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The first special of ‘Euphoria’ is a sobriety exercise to treat Rue’s addiction

If the end of the first season of ‘Euphoria’ was like giving everything in a music festival, singing and dancing to the rhythm of J Balvin and Arcade Fire, the first of the two specials recorded before the second season It is the hangover that remains the next day, both physical and psychological. The lights, the saturated colors and the choreographies have been turned off, as have Rue’s (Zendaya) hopes of getting ahead after her relapse … but, Can a conversation open your eyes?

Zendaya returns to play Rue in « The striped ones are not eternal »

As a demonstration of that formal change, the special consists, in general, of a single conversation of about fifty minutes, preceded by a scene that shows Rue’s yearnings, which only make her sink when she cannot reach them. We come from seeing her relapse into a cathartic sequence, which exposed how her addiction had fractured her family nucleus, and this return further affects the consequences of their actions, but at a much more intimate and reflective level.

His interlocutor in this extensive dialogue is Ali, his godfather in the support group, who already made an appearance in the first season. Through her personal experiences and having traveled a path similar to the one Rue is now going through, Colman Domingo’s character is the voice of wisdom, the one that gives him having screwed up time after time until he became what he most despised. From the clash between their points of view, one hopeful and the other jaded, a talk is born that, Between digressions and ups and downs, it’s a whole X-ray of Rue’s personality.

Ali (Colman Domingo) shares his experiences with Rue

Live without a future

To this day it is impossible, or at least very little credible, to make an adolescent series that does not show the existential unease of its protagonists. If millennials already have difficulties to find our place in an increasingly fraught world, centennials have not known another reality than this, intensified by the constant need for connection promoted by social networks. In the case of Rue, a tremendously sensitive character, that feeling of disorientation is inescapable. The death of her father left her touched for life, her addiction sunk her and Jules’s abandonment has finished her off. Now he faces a turning point, as he must decide whether to stop his new fall or not, and Ali’s intervention can be decisive.

After all, he has already been in that situation, has relapsed and has found something greater than himself to cling to to find meaning in his life. Rue, on the other hand, she does not have that belief, she has no future perspective, nor the strength to see what lies beyond the emptiness that drowns her. Hence, he turns to drugs to find a haven of peace, at least until the high is over and he has to reconnect with his personal destruction and his dark vision of the world around him. These are some of the reflections left by the episode, which It does not serve so much to advance the plot, but to delve into the psyche of the protagonist.

Zendaya in the return of ‘Euphoria’

Style Change

What I have exposed so far may not sound like the sensory spectacle that ‘Euphoria’ had been during its first season, and it is not. Obviously, the special is a balm before the delay of the second delivery, which has taken longer than necessary to start filming because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not mean that it is something less valuable, since after all the most important thing about the HBO series, above the stimulating camera movements and the incessant rhythm, are its characters.

That is why the jump of Sam Levinson, creator of the series, from abstraction to realism, which he had previously banished, is not out of place. The scriptwriter and director has adjusted without problems to the reality of the coronavirus, relying exclusively on a calm and lucid text and on the superb interpretations of Zendaya and Domingo, resulting in an essential special for those who will fall in love with ‘Euphoria’, and that, as its title indicates, it teaches us that the striped ones are not eternal.