Episode 1 is a brilliant world-builder, paving the way for the rest of the story and introducing the audience to Gus and his origin.
This recap of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth season 1, episode 1, “Out of the Deep Woods,” contains spoilers.
The narrator takes us before “The Great Crumble”. It shows a doctor named Aditya Singh in the hospital, and we are told that life will never be normal again — there’s a deadly virus spreading, which is oddly uncanny now. Meanwhile, a father decided to escape into the wilderness and leave the world behind, while the doctor stayed in the burning world. It flits to the doctor looking for Rani — she’s frozen on the floor, upset. With the world in disarray, Aditya gets in the car with Rani, and they flee — it seems Rani has the virus.
The narrator explains that when the world slipped into chaos, something extraordinary happened. Aditya is blown away as he reaches the baby ward — newborns have taken on animal features, and they didn’t know what was first – the hybrid of the virus? This brings us to the present, with the father in the woods with his newborn baby.
This was a brilliant narrated opening to set the story.
Finding a place in the woods
Episode 1 then shows the father making a new world for himself and his baby Gus deep in the woods. It’s all about survival. Gus calls his father “Pubba,” so he takes on that name. The chapter quickly flits to Gus as a child — he and Pubba still live out in the woods. Pubba is worried about the outside world sneaking in. Gus’s half-human/half-deer features are clear to see now at seven years old, but he’s also more aware of the world and keeps asking Pubba about life outside of the woods. Pubba talks about a self-destructive, greedy world, and nature made everyone sick, but then the “hybrid” miracle happened that is feared.
Stepping outside of the fence
Gus’s curiosity continues, and as he gets older, he decides to venture outside of the fence and further into the outside world. As he takes in the scenery the sounds amplify. Pubba finds him, and he’s furious; he grabs him, and the father and son argue. Gus is adamant that he thought he could hear his mother, but his father tells him that she’s gone.
The production team has done a marvelous job presenting how Gus feels when he takes on new sounds.
A man finds them
And then things take a turn when Pubba finds a man looking for his sister. Pubba is nervous as he hasn’t seen a human for a long time. The man says that the outside world still sucks, with tribes of people fighting over whatever is left. He also explains that the virus still exists, and some people believe the hybrid made it. Pubba is worried that the man will see Gus, and then he suddenly disappears. They have been marked.
Pubba is injured
Sweet Tooth season 1, episode 1 takes a dramatic turn as Pubba senses danger for the first time.
Pubba tells Gus to hide in the cubby until he gets back. After some time passes, Gus leaves the cubby to see a deer in his house. He immediately warms to it. Suddenly, he hears Pubba screaming in the distance. He eventually leaves the house to check if everything is okay. Ambient sounds increase as Gus takes in his surroundings, but then Pubba returns, however, he is injured. After collapsing, Gus takes care of Pubba.
The new man of the house
When Pubba recovers, he tells Gus (played by Christian Convery) that his mother’s name is Birdie — he explains they were separated when the world fell apart. He calls Gus a very special boy and then asks him to make him breakfast. When Gus returns home, his father is dead. Gus is now the man of the house; his antlers have grown, and so has his imagination — he has created animals out of sticks, and he talks to them.
A new adventure
Episode 1 brings us to the Gus that we will become familiar with for the rest of the series — a young boy ready to take on the world.
Gus finds an old box, and inside is a photo of his mother marked with Colorado. He then sees a leaflet that claims there is a safe place for hybrids. Gus gets a map out and finds Colorado. He begins a new adventure; however, he’s soon attacked by a man with a bow and arrow. Another man sneaks up from behind him and grabbed him by the antlers. They have a sinister interest in him and call him special. Gus manages to get away from the man, and then the pair of hunters are shot. Behind him is Tommy Jepperd (played by Nonso Anozie). However, Gus is still afraid, so he runs away and hides.
The man enters the house he’s hiding in and talks to Gus, saying his antlers are worth a lot of money for a poacher. He finds Gus, and he’s amazed he can talk. Tommy warns him not to have a fire in the daytime as he saw the smoke from miles away — he then makes some repairs to Gus’s home, but Gus is still not trusting of the man. Tommy calls Gus “Sweet Tooth” before walking away — Gus shouts after him, asking where Colorado is. The man tells him to stay here and that it is not safe out in the world for people like him.
As the episode ends, Gus thinks to himself and wonders what if his father was wrong, presumably about his mother being gone. He grabs the photo of his mother and runs out towards the fence — he breaks all the rules in one sprint into the outside world, bringing a feeling of exhilaration. Gus finds Tommy and shouts, “big man! take me!”.
Sweet Tooth season 1, episode 1 is a brilliant world-builder, paving the way for the rest of the story and introducing the audience to Gus and his origin.