As a narrative that acts as an allegory of nature’s inevitable dominion over humankind, Netflix’s adaptation of the DC/Vertigo comic Sweet Tooth builds its lore against the backdrop of a global pandemic that has nearly wiped-out humanity and subsequently introduced of animal-human hybrid species that are more attuned to the ways of the natural world. While HBO’s The Last of Us presented the infected ones as symbolic of human wretchedness, which nature unleashed upon humanity as a form of retribution, in Sweet Tooth, the hybrids are the better species that will replace humanity as the dominant species sooner or later and preserve the natural balance by respecting its harmony.
In the first season, we were introduced to the lead of the series, Gus, a 10-year-old deer-human hybrid boy whose perspective was the chief one through which the series explored its world. The second season introduced viewers to more hybrid kids with unique abilities and integrated them perfectly into the main narrative, as through them, the plot functioned as an allusion to human evils like exploitation of nature and segregation. We will briefly discuss the abilities of Gus and other hybrid kids, as well as how Gus’ visions can hint much about the species’ past and future.
What Were Some Of The Powers And Abilities Of Gus, As Shown In The Series?
The powers and abilities of Gus and other hybrid kids are essentially animalistic and are developed to bring them more in sync with nature. There are some common abilities among all the hybrid kids, while the distinctive animal counterparts in their DNA are what set them apart. The difference in abilities is also determined by the extent of the animalistic portion is present in the hybrid.
Heightened Sensory Input: This is one trait that is common in Gus and almost all the hybrid kids. Hybrids have an edge over humans as they can sense oncoming danger, almost like a sixth sense. Hybrids can see, feel, and smell better than humans and can use these abilities to track down creatures or people, hide from predators like humans, and ambush them as well. Gus uses his heightened sensory abilities proficiently a number of times through the course of the first season, initially when he alerts Pubba about oncoming hunters and later when he informs Jepperd about the Last Men who came to the Anderson household to hunt him. Aside from the sensory amplification, Gus also has the ability to see at night, which some of the hybrid kids have as well. Like a number of nocturnal creatures who have a reflective surface behind their retinas, Gus’ eyes glow in the darkness, which allows him to navigate through a dark atmosphere with relative ease.
Physical Enhancements: The perk of sharing DNA with animals is that the unique features of the creature are strongly present in hybrids as well. Gus is a skilled sprinter, much like deer are. Earl is strong and heavy like the elephant, while Bobby, a rodent-like hybrid who is almost entirely animal rather than human, can dig burrows through the soil and navigate underground. We also meet a hybrid crocodile teenager named Peter in the second season, who has enough strength to decapitate two Last Men members using the trademark crocodile death roll maneuver. It should be noted that the appearance of the hybrids coincides with the viral outbreak; except for Gus, who is a year older, all the hybrid kids are nine years old, and their respective abilities are only going to get stronger as they reach maturity.
Animal Communication: Among the abilities that other hybrid kids lack and that are exclusive to Gus, we have seen Gus communicate with animals on a number of occasions. After Pubba passed away, Gus mistakenly considered a buck to be his mother and tried to hold a conversation with her as well. In the first season, when Jepperd is about to be executed by the Animal Army by being killed by Bear’s pet tiger, Daisy, Gus pleads with Daisy to spare Jepperd’s life, which works as the tiger calms down and refrains from attacking.
Animal Call: This is another of the unique powers that only Gus possesses, which constitutes a pretty powerful scene in the finale of the second season. During the climactic moment of the conflict between Gus’ team and the Last Men, an injured General Abbot pins Gus down at gunpoint under his feet when suddenly Jepperd comes in front of them. Abbot points his gun at Jepperd and is about to shoot him when Gus lets out a loud cry that shakes the entire forest. Almost instantaneously, a herd of bison comes running to the place and tramples Abbot to death. However, their appearance was no coincidence, which was proven by the fact that even while trampling Abbot, the Bisons deliberately avoided contact with Gus; therefore, even after being caught up in the midst of the herd, Gus remained unharmed. This instance further solidifies Gus’ position as unique even among the hybrids and hints that he could be the one to lead the hybrid species to a brighter future.
What Was The Significance Of Gus’ Visions?
Speaking of uniqueness, Gus can see visions, sometimes on his own and sometimes due to the effects of purple flowers. In the first season, we see Gus fall in the Valley of Sorrows, which is filled with purple flowers. The flowers triggered Gus’ visions, and he met Pubba and even had a conversation with him. In his vision, Pubba tells Gus about the future of the hybrid kind depending on him, and Gus also sees a vision of the future when he meets General Abbot for the first time in his vision. In the second season, Gus sees another such vision when Dr.Singh forces him to look into his past by using purple flowers, and Gus learns about the connection between Fort Smith and his origin. However, Gus also sees a large deer-monster-like creature in the same vision, which spooks him. In the season finale, Gus sees a dream on his own where he sees Birdie being stranded in a cave in Arctic Alaska.
Gus’ vision takes him to both the past and future and even to places of which he shouldn’t possibly have any idea. The visions generally act as forewarning, allowing him to make choices depending on what they show. It essentially seems like a primal force that is protecting Gus, which is shown in the first season when a large stag appears behind Gus and stupefies a Last Men member who was going to tranq Gus, and the same force might be behind these visions as well. Gus is the first of the hybrids and a direct result of the microbe mutation. Seeing how the hybrids were nature’s answer to exploitative humankind, the visions Gus sees might be nature’s way of helping him save his kind. The deer monster Gus is afraid to confront might be his future self, as it happened in the comics.