Sweetbitter recap: ‘Now Your Tongue is Coded’


Sweet. Sour. Salty. Bitter. It seems to be the mantra of this show, or at least in “Now Your Tongue is Coded”.

Sweetbitter’s latest episode, “Now Your Tongue is Coded” dove a little deeper into the staff of the chic downtown restaurant where Tess works. After an awkward encounter with Howard, where he catches Tess sniffing the leftover food, she tries to connect with him by completing the beautiful flowers in the restaurant. Will told her Howard’s wife arranged them, but he tells her that his wife died and orchids were her favorite flower. Insert palm into a face.

Tess walks into the locker room as Simone and Will seemingly have a lover’s argument. Again, painfully awkward, Tess drops her bag and apologizes profusely to the “couple.”

More from Starz

She makes her way to a food cart where she attempts to talk to the food cart guy as if she’s longing for human contact. When she realizes her wallet is gone in “Now Your Tongue is Coded”, she runs back to the restaurant to retrieve it. However, she’s distracted by music and conversation coming from the dining area.

She finds all her coworkers drinking and smoking. It’s called “shift drinks,” and it’s Howard’s way of thanking everyone for their hard work. I felt terrible for Tess here, because no one told her about this seemingly nightly ritual.

Simone appears (of course) and orders a glass of Riesling for herself and Tess. Know-it-all Simone corrects Tess for drinking the wine too fast and asks her what she tastes. She goes on to explain the parts of taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Tess becomes obsessed with it for the rest of the night.

When the rest of the gang leaves to go to Home Bar, Simone’s empty-like apology for them not inviting Tess doesn’t affect her. Tess says the saddest thing, “I’m used to being alone.” Simone replies, “me too.”

Maybe the two are more alike than I thought.

Suddenly, Sasha comes back and grabs Tess, dragging her to Home Bar to help him find out where his wife is hiding. Here, the Russian immigrant needs to find his green card wife, Ginger, so that he doesn’t get deported. It ends with Tess getting punched in the face by a former prostitute.

The encounter seems to earn Tess some respect from the staff, and they slowly let her into the group, while filling her belly with alcohol and her nose with cocaine. Maybe I’m a prude, but the casualness of her snorting coke was unsettling to me.

Tess’ attraction to Will also builds when he grabs her hand to buy her a drink in “Now Your Tongue is Coded”. She finds out Will and Simone are not an item, but they did grow up together. I’m sure there’s more to the story, and it will come out as the series moves forward.

Jake has the best line of the episode in my opinion. He sums up life as a restaurant worker pretty perfectly, “We make ourselves small, so guests feel big.” Think about it. Servers are there to serve patrons. The customer is always right. It can almost be degrading in a way. So, as the staff is doing tonight, they’re playing hard.

As the staff finally accepts Tess in Now Your Tongue is Coded”, she drunkenly recalls a sad story from her childhood, when she tried to invite John Lennon to celebrate her birthday. There were only two problems; her dad never allowed her to celebrate birthdays and John Lennon died ten years ago. She was so sad, she cried.

At this story, Will seemed uncomfortable and left the table, eventually finding the bartender chick to make out with her.

But for us, this was the first time Tess allowed herself to feel something. She’s slowly finding herself, and it’s exciting to watch.

Next: Sweetbitter: ‘Salt’ recap

She makes her way back to the food cart, where the food cart guy held her food. She still didn’t have her wallet, but he gave her the cold food anyway. As she walked towards him in Now Your Tongue is Coded”, she repeated the mantra: sweet, sour, salty, bitter. Then she threw up. She smiled. She finally felt something, and it felt sweet but bitter.

Did you like the latest episode of Sweetbitter? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!