Sugar S1E7 Recap: They Say You Are “The Friends You Keep”

John in a suit and tie, Henry standing behind him
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Sugar S1E7, “The Friends You Keep” (written by Donald Joh & Sam Catlin and directed by Adam Arkin)

When John Sugar (Colin Farrell) transformed into a blue alien at the end of last week’s episode, I noted that Melanie (Amy Ryan) was in the next room. Though she was asleep at the time, I wondered if we were on the path to her finding out John’s secret.

Alas, the first we see of the two in Episode 7, John is sleeping on the floor and looks totally human. So, I guess the transformation was pretty temporary and maybe he did hang out in the bathroom for the duration of it. Regardless, Melanie is demanding some explanation of what’s going on, given that she doesn’t even know how Sugar got the grievous injury he called her for help with.

Melanie looks over at John plaintively
Screenshot/Apple TV+

But he doesn’t tell her his secret. He comes close as they sit in his car on the roof of a parking garage, but only close enough for Melanie to guess that he’s a foreign spy. That’s not exactly inaccurate! But when I say that John is an alien I don’t just mean he isn’t a citizen of the United States.

John looks down as he sits in his car with Melanie
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Regardless, we learn a lot in “The Friends You Keep” about John’s friends and what the Polyglot Society is all about. They are just supposed to observe, working various day jobs, which of course implicate them in human affairs to various degrees. We can think back to the scene in a previous episode where Ruby (Kirby) interviewed John about what was in his notebook and then got out a typewriter at the end of the episode to enter data. As it turns out, that was to the point.

In S1E7, we see that typewriter from Ruby’s perspective. It’s an alien device, which apparently allows her to communicate with the bosses off-planet. She and Miller (Paul Schulze) do so early on in this episode, and we can infer from what they say later that they’ve been told the mission is over and it’s time for everyone to leave Earth. At least, that’s what they tell Sugar.

Ruby's hands, typing on a typewriter with a ball thing that looks a bit like a 20-sided die
Screenshot/Apple TV+

I’d thought that the Polyglot Society was being set up as the Big Bad from what happened in Episode 6. Ruby continued to pressure Sugar to stop looking for Olivia (Sydney Chandler) even after Stallings (Eric Lange) was dead, so I jumped to the conclusion that Miller et al. must have been involved in her disappearance. I wasn’t smart enough to guess that they were being blackmailed. That’s the story that Henry (Jason Butler Harner) tells Sugar in “The Friends You Keep,” and I’m prone to believe him from everything we’ve seen.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned and put it all together.

Davy (Nate Corddry) became pals with Stallings, who got him women. Davy complained to Stallings about how his half-sister, Olivia, was encouraging one of his victims, Taylor (Isabella Briggs), to refuse to sign an NDA. Stallings kidnapped Olivia and proceeded to sell her to Ryan Pavich (Cameron Cowperthwaite), the son of Senator Pavich, who somehow knows that the Polyglots are aliens and has threatened to expose them. The Polyglots have thus pressured Sugar to drop the case.

John stands in a room, surrounded by members of the Polyglot Society
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Now, the mission is off, so they don’t stop John from going to the address that Henry gives him. John sneaks into the house and is about to go into the basement when Ryan, who apparently works as a security guard, accosts him. Thinking that this is just a guard, Sugar tries to play on his conscience, urging him to check the property for a woman being held captive, and Ryan plays along.

That leads to a handcuffed Sugar sitting in the living room while Ryan pretends to check the basement. John sees the man in a photo on a side table and learns that he’s Senator Pavich’s son, and soon the pretense is dropped. They fight, John gets the advantage, pinning Ryan to the floor with a gun to his chin, and then it seems that Ryan pulls the trigger.

Ryan Pavich stares down Sugar, sitting in a living room
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Sugar heads to the basement, which turns out to be a very sterile-looking dungeon. I don’t really want to imagine what Ryan’s been doing down there, but since there are also numerous recordings on shelves, I suppose we might find out. John takes the one that was laying out on a desk.

He notices the padlock on a space under the stairs, breaks it off, and opens the hatch. He says, “Olivia,” and we cut to black.

Sugar stands in a white basement with a shower stall and implements on the wall
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Now, we saw Olivia in this space earlier in S1E7, so the cliffhanger “The Friends You Keep” leaves us on is whether she’s alive or dead. The earlier scene was from her perspective, with someone (presumably Ryan) opening her cell while wearing surgical gloves. The mind races thinking about what he may have done to her, and we don’t see or hear her as the episode ends, just Sugar saying her name.

Olivia in a dark place, dirty
Screenshot/Apple TV+

It certainly would be a bummer if, after all this time, Sugar finds Olivia but she’s recently been killed, but I don’t think we can rule the possibility out given the shape of Sugar’s narrative as it nears the Season 1 finale. If Olivia is alive, John will presumably save her and reunite her with her family, which would provide a good amount of closure before he leaves Earth with his peers. On the other hand, if she’s dead, he’ll be mad about it (and also at those friends he keeps) in a way that might leave the door open better for a potential Season 2.

Either way, Bernie (Dennis Boutsikaris) finally seems to be worried about his daughter. After the memorial service for Davy, he tells Jonathan (James Cromwell) that he can’t imagine Olivia missing the event, even if she had been on a bender or something.

The Siegels at David's memorial. Jonathan is in a wheelchair
Screenshot/Apple TV+

I’m curious to see how the Siegel family factors into next week’s season finale, as Sugar has seeded a mystery about the Polaroids that Sugar found in Olivia’s apartment that has to matter in some way to where we’re going. In contrast, I’ve continued to wonder what happened to Clifford’s body, but I’m beginning to think the show just wants me to forget about that.

It’s worth noting that while we don’t have any explicit reason to disbelieve that the Polyglots’ mission has been called off and they’ve been ordered to return home, we’d also be naïve to believe it without question. If their mission has been to observe humanity, to what end? John says something in voiceover about maintaining their peaceful way of life, but can we rule out the possibility that an invasion is imminent?

Henry looks at John, concerned
Screenshot/Apple TV+

John insists that they aren’t supposed to hurt people, but when Henry pushes him on whether he had to kill Stallings, John admits that he didn’t. When it came down to it, he killed Stallings because he wanted to. Henry worries that the more time they spend as humans, the more human they become, with the implication that humanity is corrupt and prone to violence.

Why has this alien species come to Earth in the first place? Are they just doing some anthropology, or is it perhaps the case that their home world is in peril? It’s a classic trope, so maybe it’s time to call off the reconnaissance mission and get down to taking over the planet.

I’ll be honest: the prospect of this series going in that direction does not excite me. I worry about Sugar jumping the shark. But, at every turn to this point, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how the series has handled things. We found out in Episode 6 that John is an alien, and I worried that Episode 7 was going to wreck the show.

It didn’t. This installment felt right in line with the ones that preceded it, even as the story shifted toward the paranormal. So, I have faith in Sugar, and I can’t wait to see how the season wraps up next week.


You may have noticed Senator Pavich’s name a few times over the course of the season. There was a link to a news story about his campaign on the screen when John was reading about what happened to Carmen Vasquez. His name was on Ruby’s screen as she deleted records on Stallings. There was a campaign sign in the yard next door to Melanie’s house. That may not even be a comprehensive list, so feel free to note more Pavich sightings in the comments if you’re so inclined.

I think there’s a good chance that Pavich was behind whatever happened to Charlie (Paula Andrea Placido) in Episode 6. He could also have been responsible for the removal of Clifford’s body from Olivia’s trunk, and there could be a connection between Pavich and the gray Volkswagen that was trailing Sugar back in Episode 2.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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