‘Sugar’ Finale Recap & Ending Explained: Did Pavich Sr. Kill Miller? Is Jonathan Olivia’s Father?

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AppleTV+’s detective thriller show Sugar comes to an end this week, bringing along some even more explosive revelations. While the direction of the series had greatly changed in the last two episodes, when it was revealed that the protagonist, John Sugar, was actually an alien being living undercover on Earth to learn about humans, the finale episode does a good job of winding up past mysteries as well. Although the Siegel family is technically absolved of the earlier suspicions, as they were not really involved with Olivia’s kidnapping, Sugar learns of a scandalous secret about the family, along with partly solving a personal mystery from his own past.

Spoiler Alert


Who Is Hunting Down The Aliens, And Why?

Sugar finale episode 8 begins right where last week’s episode 7 ended, with private investigator John Sugar finding Olivia Siegel in the basement of a US senator’s house and rescuing her. The next day, Sugar’s alien associates prepare to leave Earth, as decided in a meeting earlier, for their cover had been compromised. The head of the whole operation, Miller, and the supervisor of the plan, Ruby, had both stated that their mission to observe humans needed to be ended immediately since they could not take the risk of being found out by other humans. Therefore, it is decided that the alien beings working as part of the association, under their various made-up roles, will all be returning to the home planet the next day. On the day of the return, Miller is seen driving his car towards the airfield where the spaceship from his planet is supposed to arrive, and it is here that he is to meet up with Ruby and the rest of the team. However, Miller’s car is suddenly stopped by a police vehicle, just like in a regular check, and he complies without any hesitation. As he questions what fault he had made on the road leading to this check, Miller is shot dead by the police officer. The officer then reports having just found a dead body by the side of the road, pinning the blame on a drive-by shooting.

It is very clear that Miller is killed because of his identity as an alien, even though the police officer most definitely does not know about this. When Sugar had rescued Olivia and informed the police about the horrific incidents in the basement of Senator Pavich’s house, the findings quickly made it to news programs. While Ryan Pavich was the man responsible for keeping women hostage in the house, torturing and abusing them by his free will, before murdering them, his father also faced the consequences of this discovery. Pavich Sr., the powerful senator, was scared for his reputation and also feared that the revelation about his son’s vile actions to the world would create further trouble. When the aliens came to Earth for their mission, they were in contact with a select group of politicians who knew about their actual identities. The politicians on Earth perceived the mission as an exchange program of sorts, through which both the aliens and the humans would get to know more about each other’s lives. 

Pavich Sr. was seemingly a member of this secretive group of politicians, and now that his son has been called out in the press, along with being arrested by the police, he grows vengeful against the aliens. The senator fears that the aliens might also speak out against the confidential agreement made between them and human politicians, and that would surely lead to a global scandal. Citizens suddenly being informed that their government, through a select few officials, were in regular contact with aliens and such beings were even living on Earth would surely cause immeasurable chaos. In order to avoid such a scenario, Pavich Sr. and the other politicians in his circle call for the extermination of the aliens, which begins with their leader, Miller. The break of trust between the two sides also sheds light on the vast differences between them, as the aliens are truly non-violent, with no malicious intent. Sensing trouble, they prepare to abandon the mission and leave the planet, while humans order bloodshed and covert murder. 


What was the secret behind Olivia’s kidnapping?

After saving Olivia from Ryan Pavich, John Sugar also found a stack of cassette tapes at the place, which seemingly contained voice logs maintained by the murderer. Although the case is technically over, as he has managed to find and rescue Olivia, Sugar still remains drawn to knowing more about the perpetrator and his motives. He looks for a tape player to listen to the recordings, but he has a hard time finding one since it is quite an obsolete technology. But the protagonist’s friend, Henry, is finally the one who is able to lend him a player, since he had one in the apartment where he was staying under the cover of a human being. Henry feels that his best friend is slightly obsessing over the case, especially since his main target has been accomplished, but he does not stop Sugar in any way, letting him pursue his thirst for knowing the truth.

Once Sugar starts to listen to the audio log that Pavich kept, it becomes increasingly clear that the murderer was not alone while he committed the crimes. Even during his sessions of torture, Pavich spoke to someone often, almost as if expecting them to respond to him in any way, which was strange since his victims were in no condition to talk. The detective realizes that Pavich must have had an accomplice who would be present in the same room when he carried out his vile acts, and he grows determined to solve this mystery. He goes over to the Siegel residence, hoping to speak with Olivia directly, since she had not told her father or grandfather about what exactly had happened to her. The young woman admits that there was indeed someone else present in the basement when she was tortured, but she is unable to identify who it was.

Sugar initially feels that the accomplice might have been Pavich’s own father, the senator, and so he shows Olivia a photograph of the politician. She is unable to recognize him, though, and states that she could never see the man, although there was something very specifically odd about him. According to her, the accomplice merely sat through the whole torture sessions without ever participating in them, and he never spoke a word either. Instead, the man would just write things in a diary, as if observing and keeping notes of all that was happening. This information makes Sugar think in the right direction, and all of a sudden he realizes that many of Pavich’s words and phrases were similar to ones that his dear friend, Henry, had used in the recent past.

In reality, the alien organizations, including the ones leading this mission, like Miller and Ruby, knew everything about the kidnapping of Olivia Siegel and the horrific acts of Ryan Pavich. It is probable that they somehow came to know about Pavich’s tortures and murders, maybe through the senator himself, and decided to understand the man and his perverse thought process. The mission that the aliens were on had them witnessing and understanding everything that human beings do, and sadly, this included all the evil and hurtful things that we do to each other, like torture and murder. The alien organization categorically kept a neutral stance on everything, and they never wanted to affect any situation, positively or negatively. This is where Sugar started to grow different from the rest of his brethren when he started getting attached to his cases and forming subjective opinions about them. Furthermore, he was even learning about morals and ethics and evaluating humans based on his judgment, which was strictly against the mission he was on. Interestingly, Sugar was not the only one developing these human feelings and acting like an earthling; Henry, too, was becoming like a human, only in the opposite sense. While Sugar wanted to be a good human being and was making moral choices accordingly, Henry developed an evil tendency, with a growing interest in the perverse pleasure involved in hurting other humans. Just like Sugar, Henry, too, had been greatly affected by the work he had to do, and while the detective wanted to save humans because of his role as a private investigator, Henry’s job of observing a serial killer and abuser also got to his head.


What was the mystery behind Rachel Kaye’s photos?

In the very first episode of Sugar, the protagonist found a collection of photographs that were hidden inside Olivia’s belongings, and they seemed to be linked to her mysterious disappearance. The photos had Bernie’s ex-wife, Rachel Kaye, pose in a seductive manner, and Sugar tried to understand their significance in the case. His first major breakthrough in this regard came during the screening of an old film that Jonathan Siegel had produced when he realized that Rachel had worn the same dress as the actress in the film. The actress, Lorraine, happened to be Jonathan’s wife as well, and it was a bit strange as to why he let Rachel wear the same dress around twenty or so years later. Sugar eventually realizes, and it is revealed to us viewers, that it was actually Jonathan himself who had taken the private photographs of Rachel Kaye.

Despite Rachel being his daughter-in-law at the time, Jonathan had grown extremely attracted to her, and the two had started an affair as well. The affair ultimately ended when Rachel got pregnant, and therefore, it is extremely possible that Olivia is actually the daughter of Jonathan Siegel. Although the exact truth behind this is not revealed, since Sugar is not interested in getting into these family scandals, it is confirmed that Jonathan was the one to take Rachel’s photographs. The fact that Jonathan was intelligent enough to remove the dead body from Olivia’s car trunk when she was missing, only to avoid legal attention, might even make one wonder whether he was somehow involved in Rachel’s car accident and death as well. Either way, Olivia does not seem to know that her mother was romantically involved with her grandfather, as she still treats Bernie like her father. Although the woman has gotten her hands on her mother’s private photos, she is unable to solve the mystery behind them, which works in favor of her family.


Why Sugar Didn’t return to his home planet?

Sugar‘s ending has the detective find out about Henry’s true identity as the silent accomplice of Ryan Pavich. Therefore, he rushes to his friend’s house to confront him, only to find that Henry has left the place, leaving behind only a ringing phone. When Sugar picks up the phone, Henry tells him about how he has also developed the human tendency to find pleasure in hurting others. Henry declines the offer to return to his home planet and decides to stay back on Earth instead, hoping to find more humans with serious criminal tendencies and a desire to hurt and kill. While Sugar cannot do anything about this situation, he goes through his friend’s house again, only to find a shocking piece of proof of an incident from his past.

Right when Sugar had accepted the case to find Olivia, against the wishes of his handler, Ruby, he told her about how the case reminded him of his own sister, Djen. It was gradually revealed that Sugar’s younger sister, Djen, had disappeared mysteriously, never to be found again. Even though he was later revealed to be an alien being, his sister Djen was indeed taken away from their home planet by someone, and this absence did hurt the protagonist a lot. At present, Sugar suddenly finds the robe that Djen wore inside Henry’s house and realizes that his supposed best friend was the one behind his sister’s kidnapping. Thus, at the end of Sugar season 1, John also decides to stay back on Earth, with the sole intention of tracking down Henry and finding and reuniting with Djen through him. 


What can we expect from season 2?

As John Sugar stays back on Earth, it is possible that a second season of Sugar will be made, in which more of his adventures will be shown. He tells Ruby that his sole intention now is to find Henry and, eventually, his younger sister, meaning that a clash between the two men who were once friends will take place. Since both of them have developed human behavior and tendencies, neither of them will follow non-violent means in case of a fight. Apart from this central plot point, though, nothing else from season 1 can be expected to be seen in season 2. Especially the relationships that Sugar made over the last eight episodes will no longer be present in season 2, as he bids farewell to each of them. Although he has grown attached to Melanie, and he even gives her a brief glimpse of his real alien self in the end, the two characters will never meet again. In this regard, John Sugar can be expected to make new friends and form new bonds in season 2, if and when it arrives.


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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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