Sweetbitter Season 2 – Murder & Mistrust

Season 2 of Sweetbitter begins with the shocking murder of an innocent pig and has Tess (Ella Purnell) questioning who she can trust and who might be about to knife her in the back. It is an exciting opening and it looks like Season 2 of Sweetbitter may be moving in a whole new direction. Tess is no longer the young innocent newbie, and is starting to notice what really goes on behind the scenes to make a fine restaurant tick.

Ella Purnell & Catlin Fitzgerald in Sweetbitter
Ella Purnell & Catlin Fitzgerald in Sweetbitter

Alright, it is not really a murder, but the slaughter of a farm animal for food. We all know where those delicious pork chops and ribs come from, but no one likes to think about it in detail. Howard (Paul Sparks) has taken the entire restaurant staff to a farm in New Jersey, purportedly to show them where all the fresh food for the restaurant comes from. The real reason is that Howard thinks the staff needed shaking up and he does just that.

We don't really want to think about where that pork came from.
We don’t really want to think about where that pork came from.

The restaurant staff thinks it is so cute when the farmer leads a fat pig into the barn to show them. The farmer then quickly shoots a metal bolt into the pig’s brain like something out of No Country For Old Men. All the New Yorkers are shocked, but Tess has a different reaction than the others. What impressed Tess the most about the slaughter was how completely the pig had trusted the farmer, right up to the second the farmer killed it. She is determined to never be so innocently trustful as that pig

Paul Sparks in Sweetbitter
Paul Sparks in Sweetbitter

From that point on, Tess begins to reevaluate her relationships with all the people around her. Is Howard really the perfect mentor and boss, or is he secretly a sexual predator who purposely uses his position to hire very young very innocent girls? Is Simone (Catlin Fitzgerald) a true friend or someone with a secret agenda?

Ella Purnell & Daniyar in Sweetbitter
Ella Purnell & Daniyar in Sweetbitter

Trust, or the lack therefore, is a fascinating subject in the stratified work environment of this top-flight restaurant. The illegal Hispanic immigrants who work in the kitchen know they cannot really trust the other workers, even the ones who pretend to be friends. Any petty argument or jealousy can lead to someone calling ICE agents to have them taken away.

Sasha (Daniyar) is still teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown, but he at least has always enjoyed feeling superior to the illegals. Then his own visa expires and he is suddenly one of the frightened masses himself.

So Season 2 of Sweetbitter has started out very well and we hope this high level continues. Of course, like in Season 1, the workers still have much more time to chat, gossip and drink than any real restaurant workers ever had. We will write that off to a necessary plot device. No one wants to watch a show where the exhausted and sweaty workers spend 2 hours after closing clearing plates, scrubbing tables and kitchen utensils and lugging food into freezers. No, in Sweetbitter, all the workers, including the illegals, can leisurely drink free top quality wine every night, all with the blessing of the owner.  Still, it is an entertainment show, not a documentary.

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