‘Euphoria’ is back. A little later than expected and with fewer characters than expected, but the Serie from HBO He has come to remind us that he is still here and that we must prepare for his end. The second season had to have premiered during the summer of the unfortunate 2020, but the stoppage of filming due to the pandemic did not make it possible. The new chapters, in which the series will end, will not arrive at least until the end of 2021. To cope with the wait, its director and screenwriter, Sam Levinson has brought us two special episodes so that we can open our mouths and that we do not forget their characters.
Each of these two episodes tell us the same events but narrated from the point of view of their protagonists. Rue (Zendaya) on one side and Jules (Hunter Schaffer) on the other. Why did Jules abandon Rue at the station? The titles already indicate what we are going to see: The striped ones are not forever; and The perfect love * marla. Let no one be deceived. In none of them we will see significant advances in the plot. They are a stop along the way to delve into the psyche of both characters and peek into their inner anguish. A song to the intimacy of a tormented youth who, despite their young age, already accumulate a life experience far superior to that of many adults. Perhaps to endorse that maxim of living intensely to die young and leave a beautiful corpse. It is a stop along the way that we look into the abyss of its two protagonists and that prepare us for that end that is yet to come and that, we fear, is not going to be rosy.
The sanitary restrictions have marked the shooting conditions and what happens in the scenes. The parties and crowds are over. And the scenes with thirty penises. Most of the supporting characters have disappeared. It’s hangover time. In fact, in both specials there is a maximum of two characters per scene. The virus it is not in the plot, nor is it expected, but its presence is felt.
The first of the episodes takes place for the most part at a roadside bar table. Rue has fallen back to drugs and has an intense conversation over pancakes with her rehab mentor, played by Colman Domingo. The actor was one of the few incentives that still remained to Fear the Walking Dead. And here it is also up to par.
In front of that young girl who writhes in her inner pain, to whom the bitterness of abandonment has caused her relapse and she still does not know if she has reached the bottom of her addiction or not. She is unaware that where he is he has already been a few times. The emotional intensity of the episodes, which is supported by the quality of the dialogue and the good work of the two interpreters, makes that label seem misleading that they placed him to the episode of Special Christmas. Nor is it entirely uncertain, because the only thing about Christmas is that it was released in the middle of Christmas. But we are clear that in none of his scenes will his protagonists start singing Christmas carols. It’s quite a dissertation on what it’s like to be addicted and how addicts can deceive themselves into a false sense of control.
Funny how Two of the great events of this 21st century have marked the existence of the character of Rue. The fact of being born at the moment when the two Twin Towers were collapsing marked her forever and somehow all the anxiety in the world invaded her and determined her addiction. Now, in the lowest hours of Rue, the pandemic is marking the lives of everyone.
The second of the episodes repeats the formula and a good part of the plot takes place with Jules on his therapist’s couch, played by Lauren Weedman. The series elevated Hunter Schaffer to the category of trans icon and now has a chapter to showcase his acting skills. In it, he expands and enriches his character through an exercise in interior deconstruction. Jules questions everything, especially the relationships he’s been through. Even if you should stop hormone therapy because you have built your idea of femininity around a purely masculine ideal. Reality and dreams are mixed in this episode, which has more variety of scenarios than Rue’s and hides the odd plot surprise. Even in the soundtrack in which Rosalía appears with Billie Eilish, which manages to get us to the torn interior of its protagonist.
The two new episodes served as an aperitif should not give us the false impression that we are dealing with a light or lesser product. There is as much emotional intensity or even more than in the Euphoria that we already knew. And it may still be a difficult-to-digest dish not suitable for all palates.