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A Slow Final Chapter Brings Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ to a Close with Season 3

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With the direction that the world seems to be heading, dystopian fiction can be a tough pill to swallow. Growing up, books like The Hunger Games, while terrifying for the possibility of that becoming reality, it felt separated by something that would be in the far distant future. Nowadays, it feels like dystopia is right around the corner, and we’re all one bad global catastrophe from the beginning of the end. Bleak, isn’t it? For that reason alone, I tend to stay away from end-of-the-world media because a little separation from reality is always appreciated. But every once in a while a show like Sweet Tooth comes along which changes the genre to something… well sweet. Sweet Tooth season 3 has finally dropped on Netflix, and it’s for one more adventure with our loveable hybrid.

Set in a world where humanity has almost been eradicated due to a virus that was unleashed on the world, Sweet Tooth explores those who are left and hybrids, who emerged around the same time. Based on the Jeff Lemire comic book series from DC’s Vertigo imprint, the series on Netflix has received acclaim from critics and viewers alike.

Christian Convery returns as the young Gus, a 10-year-old human/deer hybrid, who is still searching for his mother, and possibly some answers for the horrid state of the world. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two seasons of this series, Sweet Tooth season 3 started off much slower, but the ending made up for it. Continue on to find out just what I thought of these final eight episodes.

[Warning: light spoilers for Sweet Tooth season 3 are below!]

Gus pushes forth with his mission in Sweet Tooth season 3

When we first met Gus, he was just a naïve little boy, living in a first compound with his father, Pubba (Will Forte). Their life was simple, but it was the only life Gus had ever known, so for him, it was perfect. Pubba on the other hand, was living off the grid to protect Gus because the humans of the world don’t like that he’s a hybrid. He needed to protect his son at all costs. Eventually, he paid with his life.

Sweet Tooth season 3
LtR: Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), Gus (Christian Convery), Wendy (Maledi Murray), and Bear/Becky (Stefania LaVie Owen). Sweet Tooth (Netflix).

From that moment on, Gus’ mission became finding his mother, whom he believed to be alive somewhere in the world, without any information guiding his belief. Throughout his journey, he’s made friends with some unlikely allies, such as Tommy Jepperd, a.k.a. Big Man (Noso Anozie), who becomes Gus’ reluctant guardian. Together, along with Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen), the leader of an army who saves hybrids, they set out to find Gus’ mom, a journey that originally took them to Colorado.

At the end of season 2, Gus and his compatriots defeated the evil General Abbot, and set course for their next destination, Alaska. With their new companion Wendy (Naledi Murray), the group heads North, hoping to find that Birdie (Amy Seimetz) is still alive. Which, as we know from the end of that chapter, she is. She’s on a mission of her own, to find the origin of the Sick, the colloquial name for the virus that wiped out most of the humans from the planet.

With new enemies, Helen Zhang (Rosalind Chao) and her daughter Rosie (Kelly Marie Tran), looking to exterminate all hybrid children, the stakes are even higher and the rewards have never been sweeter.

Sweet Tooth season 3 is slow to start but sticks the landing

When season two needed to be covered at The Cosmic Circus, I tasked myself with powering through the first season as well as the screener for the second in record time. 16 episodes, which doesn’t seem like much, but when you have a full-time job, it takes a while to do. Except, for Sweet Tooth, it wasn’t. I easily barreled through the episodes. I couldn’t get enough of sweet, innocent Gus and the big, burly, “Big Man”. Their chemistry and the way they developed into a father-and-son relationship was beautiful. 

The story of those first two seasons was great and the characters were well developed. You cared for them deeply and wanted to see them succeed in making the world a better place. There was magic in those first two seasons, which for me was missing in the first half of season 3. What made the season feel like it was dragging so much, was the filler storylines that didn’t feel necessary to the overall storyline.

It seemed like everyone and their brother got a backstory, many of which didn’t add to the narrative in a meaningful way. Yes, it added to Sweet Tooth’s whimsical nature, which is one of its defining features, but it distracted from the main quest instead of enriching it. There are some exceptions to this though, such as the exploration into Rosie’s past, which is integral to the overall story.

Sweet Tooth Kelly Marie Tran
Rosie (Kelly Marie Tran). Sweet Tooth (Netflix).

The pacing through those first six episodes moved at a glacial pace in some parts, making it feel like a chore instead of enjoyable, which is such a stark contrast from the first two seasons which were enjoyable even when they moseyed. Though the parts that season 3 does right, the excels at, specifically the final two episodes. Those final two episodes made the entire season worth it, as the emotional payoff is vast. It just feels like season 3 of Sweet Tooth could have easily been 4 to 6 episodes, and have been all the better for it.

Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rosie is the best part of the season

Those who read my season two review might remember how much I loved Dania Ramirez’s Aimee Eden, who was the highlight of those first two seasons. I was worried about what the show would be without her, as she brought significant emotional depth to the series through her character’s journey. Turns out, those who wrote the show replaced her with another fantastic character, whose story might be even more impactful than Aimee’s. 

Rosie is one of the villains of the season, that much can’t be denied. Her actions are questionable at best, as she seems trapped in a horrid situation with her mother. That being said, her backstory brings the emotional one-two punch that the season needed, and it helps to understand why she’s stuck emotionally and spiritually. She also experiences the most character growth of anyone else, bringing so much emotional catharsis to Sweet Tooth and the global circumstances that exist in its world.

In my book, Tran has always been an outstanding actress. If you haven’t watched Sorry For Your Loss starring her and Elizabeth Olsen, find it somewhere because it’s amazing. This is easily some of the best work I’ve ever seen from her. I hope there’s an Emmy in her future because her role as Rosie deserves that and so much more.

Bittersweet endings for Netflix’s Sweeth Tooth series

It’s always sad to see a beloved series or franchise end, but it’s nice when they can end it on their own agenda. Sweet Tooth’s ending was bittersweet for that reason, but also because it didn’t go out in the blaze of glory that it should have. Fans of the first two seasons will watch just to see where these beloved characters end up, but the slow pace and lack of direction felt like a shuffle instead of a run to the end.

Am I glad I watched it? Absolutely. Will I watch the third season again? Probably not, unless someone makes a compilation of all the Rosie parts. In that case, sign me up.

Sweet Tooth is now streaming on Netflix. Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord what you think of this series!

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Brian Kitson

Working hard to bring you the latest news and thoughtful analysis of all things nerdy!

Brian Kitson has 358 posts and counting. See all posts by Brian Kitson