Well, that may be the closest this series is going to get to an origin story for both Gus and the Sick.
One did not cause the other.
Much of this episode is there to fill in what happened to Birdie, the scientist who is basically Gus’s mother, from what little we can seen and heard of her on the show. Season one showed how she met Gus’s Pubba and how she was in Alaska for some reason. She popped up briefly at the start of season two to basically give Gus a message, but Bear only just got around to giving it to him this episode. It’s an audiotape, and getting back to Pubba’s cabin in the middle of Yellowstone provides Gus with a tape player so he can hear Birdie’s voice. The message was clearly intended for Pubba, but the words there are important enough to say Birdie went to Alaska to find a cure for the Sick since experiments by the lab she worked for managed to create both the hybrids and the Sick, and though both have the same root source, neither of them is responsible for the other. One experiment unleashed the Sick. The other created the hybrids with Gus as the first one.
Gus may be the source of the cure, but Birdie wanted him to be safe and wouldn’t bring him in.
So, yes, that’s all well and good. It’s an origin story that probably has a few more details to fill in, but it’s a start. And if it’s all I get, I’m fine with that.
But there’s still one episode left for the season, and Gus probably needs a showdown with Abbot. As soon as I saw what this episode was setting up to deal with Abbot and the Last Men, I pretty much knew what was coming. Yes, Bear is happy to catch up to the kids, and she even realizes Pigtail/Wendy is her longlost foster sister. She doesn’t tell the girl with the pig nose yet, but she tries. Instead, the thing that told me Abbot was coming was when Bear/Becky’s old comrades in the Animal Army tromped off to deal with the Last Men.
I get that series lore says the Last Men, with a handful of exceptions, are more numerous than anything else. They aren’t some elite paramilitary organization. They wear the camo, but they aren’t exactly great soldiers. Supposedly. Abbot and a handful of others seem to know their way around a weapon, but the idea is the Last Men are well-equipped but maybe not that good at being an army mostly because they don’t really have any real enemies to deal with.
Does Sweet Tooth really expect me to believe a bunch of teenagers in animal costumes can take ’em? I mean, the characters in the show seem to think so. But I thought it was, in a word, unlikely the minute I saw them all head off to end the Last Men. Not only was I sure the Animal Army was going to fail, but somehow Abbot would learn where the hybrid kids went as a result. And I was basically right. Abbot is coming for Gus and the others. Most of the Animal Army is dead. And I’ll bet Bear’s new love interest is largely responsible since the Animal Army killed his parents, and he was just behind Bear when it came to actual fighting prowess. The Last Men may not be all the impressive–again with a handful of exceptions–but I can’t say the Animal Army is any better from what I remember of them. They may be good for ambushes of small groups, but the Last Men have some military hardware.
Minus the tank Bobby helped steal for his new pilot friend.
Basically, I’m not surprised. The episode still largely worked, but really, why did anyone think that was going to work? The Last Men drove the Lords of the Air off, and those guys actually knew what they were doing. The Animal Army wasn’t going to fare any better.