Sugar Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Starry-Eyed


A lot is going on with Sugar Season 1 Episode 4 from both perspectives — Sugar’s identity and the case he’s trying to solve for the Spiegel family.

Answers are not coming as to why it appears the two are wound together, although Ruby continually raises the point.

Sugar isn’t the only one who wonders why she keeps conflating the two.

Sugar finally went to see Dr. Vickers as Ruby had asked. Although he’s given a clean bill of health, Vickers asks about nightmares and drug use, feelings of despair.

This is all attributed to whatever secret identity they all share, and it also indicates that they know something they’re not willing to share with Sugar.

While it could be easy to get frustrated by how little is revealed in that regard, understanding the character of John Sugar is more important.

To that end, we already know that he’s not a drug addict like those we normally encounter. He’s got symptoms and takes beautifully dressed drugs to temper them, but he’s sharp as a tack.

If he were doing something truly harmful, we’d be witnessing his downfall.

We can assume that the way his blood processes alcohol speaks to something beyond what a normal human, and if you’re a fan of any “monster” types, you probably think like I do — that whatever drug Sugar is taking keeps him from spinning beyond the normal facade he presents.

A veritable addict of any kind would not be so optimistic, and John Sugar is the epitome of good. Melanie brought up a very good topic of conversation when she wondered if we don’t stop to smell the roses because we’re afraid it will be too ugly.

For many, the world isn’t filled with beauty but with darkness. Melanie’s own additions and loneliness, as well as her closeness to the Spiegel family, draw her to the ugliness of the world, but she’s beginning to come around to Sugar’s view.

Melanie: You know that thing, the idea that we’re supposed to slow down, pay attention to things?
Sugar: Mm-hm.
Melanie: You know, we slow down, we put down our phones, maybe we see the world as beautiful?
Sugar: Yeah. Stop and smell the roses.
Melanie: Might be the opposite.
Sugar: What do you mean?
Melanie: Might be the reason we don’t look is because it’s all so sad and ugly.
Sugar: Yeah, but not everything. We have sea lions, Patti Smith, Cyprus trees. The sound of your little sister laughing after having fun.

How can she not when he’s got a counter-argument for everything?

He’s the warm hug everyone needs, that reminder that for darkness there is light, and light will prevail.

The Spiegel family could use a good dose of John Sugar. They are a sad and cynical family, placing their hopes on a talented son who has long ago lost his way while tossing aside a daughter who has made great changes in her life.

We don’t know much about Olivia or why she turned to drugs, but the more we know about her family, the easier it is to imagine her reasoning.

For whatever reason, Olivia was at the lowest point and turned herself around to help others, genuinely working with the downtrodden for their betterment — and her own.

What’s sad is that her family, who has done nothing but denigrate her since her disappearance, knows this. They aren’t blind to her Instagram videos and the light she was bringing to her life through others. They just chose to disregard it.

Meanwhile, Davy, who was a talented child actor, has the whole family clamoring to protect him from misdeeds that are too vile to warrant the behavior.

Olivia’s addiction was self-centered. It must be painful to watch someone you love fall victim to drugs, but it seems it would be far more painful to watch someone you love actively hurt others for their own gain.

Yet Davy has made a mockery of the family by using his celebrity and his family’s status to blackmail women with sex tapes. Margie’s desperation to protect her son is grotesque in contrast to how little she cares about Olivia.

That kind of prestige is hard to comprehend — choosing to protect your son and his illegal acts against others while assuming your daughter, who has made great strides in her life, is just hurting herself again, so who cares if she’s missing?

Sugar is beginning to believe there was something between Bernie’s deceased wife, Rachel (Olivia’s mom).

Jonathan’s concern for his granddaughter overtaking the rest of the family, Bernie’s included, isn’t enough to do that. Everyone is close to other family members in varying degrees. Thank God Olivia has Jonathan’s love.

But seeing Rachel wearing the same gown from the movie that sparked Jonathan’s long-running career was something else entirely.

Could he be Olivia’s father? Or did he somehow get access to photos of Rachel that didn’t belong to him? He doesn’t seem perverted like the rest of his family, so I’m betting he really cared for her. How it ties into any of this is or if it makes any difference at all is to be determined.

The family is very screwed up on almost every level, and now we have to worry whether Melanie can be trusted since she’s been seeing Bernie on the sly.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if she weren’t hiding it. One meeting seemed friendly, and the other not so much, but she hid both from Sugar, which is a red flag.

Sugar is an excellent judge of people, but even he can’t be right all the time, as we saw with the addict, he hoped to free from his street life but wound up enabling him to overdose instead.

I’ve been doing this a long time, but when it comes to people, I still have a lot to learn.


Even the best judge of character can’t be right all the time.

Sugar is beginning to think that Davy had something to do with Olivia’s disappearance, too, and his ties to Stallings don’t help.

Stallings has a “special project” behind locked doors and Olivia’s necklace at his residence. Is he holding Olivia? If he is, why don’t we know it already?

What is Stallings’s connection to the case and to Sugar’s “friends,” who are covering up his existence and trying to lure Sugar away from investigating him?

Something is rotten in Denmark, but it’s impossible to determine what it is right now.

Sugar offers a lot to think about with each passing episode, and “Starry-Eyed” is no exception.

Reddit conversations about Sugar haven’t been great, and that’s the only place I can get information since those of you who drop by aren’t sharing your thoughts below. Now is as good a time as any to get started on that!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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