Who is Nate's younger brother on Euphoria? An in-depth investigation

11 February 2022, 17:25

Jacob Elordi shares behind-the-scenes look at Nate’s injuries

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

What happened to Nate's younger brother? All the theories about the third Jacobs son who appears in the family portrait.

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Every week, Euphoria leaves us with a handful of new unanswered questions and mysteries. Sometimes they're resolved in the next episode, sometimes they're resolved at the end of the season, and sometimes they just don't get resolved at all. (Well, not resolved yet, we should say.)

There's one particular mystery that has been on the fandom's minds since season 1, episode 1: Who is Nate Jacobs' younger brother? And where the hell is he?

Cast your minds back to the very first episode... Remember the Jacobs' family portrait? Remember how there's three kids in that photo alongside Cal and Marsha? One is Nate, one is Aaron but who is the other one?

Some fans have written off the third sibling as a production mistake, or something that writer Sam Levinson maybe just changed his mind about. But with Cal's backstory and the return of the photo in season 2, the very minor plot point has become one of the show's biggest unanswered questions.

Who is the third Jacobs brother in Euphoria and where is he?

Who is Nate's younger brother on Euphoria? All the theories about the third Jacobs son
Who is Nate's younger brother on Euphoria? All the theories about the third Jacobs son. Picture: HBO via Alamy

Euphoria has focused on the Jacobs family portrait – complete with the mysterious younger brother – a handful of times in the series.

  • In episode 1, we see the photo on Cal Jacobs' phone background when Jules picks it up.
  • In episode 1, we see the photo again on the wall in the Jacobs' family home.
  • In episode 2, the photo pops up again in the Nate flashback episode.

However, in episode two, when the Jacobs family are posing for a new family portrait, there is no third son. He is gone, nowhere to be seen, forgotten, disappeared off the face of the earth, evaporated into thin air. He's! not! there!

He's also not seen working alongside his family on the stand at the carnival back in season 1.

The Jacobs family portrait is seen on Cal's phone in season 1 episode 1
The Jacobs family portrait is seen on Cal's phone in season 1 episode 1. Picture: HBO

The photo shows up again in season 2, sparking further questions about the brother's whereabouts.

  • In season 2, episode 4, Cal takes the photo off the wall, mid-tirade, before walking out of the house with it.

Now, if the portrait only appeared in the pilot episode and was quickly replaced by a different one, it could have easily just been passed off a standard continuity error. But because it's now popped up again – with the mysterious third brother still in the photo – it seems like there's something more to it, right?

Interestingly enough, when Cal was dragging his entire family for filth, he doesn't mention a third son at all. Doesn't even allude to him.

But if the brother doesn't exist, why is he in the photo, your honour? Why?!

Cal looks at the Jacobs family photo in season 2
Cal looks at the Jacobs family photo in season 2. Picture: HBO

How old would Nate's younger brother be now?

In Nate's flashback episode, he's 11 years old. He looks to be around the same age in the photo, with his younger brother appearing to be a good few years younger than him.

Nate is now 18 years old, which means it's been 7 years, give or take, since that portrait was taken. It seems likely that Nate's younger brother would currently be in his early teens. Maybe around 13 or 14 years old at the time season 2 is taking place.

What have the cast said about Nate's younger brother?

What makes the mystery of Euphoria's Missing Jacobs Brother even more wild is that neither Jacob Elordi nor Eric Dane know who or where he is. Despite interacting with the photo, neither of them appear to have been told anything.

Back in season 1, Jacob revealed that, at the time, he had absolutely no clue about his other brother's backstory. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said: "We haven’t seen him. I don’t know where he went. I have no idea. I had the same questions when I got to work. I was like, “You do realize that there’s different child in this picture?” And everyone just didn’t really say anything. I don’t know."

Eric has also confessed that he has no idea who the hell that third kid is in the picture either. Speaking to TV Line after his scene where Cal takes the portrait with him on the way out the family home, he said: "I don’t know, either. [Laughs] There is a third Jacobs child in the photo, though. You are correct."

The third Jacobs brother does not appear in the new family portrait
The third Jacobs brother does not appear in the new family portrait. Picture: HBO

All the theories about Nate's younger brother...

It's been three years since season 1 first aired and not a single hint has been given so far. As a result, fans have been coming up with theories about the third and youngest Jacobs brother.

There's several theories floating around the internet that suggest possible reasons as to why he's not around. The majority of them all lean towards a tragic backstory for the younger brother. The theories include:

  • He sadly passed away at a young age.
  • He died at a young age, having been accidentally killed (perhaps by his brothers). The circumstances surrounding his death are now a well-kept family secret.
  • He was severely injured as a child and is now being cared for in a home.
  • He is receiving treatment on a psych ward and no longer lives with his family.

Another theory suggests he simply ran away, but it seems quite unlikely that Marsha and Cal would let their very young teenage son just...run away. Surely they'd still be looking for him if that was the case?

The theory about Ashtray being Nate's third brother was debunked in season 2
The theory about Ashtray being Nate's third brother was debunked in season 2. Picture: HBO

Others have suggested that Nate’s younger brother is actually Ashtray, which would end up being the plot twist to end all plot twists.

However, season 2’s opener pretty much puts an end to that theory. Ashtray was left with Fez and his grandma when he was an actual baby. As we can see in the Jacobs’ family portrait, the younger son spent at least the first 5 or 6 years of his life with his family.

Adding another suggestion to the mix, one Reddit user even presented the possibility that the reason we don't know who the third brother is, is because "it’s from Rue’s perspective so she’s only speaking on what she knows. She might not know about the third brother.” Interesting. Very interesting...

Will this mystery ever be revealed on the show? Probably not. Definitely not in season 2, at least. For now, the speculation about the third Jacobs child continues...

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