What Happened at Fort Smith Labs in Sweet Tooth?

Image Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ tells the story of a world where 98% of the human population has been wiped out by a catastrophic event called the Great Crumble, caused by the pandemic known as the Sick. The advent of the Sick coincided with the emergence of human-animal hybrid children, making people wonder whether these children were the reasons for the pandemic or the results of it. In season 2, Dr. Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar) discovers that the origins of both events can be traced back to the Fort Smith Labs in Goss Grove, Colorado. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Origins of Fort Smith Labs and Midnight Sun Projec

Fragments of the truth about the Sick and the hybrids are scattered throughout the two seasons of the series. It is only when they are considered together, a coherent picture forms. In season 2 episode 2, Singh performs a risky experiment by exposing Gus (Christian Convery) to the pollens of the purple flowers that bloom around the patients of the Sick. The pollen apparently has hallucinogenic effects on the hybrids. Singh hopes the pollen will put Gus in a hypnosis-like trance, allowing him to access his forgotten memories. Even though it puts Gus in serious danger, and he sees things he isn’t supposed to, he does remember that life began for him at Fort Smith.

Before the pandemic and the hybrid children, the Fort Smith Labs was run by Gillian Washington, who oversaw a project called the Midnight Sun. The primary purpose of this project was to find a way for humanity to age without any disease. Gillian’s great-grandfather was Dr. James Thacker of the United Kingdom. As Thacker had a muscular degenerative disorder, he desperately sought treatment and traveled to the Arctic in 1911 after hearing about a village where people aged without any disease and lived way past 100. However, neither Thacker nor any crew member made it back to civilization.

The muscular degenerative disorder has affected Thacker and his family through generations, and Gillian is no exception. A year before the pandemic, she sends an expedition to Alaska to find the ship. What the team discovers there is brought to Fort Smith and injected into several unfertilized eggs. Among them, only two were able to grow viable cultures. Gertrude Miller, or Birdie, a geneticist associated with Midnight Sun, discovered heartbeats in one of those eggs. This was the egg that became Genetic Unit System 1 or Gus. The other one was the source of H5G9, the virus behind the Sick.

Desperate for results, Gillian injected herself with the substance from the egg containing H5G9 and became the Patient Zero of the Sick. Gertrude had no idea about this as she was taken into custody, but not before she convinced Richard Fox, the janitor at Fort Smith, to take Gus and leave. Gertrude later went to see Gillian in a hazmat suit, and the other woman tried to convince her to bring Gus back, believing, like Singh, that the cure was hidden within the young hybrid boy. Although Gertrude seemed to agree to do that, she later fled to Alaska to find answers and ensure that the authorities wouldn’t find Richard and Gus because of her.

So, it appears that the hybrids and the virus came to the world together, and humanity’s downfall was caused by its own hubris. However, things become interesting when we consider what Gertrude finds in Alaska. She locates Thacker’s ship and his body, with the latter being covered in purple flowers. This indicates that Thacker was a patient of the Sick over a hundred years before. Moreover, someone apparently pulls Gertrude out of the hole. When she reaches the top, she discovers hoofprints. In his visions and dreams, Gus also sees hoofprints and someone wearing a deer skull. This can potentially be a hybrid that has lived in the frozen lands of Alaska for years. They seem to possess some of the abilities that Gus does. After he wakes up toward the end of the season, Gus claims that someone is calling him Alaska and embarks on a journey to find Gertrude.

Read More: Are Abbot and Aimee Dead in Sweet Tooth Season 2?