Where We Left Off In Sweetbitter Season 1 (See: A Whole Lotta Restaurant Drama)

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
After waiting over a year, fans of season 1 of Starz drama Sweetbitter will finally learn how Tess (Ella Purnell) is tackling life in the Big Apple. The series returns for its second season on July 14 with two new episodes.
Like fellow Starz drama series Vida, Sweetbitter was an underappreciated gem that was released last summer. The show, based on the Sweetbitter novel by Stephanie Danler, follows a young woman named Tess who moves to New York City and lands a job as a backwaiter at a busy, demanding restaurant. Through her coworkers, Tess discovers love, drugs, and the new life she wants for herself. The first season was only six episodes long, but it's been a year, so you're allowed to need a refresher. Here are the major points from the end of season 1 that you need to remember.
Tess’s Job
Tess spends the entire season training to become the best backwaiter so she can pass her trials and officially be hired at the restaurant in the Sweetbitter season finale. Basically everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong, but somehow the episode ends with her securing her job. It’s unclear how she passed and there is clearly tension between her superiors Howard (Paul Sparks) and Simone (Caitlin FitzGerald) over Tess being hired. Plus, with the never-ending complicated relationships between all of co-workers, Tess also questions if she belongs at the restaurant.
Tess' Mentor Simone
Maybe it’s because FitzGerald was also playing a deceptive character on Unreal when Sweetbitter premiered, but it is extremely difficult to trust her character Simone. It’s even more challenging to watch Tess naively believe that Simone is looking out for her. Between Howard and Simone, it seems like Simone was the person pushing for Tess to be fired in the finale. One of her last lines in the episode is a warning to Tess: “Since it looks like you’ll be staying with us for a while, I hope you’ll be careful,” she says ominously.
Simone tries to play it off as though she is warning Tess about the stairs, but there is a palpable strain between the two of them. Additionally, in Sweetbitter episode 4, Simone abruptly shouts at Tess and multiple co-workers continuously warn Tess to be wary of Simone throughout the first season.
Tess' Love Life
Tess spends most of season 1 involved with Will (Evan Jonigkeit) but wishing she could be with Jake (Tom Sturridge), who is tied to Simone. (This restaurant should really enforce restricting relationships between colleagues.) Tess starts to develop a relationship with Will, but it is obvious she has stronger feelings for Jake, so she cuts things off. Still, Will vouches for Tess when Howard asks his opinion about hiring her.
On the other side of her love triangle is Jake, whom Tess barely speaks to in the finale because he is too busy being belittled by Simone most of the time. Simone and Jake have been connected since they were eight and Tess isn’t sure she wants to insert herself further into their drama.
Everyone Other Than Tess
Major secrets were revealed in the season finale and other character’s fates were in limbo. Sasha (Daniyar) is recovering after falling off and a balcony and being hospitalized — casual. Jake nearly loses his job after getting into a shouting match with a patron named Fred (Josh Hamilton) who is sleeping with Simone. Fred also is married to Simone’s friend — yikes. Howard is another character doing some damage control after everyone at the restaurant learns he was abusing his position of power and sleeping with an employee named Becky (Katerina Tannenbaum).
Tl;dr: season one made a nice little string of messes, perfect for season 2 drama.

More from TV

R29 Original Series