‘Euphoria’ replaces neon glow with raw emotion in bridge special

If ever before the message of Euphoria was lost upon its large and consistently growing young audience, it surely won’t be now.

Sporting a completely different pace and tactic for immersion, the new Euphoria bridge episode, “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” showcases the true messages creator and writer Sam Levinson seeks to get across to audiences with the series. It turns of the party in a new after hours look at Rue and her journey.

What Levinson is able to masterfully accomplish with this episode is a complete revelation of the auteur’s talents in conception. Rather than make the episode set in today’s coronavirus riddled world, “Trouble Don’t Last Always” instead feels like an intentional interim conversation to tide over audiences until the show’s still beyond-the-horizon second season.

The episode is set immediately after the events of the first season finale. After a fever dream of what her life with Jules living her dreams may look like, it stylishly transitions to a reality in which Rue is seeking help, however apathetically, from her sponsor Ali. She’s reeling from her separation from Jules at the train station and has just relapsed. What follows is an episode that eliminates the grand, neon singed set pieces and replaces them with a raw conversation about addiction – the show’s true thematic core.

Levinson takes many pages from the playbook of Tarantino, dropping viewers into a simplistic environment where the characters drive the interest. Viewers are given greater context into the mind and mentality of Rue, essentially recapping her perspective on the first season’s events. Perhaps more interesting is the backstory of Ali, named Martin prior to his conversion to Islam. Rue is given an alternative perspective on her own struggles in those of Ali, who provides a harrowing and all too real description of many troubled individuals plagued by a system generated to oppress them.

Broadening the scope beyond just Rue and Ali’s personal experiences, the conversation delicately touches on that systemic racism that has been in the spotlight for much of this year. Levinson writes it in a way that feels organic to both the story of the episode and natural to the conversation between the two characters.

“Trouble Don’t Last Always,” will undoubtedly disappoint many viewers longing for check-ins with the characters the first season so expertly crafted. The entry’s slower pacing and isolated location is a stark change from the vibrant swiftness of the show’s debut year. In pressing pause and allowing a deeper investigation into the lead character and her navigation toward sobriety, or elsewhere, though, Levinson transcends superficiality.

He instantly negates arguments that the series has glorified addiction, instead giving viewers an unfiltered, real glimpse into what addiction is, what it feels like, and how individuals position themselves on paths to recovery. It’s a rare showcase of what follows a climactic experience, a quiet epilogue soaked in reflection and reminiscent thoughts.

Before production of Euphoria‘s second season begins, fans will be treated to one more bridge episode–this time from Jules’ perspective.

Author: Kieran Sweeney

Writing about entertainment for the better part of a decade and consuming it twice as much, Kieran Sweeney is "the" pop culture aficionado. A connoisseur of the intersection of art and commercialism, the USC Annenberg graduate has earned his reputation as an empathetic and thoughtful writer. His resume includes USC's The Daily Trojan, USC Viterbi News, and personal assistance for publicity and marketing companies from Drill Down Media to This Fiction. His intersectional experience in the industry points to his wit and unfiltered thoughts on the latest project in entertainment

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