Euphoria: Why ‘Trouble Don’t Last Always’ is one of 2020’s best

EuphoriaWe’re in the final weeks now (thankfully) of 2020, but a new contender has emerged as one of the best episodes of the year.

Should you be surprised? Hardly. We are speaking here of Euphoria and its episode entitled “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” also referred to as Part One: Rue in a lot of the promotional material. We prefer the episode by its former name, as that is more emblematic of what this story is — a profound, powerful look at not just addiction and recovery, but also self-perception and looking at the course of one’s life.

For some more Euphoria video discussion now, be sure to watch our take on this episode at the bottom of this article! Once you do that, subscribe to Matt and Jess on YouTube for some other updates.

Let’s start with creator Sam Levinson, who anchors this episode with a sense of quiet power from start to finish. He writes and directs this script to perception, stripping the show down to its bare episodes. While Jules makes a brief appearance at the start of the hour, this is really the story of two characters in Rue and Ali, sitting at a diner and going over their lives. There are few extras, few frills, and pages worth of dialogue. This was a writer’s episode, and an actor’s episode. Luckily, Euphoria had the talent to deliver on both.

Zendaya is the reigning Emmy winner for Actress in a Drama Series, and she reminds you of why she won throughout this. Rue is damaged badly, questioning her future and also if she should even have one. She looks for justifications for her relapse, relies on false memories that aren’t altogether true, and questions if there is any good in her. Yet, the nature of asking that question of Ali signifies that she could be. You can still have goodness despite being surrounded in demons. Addiction is a disease — it chips away at the person you can be.

As stellar as Zendaya is, the criminally-underrated Colman Domingo matches her at every turn. Ali is but a recurring character and yet here, he is strong enough to anchor his own show. He’s a worthy sober coach for Rue in that he’s walked the same lines as her. He’s done his own horrific things that leave him estranged from his family. He appreciates his time with her, and we think he learns from her like she learns from him. Consider the temporary joy he gets in the phone call outside of the diner.

Will Rue change forever following this episode? Probably not, but she can at least leave it with added perspective of who she is and who she needs to be to keep living. If these conversations even have a 5% impact on her mind, “Trouble Don’t Last Always” will have done its job.

From a viewer point of view, the episode succeeds as a bridge to everyone who may not understand addiction — it shows its nuances, its demons, and finds a way to connect to your heart. It’s slowly-paced and often painful, but those are parts of its perfect imperfection. It’s an episode not to be missed, even if you weren’t a devoted viewer of the first season.

“Trouble Don’t Last Always” will air on HBO Sunday night; it is already available on HBO Max.

What do you think about the Euphoria episode “Trouble Don’t Last Always”?

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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

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