By Jen Maravegias | TV | May 5, 2023 |
By Jen Maravegias | TV | May 5, 2023 |
Enough about how this wonderful little show evoked strong emotions. Let’s talk about what happened to Gus, Jepp, and their friends in Season 2 of Sweet Tooth.
Days after the binge-worthy second season of Sweet Tooth became available to stream, Netflix announced that the third and final season had been greenlit. Some viewers may criticize Netflix for ending a popular show after only three seasons, but the structure of the story arcs over these first two seasons is clearly following the structure of a three-act play. Or a trilogy. The first act introduces the story and characters and the second act is about the rise in action leading to the hero’s confrontation with the antagonist of the story.
There’s definitely a lot of action, and a lot of exposition, in season two. The gang of hybrid kids introduced at the end of S1 are in deep trouble as this one begins. They, and Gus (Christian Convery), are locked in the zoo’s pump house, being held captive by The Last Men. They believe that the key to curing the Sick is locked somewhere in the stem cells of hybrid kids. General Abbott (Neil Sandilands) and Dr. Singh (Adeel Akhtar) are willing to sacrifice as many of them as necessary to get the results they want. When Dr. Singh realizes Gus can communicate with him, he leverages that to force Gus into helping him, promising no harm will come to the others.
Aimee Eden (Dania Ramirez), who called the zoo home and acted as the hybrids’ mom, had reluctantly teamed up with Jepp (Nonso Anozie) to rescue them. And Bear/Becky (Stefania LaVie Owen) has dug into all of the junk in Judy’s attic, discovering a radio that connects her to Gus’s mom. Birdie (Amy Seimetz) tells Bear that there’s a cassette tape she recorded for Gus and his Pubba that they need to hear. It will explain everything. And, because this is a show about post-apocalypse living we have to see Bear figure out what a “cassette tape” is before she can begin her journey to reunite with Gus and Big Man.
So what’s on the tape? Where is Birdie? WHO is Birdie? Her real name is Dr. Gertrude Miller and she was on a team of researchers working with Dr. Gillian Washington to develop a project called Midnight Sun. The short version is that Dr. Washington thought she could figure out how to prolong human life by riding the world of disease using a microbe uncovered in the deep, Arctic ice but she accidentally triggered an apocalypse instead. Whoopsies. If she’d only seen season one of Fortitude, none of this would have happened.
There’s a bunch of science that involved incubating samples of the spores in chicken eggs and, one day, Dr. Miller discovered that one of the eggs was growing something besides the spores. Something with a heartbeat. And so Gus was born. Or hatched. Part boy, part deer, from an unfertilized chicken egg that had an Arctic spore growing in it. Don’t think too hard about it, OK?
The hybrid kids and the Sick are related, but not in the nefarious ways that people like The Last Men think they are. And it probably does mean that the cure for the Sick is in them somewhere. But Dr. Singh can’t quite crack it. He even convinces General Abbott to allow him to take Gus on a field trip to Fort Smith in search of Project Midnight Sun notes. They find a bunch of chickens and a feral alligator hybrid kid named Peter who is captured and brought back to the zoo. But even with all of that information, any cure Dr. Singh develops remains temporary.
That doesn’t stop Abbott from spreading hope of a cure among the communities around the zoo. He needs people to support his cause and join The Last Men, his fragile ego demands it. He’s also desperate for the support and admiration of a group of warlords known as The Gang Of Three. Eventually luring them to the zoo with a promised demonstration of Dr. Singh’s cure where everything goes wrong.
During all of this, we follow Aimee and Jepp’s failed rescue attempt at the zoo and meet The Air Lords, a gang of airplane-flying pirates who Aimee enlists to help them break the kids out of their zoo jail and destroy as many of The Last Men as possible while they do it.
Bear’s on a mission to do the same, but she’s coming at it from the ground where she’s connected with a caravan of people who are partially dependent on the generosity of The Last Men and their supply box drops for their survival. When The Last Men come around to recruit new members, Bear decides to go undercover so she can get herself to the zoo and save Gus. She acquits herself spectacularly in “boot camp” and is tapped for a mission that brings her into contact with one of her former allies from The Animal Army.
All of these threads, and a bonus storyline about Dr. Singh’s wife (the excellent Aliza Vellani) establishing a friendship with General Abbott’s toadie of a little brother (Marlon Williams) that reveals a whole bunch of messed up family dynamics, culminating in a successful multi-pronged attack on the zoo. The Hybrid kids are freed and reunited with Aimee. Gus and Jepp are reunited. Bear shows up at the exact right time to hop on their freedom bus to freedom.
That itself would have been a satisfactory ending to the season. But no. Because you don’t get to be the second part of a trilogy without the hero’s side taking some big losses. Aimee Eden has the Sick and decides that the best way to spend her final moments is helping to defend Gus’ Yellowstone sanctuary from General Abbott and the last of his Last Men who have followed them there.
With the hybrid kids safely ensconced in the Yellowstone Visitor’s Center with the family from season one, Jepp, Gus, and Aimee wage guerilla warfare against Abbott’s waning army. It’s a real nail-biter but our heroes emerge victorious although with his dying breath, Abbott shoots Gus in the back with a crossbow. GASP! Does Gus survive? We cut to a funeral scene. But come on now folks, it’s for Aimee who succumbed to the Sick, and I only cried a little bit. Gus is in a coma, dreaming of his mother. He wakes up understanding that she’s in the Arctic and needs his help to figure out the cure for the Sick that’s hiding there.
There’s other stuff too, important stuff. Like the hypnotic, blue flowers that may play a part in the cure. And how Gus summons a herd of bison to stampede with the power of his mind. Rani abandons Dr. Singh to his mania over finding a cure and literally rides off into the sunset on her own. Bear finds her little sister! There was a lot of action and a lot of exposition in this season, and it was well-paced and had some genuine moments that got me right in the feels. There are some very strong performances. Dania Ramirez as Aimee Eden did a lot of heavy emotional lifting and Stefania LaVie Owen as Bear went through some sh*t.
I’m sure there are plenty of folks who will find fault with the gang of Hybrid kids (too cute, not cute enough, boring, all a pain in the ass) but I thought they were great. How can you not love Bobby the little groundhog hybrid boy? They’re a bit like the orphans from Annie and the critters from the old Shirt Tales cartoon. I would, in fact, watch every episode of a series about the Sweet Tooth hybrid kids. Get on that, Netflix…after the writer’s strike is settled that is. Especially if it gives Amie Donald more to do.