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Important Conversations in Euphoria’s Special Episode Part 1: Rue

Due to COVID-19, “Euphoria” was forced to shut down production for season 2 before it even had a chance to begin shooting; however, this setback led to the development of other projects for the show. 


The newest episode of “Euphoria” — the first installment of two special episodes — debuted earlier this December. With its release, the episode provided fans with arguably the most emotional and raw episode of the HBO series thus far.


This episode picks up from the ending of the first season by following Rue in the aftermath of her relapse, and showing the impact of Jules leaving town. The unique aspect of this hour-long episode is that it solely takes place in a diner, and details a serious conversation between Rue and her sponsor, Ali. During the duration of their time at the diner, Ali and Rue touch upon the subjects of addiction, disease, forgiveness, faith, and life.


These are these most important takeaways that I was left with after watching the episode. 


Addiction is a disease that is often dismissed


Ali spoke heavily about Rue’s addiction, and how she should not be perceived as weak or selfish if she continues taking drugs. Although addiction is a disease, it is often treated with malice, and the people who need help the most are left feeling alone. 


We see this in Ali’s background story where we hear about his complicated relationship with his two daughters. Even though Ali is on speaking terms with one of his children, he has not had much involvement in their lives due to his history with addiction and abuse.


You are not unforgivable 


Rue reveals that she once threatened her mother’s life while holding a piece of broken glass, and Ali responds by saying that she is not unforgivable. If you believe you are unforgivable, you lose the desire to improve. The weight of self-punishment over her addiction only propel her to continue to abuse substances as another form of punishment and pleasure. 


You have to believe in something bigger than yourself


Whether it be God, the universe, or something else entirely, you have to believe in something. The use of faith is a powerful tool in getting oneself on the path towards healing. 


You are not alone


No matter how alone you might feel, there is somebody out there who loves you. Ali serves as a fatherly figure for Rue in this episode, and it shows the audience that she has one more person in her corner. 


You are a good person


You can be a good person even if you have done bad things. Ali mentions that Rue did not exit the womb as a bad person — it was the drugs who altered her behavior. However, even with the drugs in her system, she still had her beliefs; she knew that threatening her mom was wrong, which makes her a good person. 


This episode provided an incredible dialogue about the stigma of addiction and the ramifications of the disease. It is refreshing to see a television show touch upon this topic in a way that does not villainize the addict, but instead humanizes their pain. 

Part two of the Euphoria special episodes will air in January 2021.

Junior, Film major and Women's Studies minor
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