The first Euphoria episode of 2020 is finally here. Adapted from a scene series creator Sam Levinson originally wrote for Euphoria Season 2, most of "Trouble Don't Last Always" focused on a lengthy conversation between Rue and her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor Ali, played by Colman Domingo, on Christmas Eve. But apart from explaining a lot about Rue's current mental and emotional state, the Euphoria special revealed so much about who Ali is, because his backstory was mostly a mystery up until this point.
Warning: Spoilers for Euphoria's special bridge episode, "Trouble Don't Last Always," follow. When the characters first met up at the diner, Rue was currently high after experiencing a relapse in the Season 1 finale. So, Ali spent the episode trying to help Rue make her way back to recovery. During their talk, he got very real about his own substance use disorder, telling her he had a year-and-a-half-long relapse after being sober for 12 years, and has now been clean for 7 years. Rue was also surprised to learn that his name was Martin before he converted to Islam.
As Ali helped Rue work through her self-hatred and lack of desire to get clean, she asked where his two daughters were, alluding to the fact that he was spending Christmas Eve with her instead of his own children. He simply told her they were celebrating the holidays with their respective families, and he has "never declined an invitation" to see them.
Ali's estranged relationship with his kids made for one of the most emotional moments of the episode, when he momentarily left the diner and called one of his daughters. Viewers later learned the story behind their strained relationship: Ali's kids saw him hit their mother when they were children. Ali teared up as his daughter briefly answered, before hanging up and leaving him alone in the parking lot.
Later on in his conversation with Rue, she told him her previous actions were unforgivable, referencing the time that she threatened to kill her mother with a shard of glass (as seen in Season 1, Episode 2). Ali challenged her view that she's past redemption by revealing he grew up wanting to kill his father for abusing his mother, only to end up doing the same thing to his own wife.
The moment provided major insight into why Ali is committed to helping Rue get better after losing touch with his own family.
"I thought, 'Yes, Ali is doing it for Rue, but he's also doing it for himself,'" Domingo said about the episode in an interview with Esquire. "He has no relationship with his own two daughters or his ex-wife. I think that he's trying to right some wrongs in his life, and he's like, 'If I can save this one, I can also save myself.'"
Viewers will have to wait until Season 2 to find out what's next for Rue and Ali. Luckily, fans can look forward to more Euphoria soon; a second special episode centering on Jules is expected to air on HBO before the end of 2020.