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'Euphoria' is back, somewhat. Discover how the special pandemic episodes shape the definition of the upcoming season 2.

‘Euphoria’ pandemic special: How’s it affect the definition of season 2?

Euphoria has become one of the most acclaimed shows in recent memory. The HBO series was nominated for a slew of awards at the 2020 Emmys and Zendaya won Best Actress in a Drama Series. Coronavirus has delayed the release of Euphoria season 2, but the showrunners have decided to give fans an early Christmas present: a special pandemic episode.

The episode is meant as a “bridge” between seasons 1 & 2. It’s also a stripped down take on the usually bombastic style of the show, given the constraints of filming during the pandemic. But fans are still unclear on the way the episode fits into the larger structure. Is it meant to be a standalone? Do you need to watch it to be caught up for the season 2 opener? We have all the answers and more below.

Bridging the gap

IndieWire reported that the episode, titled “Trouble Doesn’t Last Always” doesn’t affect the events between seasons 1 & 2. It’s intended to be a supplemental episode, more of a bonus than a massive piece of the Euphoria puzzle. It sees Rue (Zendaya) convene with her sponsor Ali (Coleman Domingo) and discuss her failings over the past year. It feels oddly fitting for a year that has seen so much real-life strife, and it cleverly integrates our collective exhaustion in the world of the show.

Domingo told Esquire that he was floored by the script when he first read it, and was impressed with how it added to the story without taking away from the seasons. “I love that they said it’s a special episode because I think it’s actually very special”, he said. “I think it’s an opportunity to have two people who are addicts have a raw conversation. I think it’s a great opportunity for you to take a breath with [Rue] and for her to just be honest with someone who only wants her to be honest.”

Hinting at the future

The episode is written & directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, and it bears his fingerprints. Rather than radically change Rue’s situation from the season 1 finale, the episode gives viewers a chance to understand her and learn more about her before she attempts to take the next step in her life.

Levinson told The Hollywood Reporter that he prefers to have a loose structure for the show, so that he can adjust depending on real-life circumstances. “Yeah, I don’t outline when I write because I get bored if I know too much, but I have a pretty clear sense of where it’s headed”, he revealed. “I’m excited to let characters lead me in terms of once I start writing”.

The creator went on to explain that the “bridge” episodes are an opportunity to push the show’s normal boundaries. “The show can exist in many forms and ultimately is about how it evolves”, he added. “We need to continue to push it in terms of its ideas and characters and themes and also cinematically, and I think as long as we’re growing as actors and filmmakers then the possibilities of it are endless”.

Holdover for fans

Zendaya echoed Levinson’s sentiments during an interview with ET Online. She was uncertain about the release date for season 2, but confirmed that fans would be given plenty of content in the meantime. 

“All I can really say is that season two won’t happen for a while,” the actress noted. “But we do have a couple bridge episodes that we’re shooting currently that aren’t really part of season 1 or season 2, but kind of give people something different with Euphoria to hold us over a little bit until we’re able to do a full season 2.”

“Trouble Doesn’t Last Always” is currently streaming on HBO Max. It will premiere on the HBO channel December 6 at 9 p.m. ET. The second part of the episode has not been given a proper title or release date.

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