Sugar episode 8 recap and ending explained: the true enemy reveals themselves

Colin Farrell in Sugar episode 8
(Image credit: Apple)

We've finally reached the end of the Apple TV Plus series Sugar, which was originally billed as a neo-noir detective show, though if you've gotten to episode 8 you'll know that it's a lot more than that.

Episode 8 of Sugar is called 'Farewell', which is pretty fitting for the series finale, and it aired on Friday, May 17. I say 'series finale' but it might just end up being the 'season 1 finale' judging by some of the proceedings.

Sugar has proven to be a pretty twisty show in these last few episodes, so we're going to run through what happened in episode 8 and then answer any lingering questions you may have.

Here's everything that happens in Sugar episode 8, 'Farewell', and as you'll be used to at this point, spoilers ensue.

Sugar episode 8 recap

Amy Ryan in Sugar episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

The clock is ticking

We begin where we ended episode 7: John Sugar (Colin Farrell) has rescued Olivia Siegel (Sydney Chandler), and he drives her away from where she was locked up. Melanie (Amy Ryan) is exploring Sugar's hotel room, and has just found his mysterious vials, but then Sugar calls to tell her he's found Olivia.

Sugar brings Olivia to the flat and the girl and Melanie have a teary reunion. Sugar is almost ready to close the case... but he thinks he's missed something. He's also carrying a home-made CD created by Ryan Pavitch (the kidnapper), which he took from the home; it's number 44 of numerous more, but it's the only one Sugar took.

Meanwhile, Miller (Paul Schulze) is driving somewhere in the desert. A policewoman pulls him over about a damaged fender... but then shoots him and leaves!

Sugar goes to Ruby's (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) house, which is being packed up ahead of their imminent evacuation from the planet at sunset that day (remember, they're aliens). They're hurrying since Ryan Pavitch's exposure has meant that they reneged on their deal (to protect people like Pavitch, in exchange for their alien secret not being revealed) and now people are after them.

In the garden, Sugar visits Henry (Jason Butler Harner) who's writing in a notebook. Henry laments that Sugar didn't get more fanfare for rescuing the girl. Sugar is there to pick up a CD player, and he reiterates his belief that the case isn't cracked.

Sugar gets in his car and listens to the CD; it's an audio log that Pavitch kept when torturing his victims. While listening Sugar drives to the Siegel house, and watches a craft fly through the sky as he gets there.

Jonathan Siegel in Sugar episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

A visit to the Siegels

At the Siegel's, Sugar first speaks to Margit (Anna Gunn) to pass his condolences about David. She points out that Sugar never revealed his real motivation but that doesn't change here.

Next, Sugar speaks to Jonathan (James Cromwell) who asks Sugar to become his head of security, which Sugar obviously passes down. Jonathan says that Olivia hasn't spoken about her time in the basement yet, and Sugar watches the girl and Bernie (Dennis Boutsikaris) relax in the garden.

Sugar has worked out a mystery from the beginning of the series: the polaroid pictures of Rachel belong to Jonathan, and he returns them (Rachel, if you'll remember, was the first wife of Bernie, Jonathan's son). Rachel and Jonathan were having an affair and it's implied that Olivia is actually Jonathan's daughter, not his grand-daughter.

When leaving the Siegel's, Sugar gets another call from Ruby: she wants to know where Miller is, but our detective doesn't know. Then he continues to listen to the CD.

Next, Sugar visits Melanie, bringing the dog Wiley who needs a new owned. Melanie knows that Sugar is leaving for good, and asks if he's visiting his sister, to which Sugar tells us something that's been hinted: his sister was abducted when she was a kid, which is why Sugar hunts missing people now. When Sugar is bidding Melanie goodbye, he touches her hand and his eyes glow blue, and it's implied that he's psychically revealed his identity to her.

Sydney Chandler in Sugar episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

The true villain

Driving away, Sugar gets another call from Ruby; she's figured out that the humans are literally hunting them, so they need to be away soon. Sugar listens to the ending of the CD, and the last thing Pavitch says is "don't you agree" to someone in the room. He also says it in a way that makes it sound like "don't Sugar".

Instead of driving to the evacuation point, Sugar returns to the Siegel house and he demands to speak to Olivia. She reveals that Pavitch wasn't alone in his actions, but the other person never spoke. They only wrote stuff down —and Sugar immediately works out who it was.

Sugar realizes that it was Henry, who's always writing stuff down. Sugar rushes off to Ruby's house, as he was meant to pick up Henry to drive him to the evac, but the house has been cleared out. All that remains is a ringing phone, and when Sugar answers, Henry is on the other end.

Henry explains why he joined with the kidnappers: the aliens' job on Earth was to observe and report, and he took it to its extremes. Henry says that he's not going to leave Earth with the others, and that Sugar should stay too. However when Henry hangs up, he's left another gift... the alien robes belonging to Sugar's sister are hanging up in the wardrobe! 

Sugar reflects on his time on Earth and whether it's made him more human. He decides to stay on Earth and to find Henry, to stop him kidnapping and torturing more people (or helping humans to do so).

Sugar makes a trip to the evac zone to let Ruby know that he's staying, and Ruby admits that all the other aliens knew about Henry and Pavitch (though not about Henry being the person who abducted Sugar's sister). 

A wormhole appears above the desert, and Sugar just drives away from the evacuation point, watching as he does a spaceship disappear into the sky.

Sugar ending explained

There's been a lot to unpack through these eight episodes, especially with the show veering from detective noir to sci-fi half-way through the season. So let's answer any lingering questions you may have, to straighten everything up.

Just as a note: this ending explainer won't touch on the sci-fi side of it, and will instead look at the detective mystery side of the show. Why? Well, it's because we've already got a plot twist explainer from episode 7 which covers most of that.

Colin Farrell in Sugar episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

Who kidnapped Olivia Siegel?

A few people are responsible for the kidnapping of Olivia Siegel: Ryan Pavitch, Henry, Byron Stallings and David Siegel.

David Siegel, Olivia's half-brother, complained about the woman to his gangster friend Byron Stallings. This action led Byron to choose to kidnap Olivia, in order to silence her.

The person holding Olivia was Ryan Pavitch, a security guard who's also the son of a prominent politician. Pavitch had a basement where he'd record himself torturing and murdering young women, and he'd been holding Olivia to be his next victim.

Pavitch wasn't alone because Henry, one of the aliens, was accompanying him to record what Pavitch did. It's implied that Henry was grooming Pavitch to become a more prolific murderer, but Henry was mainly there to "observe and report" as he said.

What was up with David Siegel?

David Siegel (or Davey, before the events of the show) was an aspiring actor who was in the youngest generation of Siegels during the show.

During Sugar, allegations of David's 'behavior' towards women on sets was published by the press, shortly after David confirmed as much to John Sugar. Multiple women came forward despite Bernie Siegel's attempts to silence them. As previously stated, David was also responsible for Olivia's disappearance.

David ends by trying to take his own life, seemingly upset about the choices he'd made. His attempt puts him in a braindead state and his father decides to turn off life support.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste in Sugar episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

Who were Bernie's and Jonathan's wives?

A possible point of confusion for the Siegel family is how patriarch Jonathan and his son Bernie both have multiple wives or partners, alluded to through the show.

In the time of the show, Bernie is married to a character simply credited as 'Mrs. Siegel' and played by Elizabeth Anweis. However he's also close with Margit, who was David's mother. Before that he was married to a woman called Rachel, an actress who was the love of his life, and who was Olivia's mother.

Jonathan was married several times, most relevantly to the actress Lorraine Everly who he was in love with. However he also had an affair with Rachel, Bernie's wife, and so may actually be Olivia's father.

What were David and Kenny looking for?

In the first half of the series, David and his henchman Kenny started investigating Sugar, even visiting his mother (who presumably wasn't actually Sugar's parent, given that he's an alien).

So what was this all for? Well, it seems that they were trying to find out what Sugar was really looking for. Not all of the Siegels believed that Olivia was really missing and evidently there was some suspicion that Sugar had ill intent.

Plus, it was a handy way for us to learn more about Sugar!

What was Henry looking for?

Henry became a really big figure in the last two episodes of the show, and as you've just read, he's our main baddie. But what does he really want?

Well, it seems that he doesn't know. Not in a vague way, but he's become fascinated with the human condition, which seems to be quite different from alien life. He's trying to observe as much of it as possible to get a better idea at what makes people tick... even if it involves pushing them to their breaking point.

Sugar is onto his game, though, and if there's a second season it'll likely follow their cat-and-mouse game.

Tom Bedford
Streaming and Ecommerce Writer

Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.