Sweet Tooth: How were the Hybrids Made? Where did the Sick Come From?

In Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth,’ we are introduced to a world that looks a lot different than our own. In this world, humanity is on the brink of extinction as ninety-nine percent of humans have been wiped out by a disease called the Sick. Just as humans started to die, something new appeared on Earth: a species of part-human, part-animal kids known as the Hybrids. The show focuses on the journey of a 9-year-old hybrid named Gus, who might be the key to figuring out how to deal with the problem of the seemingly incurable disease and locate the origins of the hybrids. By the third season, a complete picture emerges, and it turns out that the enemies that humans are trying to defeat are borne of their own actions. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Sick and the Hybrids are the Consequences of Human Greed

In the simplest of terms, the reason behind the existence of hybrids and the Sick is humanity’s inability to stay in harmony with Nature and live according to its rules rather than forcing their own way of life on it. Humanity’s sheer hubris leads to things beyond its control and unleashes a terrible disease.

To understand the origins of the Sick and the hybrids, the clock needs to be dialed back a hundred years, where we meet Captain James Thacker and his crew on HMS Simpson. Thacker was suffering from an incurable disease, but he wasn’t ready to accept death. When he finds out that there is a village in Alaska where people are known never to fall ill and live beyond a hundred years of age, he sets sail to find the place and figure out what they have that he doesn’t. In the village, he finds a cave, at the heart of which sits an ancient tree with branches like horns, sap the color of blood, and a heartbeat pulsing through it. It is clear that this is no ordinary tree, and Thacker believes that it’s the presence of the tree that keeps the villagers healthy.

Instead of adopting the ways of the villagers and respecting the tree, Thacker hacks at it and draws blood, which he calls Blood of the Earth. He takes it back to his ship, believing that through the sap, he can engineer a way not just to cure his own disease but find the key to longevity. But he forgets that all actions born of ill intent have consequences in the same vein. When he damages the tree, he unleashes its wrath, which comes in the form of more disease. It is meant to kill any human in the vicinity of the tree, especially those on the ship. To keep the virus from spreading, the crew decides not to sail back home. They also destroy the village to remove any possibility of a villager getting sick and then transmitting the disease forward.

What Thacker doesn’t understand is that Nature always works in balance. When it unleashes a disease to kill humans, it creates something else to fill the space left by them. This replacement is the hybrids, part-human part-animal, because that allows them to be more in tune with the flora and fauna around them. This species is more aware of their role in the general way of Nature. They are kinder, more compassionate, and more vigilant of their actions, which keeps them from unnecessarily harming any plant or animal around them. So, when the humans die by the dozen on the ship and in the village, a hybrid child is born who goes on to live for a hundred years and comes to be known as the Caribou Man.

Image Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

While Thacker’s actions are contained, their consequences reverberate a hundred years later. Thacker had left the tree bleeding, with the axe still stuck to its trunk. The sap that flowed from the tree seeped into the ice and was eventually found by the scientists of Fort Smith, who took it back home to study it and find out why the people in that village never had any health problems. From the sample collected from the Alaskan expedition, two mutations appear: one creates Gus, and the other turns into the Sick. Once the Sick takes hold of the world, more hybrid babies start to appear until no more human babies are born. In the end, humans have to accept that this is Nature taking its own course and there is nothing they can do about it.

If they try to resist, if they continue to hack away at the tree to bend Nature to their will, things will only get worse, and they will hasten their own extinction; they must go back to the old ways, learn to live in harmony with the hybrids, and give in to the will of nature, which is intent on changing the world order and usher in a new era, which begins with the humans being wiped off the face of the Earth.

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