Friday, May 3, 2024

REVIEW: 'Sugar' - A Betrayal Reveals How Little Sugar Can Trust the People Who Know His Secret in 'Go Home'

AppleTV+'s Sugar - Episode 1.06 "Go Home"

Sugar thinks he's made a break in the case. When a double cross forces him to do the unthinkable, he turns to Melanie and Henry for help.

"Go Home" was written by Donald Joh & Sam Catlin and directed by Fernando Meirelles

For nearly six episodes, the drama has been presented one way. It follows a straight-laced private detective determined to provide answers to the loved ones of those who've disappeared. He's obsessed with classic Hollywood films. He has seemingly built his life around those archetypes. Everything he does is in parallel to some kind of movie he has watched before. The narrative always suggested that some major twist was coming. Information was being withheld. That resulted in characters talking around a crucial detail a lot of the time. When the twist finally comes, it's completely unlike anything that has been presented on the show to date. In order for twists to typically work, they should feel grounded in the stakes of the narrative. Everything that has come before should inform the reveal to ensure it's rewarding for the viewer who has spent the time investing in this world. No one could have possibly guessed the twist here. It comes out of nowhere essentially. Moreover, secrets are still being kept from Sugar in order to prop up that final image. Hopefully it will allow more of the characters to be more forthcoming with details. That's not guaranteed at this point given how the writing has shaped the story to date.

Sugar belongs to an organization tasked with observing world's events. Davy had the personal responsibility of trying to uncover the history of the private detective his grandfather hired to find his half-sister. He didn't want the truth exposed. He was desperate to cover up his crimes. He abused women. When the story eventually comes out, he's overcome with hatred and despair. His body is preserved long enough to donate his organs. That's it. He will have no meaningful life after this. That's devastating to his family. Bernie reflects on how responsible he was in leading his son astray in life. He was so eager for him to be happy while with him that he didn't care about the bad moral example he was setting. Davy was never taught the right lessons of how to be a good person. His parents wanted to keep him busy as that would distract from his wild impulses. He was still abusive despite those attempts. And yet, the closest he got to the truth about Sugar was theorizing he belonged to a secret cabal of spies from all over the world that hold no loyalty to any individual country. It was the plot of a bad movie that someone like Bernie would have produced at some point in his career.

Instead, Sugar is an alien. He's uncomfortable in his skin after being attacked and betrayed. He wants the peace of being his true self. He knows the danger of revealing his secret to anyone. He trusts Melanie though. He wants to tell her but can't. She doesn't know why they can't just go to a hospital to treat his injuries. Instead, she must contact Henry to help. Sugar knows he's in danger. His mission has been compromised. He came to the conclusion that Stallings was the ultimate target. He took Olivia to appease Davy and have leverage against him. She's behind the locked door. That's still not the truth. It's the narrative Sugar was led to believe. Ruby warned Stallings before Sugar arrived. He and his allies chose to attack instead of run. That resulted in Sugar acting violently to finish the job. It's not done though. Only dogs locked in cages are behind the door. He's left with a stab wound and no one to trust. Despite that, Sugar confronts Ruby. He wants to know why she betrayed him. She doesn't provide a satisfying answer. Everything remains cryptic. It's simply someone protected by this group wanting Olivia for some reason. That's it.

Moreover, Ruby is authorized to eliminate Sugar if he continues to present as a threat. From the beginning, she tried warning him off this case. That was always done with the perception that he would disrupt the ongoing operation with Stallings. She was also worried about his health. That had nothing to do with his physical ailments. Instead, it was just a concern about whether he was coming close to sharing his true identity with someone. He has essentially reached that point now. He can't trust his people. He got personally invested in this case. That obsession has pushed him away from the resources he has always relied on. He doesn't know what happened to Charlie. Something happened. Help is offered so Sugar can retake the power over Stallings. He chose not to bring a gun to this confrontation. He wants to reason with these criminals. They don't see any reason to do that. It's not until it's too late that they witness the raw strength of Sugar. He remained a mystery to them until the very end. He's a nondescript man with an obsession. More clarity can now be inferred based on the final twist. Even that probably leaves the audience wondering what the point of the majority of the season has been.

As an alien, Sugar probably connected with humanity through film. That's how he learned to blend in amongst the population. Those parallels are still clear. It's a grounding concept. Even when he's bleeding out, he's thinking about film. He tries to remember the name of L.A. Confidential. He previously worried this city was having a negative impact on him. The job has certainly gotten more dangerous and personal as of late. That's risky given all the secrets he carries. Sugar has to always be on his guard. This reveal serves as a better explanation for why his body doesn't feel the effects of alcohol. But it also leaves some profound questions that are clearly focused on the future instead of Sugar's obsession with the past. Sugar can't be blind to the truth anymore. He was conveniently distracted for a long time. That was tolerated because he never threatened the mission. But now, business with Stallings is done. Ruby and Sugar had moral objections. Ruby still fell in line. She followed orders even though she refuses to share who is in charge. Sugar needs that clarity now because it explains Olivia's disappearance. Her family has been destroyed. Sugar doesn't even know the full extent of the damage. The twist implies that won't even matter as much either. Human emotions provide some solid acting moments. However, a new look into this world has been unlocked. Everything that came before can now feel irrelevant.