Review: ‘Sweet Tooth’ Season 3 Is A Lovely End To A Bumpy Journey

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 6, 2024 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Sweet Tooth Season 3 Review - The Netflix Series Sticks the Landing
Sweet Tooth. (L to R) Naledi Murray as Wendy, Christian Convery as Gus, Stefania LaVie Owen as Becky, Nonso Anozie as Jepperd, Adeel Akhtar as Singh in episode 302 of Sweet Tooth. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024
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Summary

Sweet Tooth Season 3 is an imperfect but ultimately lovely conclusion to the Netflix series.

It’s a commonly held sentiment that using kids and animals to build emotional stakes is cheating. Sweet Tooth, Netflix’s adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s DC comic book which concludes with Season 3, is cheating twice – it’s about a post-apocalypse full of child-animal hybrids being hunted to extinction.

And it has worked across two prior seasons (we loved the first outing and were pretty keen on Season 2) precisely for these reasons. Even when distractions hampered the pacing and uncomplicated storytelling dulled the core conflict, those adorable scamps still proved irresistible.

Season 3 is an imperfect but ultimately lovely and fitting climax to the whole thing.

The Sweet Tooth of the title is Gus (Christian Convery), a charming boy with deer antlers who just might have been the harbinger of both the hybrids and a deadly virus known as the Sick, which as of this third season has mutated into an even deadlier iteration known jovially as the Doomsday strain.

With the fate of humanity at stake and time in even shorter supply than usual, Gus and his allies – the “Big Man” Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen), and Wendy (Naledi Murray) – gradually make their way to Alaska in the hopes of finding Gus’s “mother”, Birdie (Amy Seimetz), who has traced the origins of the Sick to a cave once discovered by a manic seaman.

Early on, the gang runs into Dr. Singh (Adeel Akhtar), who has had a vision of himself and Gus discovering that cave, and he tags along with them.

But the kids are being doggedly pursued all the while. Despite the Last Men having been dealt with in the Season 2 finale, Helen Zhang (Rosalind Chao), the only surviving warlord of The Three, is trying to restart human reproduction – a process that Gus is integral to, though nobody is entirely sure of how. Zhang sends her daughter Rosie (a brilliantly conflicted Kelly Marie Tran) and her four wolf-hybrid children to hunt the kids down.

It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that what works about Sweet Tooth Season 3 is mainly the stuff that worked about the first two seasons. The hybrids are impossible not to root for, charmingly written and portrayed with both wide-eyed idealism and real bravery, forced to eke out an existence in a world actively hostile to them.

As with prior seasons, there are stops along the way – such as a visit to a seemingly normal couple who’re cruelly hiding a secret out of fear – designed to reiterate the show’s essential themes. This is a story about change, fundamentally, and how that change is both aggressively resisted or reluctantly embraced by different people in different circumstances. The plotting can still be too morally simplistic – the hybrids are all quintessentially “good”, villains like Zhang are cartoonishly horrible – but there are greater efforts to add nuance now, with characters like Dr. Singh and Rosie providing more complex viewpoints.

Because of this, the show excels when it keeps its characters together and allows their personalities and perspectives to bounce off each other. Conversely, it suffers a little when the plot contrives to separate the gang, which happens here as it did in Season 2. There’s also an Alaska-based subplot involving Birdie’s friend Siana (Cara Gee) and her fox-hybrid daughter Nika (Ayazkhan Dalabayeva) that feels slightly divorced from everything else in the early stages. This is probably a consequence of Season 3 being eight episodes rather than a leaner six, and it’s a problem that Sweet Tooth has had throughout.

But this final season sticks the landing better than either of the previous two, and really that’s what counts when it comes to bringing a long-running show like this to a close. There’s a lighter, more hopeful tone to this adaptation than the original source material, and that is maintained without betraying the essential underpinnings of the story and the relationship between characters like Gus and Jepperd.

Nobody’s saying Sweet Tooth has been perfect, and Season 3 has many of the same niggling issues that the previous outings did. But it’s hard to imagine that anyone who has stuck with the story for the long haul won’t be deeply satisfied by this conclusion, which is more than you can say for most Netflix originals. And Christian Convery is, without a doubt, a star in the making.

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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