‘Sugar’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Why Does Sugar Help Melanie Once Again?


Colin Farrell has been brilliant so far in the role of the titular detective in AppleTV+’s Sugar, and this week’s episode 5 once again features a strong performance from the actor, as his character is given some even more depth. In his pursuit to find the missing Olivia Siegel, private detective John Sugar has been growing extremely attached to the case, and now, even in the illness-related absence of his client, Jonathan Siegel, he denies stopping his investigation. It had become clear to Sugar that Olivia’s half-brother, David, would definitely know more about the matter, especially after the spoilt kid’s records of sexual harassment had been revealed to the media in the previous episode. In Sugar episode 5, David finally seems to have a change of heart, helping the detective and also taking a drastic step towards paying for his past crimes.

Spoiler Alert

How does David Siegel help Sugar?

Sugar episode 5 begins with a scene of Bernie Siegel’s latest produced film being shot, in which his beloved son, David, is playing the central role. While we had only encountered David’s unintelligent ways in real life and were given the impression that he got chances to act only because of his father’s preferential treatment, this is the first time that we see him act. David is absolutely horrendous in his profession, with no skill or ability whatsoever. He struggles with one short scene numerous times, sometimes forgetting his lines and sometimes getting distracted by the smallest of movements on set. It had been mentioned that the man had earlier acted in a few films produced by his father and had taken quite a long break in between, as it can be guessed that his films never did any business. With Bernie having cast his son once again, that too, after a long break, is sure to lose more money for him, especially because of how unimpressive David is.

Although David had always been quite confident and cocky about his life and profession in the earlier episodes, his demeanor completely changed at present. He is evidently shaken and scared after the media released news of his multiple cases of sexual assault and blackmail against women, and he fears that his film, if released, would greatly suffer because of these events. Back at David’s house, he watches the film shoot tape along with his mother, Margit, who remains as brash and proud of her son as always. The fact that David’s personality is the way it is, mostly because of how his mother has treated him throughout his life, is quite clear from the scene. While the man panics and fears the public’s response to his vile acts, Margit tries to compose him, teaching him not to care about what the common people and the city feel about him. She mentions how he belongs to the respected and revered Siegel family, which will obviously help him get away with his crimes, and how he will inherit a large sum of money after his grandfather and father’s passing. It is most likely that Margit is personally after this wealth as well, along with the pride and benefits of being associated with the family of film producers.

On the other side, private detective John Sugar goes over to the Siegel house in order to meet with Jonathan, who has been released from the hospital and is being treated at his residence. The protagonist is even more invested in the case now, and he is determined to find Olivia before something goes awfully wrong with her. Having noticed how Bernie’s ex-wife Rachel Kaye, who had also incidentally died from a suspicious car crash, had been wearing the same dress as Jonathan’s actress in his legendary film in her secret photographs, Sugar wants to find out more about this connection. However, with the producer now too ill to have a meeting, Sugar has to wait some more to find answers to his questions related to Rachel, and he wants to check on his client instead. However, Bernie meets him at the place, inside the very room where Jonathan is recovering, and it is evident that he does not want the detective around. At first, Bernie offers to pay off all the money that was due to Sugar and tells him to leave the case, but the protagonist simply denies doing so and states that he will continue with his investigation. Bernie then has the detective dragged out of the house, also threatening to sue him if he snoops around David any more.

John Sugar is obviously not someone to be scared by such threats, though, and he does go over to David’s house right after leaving the Siegel residence in order to find answers. The detective is unwilling to let the matter go but has to deal with a similar hostile figure at David’s house in the form of his overprotective mother, Margit. The woman first states that all the allegations brought against her son were fake and is then about to get Sugar thrown out of the house, too, when David intervenes. The man has now had enough of all the hiding and unnecessary troubles, so he decides to talk to Sugar and help him out with the case. David does show some remorse or guilt with regards to his harassment of many women, but he is also not ready to face the consequences of his actions. He now reveals that some time in the past, he had gotten acquainted with Byron Stallings as part of his insatiable sexual desire. David wanted to get intimate with women who were not sex workers, and Stallings was just the right man for his needs.

With time, David and Stallings became friends, often hanging out together, and this is apparently when he ranted about his problems in life to the man. By then, David was already facing the sexual harassment lawsuits, and her half-sister, Olivia, had been actively supporting the one woman who was refusing to take the monetary compensation to drop her case. David states that he had mentioned Olivia to Stallings during this time, not knowing how dangerous the man can be, and so believes that the criminal might have had something to do with her disappearance. However, we had seen David directly in contact with Stallings in the previous episode, and it still seems very likely that getting Olivia out of the scene was part of a plan that he had made with the criminal. At present, Sugar leaves the house with the crucial information that Stallings is directly involved with the matter, and he decides to talk to the man next. But David informs us that Stallings is currently away to Mexico, and it is confirmed in the episode as well, for Stallings is seen running his human trafficking business, in which he kidnaps women who try to illegally migrate to America.

Later that evening, David Siegel takes a massive step towards paying for his past crimes, although in the most horrible way possible. Having lost all confidence in his survival, David is no longer affected by the fake encouragement of his mother. Also, having ratted out Stallings to Sugar, he knows that the criminal and his gang will surely come for him. Therefore, David feels his back against the wall and decides to take the ultimate escapist route. David Siegel shoots himself dead inside his very bathroom, much to the shock and grief of his parents, Bernie and Margit. This sudden twist will also most definitely have an effect on Sugar, for Bernie will not let the death of his son pass easily.

Why does Sugar help Melanie once again?

In the previous episode, Sugar learned that his dear friend Melanie Mackenzie had been still meeting and communicating with Bernie Siegel behind his back when he saw the two meet at the screening gala. This was not the first time that Melanie seemed to be hiding something from the detective, but there is simply no effect of this on Sugar, which is initially a bit strange. He does not ask or say anything to her regarding the matter, and he behaves as if he had not found out about this secret allegiance. He continues to keep an eye on the woman through a friend, but the arrangement is unable to detect the great danger that Melanie suddenly finds herself in. One of Stallings’ goons had broken into her house, intending to finish the job that had been interrupted earlier, and he is still in search of information regarding the missing Clifford Carter.

It is by sheer coincidence that Sugar happens to come to the neighborhood at this very time to drop off some food for his friend and also notices a suspicious car parked in front of Melanie’s house. By this time, Melanie had managed to distract her attacker and had hidden inside her bathroom, but with every passing moment, the threat of getting caught was on the rise. Thankfully, Sugar makes his way into the house just in time to save Melanie from the intruder, and the detective unleashes a violent flurry of attacks on the man, terribly injuring him. Within a few moments, Sugar suddenly realizes the effect of his violence, which was not really needed since he wanted to arrest the intruder and not kill him, and even apologizes to him. It is clear that the detective launched the attack instinctively without giving it serious thought.

The reason for this attack, and probably also for him repeatedly ignoring Melanie’s suspicious associations with Bernie, is that Sugar is getting emotionally attached to the woman. It is only in order to save or avenge individuals who become very close to his heart that Sugar unleashes such violence, and he does admit a strong feeling for Melanie. Whether Sugar and Melanie turn into a romantic couple or if they even stay in touch after this case is solved is a different matter, but for now, the two will surely investigate the rest of the case together.

Who does Ruby meet?

Sugar episode 5 also shows Ruby driving out to a park in order to have a meeting with a man from the spy agency that she is a part of. It had been clear for some time that there was something that Ruby was keeping a secret from Sugar, and although the matter has not been cleared yet, it is evident that the very agency that he works for is somehow trying to stop the detective. Ruby was earlier seen trying to protect Byron Stallings from Sugar by hiding information about him, and she now meets with a man named Miller, who seems like a superior from the agency. After being updated about how Sugar has been determined to try to look for Olivia, Miller makes a decision about what should be done with the detective. 

It is suggested that the agency does not want Sugar to find out certain things, which he will most definitely get to know if he continues searching for Olivia Siegel. This is why Ruby has been harping on the need to be objective in the cases so that Sugar does not get personally attached to the case. Miller now orders Ruby to stop the detective from reaching the truths they want to hide by any means necessary, which means that the agency will also directly work against Sugar. The protagonist had earlier revealed how he had a sister whom he had lost because of some unusual reason, and it might be that the agency had more information about this death than they let him know. At the very end of the episode, Sugar also suddenly confesses to Melanie that he has a secret that he cannot really reveal to her, but it is possible that this secret is the reason why the agency is trying to stop him. What the secret is and what has really happened to Olivia Siegel will all be revealed in the upcoming episodes of the show.

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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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