Sunny Premiere Recap: S1E1 & S1E2 Raise A Lot of Questions

“He’s in Refrigerators” & “Don’t Blame the Machine”

Suzie, wearing an earpiece, looks on
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for the premiere of Sunny on Apple TV+ with S1E1, “He’s in Refrigerators” & S1E2, “Don’t Blame the Machine” (written by Katie Robbins and directed by Lucy Tcherniak)

Sunny has premiered on Apple TV+ with two episodes, which feels fitting since the cold open of Episode 1 and the closing scene of Episode 2 make for nice bookends to an hour of television. This probably could have been one episode in that regard, but in another it makes sense that it’s two. In S1E1, Suzie (Rashida Jones) is consistently suspicious of Sunny (Joanna Sotomura), while in S1E2 she starts coming around to accepting this robot, which her husband apparently programmed just for her.

Of course, Suzie’s husband, Masa (Hidetoshi Nishijima), always told her that he worked in refrigerators, and we ultimately see that he told her this lie on their very first date (presumably before she’d ever told him that she dislikes robots because a self-driving car killed her mother). Now, Masa has apparently died in a plane crash, along with their son, Zen, and Suzie is led to question how well she’s ever known her husband.

After being questioned about what Masa and Zen were wearing when they boarded the plane, Suzie comes home to find a man who identifies himself as Yuki Tanaka (Jun Kunimura) waiting for her. He gives her Sunny, saying that Masa worked really hard to make this model of homebot jovial. Yuki is seemingly unaware that Masa has been lying to his wife about his work for the entirety of their relationship. Indeed, Yuki tells Suzie that ImaTech hasn’t made refrigerators in Japan for 12 years.

Sunny freaks Suzie out pretty quickly, and for good reason. For example, Suzie puts the robot to sleep and rolls it into a closet, only to find that somehow Sunny has woken up and left the closet. Plus, Sunny’s demeanor is disquietingly chipper even as it evades questions. I believe that Sunny doesn’t consciously remember anything prior to meeting Suzie, but I also don’t blame Suzie at all for attempting to throw Sunny into the sea before leaving it on a bridge because the bot is too heavy for her to lift.

Sunny returning to Suzie’s home after that abandonment should creep Suzie out even further (and perhaps it does), yet over the course of Episode 2, we see her starting to accept Sunny as a part of her life. Maybe this robot can help her solve the mysteries she’s found herself confronted with.

Sunny the robot has a round head and an emotive face
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Suzie goes to an office party at ImaTech looking for Yuki Tanaka, but she’s directed to a much younger man who simply says it’s a common name. We don’t see the older man who called himself Yuki Tanaka again in the Sunny premiere, so we’re left to wonder if that is his real name, if he works at ImaTech, etc.

Regardless, Suzie makes her way to Division Five, where a placard with her husband’s name on it is outside the door. Inside, she sees some puppies but also some bloodstains, which disturb her. However, when she returns the following day, the bloodstains have been cleaned in a way that has discolored the carpet, and Division Five has been shut down. She’s chased by a security officer and has to sneak out of the office while the employees are doing calisthenics.

Office employees wear VR headsets and do calisthenics in the ImaTech office
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Back home, Sunny tells Suzie that the airline came by to confirm that Masa was in the wreckage of the plane, though they still haven’t found evidence of Zen. Pushed to a further level of grief by this news, Suzie asks Sunny to get in bed with her. Maybe she’s going to allow this robot to comfort her after all.

But then, Sunny seems to remember the events of the cold open to Episode 1. It’s striking that the series begins with its eponymous robot beating a man to death while someone is saying things like, “I love you so much” and “Stop,” but it’s not until the end of Episode 2 that it becomes clear that it was Masa saying these things before he finally shut Sunny down, too late to save the man’s life.

Masa says this event must remain in darkness, makes a symbol on his computer, and covers Sunny with a tarp, at which point Sunny wakes up with a start in Suzie’s bed. Suzie asks if Sunny is OK, and the robot says it was just reacting to a dream. Roll credits.

A man lying in a pool of blood
Screenshot/Apple TV+

There are a lot of questions raised over the course of Sunny’s premiere episodes, and I hope it’s felt coherent to try and recap the basic plot before digging into them.

One is about Sunny, who claims to have been dreaming at the end of Episode 2. We’ve also been told that while Sunny resembles models of homebot that are widely available, Sunny is special and constantly updating. I have to wonder if Masa was trying to create a robot that is truly autonomous and self-aware, and whether he succeeded.

Sunny lies in bed with Suzie
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Another question is what happened to Masa. While there are strong indications that he died in a plane crash, we also learn that the airline did not, in fact, visit Suzie to tell her that they’d confirmed this. Rather, it was a robot sent by some guy who has been spying on her. Why is he spying on her? At whose behest?

The symbol that Masa draws on his computer screen at the end of Episode 2 is the same as the symbol that a young woman has told Suzie is the signature of the group that is behind the dark manual—a guide to hacking homebots. Mixxy (Annie the Clumsy) has told Suzie about using this guide to get her homebot to do sex stuff, but Mixxy also suggests people might be using it to, e.g., carry out political assassinations. Why would Masa, who has been involved in the official programming of homebots, be tied to a group dedicated to hacking them? It’s worth noting that the title of the Colin O’Sullivan novel Sunny is based on is The Dark Manual. I haven’t read it, but the novel’s title is a good indication that these elements will be central to where this story is going.

When Sunny is accompanying Suzie to the ImaTech offices, Suzie gets irked and tells Sunny to “suck a dick,” at which point Sunny freezes up, says some things about Division Five, and then has to reboot. I wonder if this is related to how homebots are programmed not to perform sex acts or if that part is just a coincidence. If Sunny is constantly updating, it would make sense if Division Five was the source of the updates, so it could be that this glitch has resulted from Division Five being shut down.

Sunny stands across the room from Suzie
Screenshot/Apple TV+

I’m not convinced that Masa is dead, though if he isn’t, I think that would mean he’s faked his own death, along with that of his son, which would make him a really despicable person. It could be part of a plan to cover up how Sunny killed a guy, even if I struggle to fill in the details of such a plan. Maybe Masa is the one employing a spy to keep tabs on what’s going on.

Or, perhaps ImaTech is so invested in covering up what happened that they shot down a plane, but they still want this advanced model of robot to work out, so they’ve given it to Suzie and are keeping an eye on things by spying on her.

I’m curious to see where Sunny takes all of these questions as it proceeds. There are almost too many questions, so I hope we start getting some answers soon. The show is funny, but it’s not as funny as I want it to be for reasons I’m struggling to pin down, so I also hope that it settles in on that front now that it’s set its stakes.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

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