The Fate Of Big Man In ‘Sweet Tooth’ Season 3 Is Deliberately Ambiguous — And That’s Good

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 11, 2024 (Last updated: 2 days ago)
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Does Big Man die in Sweet Tooth Season 3?
Thomas Jepperd, aka the Big Man, in Sweet Tooth | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

From the beginning, Sweet Tooth was always the story of Gus and Big Man. But while the ending of Season 3 gives us a peek into the future so we can get a real sense of how Gus’s life turned out, the fate of Big Man is a little more ambiguous. This is a deliberate decision on the part of the show’s creators, but it leaves things open to interpretation for the audience.

And this is a good thing. Let me tell you why.

Big Man’s Fate Doesn’t Matter

We know from the ending of Season 3 that Big Man does, eventually, die. When it is revealed that a grown-up version of Gus has been the narrator all along, he is explaining to the hybrid children that Big Man is kept alive through these stories about his exploits and importance. So, we know that at some point between leaving the cave in Alaska and that moment, he passed away.

The question is whether he died in Alaska or some time afterward. But, really, does it matter? By the time Big Man and Gus leave the cave, the important lessons he has been teaching Gus have already been imparted. The Sick has been eradicated, and the most dangerous human beings have been dealt with. Through Big Man, thanks to his time and protection, Gus has acquired everything he needs to shepherd this young generation of hybrids into a thriving and open-minded community.

Because we as an audience can feasibly imagine either potential outcome — Big Man died in Alaska, or he was able to accompany Gus and the others back to Yellowstone to help build the hybrid community there — we know the show has done its job. Either way, the story works, and nothing feels lost as a result of either interpretation. The precise nature of Big Man’s death doesn’t matter because his life was so integral to Gus’s arc.

Sweet Tooth’s Ending Was Designed To Be Ambiguous

Showrunner Jim Mickle and executive producers Susan Downey and Amanda Burrell told People Magazine:

“We knew that we wanted it to feel like that Jepp was finding an end at the end of this episode but we also wanted to say, a little bit ET-inspired, ‘He’s always with him. He’ll be right here,’” Burrell adds. “If the audience wants to engage and believe that he sat there with him on the porch, then they can. But at least for me, I think it was an ending.”

This is referencing the final scenes of Big Man and Gus together. After leaving the cave in Alaska, Big Man is badly wounded, having already slowed down considerably and had brushes with death throughout the final season. He has to stop for a while and asks Gus to tell him a story, which is how it’s revealed that Gus has been the narrator the whole time. Gus tells Jepp the story of a Big Man who taught a boy about the best of humanity, and we see how the hybrids thrived in Yellowstone as they grew up.

In the present day, Big Man asks Gus whether the Big Man made it back to Yellowstone, and we see a flash-forward of Jepp joining Gus outside Pubba’s cabin in Yellowstone. He sits down on a chair next to him and hands him a bottle of syrup, and they both watch the other hybrids living happy lives.

Does Big Man die in Sweet Tooth Season 3?

Big Man in Sweet Tooth Season 3 Episode 8 | Image via Netflix

Big Man Being At Yellowstone Is A Metaphor

If you want to know my take on it, I lean towards Big Man having died in Alaska, and the scene of him sitting next to Gus outside the cabin being a metaphor for how he will always be with Gus spiritually, in the form of the lessons he taught him and the experiences they shared.

Admittedly, I’m cheating a bit, as in the same interview with People, the showrunners echo the same sentiment. The idea is that even in death, Big Man remains alive in Gus’s mind, hence why he imagines him being physically present in his recollections. But there’s a pretty big clue in the scene, which I missed the first time — Big Man is wearing the clothes he was wearing when he met Gus for the first time in Season 1.

Since Big Man no longer has that outfit, it’s pretty clear that Gus is drawing from his memory in order to place Big Man in the scene. And, of course, he’s defaulting to that most childlike recollection, the idea of Jepp he had when he was youngest and most vulnerable. This is quite compelling confirmation that Big Man did indeed die in Alaska. However, it’s also proof that Jepp did enough in his life to shape Gus into the man he eventually becomes.

Do you think Big Man died in Sweet Tooth Season 3? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. 


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