The First Two Episodes of ‘Sugar’ Are Too Stylish For Their Own Good

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 19, 2024
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Sugar Episodes 1 & 2 Recap
Sugar | Image via Apple TV+




Sugar’s two-part premiere is stylish and compelling, but perhaps a little overcomplicated and self-referential for its own good.

Apple TV+’s stylish-to-a-fault neo-noir thriller Sugar debuted with Episodes 1 & 2, and it’s hard to know what to make of either. The show’s good, for sure. But for all the obvious allusions to classic Hollywood in the first two episodes, from the title character’s obsession with movies to the plot involving the missing granddaughter of a famed producer, it might be a little off-puttingly meta, too.

But whatever – at least it’s cool, right? From the very opening scene in which private investigator John Sugar helps a Yakuza leader finds his missing son, we know he’s smart and a little dangerous and extremely secretive. But we also know he’s a good guy. He’s the type to help homeless people and refuse to sleep with women when they’re drunk and he isn’t.

Sugar Has Some Personal Issues

But what’s he hiding? Well, after two episodes, we know he’s got some family trauma. He initially agrees to meet with Jonathan Siegel because he’s a fan of his movies, but he agrees to take the case because his missing granddaughter, Olivia – also the title of Episode 1 – reminds him of his sister, Djen. What happened to her?

Sugar’s also ill, though it’s unclear in what way. Periodically his hand shakes and he experiences visions. He keeps delaying seeing a doctor, even though he knows the condition will probably be hazardous in more ways than one.

He doesn’t like guns, either, which I’m sure will come up again.

A Family Affair

Anyway, the case. The second member of Olivia’s family that Sugar meets after Jonathan is her half-brother, Davy, who immediately lies to him when Sugar catches him in Olivia’s empty apartment. They don’t exactly get off on the right foot.

Davy doesn’t do anything to dispel Sugar’s suspicious, either. On the contrary, he has Sugar followed and his place bugged.

But Davy is just the tip of the iceberg. Her mother, Rachel Kaye Pariah, was a famous actress who died in a car accident. Sugar, a movie buff, recognises her immediately. He also finds a video of Olivia repeating one of Rachel’s famous lines, and in her belongings finds… let’s say compromising pictures.

Olivia’s Disappearance Might Be Connected To Another Crime

With Olivia’s disappearance potentially being connected to her mother, it might also be connected to another crime entirely, because there’s the dead body of a murderer in the trunk of her car. The corpse belongs to Clifford Carter, who had raped and killed a woman named Carmen Vasquez. Olivia’s car GPS reveals she visited Carmen multiple times before she was murdered, as well as paying several visits to her former step-mother, Melanie.

The obvious question is: Did Olivia kill Clifford, and Melanie help her cover it up?

Davy and Bernie Are Up To No Good

Olivia apparently had a drug addiction. We know this because Davy brought it up in Episode 1, and her father Bernie brings it up again in Episode 2. He’s just as suspicious as his son, and it turns out he was the one who had asked Davy to spy on Sugar in the first place. Whatever the two of them are hiding, they seem to be in it together.

There’s also a chance that, whatever it was, Olivia found out about it. It could have been this knowledge that got her killed. Rarely does someone ever have such a penchant for getting themselves in potentially mortal peril.

Sugar Episode 2 Ends With Clifford’s Body Going Missing

To make matters more complicated, Sugar Episode 2 ends with Sugar discovering that someone has already removed Clifford from the trunk of Olivia’s car before he had chance to dispose of it. Who might that have been? Well, Jonathan and Ruby both knew about him being there, so it could have been either of those two, and we know Melanie was connected to Clifford too.

The list of suspects isn’t exactly short, and one only expects it to lengthen in coming episodes. That goes double for the question of who might have taken – or potentially harmed – Olivia. But I suppose this is what you hire John Sugar to find out.


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