Tess arrives in NYC with her dreams and no solid plans for the future. After, she lands a job (tryout?) at a very swanky restaurant, things begin to take off! Here’s our review of the series premiere of Sweetbitter, “Salt”!
I think we’ve all experienced a desire to run away at some point. Not necessarily because we hate where we are or the people we’re with, but it’s a pull for something new. Most of the time, we never act on the feelings that well up inside our chests and push us to make the move.
Tess does, though.
“I knew if I stayed one more minute, I would blink and ten years would go by.”
So many of us can relate to that exact feeling either when we were fresh out of college or even later in life. Surely there has to be more? Right?
Sweetbitter taps into those feels of nostalgia and taking a chance. Set in 2006, little things like printed out Mapquest directions, huge Apple desktops, and pay phones(!) will make you think WHOA…that was only twelve years ago?!
Tess navigates the city, finds a room to rent, sells her car, and finds a job. She calls home to her father to let him know she made it, and it’s obvious he doesn’t want to hear from her. After some garbled yelling on his end, he hangs up on Tess. Sometimes the thing that’s best for us isn’t something other people, especially family, want to support. I imagine this will play into the series again.
Tess has to keep moving, though, because she did get that job even though her interview is less than stellar. She thinks waiting tables will be easy work and she can make quick money.
She has a lot to learn!
“Salt” focuses on introducing us to the characters at the restaurant, but it’s not a in depth look yet. We’re testing the waters just like Tess.
The supporting cast is rich and I know there’s going to be drama from all these people at some point. I’m interested in getting to know her enigmatic boss, Howard, played by Paul Sparks. There’s something different about him, but I don’t feel like he’s a bad guy…
Tess’s coworkers love to remind her she’s the new girl and not worth their time, but eventually she’ll become a part of their little circle. Will (Evan Jonigkeit), the waiter she shadows to learn the ropes, is distant but he’s not mean. Jake (Tom Sturridge) is aloof and shows up when he wants and is the waiter she probably wouldn’t mind hooking up with the most. He’s also flirty as hell and I don’t want to be here for that angst, but I will be. Then there’s Simone (Caitlin FitzGerald). I don’t trust her at all. Her attitude toward Tess while they’re putting out the salt is enough to make you feel defensive for Tess.
During the episode, Tess is looked after by Sasha (Daniyar), a man she saw crying before their shift started. They discuss their issues with family as he bandages her finger. She even goes so far as to say that sometimes it’s easier if parents are gone.
“You know, sometimes it’s a relief, right? At least when they’re gone, you got somewhere to put the hurt.”
Poor Tess has got a lot to work through as she navigates this new life she’s living.
One of the aspects I’m most looking forward to in future episodes are the guests. Tess so foolishly calls them “customers” in her interview.
We meet Ms. Neely in this one. An older woman with memory issues who comes to eat at the restaurant once a week. Everyone on the staff is used to her, but Tess makes the mistake of taking a seat with her instead of just moving along.
She now knows not to sit down with guests, but she also sees that there are so many people in this city who are alone, too. Not just young people who set out on an adventure, but older people who yearn for a sense of normalcy in their day.
The episode ends with Jake, who was all up on Simone early in the day, taking Tess to the back of the restaurant and treating her to oysters. When she eats one, he asks her what it reminds her of…
She imagines waves, fish, Jake kissing her shoulder and sliding his hand down her naked back.
“Salt. I taste salt.”
Then she asks if she can have another.
It’s interesting that salt connects Tess to both Simone and Jake. I’ll keep an eye out for that angst.
We certainly want more of Sweetbitter! I think this series has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see where they take it. I know that I’m going to have lots of feelings about this one!
Sweetbitter is a thirty-minute drama airing Sundays on STARZ at 8/7c.