On her day off, Tess decides to take a walk around the city, and she finds out that everyone’s life may not be as perfect as she imagined. Here’s our review of “Simone’s”!
“Simone’s” opens with a lovely dream sequence featuring Jake and Tess on a date at the restaurant. Howard seats them, Sasha comes by to offer some crude remark, and Simone pops in to offer a suggestion for the wine they need to have with their meal.
After everyone leaves, Jake asks Tess if this is what she wanted, and they start kissing. It quickly ramps up to where they’re undressing each other in the restaurant. Tess wakes up as she’s mid-orgasm then she rushing around to get all her laundry together.
As she’s about to walk out of her room, she changes her mind and decides to get out instead. What follows is Tess navigating her way about the city, balancing who she’s trying to be with who she was.
First, she runs into an acquaintance she went to school with and her mother. They have a very random catch-up conversation that consists of the girl’s mom saying that she’s not protected enough by her family to her father raised as a independent person. They invite Tess to go to the MET with them, but she declines and says she’s going to meet a friend for lunch.
At a restaurant, she orders a merlot. She asks for one from France, but they only have California merlot. Then she watches as everyone around her is eating with family or friends. They’re laughing and having a good time, so she pulls out The New Yorker and pretends to read.
You can feel the awkwardness of the situation. Tess is trying to desperately to fit in, but she can’t. It’s like she’s not sure who she is in NYC. She’s still getting her feet under her.
Tess goes to Simone’s afterward, and she’s entralled by everything in Simone’s home, including the tub that’s in the middle of the living space. Throughout this encounter, we find out that Simone is just as lost as Tess.
Tess learns that Simone did live in France for a little while, and that throws Tess for a moment, and she makes the mistake of the telling her that she can’t imagine her anywhere besides the restaurant.
Tess also finds out a little more about Jake. His mother died when he was very young, and he ended up living with Simone and she was his surrogate mother in a way as they grew up. Simone had all these grand plans when she came to NYC, too, but she hasn’t lived up to the life of the woman who has the tub in the middle of her living room.
After they eat, there’s a flower delivery for Simone, and she only tells Tess that they’re from someone who thinks he can have whatever he wants. Tess and Simone then destroy the flowers he sent, and Simone says she’ll clean it up later, but you can tell she’s distressed.
The big turning point happens in Simone’s apartment when Tess asks her if moving to New York was a mistake, and Simone tells her no, moving to New York is never a mistake.
“Jake, however, is. Some men like to pretend they are damaged and dangerous for the effect, but some men actually are. And they won’t just be a cool story for later. Yeah, it won’t matter will it? I mean, I guess it never does.”
Tess seems to think about that, and then confesses to Simone:
“I don’t have a mother.”
Then Tess falls asleep in the tub with Simone sitting next to her, stroking her hair. When she wakes back up, Simone is dressed for a night out and she’s very cold to Tess. The whole interaction is stilted and ends with Tess taking the wine books and leaving.
Outside, she cries.
We’ve established that Simone is this mother figure to both Jake and Tess, and she’s been treated so kindly until the moment Simone warns her off from Jake. When Tess wakes up, and her mentor/friend is distant, the little space she thought she could create for herself has been broken. Tess is very much looking for someplace to fit and that offers comfort, but the only place that offers her comfort is the restaurant. Instead of going to sleep, she goes there as everyone is leaving for the night.
Suddenly, Tess is surrounded by her loud group of friends she considers family. Will bails before they leave for the restaurant, proving that their relationship will remain strained for a bit.
At dinner with the group, Jake shows up and sits beside her. After he asks for someone to pass the food, he hands Tess a pack of cigarettes then asks her for one. She looks at him with a confused expression for but opens the pack. He takes one, smirks, and goes outside.
After waiting for a couple of minutes, and barely listening as Ari explains that she’s trying to sleep with Howard, Tess goes outside to find Jake.
He’s leaning against the building and smoking. Tess joins him, and he casually brings up her going to Simone’s.
“Jesus Christ. You two really tell each other everything, don’t you?”
THEY DO, and honestly, their relationship is so undefined, and it makes me worried. I think Tess is getting caught in the middle of something that’s just going to end badly.
Tess asks if he’s going to the Cape with Simone and he says that he really doesn’t want to go.
“Want to know what I think?”
Tess goes on to explain that she thinks he doesn’t want to go home because it’s his past, and no one wants to go and revisit their past. As she finishes talking, Jake kisses her hard and pushes her up against the building. Tess wraps her legs around his waist and they’re basically dry humping/making out against the side of this Chinese restaurant.
When he sets her back on her feet, he asks her out after work the next night then leaves her there.
The others come out and ask if she’s going to Home Bar with them, and with a renewed sense of hope, Tess says yes.
With two episodes left this season, I’m stressed the bottom is going to drop out for Tess. Be it her relationship with Jake, her status at the restaurant, or her tense relationship with Will.
Here’s hoping our girl can make it out unscathed!
Sweetbitter airs Sundays at 8/7c on STARZ.