Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Sweet Tooth season 1.
The nail-biting finale of Sweet Tooth season 1 ends with Gus in a dangerous place, but also surrounded by a surprising newfound family. There’s a major revelation about the connection between Bear and Wendy, as well as some answers about the origins of the hybrid children and the H5G9 virus, but with enough mysteries still unsolved to leave viewers eager for Sweet Tooth season 2.
Sweet Tooth‘s season 1 story arc is primarily about Gus’s search for his mother, a woman called Birdie who lived in Colorado. With just these two clues to start off with, and a little help from the Animal Army’s intelligence network, Gus and Tommy are able to track down Birdie’s address in the town of Goss-Grove. But instead of Birdie waiting for them, her old friend and colleague Judy is living in the house. She tells them that one night Birdie packed her bag and left to search for Gus, and hasn’t been seen since. Birdie did leave an attic full of clues, however, including a satellite phone that Bear is able to get working again and use to reach out to Birdie, who is now living in Alaska.
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Unfortunately, Tommy and Gus aren’t around when Birdie picks up the call. Gus, having given up on the search for Birdie after learning he is not her biological son, makes a radio call to the Preserve asking them to come and pick him up – not realizing that the Preserve has been taken over by General Abbott and the Last Men Army. Tommy is shot and left for dead, but is rescued by Aimee Aiden, who is determined to get her children back from Abbott. Here are the biggest reveals and lingering mysteries from the ending of Sweet Tooth season 1.
How Gus Was Born
Sweet Tooth episode 7, “When Pubba Met Birdie,” offers the most insight into exactly how Gus was created. Birdie and Pubba (whose real name was Richard Fox) aren’t Gus’s biological parents; in fact, though they both worked at Fort Smith, they had never really spoken before the night Gus was rescued from the lab. Richard was a member of the maintenance staff who stumbled into his destiny as Gus’s caretaker and adoptive father after bonding with Birdie over their shared love of Grateful Dead. When Birdie learned that all of her research was being removed from the lab, Richard volunteered to help her save her pet project (not realizing that said project was a baby deer-boy), and ended up going on the run with Gus to save him from vivisection.
Gus wasn’t born in the traditional way, but was a test tube baby grown from unique microbes found in the ice of Alaska (his name is short for “Genetic Unit Series 1”). The microbes were injected into chicken eggs with the intention of creating a hantavirus vaccine, which had been Birdie’s goal ever since her husband died of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Instead of growing a vaccine, though, Birdie’s team “accidentally made a miracle.” It’s unclear whether Gus hatched from the chicken egg as a very tiny baby, or whether he was transplanted into a surrogate once Birdie’s team realized they were growing a human(ish) fetus in one of the eggs. It’s also possible that Gus was created through an accidental combination of the microbes with Birdie’s DNA. When she invites Richard in for hot chocolate, she confesses to having a sweet tooth – just like Gus. Perhaps they’re blood relations after all.
How The Hybrids & The Sick Are Connected
The connection between the hybrids and the H5G9 virus (commonly referred to as “the Sick”) isn’t completely clear by the end of Sweet Tooth season 1. Judy recalls that Birdie once said they were two sides of the same coin, and it certainly appears that both originated from the microbes discovered in Alaska. While Gus was created in the Fort Smith lab, the first of the other hybrid children weren’t born until about a year later, and began to be born at the exact same time that the virus began decimating the world’s population.
This is dubbed the “hybrid pandemic,” and the hybrid babies are blamed for being the cause of the sickness. This clearly isn’t the case, though, as Pubba lives with Gus for nine years without ever getting sick, and the fact that he eventually dies from the virus means that this definitely wasn’t down to general immunity. It could be the case that two different kinds of microbes were brought back from Alaska: one that alters human DNA to create animal-human hybrids, and another that created the H5G9 virus. Alternatively, both phenomena may be the result of the same virus. When Birdie’s research was taken away from her, there may have been an attempt to weaponize the virus for biological warfare that ended up being leaked to the public, resulting in both the sickness and the hybrid babies. With Bear now having made contact with Birdie, more answers can be expected in Sweet Tooth season 2.
What Happened To Tommy’s Wife and Son
Sweet Tooth‘s season 1 finale reveals the true reason behind Tommy Jepperd’s conflicted feelings towards Gus. Tommy and his wife, Louisa, had a hybrid baby of their own, who was born part-human and part-goat. His genetic mutation was much more extensive than Wendy or Gus; not only did he have a goat’s nose, ears and horns, he was also born with goat legs. The sight of his newborn son caused Tommy to panic and run away, and he he came close to abandoning Louisa and his newborn son. He ultimately chose to stay at the hospital with his family, but by the time he got back to the maternity ward they had both been taken away.
Tommy’s son was born at the time when the government was bowing to public anti-hybrid pressure, and beginning to take hybrid babies and children away for either experimentation or extermination. This may have been why the hospital staff were reluctant to admit Louisa while she was in labor; they knew that she and her baby would be at risk. For now it’s unclear exactly what happened to Louisa and the baby after they were taken away. Among the children at the Preserve are a goat-girl with horns, and a sheep-boy with black fur similar to Tommy’s son, but no horns. Neither of them appear to be the baby seen in Tommy’s flashbacks.
How Bear & Wendy Are Related
Between Wendy’s mysterious origin story of being abandoned outside Aimee’s zoo and the reveal that Tommy once had a hybrid baby (but doesn’t any more), the audience is led to theorize that Wendy is actually Tommy’s daughter. This theory is scuppered, however, when Tommy says that his baby was a boy. In fact, Wendy is connected to another major character in Sweet Tooth – but it’s Bear, not Tommy. Wendy is Bear’s little sister, being the biological daughter of Bear’s foster parents. Bear was six years old when the Sick first began to spread and Wendy was born, and their family was happy for some time until their parents died from the virus, Wendy was taken away, and Bear was left all alone. Her real name was Becky Walker, but she changed it to “Bear” after meeting Tiger and founding the Animal Army. Now that Gus and Wendy are together, Bear may finally be reunited with her little sister in Sweet Tooth season 2.
Why Birdie Is In Alaska
Though Birdie may have initially left Goss-Grove to search for Gus, she ended up making her way to the research center in Alaska where the microbes were originally discovered. The spread of the Sick must have been devastating for Birdie, who had intended for her work to save the lives of people like her late husband. Instead she ended up opening the Pandora’s Box that wiped out most of the population, subjecting millions of people to the same pain that she had gone through. Though she clearly loved Gus and probably searched for him for some time, Richard hid them both away from the world thoroughly enough that Birdie would have eventually moved on. She is likely in Alaska searching for a way to create a vaccine for the HG59 virus, and may end up collaborating with Dr. Singh in his efforts to create a cure.
The Meaning Of Sweet Tooth Season 1’s Ending Song
Though Gus and the other hybrid children are in the clutches of General Abbott and set to be vivisected by Dr. Singh at the end of Sweet Tooth season 1, the last few scenes of the finale encapsulate the show’s blend of melancholy and hope. Just as Gus has reached his lowest point, not knowing if “Big Man” is still alive and seemingly completely alone in the zoo’s holding cages, he meets the other hybrid children for the very first time. The scene is accompanied by “Auld Lang Syne,” the Scottish folk song and traditional anthem of New Year’s Eve that’s also sung by Adi and Rani’s neighbors when they burn down the house of someone with the Sick.
Like Sweet Tooth itself, “Auld Lang Syne” is both happy and sad. The lyrics are about two old friends who have spent a long time apart reflecting on their journeys through life, and the distance that has separated them. The chorus is about raising a glass (a “cup o’ kindness“) for old time’s sake (“for the sake of auld lang syne.”) Gus had hoped for a reunion with his mother, and to find the rest of his family. He doesn’t find Birdie, but he still finds a family in the other hybrid children, and they hug him like they’re welcoming him home.
A major theme of Sweet Tooth is that family is about a lot more than just genetics and biology. Bear and Wendy may not be related by blood, but they’re still sisters, and Bear loves and misses Wendy as much as she would any biological sister. The Animal Army was also her family – one that she built herself by finding other children who had been orphaned by the Sick and giving them a home and a tribe. Pubba and Birdie may not have been Gus’s biological parents, but Birdie still loved him and Pubba raised him as his own son. Tommy, Bear and Gus are all a family as well, with a close bond formed by their time traveling together. As the narrator says while Gus is hugging his newfound hybrid brothers and sisters: “Family is what we make it. Each one of us, together.“
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