If the first episode of season two showed how Gus is adjusting to what may be leadership of the hybrid kids, then episode two picks up a bit more on where Big Man went and how he got Dog to Gus inside the Last Men’s fortified compound that used to be a zoo.
The Last Men are truly terrible people.
That said, for all that Gus and Dr. Singh are maybe starting to bond a bit, what with Singh confessing to Gus that the Last Men are holding Singh’s wife and keeping both Singhs as prisoners as well, I think the more effective scenes for me were the ones involving Big Man. Flashbacks show the day he came back looking for his missing wife and the rage and sorrow he felt when she was gone. Then he goes to what turns out to be a Last Men meeting run by his former coach.
It’s actually not hard to see why people, in the face of a plague and the possible extinction of the human race, might do something as dumb as join the Last Men. True, not everyone did, but when people are scared and desperate enough, they’ll do foolish things, and the better ones will realize later what they did while the better still ones will do like the Big Man and quit. Sweet Tooth has a much lighter tone and could, as a series, even work for kids, but it does remind me a little as I sit here and think about it of the dystopian Children of Men. That movie was set in a world where humans just stopped having kids, and the result was, among other things, a lot of violence as untold numbers of people just gave into despair. What was the point of doing anything if there would be no future generations to see and enjoy what came before them? Children of Men was drearier and a lot deeper than Sweet Tooth, but the basic point stands. If humanity looks like it is slowly on its way out, why bother doing anything?
Look at this setting for a moment: a mystery illness is killing scores of people at random, and the only children born are these hybrids that are varying degrees more animal than human. Sure, someone like Gus or maybe Pigtail can pass for human with the proper attire, but Bobby is a human-gopher hybrid that looks like a cartoon character. Others can’t even talk.
It’s moments like this that make me wonder if I should ever finish the comic series, but while I like Jeff Lemire as a writer, his artwork is not as much to my liking. Plus, the tone is incredibly different from this show. As much as I enjoy the Netflix production, it actually isn’t making me want to go back and finish the original comic series. But that’s for later. This episode shows how people can combine talents to get what they want.
For example, have the Big Man panic and do something he’ll regret later. That just means he has knowledge (and a branding) on how the Last Men work, and that knowledge, combined with Aimee’s of the layout of the zoo, means the pair can sneak into the Last Men’s compound, look around, and begin to formulate a plan for rescuing the kids. Plus, there’s a pretty good car chase afterwards.
Meanwhile, Gus is formulating a plan to rescue himself (and the other kids). He may be the hope for a lot of people without realizing it.