Sweetbitter: Season 2, Episode 1 “The Pork Special” [Season Premiere] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - Sweetbitter Season 2, Episode 1 The Pork Special [Season Premiere]
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Sweetbitter returns, picking up from where the finale left off, and Tess continues to push to be seen beyond everyone’s perceptions of her.


Network
Starz
Director(s) Augustine Frizzell
Writer(s) Stephanie Danler
Air Date 7/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Becky Katerina Tannenbaum

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Recap

We All Have Our Secrets: Becky, Howard

Remember Becky? The one who made a huge stink and then was courted off like an angry protestor? Well, Howard is back in her life and seemingly never left. In fact, it seems her whole blow-up may have been for appearances, for now, they share a tub together, and while still a secret, they don’t have to hide to the same extent as before.

The Return Of Sasha Fierce: Sasha, Tess, Jake, Sasha, Ari, Heather

After Sasha’s suicide attempt, Ari and Heather, alongside Tess, are trying to cover for him as much as possible. Problem is, Sasha is still miserable and isn’t making it easy on them. What also doesn’t help is Tess confiding in Jake and him betraying her trust. Then following that up with saying he isn’t into Tess because she is a child. Making the formerly adorable nickname of “Baby Monster” no longer appealing to Tess for she wants to be taken seriously.

Some Pig: Simone, Will, Tess, Howard

Which, by Simone, she is. Granted, as Will puts out there, things are perhaps not what they appear with Simone, but Tess is wide-eyed and trying to absorb everything. So as much as she is warned not to trust Simone, she doesn’t want to cut off all she can expose her to. And maybe this curiosity, this maintained zest for life, is what Simone is fearful of. For, like everyone else, she is a bit jaded, comfortable even. Hence why Howard has a big slaughtered in front of them. But Tess, she watches and shows a further appreciation for the pig when it is fed to people.

Tess in a sauna.

Also, to make things clear to Simone, she notes she is not the pig to her farmer and does not blindly trust her. A sentiment noted.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

[…] when the job stops giving [you] freedom [it] starts to feel like a trap.
— Simone

Review

Highlights

Simone Recognizing Tess As Her Equal Or Potential Equal

One of the best things about this show is the relationship between Tess and Simone. For you can see, while there is some sense of being threatened by Tess, there is also this intrigue. She is new, not from the city, and allows Simone a new sense of eyes to take things in all over again. Then for Tess, Simone is older, sophisticated, maybe not everything she wants to be, but someone to place on a pedestal and consider a role model. Making this idea she may not like her difficult to grasp since it doesn’t always match how she is in person. Especially considering she takes time with her away from everyone else. Sort of like a pet.

A Community Doesn’t Fix A Mess

While you have to love Sasha, you have to also recognize the quarter-life crisis going on. Like nearly everyone else, he has hit a wall and, I wouldn’t say he is being overdramatic about it, but is certainly frustrated to the point of doing something drastic. Which for those in their 20s or 30s is an understandable feeling. You’ve been on this path for years, realize you aren’t happy but don’t have the safety net to quit and finding something new is immensely difficult. For the longer it takes, the more interviews you don’t get, or get but not the job, it pushes you to feel stuck. Perhaps even trapped and coerced to either accept your fate or, like Sasha, try to escape it by any means possible.

Venturing Into Howard’s Personal Life

Becky (Katerina Tannenbaum) resting on Howard's chest.
Becky (Katerina Tannenbaum)

While Howard seems better stoic and like someone who would have an interesting double-life, it is always nice to peer behind the curtain. Maybe not be fully invited and allowed to touch things, but just getting to know he has a life, secret or not, adds to the allure a bit. Specifically to erase the idea that he has any romantic interest in Tess.

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Sweetbitter

Creator

Stephanie Danler

Character Guide

Not Created

Collected Quotes

Not Created

Current Status

Active

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Season Reviews

First Season

Check Out The TV Series & Specials Page
Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 2, Episode 8 “Bodega Cat” [Season Finale]How one wields their power and influence is focused on as Tess reads Simone’s short story and Will fears what may come if he continues to be a manager.
Director(s) Stuart Zicherman
Writer(s) Azie Dungey, Luke Sand
Air Date 8/18/2019
  • Will, Layla, Howard, Sasha, Heather, Tess | Preparing For The Next Episode
  • Simone, Tess, Jake | The Mermaid, The Boy, And Tess
  • Tess, Simone, Howard, Jake, Scott | You Know This Means War?
Season 2, Episode 7 “Peach Treats”In the penultimate episode of the season, Tess’ fantasy becomes a reality and many start contemplating life after the Pink Chair.
Director(s) Stuart Zicherman
Writer(s) Lucy Thurber
Air Date 8/18/2019
Introduced This Episode
Layla Erica Pappas
  • Ari, Tess, Heather, Simone | You’re All Going To Leave Me
  • Layla, Simone, Tess, Will, Jake | One Dream Dies & The Next Becomes Reality
  • Jake, Simone, Tess | Can’t Have One Without The Other
Season 2, Episode 6 “Truffles and Champagne”Simone’s ex-husband, Etienne, shows up, giving her fresh optimism, as Tess gives will a look over after he treats her to truffles.
Director(s) Geeta V. Patel
Writer(s) Christopher Oscar Pena
Air Date 8/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Etienne William Abadie
Eddie Eric D. Hill
  • The Boy I Should Like vs. The One Who Riles Me Up: Tess, Will, Jake
  • The Man I Left Behind & Look Back On Fondly:Simone, Etienne, Tess, Jake
Season 2, Episode 5 “Entropy”As the restaurant is thrown into disorder, the chaos coerces conversations between people who haven’t necessarily been on the best of terms lately.
Director(s) Geeta V. Patel
Writer(s) Sharr White
Air Date 8/4/2019
Introduced This Episode
Manny Gabriel Gutierrez
Martin Allen McCullough
  • Starting From The Bottom Shouldn’t Mean Life Will Be Hard: Howard, Santos
  • The Rebellion Begins: Sasha, Jake, Ari, Tess, Manny, Simone, Howard, Santos, Scott, Will
  • Peace Talks: Santos, Howard, Jake, Tess, Simone, Martin, Will
Season 2, Episode 2 “Equifax & Experian”Tess opens up about her mother, which concurrently happens as many let out their secrets.
Director(s) Augustine Frizzell
Writer(s) Stuart Zicherman
Air Date 7/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Rosalyn Sadie Scott
  • Being A Family Is Exhausting: Rosalyn, Tess, Jake, Howard, Ari
  • While We Are Different, Alas, We Are Also The Same: Sasha, Santos, Tess
  • We Are One Of Many: Tess, Simone
Season 2, Episode 3 “Last of the Season”

As the owner of the restaurant appears, we’re reminded all who envy Tess’ brand new eyes to things still are capable of experiencing something new.

Director(s) Marta Cunningham
Writer(s) Kenneth Lin
Air Date 7/21/2019
Introduced This Episode
Maddie Sandra Bernhard
Omar Karim Saleh
Gabe Paul Anthony Stewart
Giselle Tiffan Borelli
  • Some People Are Meant To Change Your Life Just In Minor Ways: Tess, Simone, Omar
  • You Gotta Keep Stimulated: Maddie, Tess, Scott, Howard, Simone
  • Not All Growth Needs To Be Public: Tess, Will, Giselle, Gabe
Season 2, Episode 4 “Sec of Demi-Sec”As Sasha has a mental breakdown, Tess finds herself a pawn in Howard and Simone’s passive-aggressive chess game.
Director(s) Marta Cunningham
Writer(s) Charise Castro Smith
Air Date 7/28/2019
  • I Don’t Need A White Savior: Heather, Tess, Howard
  • What’s Left Behind In Old Country: Sasha, Tess, Jake
  • While You Talk Too Much, Keep Going: Tess, Howard, Becky, Simone
Season 1/ Episode 1 “Salt” [Series Premiere]There is a bit of a change in the usual girl from nowhere comes to the big apple, and with Ella Purnell at the helm, this could very well get interesting.
Director(s) Richard Shepard
Writer(s) Stephanie Danler
Air Date 5/6/2018
Noted Actors
Tess Ella Purnell
Howard Paul Sparks
Simone Caitlin FitzGerald
Will Evan Jonigkeit
Sasha Daniyar
Jake Tom Sturridge
Season 1/ Episode 2 “Now Your Tongue Is Coded”With Tess being alone in New York City, naturally she is seeking friendship. However, finding something, or someone, normal is becoming quite difficult.
Director(s) Cherien Dabis
Writer(s) Stuart Zicherman
Air Date 5/13/2018
Actors Introduced
Ari Eden Epstein
Sophia Meaghan Bloom Fluitt
Nicky Todd Gearhart
Heather Jasmine Mathews
Santos Rafa Beato
  • A Lonely Girl In The Big City: Tess, Jake, Simone, Howard
  • A Past (W/L)ife: Sasha, Tess
  • Though Things Might Be Bleak, The Future Looks Bright: Tess, Jake
Season 1/ Episode 3 “Everyone is Soigné”How one defines settling is pushed to the forefront as Tess starts something with Will and someone from Simone’s past comes to the restaurant.
Director(s) Adam Bernstein
Writer(s) Kenneth Lin
Air Date 5/20/2018
Actors Introduced
Serena Wrenn Schmidt
  • Settling For Will: Tess, Will, Ari, Heather, Simone, Jake
  • Settling vs. Stagnant: Simone, Tess, Jake
Season 1/ Episode 4 “Simone’s”Tess spends most of this episode with Simone and in doing so, some layers to this rather mysterious character are stripped away. But not so much you think you fully understand her.
Director(s) Shira Piven
Writer(s) Liz Tuccillo
Air Date 5/27/2018
Newly Noted Characters
Scott Jimmie Saito
  • Welcome to Simone’s: Simone, Tess
  • One of the Group: Tess, Ari, Jake
Season 1/ Episode 5 “Weird Night”Baby Monster spends some time with uncle Sasha to help her get through a bad day and make him feel less alone in the world.
Director(s) Ry Russo-Young
Writer(s) Stephanie Danler, Deborah Schoeneman
Air Date 6/3/2018
  • No Good Deed Left Unpunished: Santos, Howard, Becky, Tess, Will
  • Live Life With All The Regrets: Sasha, Tess, Will, Ari
  • I Don’t Want To Live Forever: Tess, Sasha
Season 1/ Episode 6 “It’s Mine” [Season Finale]As we learn why Simone was said to not be trusted, Tess takes her trials and learns her fate.
Director(s) Stuart Zicherman
Writer(s) Jaquén Castellanos, Azie Dungey
Air Date 6/10/2018
  • What Am I Getting Myself Into?: Tess, Jake, Simone, Will, Ari, Heather
  • Decision Time:  Tess, Howard, Will, Simone
  • The Peeling of the Mask: Tess, Simone
Season 2, Episode 1 "The Pork Special" [Season Premiere]Sweetbitter returns, picking up from where the finale left off, and Tess continues to push to be seen beyond everyone’s perceptions of her.
Director(s) Augustine Frizzell
Writer(s) Stephanie Danler
Air Date 7/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Becky Katerina Tannenbaum
  • Some Pig: Simone, Will, Tess, Howard
  • The Return Of Sasha Fierce: Sasha, Tess, Jake, Sasha, Ari, Heather
  • We All Have Our Secrets: Becky, Howard

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