2019’s high-energy HBO series “Euphoria” took viewers into the dark world of modern teenage life, highlighting the troubling isolation that comes with dark sexual and drug experiences. Picking up where we left off where the series ended, Zendaya returns as depressed drug addict Rue Bennett and gives the best performance of her career.
Anyone surprised over Zendaya’s Emmy win will surely have all doubts and reservations removed once they witness her raw, honest and emotionally captivating performance of a character who, while frustrating, shows us the depths of the human condition. Few actors possess the natural talent of Zendaya, a performer who knows how to move audiences and capture our souls with her emotional honesty that surely will hit home to everyone in one way or another.
As someone who was very disappointed by how series creator Sam Levinson left so many conflicts unresolved at the end of “Euphoria,” the new special episode titled “Trouble Don’t Last Always” diverts from the show’s artistic style of arresting filmmaking and shocking imagery to deliver a piece of television that feels like a completely different show.
Featuring one extended conversation between Rue and her mentor Ali (the brilliant Colman Domingo), the two discuss addiction, life, death, regret, redemption, God, hope, social unrest, and much more in what is one of the most authentic works of writing for the screen. The two actors take us away from everything going on in our lives for an hour and deliver a conversation at a diner over pancakes that capture the essence of 2020 and the hopelessness that sadly runs rampant throughout much of the world today.
While the episode is relatively simplistic in terms of its execution, that is its greatest strength. From start to finish this episode takes us into the lives of two deeply troubled individuals and allows us to not only connect with them but truly feel for them despite being fictional characters. Through Levinson’s excellent writing, Zendaya and Domingo present heartbreakingly honest and raw takes on life and attempt to dissect each other’s misery. It’s a rare work of storytelling that hits so hard that it almost hurts.
The planned first of two episodes that will follow the series — the second being dedicated to the character of Jules, Rue’s best friend and romantic interest — “Trouble Don’t Last Always” gives us hope for Rue’s complex character despite her grueling life struggles and tests us viewers’ own notions on life and hardship. Simply put, this episode outshines the entire series and is more emotional and moving than anything the show has done.