If you ever thought that Afro-Guatemalan actor Colman Domingo portraying a recovering drug addict during the debut season of HBO’s Euphoria was so good that he should get more screen time, then the first special episode that aired this past weekend is sure to be received wholeheartedly.
Serving as one of two episodes that will bridge the completed first season to a green-lit second season, “Part 1: Rue,” which is the series ninth total episode, starts where the first season finale left off–with recovering teenage drug addict Rue Bennett (Zendaya) relapsing after she watches her girlfriend Jules (Hunter Schafer) leave out of town on a train without her.
Nearly all of the hour-long special episode features Rue and Domingo’s character Ali talking about everything from “the arc of human life” to forgiveness and faith. Their absorbing conversation is set at a diner on Christmas Eve with Rue trying to convince Ali that she has found the emotional balance she needs to stay sober. Ali listens intently, but he’s not falling for her bullshit. She’s high and he knows it, and he quickly puts her in her place.
“Listen, youngblood, I was shooting dope before your mama’s egg dropped,” he says. “I’ve lived a whole mother****ing life to get to this diner to sit across from your arrogant ass.”
If “Part 1: Rue” is any indication of the impact Ali is going to have on Season 2 of Euphoria, it can’t come soon enough. As always, Zendaya, who won a Primetime Emmy for her performance in the first season, is brilliant, but in this specific episode, Domingo is a revelation.
His commanding presence on screen and the wisdom his character brings to the powerful and poignant monologues he delivers can only be described as career defining.