly snuffed out. No one should ever have to be put through that. There is simply no excuse.

Okay, maybe there are some excuses because Rue wasn't born bad. She had a few wires crossed that thrust her into an exhausting uphill battle with mental illness and anxiety from the second she came out of the womb. She had to watch her Dad, the only person who brought her comfort in this cruel world, die of cancer, knowing there was nothing she could do. On top of all this, being exposed to her Dad's treatment is how she was introduced to self-medicating in the first place.

Let's backtrack again, though, because these are reasons, not excuses. They're explanations and factors to consider as to how and why she is the way she is. Unfortunately, lots of people have tough lives, and a lot have it even tougher than Rue. We don't get to choose our trauma, but we do get to choose how we handle it, and while drug abuse is understandable, it's not condonable. She has to do better because there's so much potential there. Underneath it all, Rue is an angel, but right now, she's acting like a demon.

4. Elliot

If you don't think Elliot is toxic, you're delusional. He enables Rue to the point that he watches her almost die, and yet he still gives her drugs. Yes, Elliot eventually tells Jules, and Jules tells Rue's mom, so maybe they can try to get her help, but he only does that after he sleeps with Jules. Let's not forget that Jules is Rue's most important support system. This means that not only does Elliot enable Rue's addiction problem, continuously giving her the drugs he knows she's one day going to kill herself with, but he does so while blowing up Rue's relationship with the one person holding her back from the brink.

Some people might say that Rue needs to take responsibility for herself and that her struggle with addiction isn't Elliot's problem and that he should be able to do what he wants. Those people would be wrong. Perhaps if Rue was a complete stranger that would be the case, but she and Elliot are supposed to be good friends, and friends don't do that. They certainly don't do it while sleeping with their friend's girlfriend, that's for sure. Any way you slice it, Elliot is bad news, and he needs to be cut off ASAP if Rue has any hope for recovery. Toxic people only bring out the worst in others, and this is exhibit A, B, and C of that reality.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

3. Nate

There's no one on this entire planet that has watched "Euphoria" who would object to ranking Nate on the extreme end of the toxicity spectrum. He practically invented the concept. Anger, violence, manipulation, gaslighting, abuse — you name it. There are no bounds to Nate's toxicity. While his internalized homophobia is so 2000s (it's tired, give it a rest), his anger issues are truly unparalleled. If rage and manipulation had a baby, then let the Devil raise it, Nate would be the result.

While he wasn't actually raised by the devil — and this is the only single defense one could provide for Nate — he was raised by Cal, which, to be fair, is kind of close. He is raised in a misogynist, homophobic environment that encourages men to be violent and discourages them from processing emotions in a healthy manner thing, and most of Nate's worst impulses seem to stem from daddy issues.

Unfortunately for Nate, this still buys him little to no sympathy. Everyone has daddy issues, and there are worse fathers out there than Cal, so Nate needs to learn ways to process that rather than going out of his way to make it literally everyone else's problem. This boy needs therapy. Maybe then we can renegotiate his ranking if he shows growth in future seasons, but for now, he's certified rotten.

2. Cal

Cal's ranking here shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as he's not exactly father of the year, is he? He's an angry, bitter man who, rather than try to make the best of his life or get up the guts to make the changes that would improve it, just takes his anger out on the rest of the world.

There are reasons for his toxicity, of course. While homophobia is still alive and well, it was much more rampant in his generation, and it's unfortunate that he wasn't able (or willing) to live the life that would've made him happy. Still, this tragic backstory can't buy him out of these rankings. It's an old story we've all heard before, and that just makes it all the more sinister. We can't keep tolerating this kind of behavior, or it's never going to stop. For Cal's family, it's a cycle of abuse that continues.

It's hard to determine which one is worse, Nate or Cal. However, at the end of the day, Cal is responsible for a great share of Nate's behavior, and that has him coming out on top. Then there is his encounter with Jules. The fact is that Jules said they were of age, so we can't definitely say whether he's actually a pedophile or just a creep. Either way, he nearly takes the top spot in our toxicity rankings, so let's just leave it at that.

1. Laurie

The Devil, Satan, Lucifer, and this woman go by many times — though she prefers to go by Laurie. Like Fezco, Laurie is also a drug dealer, but the reason she's so much higher up in the rankings is that, unlike Fezco, she doesn't have to be one. She left a teaching job to make this side hustle her full-time gig, and while teachers aren't necessarily rolling in dough, they also don't usually leave their jobs to become drug lords.

In addition to a lack of necessity, she also doesn't appear to feel any guilt or remorse at all about what she's doing. In fact, she doesn't appear to feel anything. It's pretty clear that she's a full-blown sociopath, which is not in itself toxic, but the things she might be doing as a result certainly are. We're not just talking about dealing drugs but also murder and, very likely, human trafficking.

She's a cold-blooded predator. She looks to take advantage of people when they're at their most vulnerable, as we saw with Rue. If you ever see her walking down the street, you better make a u-turn and never look back, because Laurie will ruin your life just for the fun of it. She, above anyone else in the show, deserves to be at the top of this list.