Sweet Tooth Season 2 is a darker journey, but still remains the most heartwarming ride on TV

The comic book turned Netflix series that captured the hearts of audiences with a beautiful first season is back. Sweet Tooth picks up right where the first season left off, with many of our favourite characters either injured, imprisoned or in a state of danger. Gus, Aimee, Dr. Singh, Bear and more embark on fresh, new journeys that put their survival skills to the test.

What made me and so many others fall head-over-heels in love with the first season is the storytelling. The core arcs that spanned the course of the season were impeccably written and each engaging for different reasons. Thankfully, the writers continue their hot-streak in this season with a narrative that’s dark and mysterious but also wholesome and uplifting, ensuring every character arc is fully fleshed out and no-one is pushed to the sidelines. One thing to note in comparison to the first season is that this one is a lot more stagnant in its locations, especially for the first half. The road-trip element isn’t quite as prevalent as many of our main characters have been split up, limiting the sense of adventure. This isn’t a big criticism, it’s more an observation of the tone of this season – we see less of the world’s locations, but more of how the world functions.

The early episodes are noticeably darker than anything in the first season – there’s some slightly more distressing content, and it seems like the characters’ hope may be dwindling. The emphasis on hope is something I loved about the first season. No matter what was going on with our characters, there was always the impression that things would be looking up soon enough. That paved the way for all the wholesome character-centric moments I adored. These early episodes have plenty of really touching, heartwarming moments spread in there, but the rising dramatic tension is where the focus lies. Between everything going on with Gus and the hybrids, Dr. Singh and his race to find a cure, and Big Man’s quest to rescue the kids, there’s a lot at stake for each character. The arcs throughout these early episodes were still great – the show’s writing is damn strong and it creates plenty of investment in the characters, but I was missing that beautiful feel that comes from our characters all being together.

Bear (Becky) has an interesting journey through the first five episodes, one that I can say I certainly didn’t expect. As much as I love the character, her arc is the weakest of the bunch in these early episodes. She meets a new character who doesn’t have much substance and goes on a mini side-track adventure before getting back to the core of her journey. There’s some great surprises along the way that give Stefania LaVie Owen the chance to flesh out her acting chops, but it’s the one arc I wanted to be sped up just a tad.

Once we kick into the final three/four episodes, Sweet Tooth pulls out the big guns and delivers some of the best content in the series so far. These episodes are a tense culmination of this season’s many arcs, a tease of what’s to come, and also a return to a tone that’s a little more uplifting and heartwarming. The emotion-packed last three episodes are all 10/10s for me – they showcase the series’ writing at its absolute best, bringing everything we’ve seen so far full circle. On top of all the new content, these episodes also shed a lot of light on the mysterious history of this post-apocalyptic world. Some questions are answered, but also new questions are raised, with the character of Birdie (Amy Seimetz) still at the centre of all those questions. With the series ending in its third season, this is a world I wouldn’t mind seeing more of through other character stories.

The performances are still just as strong as before, with every actor bringing their A-game to ramp up the emotion and have us fall in love with (or hate) their characters. Christian Convery is the heart and soul of the series – the innocence he brings to the role makes Gus such an adorable, loveable protagonist you can’t get enough of. There’s a number of scenes where Gus exhibits some leadership qualities and acts as the guiding light for other characters, and it’s great to see Christian be able to make those moments come to life, showcasing some acting range. Nonso Anozie has a huge presence in this season as Jep/Big Man, and I believe he gives a performance that surpasses what he did the first time around. He perfectly nails the whole tough guy persona – selling the strong, hardened exterior and delivering big on the caring side of the character. He ends the first season linking up with Dania Ramirez’s Aimee, and this pairing became my favourite part of the season. Dania Ramirez brings so much emotion to the season, no doubt feeding off her own motherly instinct to sell us on the drive and determination of the character.

Adeel Akhtar powers though this season and also delivers some of his best work. The inner conflict of Dr. Singh and his waning relationship with Rani (Aliza Vellani) is a key arc throughout this season, and Adeel does incredible work at bringing that conflict to the screen. His character’s outlook on life is so filled with love and fear that it makes him such a compelling one to watch. Lastly, shoutout to Neil Sandilands. He turns a villain who is one step away from being as cheesy as Dr. Robotnik into someone who is somewhat grounded. The character does have a very animated and charismatic demeanour, but Sandilands manages to keep that in check and showcase some of his (albeit flawed) humanity.

In the end, Sweet Tooth is still a delight in every sense of the word. This second season pivots to a darker tone and splits up the cast, causing the first half to move at a slightly slower pace. That’s before it goes bigger than it ever has in the latter half, incorporating some huge action sequences, heart-wrenching emotion and ever-present uplifting signs of hope. It’s one of the most impeccably-written sci-fi adventures, one that gives every character their time in the spotlight and thoroughly fleshes out every narrative. It seems to be operating with a clear end-goal, regularly teasing the adventures to come and questions to be answered in the final season.



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