By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)
The deer-like Christian Convery made viewers fall in love with his character Gus in Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth” when it came out in 2021. And while its sequel isn’t as sweet or bright as the first season, fans of the comic-book series will be thrilled with the darker themes and tones, which are more faithful to Jeff Lemire’s original work.
Quick Recap: Gus lives in a world where hybrid children, half-human and half-animal, are born, and no one knows if they are the cause or result of the pandemic known as ‘the sick’, which killed 98% of the world population. After his father’s death, Gus embarks on an epic adventure to find his mother and befriends two loyal companions: Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), a big man, and Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen), the former leader of the animal army. However, at the end of season one, Gus is captured by evil men and taken to a sanctuary run by Aimee Eden (Dania Ramirez), where he finds himself with other hybrid children. Unfortunately, their sanctuary has been taken over by ‘The Last Men,’ led by the villainous General Abbot (Neil Sandilands), who expects Dr Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar) to find a cure for the pandemic using the cells of hybrid children. The season ends with Gus and his new friends facing the possibility of becoming subjects of horrifying experiments. Will they survive?
Season two opens with a mysterious sequence of Birdy (Amy Seimetz) searching for something in snowy Alaska. Meanwhile, at the zoo, the adorable Wendy (Naledi Murray) introduces Gus to her hybrid siblings, and they try to find ways to escape from the clutches of the bad men who treat them like lab rats meant to be dissected. Some of the special effects involving the hybrid children were awkward, but overall, the cinematography remains visually engaging. Although we don’t get many breathtaking outdoor landscape scenes like in the first season.
Interspersed with flashbacks to help explain how the pandemic and hybrids came to be, the sequel adds heft to all its sub-plots and secondary characters. Friendship and family bonds are the most prominent themes in the second season and in an interesting addition, even the despicable General Abbot gets to share stories of his loved ones. Dania Ramirez delivers the most emotionally moving performance as Aimee Eden, she is like a tigress mum determined to save all her cubs come what may from Abbot’s men. Two reunion scenes in this season gave me literal goosebumps, they were so good that one could give this show an A+ report card just for those poignant moments. Stefania LaVie Owen as Bear is another selfless character, a feisty teen who is ready to risk it all, just so she can find her way back to Gus and give him a message from his mom. Christian Convery as the titular star doesn’t get as much screen presence, but continues to be the thread that bind every sub-plot together in this ambitious fantasy story.
There are some dark and tragic revelations made about Jepperd, a morally ambiguous character who constantly makes poor choices in life. His only redemption is his unwavering determination to save Gus, but even in doing so, he engages in questionable actions. On the other hand, Adeel Akhtar and Aliza Vellani, who portray the Singhs, offer the most morally challenging questions in the show. Are a few lives worth sacrificing to save the majority? They represent both the best and worst in humanity, particularly Adeel Akhtar’s Dr Aditya Singh, a “good” doctor reduced to slaughtering children for the sake of science.
Even though a lot of the sequels ingredients didn’t stand out as much, the eight episodes were absolutely gripping and I couldn’t help but stream one episode after another. Some fans might not be amused by the depressing tone of this season, but it’s definitely a binge-worthy watch for those who love dark dystopian fiction.
It’s a 8.5 on 10 from me. Stream the show on Netflix.