The Spool / Reviews
Sweet Tooth Season 3 cuts its saccharine with plenty of grimness and brutality
Netflix’s take on the “life after a plague” genre concludes on a decidedly mixed note.
NetworkNetflix
SimilarArrow, Batman, Batman: The Animated Series, Birds of Prey, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Constantine: City of Demons, Dark Angel, Deadly Class, Earth 2 Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Flash Gordon Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Il Mondo di Yor, Justice League Longing Heart, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Pandora's Clock, Planet of the Apes Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Silver Surfer, Sonic the Hedgehog, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Swamp Thing, Tales from the Crypt, The 100, The Avengers: United They Stand, The Boys, The Fantastic Four, The Passage, ThunderCats, Thunderstone, Titans, World's End Harem, おくさまは18歳,
Watch afterLoki Sweet Tooth,
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It is not typical when I review a new season of an established series that I find myself utterly lost and befuddled. Nonetheless, Sweet Tooth Season 3 earned that rare achievement. I retained the broad strokes. Gus (Christian Convery), a hybrid child, travels a US ravaged by the Sick with Big Man Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie). Together, they search for Gus’s (who’s also the titular Sweet Tooth on account of his, well, sweet tooth) mom and anything that might bring the plague to an end. The quest is complicated by many survivors’ hatred of hybrids. They blame the animal-human kids for the virus and Gus is Baby Zero of the new species.

However, the specifics of how Season 2 led to Season 3 had utterly vacated my brain. I realized why after doing my due diligence and doubling back to watch the previous season first. Season 2 was a dark, dreary affair. It was still well-made and acted but a largely unpleasant viewing experience. It stood in contrast to Season 1’s almost fairy tale vibes, where pain and tragedy existed, but an undeniable sense of hope buoyed the show. In retrospect, it seems I forgot so much of Season 2 as something of a defense mechanism.

Sweet Tooth Season 3 (Netflix)
Rosalind Chao and Louise Jiang’s mother-daughter relationship may trigger some past unpleasant memories. (Matt Klitscher/Netflix © 2024)

I say all this as, yes, an acknowledgment that I had to play catch-up with Sweet Tooth Season 3’s first two or so episodes. But also, I do so as a warning to prospective viewers. To truly immediately get Season 3—not necessarily like, but at least understand—it would not be a bad idea to take a quick look back on Season 2.

In terms of tone, Sweet Tooth Season 3 does end up, fittingly, something of a hybrid of the previous two seasons. While not nearly as bleak as last year’s installments, the show also does not fully return to its debut’s rose-hued perspective and upbeat despite its vibes. There are moments of beauty tinged with sadness and tragedy. A hybrid rises above his home for the first time, using wings his parents had forbidden him even to acknowledge, never mind flap. Gus slowly fills a corkboard with photos and assorted trinkets, honoring people he never knew who died just before he arrived. A mother truly connects with her hybrid children for the first time just as the Sick overtakes her. And so it goes.

Sweet Tooth Season 3 (Netflix)
Judy Rankin Helene Wong, Ian Mune, and Ken Blackburn are just the meanest retirees.(Netflix)

At other times, this juxtaposition of grace and tragedy doesn’t work. James Brolin’s honeyed narration, never the show’s best quality, feels especially out of step here. Its mix of folksy wisdom and almost omnipotent remove at least somewhat fit the show’s start. By now, though, it hits the ears with a tone deafness that can sometimes feel adjacent to condescension. The show’s concept of morality can grate a bit. Moments after murdering someone who is supposed to be both important to the characters and the world’s future, a character receives redemption. One doesn’t need to love vengeance to still balk a bit at that kind of turnaround.

Still, there’s no denying the strength of the actors. Both Convery and Anozie started strong and have only grown and deepened their performances since. The supporting cast, especially the world’s bravest adolescent are often tremendous as well. In particular, Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen) and her sister Wendy (Naledi Murray) are consistently top-notch. Even the likes of Adeel Akhtar as Dr. Singh, who must put on so many personalities that the character loses his center, and Zhang (Rosalind Chao), as mustache-twirling as they come, manage to fit into the show without upending it.

Sweet Tooth Season 3 (Netflix)
Nonso Anozie, Stefania LaVie Owen, Naledi Murray, Christian Convery, and Adeel Akhtar keep people fearful of Avon calling. Even in a post-pandemic landscape.

And yet… there’s something about it that gets to me in a way that The Last of Us or Utopia never did, despite similar worlds and arguably much darker stories. It feels nastier with where it throws its punches somehow. Sweet Tooth Season 3’s choice to give several characters an end that leaps past science into something supernatural also bristles. However, if the story began like a fairy tale, why shouldn’t it offer some mystic-tinged conclusions? It’s important to judge material on how it fulfills its own design.

In the end, that’s the only approach to reviewing the show that feels fair. Regardless of whatever personal buttons it seems to push, Sweet Tooth Season 3—and indeed the whole series—is a well-made, well-acted show. Creator Jim Mickle adapted the source material in an effectively faithful way that never seems chained down. It is not a word-for-word interpretation, but the places it diverges make it a better viewing experience. Certainly, it plays out better than simply dumping the contents of forty issues directly onto people’s screens. Simply put, the show is too good not to recommend, even if it didn’t sit well with this particular writer. Like its namesake, there’s something irrepressible about Sweet Tooth. It cannot be denied.

Sweet Tooth Season 3 is coming for all your syrup June 7 on Netflix.

NetworkNetflix
SimilarArrow, Batman, Batman: The Animated Series, Birds of Prey, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Constantine: City of Demons, Dark Angel, Deadly Class, Earth 2 Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Flash Gordon Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Il Mondo di Yor, Justice League Longing Heart, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Pandora's Clock, Planet of the Apes Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Silver Surfer, Sonic the Hedgehog, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Swamp Thing, Tales from the Crypt, The 100, The Avengers: United They Stand, The Boys, The Fantastic Four, The Passage, ThunderCats, Thunderstone, Titans, World's End Harem, おくさまは18歳,
Watch afterLoki Sweet Tooth,