'Euphoria' Flashback Introduces Cal's Secret Gay Romance

Tuesday January 25, 2022

On third episode of "Euphoria's" second season ("Ruminations: Big and Little Bullys"), Nate's dad Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane) gets a back-story, and it's a bittersweet one, relating his high school bromance with his bff Derek (Henry Eikenberry) in the 1980s.

The 15-minute sequence followed the teenage Cal (Elias Kacavas) sublimating his attraction as both go through the straight, high school dating ritual; but on graduation night. Derek takes Cal to a hideaway place — a roadside gay bar — where they dance to INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" and kiss. But their romance is short-lived: the next morning, Cal gets a call from his girlfriend Marsha (Rebecca Louise) who tells him she's pregnant, and he breaks down crying.The flashback ends and whether the two actors who play the young Cal and Derek will return (or whether Derek will return as an adult) at some future date remains to be seen.

Eric Dane, the hunky actor who plays Cal, spoke with Vanity Fair about the ways he identifies with Cal. On the show, the alpha-type marries Marsha, has two kids (the second being the toxic Nate, played by Jacob Elordi) and lives a double-life, secretly filming his sexual encounters including one with an underaged Jules that has fallen into the wrong hands. "I don't know what it's like to be Cal, but I know what it's like to live a double life," the actor said, calling from his home in Los Angeles. "I've had my own experience with drug and alcohol abuse. That's a double life."

Dane has been very open about his struggles with drugs after voluntarily entering rehab in 2011 for an addiction to painkillers following a sports injury. "Trying to keep that secret is tough," he continued. "Eventually everything always catches up with you," he told Vanity Fair.

He also had high praise for Elias Kacavas, the young actor who plays him in the flashback. "Though Dane doesn't appear in those scenes, he spent some time on set when they were being shot, getting to know the young actor — who will next be seen in a teen show of a different stripe, 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.'"

"He was terrific," Dane said, though he admits he didn't understand the casting choice at first. "At first glance, I was like, 'That's young Cal?' And then I started talking to the guy and I watched some of his stuff and I was like, 'Yeah. That's young Cal.'"

In the episode, Cal and Derek (Henry Eikenberry) appear in singlets in a number of scenes where they wrestle in high school. They later posed for a pic that was posted on Instagram.

Not much is known about Kacavas. According to his IMDb account, he's from New Hampshire, and Republic World wrote that "Kacavas graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts for drama. He is said to have trained to become a method actor at Strasberg studio."

His roles on "Euphoria" and the upcoming"Pretty Little Liars" reboot, where he plays a character named Greg, are amongst his first as a professional actor. Less is known about co-star Eikenberry. "'Euphoria' seems to be the actor's first gig and you can follow him on Instagram @henryeikenberry," Decider said.

Check out these pics from Kacavas' and Eikenberry's IG accounts: