Sweet Tooth: Why Does Gus See the Deer? What Does the Deer Symbolise?

In Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth,’ the protagonist is a young boy named Gus, who is part-deer. While he is mostly human in his appearance, he has antlers and ears like a deer, along with heightened senses and a curious connection to nature and wildlife around him. This makes Gus a very special boy, but he is not the only one to have part-animal DNA. Since his birth, especially after the arrival of a mysterious disease called the Sick, a whole new species of Hybrids has come into existence. Still, Gus is different than them, even in the scale of his powers, and the recurrence of a mystical deer around him proves that. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Mystical Deer Relates to Gus’ True Origins in the Comics

The Netflix series is based on the DC comic book series of the same name, which focuses on the supernatural reasons behind Gus’s and the Hybrids’ existence. The show flips this perspective and looks at it from a scientific point of view, but even then, there are parts of Gus’ story that cannot be told without at least referring to the mystical nature of his origins. This is where the huge deer comes into the picture.

It wasn’t a secret that Gus could communicate with animals, but his relationship with the Deer is entirely different, mainly because, unlike other animals, it prefers to remain in the shadows and only shows up under extenuating circumstances. The first time we get a glimpse of the Deer is in the first season when Gus is under threat of being captured by a soldier of Last Men. The Deer appears behind Gus, stupefying the soldier and giving Jepp the window to kill the soldier and save the boy. Even Jepp sees the shadow of the Deer and is shocked by it. Interestingly, no reference is made to it later in the series. But then the Deer reappears in Season 3, and this time, there is much more value to its presence.

In the comic book series, this aspect of the story is explained by the fact that Gus is the reincarnation of an indigenous god whose shrine was desecrated a hundred years ago by Captain Thacker. Due to this, the god shows his wrath to the world by sending forth the virus and creating hybrids to replace humans. It is also mentioned that Gus is a reincarnation of the said god, which is what makes him so much more powerful than other hybrids. The TV show twists this story by giving more credence to the scientific background, but eventually, they connect the virus to an ancient tree, underlining the mystical nature of the Gus and explaining the presence of the Deer in a much better light.

The Deer Signifies Gus’ Connection to the Tree in the Cave

In its adaptation of the comic books, the Netflix series takes many liberties, changes several storylines, and revises the backgrounds of certain characters to better fit the show’s PG-13 rating. However, it does keep Gus’s connection to the root of everything, and the Deer is a way to show that.

The fact that Gus is the first Hybrid is revealed in the first season itself, but at the time, it is assumed that he was made entirely in the lab and, hence, must be an aberration of nature. By the third season, this opinion shifts radically as we discover that the origin of the Sick and the Hybrids lay in an ancient tree, which was sought by Captain James Thacker as a means to cure himself of an incurable disease. In his greed to get the tree’s sap, which resembles blood and, hence, is called the Blood of the Earth, he hacks at the tree, and a hundred years later, as the tree keeps bleeding, its sap soaks into the ice and is found by Fort Smith Labs’ scientists who, again, try to use it as a means to cure all diseases.

While the rest of the Hybrids come as a result of the virus that leads to the Sick, Gus is the only one who was born before all that. He has the Blood of the Earth in his veins, which connects him directly to the ancient Tree in the shape of a deer’s antlers. The true origins of this tree are not addressed in the show, but taking a hint from the comic books, it can be considered equivalent to the shrine of the Indigenous god. The powers of the ancient world and its connection with nature are not to be trifled with, and humans learn it the hard way.

Because Gus descends from this ancient power, he has that mystical bit inside himself which allows him a psychic connection with the tres and the beating heart inside it. In the same vein, the tree feels Gus’s presence, too. It is connected to his thoughts and fears, and that’s why, when the time comes to protect or guide him, especially when no one else can, the tree shows up in the form of the Deer. When it senses that Gus can take care of himself (which he learns exponentially quicker over the course of time) or there is someone else who has his back (like Jepperd), it prefers to stay in the shadows. In the third season, the Deer shows up after a long absence when Gus, Jepp, and Birdie need to find the cave but have no idea how to go about it. It is Gus’ connection with the tree that takes the form of the Deer and shows him the way.

Read More: Does Jepp Die in Sweet Tooth Season 3?