Sugar S1E5 Recap: Nobody Puts Davy in a Corner

“Boy in a Corner”

Sugar standing in a room that is a shrine to Lorraine
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Sugar S1E5, “Boy in a Corner” (written by Mark Protosevich and directed by Fernando Meirelles)

Sugar S1E5 centers itself around David Siegel (Nate Corddry), as you might expect from its title: “Boy in the Corner.” That was the title of the film that made Davy a child star, and the follow-up he and Bernie (Dennis Boutsikaris) have been working on—Man in the Corner—represents their attempt to revitalize David’s career. One has to imagine that he hasn’t exactly had a successful career as an actor over the intervening years.

“Boy in the Corner” opens with Siegel-watermarked footage of David on the set of his upcoming film. He keeps flubbing the scene with his fictional psychologist (Jana Lee Hamblin), and then tries to get the contact information of the actress portraying her while the cameras are still rolling.

Details of Davy’s sexual misconduct came out to the public in last week’s episode, leaving him morose as Episode 5 begins. He’s watching that footage from the Man in the Corner shoot and lamenting that the film will never see the light of day. His mother, Margit (Anna Gunn), tries to console him, and assures him that one day he’ll inherit the Siegel empire, but none of this makes Davy feel better.

Davy looking downwards
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Meanwhile, Sugar (Colin Farrell) pays a visit to Jonathan (James Cromwell), but finds the latter unconscious due to the heart attack he had last week. Bernie offers to pay the rest of Sugar’s fee, given that Jonathan is incapacitated, but Sugar insists that he is going to remain on the case. Bernie isn’t too happy about that, and gets angry about Sugar wanting to talk to Davy. He kicks John out of the house.

I enjoyed how Sugar S1E5 actually intercut this scene with the scene that follows it, chronologically. Sugar goes to question Davy and Margit tries to run interference. She ultimately tells Kenny (Alex Hernandez) to see Sugar out in a way that parallels what Bernie does, but it doesn’t work. John looks squarely at Kenny and tells him he won’t be able to make John leave.

I think Kenny probably would have tried, and we could have been in for some interesting violence but for Davy coming into the room to say that he’ll talk to Sugar.

Davy gesturing as he talks to Sugar
Screenshot/Apple TV+

What David tells John is about as bad as we could have possibly imagined. A while back, he heard about a guy who could provide him with women, whom John guesses is Byron Stallings (Eric Lange) so quickly and with such certainty that Davy drops his attempt to deny it. Davy mentioned his potential legal troubles to Stallings, and mentioned Olivia (Sydney Chandler) advocating for Taylor (Isabella Briggs). He thought Stallings would just intimidate Olivia, but intimates that what happened was far worse, though he doesn’t tell John exactly what Stallings did.

Regardless, it would seem that the end of Episode 4 wasn’t as much of a red herring as I thought it was. I don’t know if Stallings has Olivia behind that padlocked door, or if he’s killed her, but in a meaningful way the developments in “Boy in a Corner” solve the case: Stallings took care of Olivia because of her refusal to go along with the attempt to cover up Davy’s crimes.

Sugar looks at Jonathan, who is in a hospital bed in his home
Screenshot/Apple TV+

We don’t know for sure whether Bernie or Margit know all of this. Both have insisted that Olivia is probably just off on a bender, which has always felt cold, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t what they believe. Of the two, I think Bernie is the more likely to have known the terrible details all along, but I’m also not sure how relevant the question will be beyond some possible legal repercussions.

“Boy in the Corner” opens with a title card warning viewers that the episode contains depictions of self-harm, and, as the episode increasingly put Davy in a metaphorical corner (recall how Stallings threatened him last week), it wasn’t terribly hard to guess that he’d be the one to hurt himself.

After some wine with Margit, who’s continuing to try to console him, Davy goes to the bathroom, takes a small gun from a jewelry box, and shoots himself in the head.

Davy is loaded onto an ambulance with Margit at his side as Episode 5 comes to a close, so I guess he’s not dead. He also gave Sugar Stallings’ address prior to this, so it’s not clear if he has more information that would important to finding Olivia.

Margit with Davy in an ambulance
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Whether Jonathan has been hiding something from Sugar is a more interesting question. I don’t think that he knows what happened to Olivia, or about the involvement of Stallings, since that wouldn’t make a lot of sense in relation to the fact that he hired Sugar to investigate, but when he visits Jonathan’s house in this episode, Sugar notices that the Polaroid of Rachel Kaye (Natalie Alyn Lind) wearing the dress that Lorraine Everly (Ruby Lewis) wore in The Winds of Change was taken in the room that Jonathan has preserved as a shrine to Lorraine. That implies that it may have been Jonathan who took those pictures, and we have to wonder if Rachel’s death really was an accident.

Stallings coercing young women
Screenshot/Apple TV+

As for Stallings, Sugar S1E5 confirms that he is a sex trafficker, as we see him meet with a bus and force young women into his custody. Meanwhile, one of his men ambushes Melanie (Amy Ryan) in her home, to continue the interrogation about what happened to Clifford. Sugar ultimately arrives, because he continues to have Melanie under surveillance through Charlie (Paula Andrea Placido), and saves Melanie, but he beats the guy so viciously it freaks Melanie out.

And, to be fair, it freaks Sugar out, too. He worries, in voiceover, about whether LA is getting to him. He brings Melanie to his hotel room to protect her, but then he can’t sleep. “I have a secret,” he says. “Tell me,” she replies. “I can’t.”

What is John Sugar’s secret?

Charlie and Sugar talking in Melanie's house
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Ruby (Kirby) goes to meet with Miller (Paul Schulze), who we see for the first time in Episode 5. She’s worried that Sugar is going to find out things that will make him upset, and those things have to do with Stallings. Miller says they’re just observing, as always, but then concedes that this is different. Ultimately, he tells Ruby to do whatever it takes to keep Sugar from finding out.

This is all so vague it’s hard to say anything about it, beyond engaging in wild speculation. Some have suggested that Sugar isn’t human, and the Polyglot Society is a group of similarly nonhuman beings, be they aliens or androids… or werewolves.

Miller meeting with Ruby
Screenshot/Apple TV+

I don’t think we have enough information to posit any of those things specifically, but there certainly have been indications that something is amiss. Sugar knows that he has a secret, but there’s also something Sugar doesn’t know.

I, for one, am just as invested in the Olivia case as I am in this greater mystery. The trick that Sugar has to pull in the episodes to come will surely involve how it spins the one into the other.

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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