Euphoria Part One: Rue Review

By Angelica Moreno

As a teenager, here to represent the collective, I can confidently say that all adolescents are ignorant and naive to all the thrills and worries life will bring to us, eventually. The split is fifty/fifty between anxious and egotistical personalities in teens, but Rue Bennet–the main character of HBO’s Euphoria–is both. In the presence of others, she’s the arrogant hard hitter, who in the face of death can be calm and collected, but when it comes to her first crush, Jules, the real emotions shine through.

Rue (played by actress and singer Zendaya) is battling addiction with drugs that put her in a place of complete loss of self control. Her everlasting mood swings keep her life on edge and the people around her on their toes. She is a grand character to be placed on a throne in the midst of every other character with just as interesting of a backstory, but Euphoria’s new attachment to the show–dedicating two episodes to our main characters without the glitter, grand color, epic montages and glitter tears replaced with actual tears–is a change no expected was coming.

Everyone saw Euphoria as a “vibe,” disregarding the glorification of drugs with its moments of the reality behind it. Euphoria is indeed a “vibe,” so when the newest episode dropped, most people’s reaction was dumbstruck.

What happened to all the colors, lights, filters, witty dialogue, and EVERYONE ON THE SHOW?!

This new addition being introduced in the next month is not to be referred to as a “new season” but as a special. “Euphoria, Part One: Rue” is its own thing, but it connects itself to the show. “Part Two: Jules,” coming out on January 24, 2021, will be about Rue’s girlfriend, Jules.

What these parts (specials) focus on is the character inside these fictional people. Along with having been playing their characters already and knowing their backstories, we will now go deeper into their mindset, values, and headspace.

“Part One” is set on Christmas Eve. Rue has called up her sponsor, Ali, after relapsing, and they meet up at a diner. They sit and talk about many problems they’ve had in their own life, problems there are in life and in society. The spotlight on drug addicts and mental health shines brightly and you can’t manage to look away.

You get to sympathize with Rue after all the bad things she’s done to the people around her; but even then, she acknowledges the bad things she’s done. She knows what she done wrong and deems those things as unforgivable. A tough break is shot through, by Ali, for her to understand nothing is unforgivable. With the many aspects of different situations, forgiving is the key to change. Ali (played by Coleman Domingo) delivers a golden line, saying, “People keep doing things that we deem unforgivable, and in return, they decide there’s no reason to change. So now you’ve got a whole bunch of people running around the world who don’t care about redemption. That’s scary.”

With the many talking points, both Ali and Rue bring to the table, Ali shows Rue that she isn’t all she seems out to be, a horrible person, and that she has a lot of work to do to reach where he is, overcoming drug addiction. You will not expect or can even imagine what other points they talk about because what they discuss is honest–it’s real. There’s no sugarcoating the many damaging things life can bring our way, but they manage to tackle every point well and not leave you asking for more, even though you’d hope it’ll go on forever. It’s just perfect.

The episode has managed to be stuck in the back of my head for days now, and I even rewatched it. It became better after the second watch. You can admire almost every second of this episode. Rue’s facial expressions, Ali’s phone call with his children, and the connection between the two; but a moment that stuck with me, without any dialogue, is the last scene. Rue and Ali finally get up to leave, and Ali gives Rue a ride home. For two minutes straight, the camera zooms in on Rue’s face. After an hour long talk, Rue sits in the passenger seat with all this new knowledge and stays silent until the credits roll. To imagine all the things going through her head after having lived her life is too much to handle. She had a nonchalant expression that then turned sad.

There’s only so much to expect in the future from Euphoria and so much that they’ll bring that we didn’t know we wanted.