Sugar S1E3 Recap: “Shibuya Crossing” Is a Busy Intersection

John Sugar makes an incredulous face
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Sugar S1E3, “Shibuya Crossing” (written by Mark Protosevich & David Rosen and directed by Adam Arkin)

Sugar S1E3 more or less picks up where Episode 2 left off. Melanie (Amy Ryan) gets a call from Teresa (Cher Alvarez), who says she was ambushed in her apartment by scary men and that she’s freaked out about it. But Stallings (Eric Lange) and his crew aren’t actually gone; he’s forcing Teresa to make the call to lure Melanie to the apartment.

Stallings looks at Teresa
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Once she’s there, Stallings grills Melanie about Clifford. She insists that she doesn’t know anything about where Clifford might be or what might have happened to him, but Stallings doesn’t believe her. Melanie’s points are logical, but he has a gut feeling, so he’s going to stick Teresa’s hand in a blender to see how Melanie reacts and what she’ll tell him.

Thankfully, John Sugar (Colin Farrell) has tasked Charlie (Paula Andrea Placido) with following Melanie, so he’s gotten a heads-up and arrives at the scene in time to keep poor Teresa’s hand from becoming a smoothie ingredient. John pretends to be Teresa’s parole officer, and while Stallings doesn’t buy that (because a PO could never afford such a nice suit), John is able to disrupt things, get Teresa and her children to safety, and drive off with Melanie so they can talk.

Sugar and Charlie in a van together
Screenshot/Apple TV+

What Melanie tells him is along the lines of what I guessed last week. She’d helped Teresa get away from her abusive husband and was trying to do the same for Carmen vis-à-vis Clifford. Olivia (Sydney Chandler) was helping her with this, and at the women’s shelter Melanie mentions.

Sugar S1E3 provides us with flashbacks to the night that Carmen died. Olivia came to check on her because she wasn’t answering her phone, only to find her dead. There was a gun on the counter. Then Clifford entered carrying a body bag and she shot him.

Olivia crying
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Sugar seems to be abiding by the rule of TV that what we see is what really happened. What Melanie says is a little different. She tells Sugar that Olivia didn’t want to call the cops because she didn’t want to bring more scandal upon her family, but in the flashbacks themselves it seems like Olivia does want to call the cops. Things are a little scrambled, so it’s possible Olivia’s saying she was going to call the police before Clifford came in, but is now unsure about doing that. Regardless, there are good indications that it was Melanie who dissuaded Olivia from doing so when it came down to it.

Chief among those indications is Melanie’s visit to Bernie (Dennis Boutsikaris) towards the end of the episode. We don’t see exactly what plays out between them, but they do appear to be more chummy than you might expect, given that they’re divorced. The scene has the vibes of a romantic liaison.

A close-up of Melanie
Screenshot/Apple TV+

One has to wonder what exactly is going on between Melanie and Bernie at this point, and what she’s still hiding from Sugar. She tells Sugar that she hasn’t seen Olivia since they loaded Clifford’s body into the trunk of Olivia’s car together, but I’m not sure I believe that. And it gives us another person who knew that body was in that trunk as we continue to wonder who removed it. S1E3 doesn’t follow up on that lingering question at all.

Everett looks forward, wearing glasses
Screenshot/Apple TV+

In order to gather intel on John Sugar, Kenny (Alex Hernandez) pays a visit to Everett Roberts (Jonathan Slavin), who works for the NSA. We learn that John is from Ohio, his father died when he was 12, and he enrolled in the DLI and then the Marines, but there isn’t much that stands out in terms of what secrets John might be hiding. The one sibling mentioned is presumably Djen, though, and we still don’t know much about that.

Meanwhile, Davy (Nate Corddry) tells Bernie about his research into the party invitation they found in Sugar’s hotel room, which amounts to looking up what words mean. It’s amusing, as is their back-and-forth about the idea of a group of spies trying to better the world, but as we get a look at this polyglot society, I find myself wondering if Davy is actually on the right track.

John goes to the party and it’s a multilingual affair, as you would expect, but various vague things are said to indicate that this group is involved in doing important work for the sake of the world. While I would contend that looking for missing persons is important, it does not at all seem like this is what they mean.

John Sugar sitting in an interrogation room
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Indeed, the party would seem to be partly a pretense for Ruby (Kirby) to debrief each member of the group. She grills John in an interrogation room about his notebook, which is supposed to be an objective account of his personal interactions but is instead very subjective. She lays into him about that, and she invokes whatever happened to Djen as she chastises John, saying that this part of the program was his idea.

One of the things John was musing about in his journal was Shibuya Crossing, which he liked to sit and watch while he was in Japan. During their meeting, Ruby is dismissive of this and of his reflections about UFO being an underrated rock band, but as S1E3 comes to a close, she’s typing up the contents of that notebook, which implies she places more importance on it than she’s let on.

Ruby talks on the phone
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Worse, Ruby calls the Dr. Vickers she keeps pestering John to make an appointment with and lets him know that Sugar is on to Stallings. Apparently, that’s no good and is something that someone named Miller needs to be informed about. Ruby wipes Stallings’s police records, and we’re left to wonder about what connects whoever Sugar is working for to this despicable man.

I can’t imagine it’s anything good or anything that will make me willing to forgive Ruby for aiding Stallings, but this twist also makes me worry about the direction Sugar is going in overall. The people who are supposed to be helping the good guy are in bed with the bad guy, and that’s just a really tired trope.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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