Before I begin this recap and give my thoughts on “Part 1: Rue” of this "Euphoria" special episode, a trigger warning does need to be issued if talking about substance abuse and domestic violence affects you in any way.
These special episodes of "Euphoria," are not what some viewers expected with this episode being solely based around the characters of Rue and Ali. However, a drugged-up Rue did imagine an alternative reality with Jules for a second there. But, because of this, none of the other characters that viewers came to love will be in these two bonus episodes.
Set within a diner on Christmas Eve, Rue decides to call her sponsor and essentially open up about the past events that took place in the season finale of season one of "Euphoria." Which, spoiler alert: Jules and Rue had a plan of running away together, but last-minute, Rue changed her mind, realizing how much heartbreak it will cause her family, similar to the way her father passed away, and decided to stay back. Meanwhile, Jules moves forward with their plan, leaving Rue behind, resulting in Rue relapsing into her drug addiction.
This leads us to the opening scene of the special with Rue waiting in the diner for her sponsor, Ali, and her repeatedly confessing that she is starting to hate herself for going back to the issue that caused her so much pain in the first place, her drug addiction.
Though nothing happens plot-wise with the story, the dialogue between Rue and Ali helps the audience understand where Rue is in her life and what her current outlook is. Ali notices that while Rue is explaining her emotions, she is actively high, and nothing she is saying is of value.
Rue has this outlook on life that if you’re vulnerable or show your emotions or are even sober, a person can be deemed as weak. However, Ali makes her slowly realize that sobriety can be a person's greatest weapon if they know how to use it.
It goes as follows: Rue gets high in order to control her own emotions, whether good or bad. However, this is literally a lack of control unbeknownst to Rue herself. The truth that Ali is slowly making Rue see is that true control is not letting the darkest moments or sins get the best of you. True control is moving forward and pushing past those challenging obstacles.
Ali is now Rue's guide and is slowly opening up and being more vocal about his past. For instance, he talks about how his rock bottom was assaulting his wife in front of their two daughters, acknowledging that he was turning into his father who he vowed never to be. In return, Ali kept going down a darker path until figuring out his own demons and coming face to face with them.
What this scene does well is showing Rue's and Ali's two very different beliefs in the world. Though Rue is younger and Ali is older, both arguments hold strong, whether it be about religion or the importance of relationships or feeling authentic and what it means to be someone who suffers from alcohol or drug abuse.
A key part to take away from the dialogue between the two is that Ali tells Rue that she was not born evil nor is she a bad person, but this drug addiction and the disease linked to it, is what makes her and causes her to have bad behavior.
This concept is beautiful and, though it may seem generic, is true. Throughout this, Rue is struggling with what she has done to her family thanks to her drug addiction. For example, she picked up broken glass and threatened to kill her mother, she overdosed and was discovered by her sister and countless other things. However, Ali tells her the disease and the addiction made her do that, not her as a person.
This is an important reminder for anyone that struggles with substance abuse of this nature.
All in all, I personally enjoyed this episode and I know it’s not something that the majority of the viewers were expecting. They wanted the flamboyant elements of the show such as the editing, the makeup, and the beautiful costumes. But, this less intense scene provides character development and a foundation of what it is actually like dealing with addiction and how it has and will affect each character.
I would highly encourage any fan of "Euphoria" to watch this special and mark your calendar for Jan. 24 for part two called “Jules," which is going to be from the perspective of Jules and what her life has looked like since leaving Rue behind that night after winter formal.
Now, if you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism or even drug abuse please contact this number: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), which is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
SAMHSA National Helpline describes themselves as “confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.”
Please remember that there is no shame in seeking help.
Before I let you go, here’s a little reminder to be safe this holiday and Christmas season! Reach out to your friends and family and also don’t forgot to wear a mask! Merry Christmas, everyone!