Warning! The following contains spoilers from Euphoria's special episode "Trouble Don't Last Always." Read at your own risk!
Of all the shows to deliver surprise holiday episodes in 2020, I'm pretty sure few expected HBO's Euphoria to be the series to deliver. Yet, here we are, and it's a two-parter that picks up on what's going on with Zendaya's Rue on Christmas Eve.
The episode, which takes place almost entirely within a diner where Rue and Ali are meeting, may feel like an unnecessary bonus episode to some. I assure you it's not but, for those Euphoria fans who'd rather get to the bottom line of what's worth knowing about this episode, or just were too engrossed by the amazing performance by Zendaya and Colman Domingo, here are some important takeaways.
Rue Is Aware She's Part Of The Reason Why Jules Ran Away
Jules ran away in Euphoria Season 1 and, while Rue had an opportunity to run off with her, she opted to stay behind. In the present, Rue is upset that she froze and didn't go with Jules, but another part of Rue knows she's part of the reason why Jules fled. Rue expressed regret for making Jules her reason for staying sober, and in hindsight, understood the immense amount of pressure that could put on someone.
During Rue talking out this whole situation with Ali, Rue gets a text from Jules. Rue's reaction doesn't seem to be one of relief or happiness, though all her senses feel somewhat dulled due to her being on drugs for the entirety of the episode. It seems to show Rue is not nearly as enamored or as connected with Jules as she was in Season 1 and that the two's dynamic may shift in their interactions in the next special episode and Season 2. Rue still clearly has feelings for Jules, but is she willing to allow Jules to get that close again after being hurt?
Ali's Past Isn't As Perfect As Rue Thought
Euphoria's special episode gave fans its first extended episode with Ali, Rue's adult sponsor she met at meetings. In Season 1, Ali certainly came off as the mentor and man that could pull Rue out of drugs with his tough love and no-nonsense attitude. This special episode did a great job of making it known Ali isn't the wise former addict guru with all the answers and, more importantly, he wanted Rue to know that as well.
Ali admitted he doesn't have all the answers to Rue's problems and that even he has been susceptible to relapse throughout his life. Euphoria viewers heard a particularly harrowing story where Ali grew up in an abusive home vowing to never be like his abusive father, only to hit his then-wife in front of their children 30 years later. He doesn't have much contact with his children these days, but "doesn't decline an invitation" when it comes his way. The story was meant to show Rue he's not some perfect guru, and perhaps to show that if he can pull himself out of darkness, she can too.
Rue Doesn't Want To Get Better
Euphoria's special episode may feel deceptive at first, as a high Rue is sitting in a diner with Ali. At first glance, it almost seems like Rue has reached out to Ali for help, but it was actually Ali who sprung the surprise meet-up with her. Rue, unsuccessfully, tried to convince Ali she wasn't back on drugs, but he saw right through her. Ali asked her if she wanted to get better, and Rue quite simply told him she wasn't looking to get clean again.
This is a major point of the episode, as Ali slowly tries to work Rue into realizing that she may need help, and her addiction is reassuring her everything is fine. The constant prodding seems effective at first, but then Rue eventually has enough and tells Ali the truth of why she's back to using. The drugs make her feel better than she ever does sober and, ultimately, she's not planning on being alive for a long time. She's ok with the consequences of using. It's a dark bombshell that made me glad this Christmas Eve episode wasn't actually released on December 24th, because wow, that's dark. It shows just how bad a place Rue is in at this stage and how things could get much worse for her in Season 2.
How This Episode May Impact The Second Euphoria Special Episode
The second special Euphoria episode is set to center around Hunter Schafer's Jules during the Christmas holiday as she reflects on the year she's had. Jules' text to Rue in the first episode could point to her possible return to town, which the fan in me hopes to see so we can see her interact with all the rest of the cast again. More importantly, we'll get to see how life has treated Jules since the finale, and whether or not she's better off on her own than she initially assumed she would be.
If things are going bad for Jules, it stands to reason things could be much worse when she arrives home. To start, one can't imagine her father will trust her much to go out now that she's been gone for so long. She also made two big enemies in Nate and Cal Jacobs, who will undoubtedly go after her in some way should she return. Then there's the whole dynamic with Rue, which despite Rue staying in contact with her, appears to be damaged and will take some time to heal.
Essentially, if this special episode ends with Jules realizing she made a mistake leaving Rue behind, she may be in for a bad time in Season 2. Of course, Rue did fantasize about the two's life together had she fled, so perhaps the relationship isn't damaged to a point that it can't be mended in time. We can only wait and see and hope the wait for Season 2 won't be too long.
Euphoria's second special episode airs on HBO Sunday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on when to expect Season 2, and for the latest news happening in television and movies.