‘Sugar’ Episode 2 Recap & Ending Explained: Who Was The Dead Man In Olivia’s Car?


The crime thriller series on AppleTV+, Sugar, has started streaming with two premiere episodes this week, which lay a foundation for the protagonist and the case he is currently working on. The titular protagonist, John Sugar, is a private detective with a knack for finding people who have gone missing, and at the moment, he has been hired by famous Hollywood film producer Jonathan Siegel to find his missing granddaughter, Olivia. Sugar went through Olivia’s apartment and car to find the body of a dead man in the trunk of the vehicle, and some compromising photographs of her mother, Rachel Kaye, at the apartment. Although Rachel passed away in a car accident when Olivia was just an infant, Sugar feels that these photographs might be the key to solving the mystery.

Spoiler Alert

What does Bernie feel about Sugar’s investigation?

Sugar episode 2 begins on the morning after the events of episode 1, as John Sugar is still at the hotel where he has been staying in Los Angeles. Having made introductions with Jonathan Siegel, Melanie Mackie, and David Siegel, the last being an unplanned one, Sugar now wants to meet another important figure in the family, Bernie Siegel. Bernie is Olivia’s father, and while Jonathan mentioned that his son was not too concerned about her disappearance, Sugar found out that Bernie had appointed his son David to check on Olivia’s apartment regularly. Therefore, Sugar asks for a meeting with Bernie and the man, also a film producer like his father, but with only half his skills, agrees to go down to the hotel. After some customary small talk, Sugar gets straight to the point as he asks Bernie about his daughter’s disappearance. As guessed, the man is really not concerned about the matter, as he is sure that Olivia will return any time soon and then get herself admitted to rehab. Bernie clearly believes that his daughter still takes drugs and has gone away on some drug-fueled trip somewhere.

Next, Sugar shows the man some of the photographs of Rachel, which he had found inside Olivia’s suitcase, and notes how the specific kind of Polaroid camera was in much use at the time when Rachel and Bernie were together. When Bernie does not take the hint, Sugar directly asks him whether he had taken the compromising photographs of the woman, his erstwhile wife, but Bernie denies the suggestion. Instead, he states that he genuinely loved Rachel when they were together, to the extent of being ready to sacrifice his own life to save hers if given a chance. Bernie’s claim is obviously not convincing, but it is evident that Sugar’s questions have made him nervous, for the man immediately blasts out and walks out of the scene angrily, calling Sugar’s suggestion that he did not care for his daughter outrageous.

As Sugar returns to his room, he immediately realizes that someone had broken into the place, and upon checking the secret cameras he had installed all over the place, it is confirmed that David and his bodyguard, Kenny, had entered the room. The two men had searched for something throughout their time, possibly wanting to know where Sugar’s investigation was leading him, and they also wanted to collect information on the detective himself. This is why they photographed certain letters between Sugar and his mother, although the detective had actually intentionally left false names around to mislead any such intruders. It is evident that Sugar has had similar break-ins at his place all throughout his career, and so the name of his mother is also falsified as someone else’s, whom he informs of the possibility of goons going over to her place as well. David and Kenny had installed some listening devices in the hotel room as well, which Sugar found very easily and removed, successfully overturning the whole plan of the intruders to spy on him. Later in the episode, it is confirmed that David had still been acting on his father’s orders when he broke into the detective’s hotel room, while the father provided cover by keeping Sugar busy.

Bernie states that he does not want a detective to be snooping around his family members, and he states that he does not want Sugar to get interested in any of the other members through his search for Olivia. It is suggested in the episode that there is indeed some secret that needs to be hidden by the Siegel family, for there are allegations of sexual harassment brought by eight women against either David or Bernie. Although the producer has been able to pay off most of these allegations by compensating the women, one of them has apparently refused to stay silent in exchange for money. Bernie’s next production venture, in which he has risked his own funds, has been obviously facing a threat because of these allegations, and the man has been preparing the project as his son David’s comeback into films. This is most definitely why Bernie and David want Sugar to stay off Olivia’s case, for she must have known something serious about the allegations, and might have acted on them even.

Does Melanie reveal anything about Olivia’s whereabouts?

Sugar now receives a message from Melanie Mackie, who wants to meet him once again, and he goes over to the address she mentioned. Melanie had been staying off alcohol for a long time after having dealt with the problems of alcoholism, and it was only very recently that she had started drinking once again. As a result, Melanie visits an AA intervention meeting and tells the others about how she had recently met a man who had finally respected her for a change, making her believe in a second chance. She obviously refers to John Sugar, in his presence, too, and this might seem a bit suspicious, almost as if she is trying to win over the detective and influence his case indirectly.

This feeling becomes more apparent later on when Sugar and Melanie go over to her house, and she agrees to talk about her stepdaughter’s disappearance. The navigational records on Olivia’s car stated that she had come to Melanie’s house very often in the recent past, almost every day. But when Sugar questions Melanie about the reason for this sudden proximity, she does not give any answer, even trying to avoid it by saying that the presence of Olivia’s car does not necessarily mean that the woman would also come over. Melanie avoids all other questions, too, simply stating that she too believes Olivia will turn up within a few days after her drug-fueled adventure is over. Sugar is concerned, for Melanie literally voices the same opinion as her ex-husband, and she then reveals that she and Bernie are still quite good friends.

Sugar also wonders why Olivia suddenly became more concerned with matters of women’s rights around the time when she started hanging out with Melanie so often. Like every other question, the rockstar dodges this one as well, and the meeting finally comes to an end when she no longer wants to have the detective at her house. Melanie forces Sugar out of her house, through words, of course, looking similarly nervous as Bernie earlier, and the protagonist has perhaps been able to trigger her successfully as well.

Who was the dead man in Olivia’s car?

In Sugar episode 1, the protagonist found the dead body of a man inside the trunk of Olivia’s parked car in her apartment garage and took photographs of it. In this episode, he shows the photo of the man around to all of Olivia’s friends and contacts to see if anyone saw her with him, but to no avail. Finally, he finds a link between the two, as the dead body was that of Clifford Carter, a man who had prior arrest records for hard crimes like assault, rape, and human trafficking. Just a week before her disappearance, Olivia regularly visited a specific address, as found in her car’s navigation records, and this address was the house of a young woman named Carmen Vazquez. Carmen had been raped and killed very recently, and incidentally, Olivia’s car was also present at her address when the murder took place. Sugar is confident that Carmen’s attacker was Clifford, who then somehow ended up dead inside the trunk of Olivia’s car.

Based on the situation so far, it seems likely that Carmen Vazquez was being attempted to be shut up by some forces, and as she refused, a professional criminal like Clifford Carter was hired to kill her. Olivia somehow found out about this development, and she wanted to act against it, possibly killing Clifford before she herself disappeared. It will not be very surprising if Carmen’s attacker turns out to have been hired by some of the Siegel family members, and this would perhaps make Olivia’s involvement in the incident clearer. As of now, Sugar is reminded by Ruby that he needs to either report the dead body to the police or get rid of it, but upon going to do so, he finds it to have already been taken away from Olivia’s car. It is possible that Jonathan arranged for this cleanup as he did not want his granddaughter to get into any unnecessary trouble. 

At the end of the episode, a scene shows some goons breaking into the house of Carmen’s sister, Teresa, and threatening to harm her children if she does not cooperate. The leader of the goons states that he is looking for Clifford Carter, who has been missing for some time, and his last known location was with Carmen, who was apparently in a relationship with him. Clifford had stored away private information about the goon’s business and his clients, which is why the latter always wanted to keep an eye on Clifford. But as the man has been missing for weeks now, the goon fears that some plot is in the works against him, and so he wants to find Clifford as soon as possible. Before his disappearance, Clifford had sent the goon, his boss, photographs of Carmen and Melanie, and Teresa now identifies the latter and reveals who she is. This ascertains that Melanie will soon find herself in trouble with the violent goon, while Sugar has to find out more of the truth before he can help her or the missing Olivia.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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