• Euphoria‘s sixth episode focused on McKay.
• One scene showed something terrible happening to McKay, though it’s not totally clear what.
• We do our best to sort through what happened.
As has been established through its first season, much like LOST and Orange is the New Black before it, each Euphoria episode centers on a different character, diving into their back story and giving significant focus to that character. In Euphoria‘s sixth episode, it was Christopher McKay’s (known simply as McKay) turn. Played by Algee Smith, McKay has been a presence in the show that we kind of had an idea about, but this episode fleshed out significantly deeper.
McKay dates Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), but their relationship had already been in something of a rocky place—she’s still in high school, and he’s off at college, for starters. Plus, in the episode that took place at the carnival a few weeks back, he hesitated to call her his girlfriend—which led her to make out with a classmate named Daniel on a carousel (the same Daniel who dumped Kat during her youth flashback).
While the episode, titled “The Next Episode,” gave us a taste of McKay’s own personal backstory—a very Friday Night Lights-esque story about coming to terms and adjusting expectations about professional athlete dreamss—the scene that really got viewers confused and riled up took place midway through the episode.
So what happened to McKay in that scene in Episode 6?
The entire episode takes place during Halloween, at multiple parties. The first night, Cassie was accompanying McKay to a college party, dressed as Alabama Worley, Patricia Arquette’s character from the 1993 Quentin Tarantino-written film True Romance. McKay felt uncomfortable with her costume—the episode also delved into his idea of “having” the girl that everyone else wants—and asked her to change into a football jersey.
Having already made Cassie upset by asking her to change, the two eventually returned to McKay’s dorm where they began to get intimate. It should be established that the early part of the episode made it clear that McKay was having a tough time acclimating to the college football environment; previously used to always being the best, he had trouble getting used to now being the same talent level as thousands of other college football players.
When McKay was getting intimate in his dorm with Cassie, we see several masked men enter the room behind him. He and Cassie are both naked, and the masked men rip McKay off the bed, and pin him to the ground, yelling “McGay!” at him.
As Cassie screams at them to stop, the keep him pinned to the ground, chanting and screaming for their fraternity (“Sig Pi Nu, bitch!”). While the camera cuts don’t provide conclusive evidence to what happened to him—if he was sexually assaulted would not be out of the realm of possibility, granted the history of hazing in college and college sports—it’s safe to assume that something traumatic took place.
After the masked guys leave, McKay stayed on the ground for a few moments, before getting up and crying in the bathroom for even longer. Cassie is seen reflecting, texting someone “he just like started crying. I felt so bad.”
Based on the context that we get in the aftermath of the incident, it’s clear that McKay was taken advantage of. Again, it comes through in Cassie’s words. “I can’t believe they did that to you, McKay,” she says when he finally emerges from the bathroom. “It was so fucked up.”
“Cassie, it’s all good,” he says back, with his face and expressions telling a different story. “It’s not that big of a deal.”
What follows this interaction is a continuation of their sex scene from earlier, but it’s clear that both parties have been affected—McKay is cold and distant, and Cassie is also clearly traumatized.
It’s not clear what exactly happened to McKay, and that was a deliberate choice made by the show’s producers and creators. One thing we’re meant to take away, for sure, though, is that this was a traumatic event, and McKay was taken advantage of.
How the fallout will affect him, and Cassie, going forward is anyone’s guess. Next week’s episode centers on Cassie, so this story will surely continue on.
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