Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Now Your Tongue Is Coded

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Sweet. Sour. Salty. Bitter. The quiet moment between Simone and Tess -- sweet. The drinks she has with Jake -- sour. The busted lip she gets for helping Sasha -- salty. And the memory of her losing her faith in God as a child -- bitter.

The tip of the tongue -- every taste has its corresponding area -- that is where we taste sweet. Salt is the tipping point. Sour is the sting of food that's alive. Bitter is poison, although we've cultivated a taste for it. And sugar... Sugar was the first addiction.


On Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2, we see all the ways Tess's night gets coded, and it's up to us to decode how these events will affect the rest of the series.

My previous article for Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 1, "Salt," may have jumped the gun again. Tess certainly does have more aspects to her personality. She's super weird -- but in a good way.

Restaurant Crew First Bonding Moment - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

Even though Howard stops her from eating the leftover food on the bussed plate, like always when he talks to Tess, a small smile crept on his face multiple times. 

It's interesting they introduced his deceased wife in the episode, and her introduction leads to a bonding moment between her and Howard. 

You feel awful. Let's move past that and let's not eat out of the garbage.


Maybe the reason why Howard always seems like he's on in some little secret whenever he speaks to Tess stems from the memories of his wife. It would explain how Tess landed this job after her laughably sad interview we all had to sit through in the Sweetbitter premiere. 

Nonetheless, it did give the restaurant a calming moment in between the hustle and bustle of the restaurant at dinner, and the Shift Drinks Tess stumbles upon later that night.

Related: Sweetbitter: The Leading Ladies on Character, Place, and Style

Tess gets another work ally in the bartender during Shift Drinks although he keeps calling her Skipper, Barbie's little sister. It's worth our time to break down the implications of connecting Skipper with Tess because the writers include this comparison in the script twice.

Tess at the Bar - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

Repetition means emphasis and emphasis means PAY ATTENTION!

After some research, I learned Skipper has been a controversial figure in Barbie world for many reasons. Initially, she was introduced to the market as a way to combat criticisms that Barbie was too much of a sex symbol.

Skipper was meant to soften her reputation since she was Barbie's kid sister. 

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As a child, she was Barbie's opposite in looks. While Barbie had blonde hair, Skipper has brunette. While Barbie had long legs, big breasts, and a face with defined lines, Skipper has small legs, small breasts, and a softer, more circular face.

Tess and the Food Truck - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

What's most important to pay attention to in the life of Skipper is she got older, gained more experience, and because of that, she came into her own. She got her own stories filled with celebrities and events that scream life goals.

As the experiences came, her body also changed. She became taller, more graceful, and shapely.

Foreshadowing anyone?!

The sweet scene between Tess and Simone illustrates this dynamic wonderfully during their candlelight lesson. Based on Will's warning, it's clear that we aren't supposed to be as enthralled with Simone as Tess and I have become over the past two episodes.

Will Calms Tess - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

However, how can you not be obsessed with this woman? She's all fine lines, experience, confidence, and mystery wrapped up in soft blonde hair and striking ruby red lipstick. 

Simone very much acts as the foil to our lead, Tess. 

Where Tess is awkward, Simone is smooth. Where Tess lacks confidence, Simone has all the confidence. Additionally, where Tess is messy curls with big round naive eyes, Simone is sleek hair with all-knowing cat-like eyes.

Simone has a Smoke - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

Honestly, their impending friendship acts as one of the big draws of this season, even with Will's words echoing in the room every time Simone smiles.

It's just incredibly hard not to like her because we haven't seen anything to suggest she's nefarious yet. Every chance she gets, she teaches Tess something new and gives her good advice.

Now we also know that even though they're such opposites, they still share one thing.

Tess: I'm used to being alone.
Simone: Me too.

In such a quiet and comforting moment, we see another layer of both ladies we didn't anticipate. Forget Tess and Jake; I'm all in this blossoming relationship between Simone and Tess.

Just kidding. Don't forget Jake and Tess. I love all of Tess's relationships equally ... mostly.

Related: Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Salt

Tess and Jake's encounter was another encoded interaction filled with unsaid words and proximity. Ella Purnell and Tom Sturridge's chemistry lights the screen on fire even when they hardly speak to each other. 

Tess codes the drink they have together in their scene, and thereby their interaction based on my logic, with sour, which bodes well for these two.

Tess Talks to Jake at the Bar - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

Simone says sour is the sting of food that's alive, and I have no doubts that's where Jake and Tess's relationship is heading. He will be the liveliness her life has never really had, and therefore, he'll act as her defibrillators.

If this scene and that montage at the end of the Sweetbitter premiere tells us anything, we're in store for some epic scenes between the two of them. 

On the other end of the scale, Sasha will be the death of Tess! But only hyperbolically of course. 

Sasha and Jake Judge Tess - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

Sasha is definitely wrapped up in some heavy stuff right now, and he shows every intention to throw Tess if the thick of it. This could be a great thing for Tess or a horrible thing.

Like Tess and Simone bond over their loneliness, it seems like Tess and Sasha will bond over the darkness in their lives. Or, as Simone explains, he'll be Tess's salt or her tipping point. 

However, I see more than that in their future scenes. Seeing as Sasha is chasing his green card to keep his dark past in Russia in his past seems like it will play a big part in his arc this season. 

Sasha Coaches Tess On the Game Plan - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

And from what we heard from Tess in Home Bar's booth, Tess's past has had its own dark and bitter moments that will also be a part of her character arc this season.

Simone stated that bitterness was a poison we've cultivated a taste for and if that doesn't echo Tess's quote about her dad in the last episode, I don't know what does. 

At least when [your parents] are gone you have somewhere to put the hurt.


It's important to note that Tess also shared this moment with Sasha. Although their pasts and their dads were a poison, in the same way, Sasha cried, and Tess tried calling her father with good news, they've cultivated a taste for that type of paternal poison. 

In this way, the upcoming season of Sweetbitter will give us a taste of each tongue code: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. 

Sweet moments that will make our hearts grow three sizes. Sour moments that make us feel alive as we vicariously live through Tess's adventures. Salty scenes that will signal big tipping points for Tess and the narrative.

And lastly, bitter moments that will act as necessary poisons to our characters that we'll learn to expect in this thrilling, tragic, and heartwarming story of Tess. 

The Restaurant Crew Bonds at Home Bar - Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2

How did you guys like this episode? What were your favorite coded scenes? Did you see any of the scenes I coded as a different taste? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

If you haven't, just yet, catch up on the two episodes of series and watch Sweetbitter online!

Now Your Tongue Is Coded Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Candice Horde was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in July 2018.

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Sweetbitter Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

You feel awful. Let's move past that and let's not eat out of the garbage.


Ari: Forwards
Heather: Not backwards.
Sasha: Fucking faster.
Will: Don't run.