There are some spoilers in this article, read at your own risk!
On Dec. 6, a special episode for the HBO series “Euphoria” was released. The episode focuses on the main character, Rue, and her life after the first season. From the season one finale, we know that Rue relapsed and used cocaine, and this episode is meant to be on Christmas Eve after her relapse. In this episode, she sits in a diner with her sponsor, Ali, and has a long and tough conversation about why she relapsed and how to keep her sobriety moving forward. In the first season, her relationship with Jules causes heartbreak and pain, which is affiliated with her drug use and pushes her towards relapse.
Many critiqued the episode because it was not the same style as the first season. While the first season focused on more of an aesthetic of drug addiction and the worlds within a person’s addiction, this episode was solely focused on Rue’s point of view on life and how to stay sober in the world around her. Many said that by having two characters sit and talk in a diner for 50 minutes made the episode too “boring,” but others say that it really gave a deeper understanding of the reality of addiction. It brought up many different topics such as religion and having to believe in something other than yourself in order to stay sober. Ali believes in Islam, but reveals that he converted after getting sober, because believing in something bigger than himself is what helped him to stay sober. It also touched on relationships while working on sobriety and how destructive they can be. Rue has ingrained into her mind that she has already destroyed herself to the point of no return, and Ali has to convince her that getting clean and living life matters.
While this episode isn’t the same way of filming as the first season was, it brings a different light to addiction that didn’t get heavily touched on in the show before. While it obviously showed the negative effects of being a drug addict, many compare the first season to somewhat of an aesthetic, with theatrical makeup and costumes, and how it displays the effects of the drugs. I believe that because of this criticism, the show made this episode more of a dark and simple theme instead of the whimsical and loud plots of season one. We finally received a raw and real depiction of Rue feeling no sense of purpose and how deeply alone she feels. The series is planning on continuing with these individualized episodes, with episode two airing on Jan. 24, with a focus on the character Jules, Rue’s love interest.