When Pubba Met Birdie
Episode 7 of Sweet Tooth begins up in the freezing polar icecaps as scientists make a big discovery. It seems like there’s something in the ice, leading to the samples being sent on to Fort Smith Scientific Research in – yep, you guessed it – Essex City, Colorado.
This serves as an intriguing opening as we dive back in time and see more about the past. Specifically, we center on Fort Smith where Pubba – whose real name is Richard – happens to be working as a janitor. However, he takes every opportunity he can to take a peek inside the lab.
News of a flu epidemic spreads as Richard notices Birdie in the lab with a quarantined patient brought in. At the bar that night he sees Birdie again, who rocks up next to him. They both share similar taste in music and find common ground with Red Rocks. The pair down a few shots as a way of solidifying their union.
Birdie is a virologist, which makes sense given what we’ve seen across the season so far. The chickens in the lab were part of a project she was working on but she’s been reassigned.
After dedicating a year to the project, she’s now forced to do something different. That’s a shame because her current project is far more interesting. As Richard quizzes her about this, we learn valuable intel about this deadly strain that’s been released.
The project is all about microbes, and specifically finding a “good” microbe to help create a vaccine. This includes injecting chicken eggs with different viruses and then using a vaccine to heal them. Only, this can also go horribly wrong too if they’re not careful.
Anyway, they eventually head home for a nightcap together. Opening up a little, Birdie admits she used to be married but she’s now widowed. Her husband died from HPS, which affects 1% of people. This is what drove her on to become a virologist and try to help others.
Just before they kiss however, Birdie receives a call from work, claiming the military have seized everything. Richard drives her to the lab and the pair sneak in as the military swarm outside.
Back in the present, Gus, Bear and Jepp make it to Sal’s bar, the same one we’ve been seeing in these flashbacks. They sit outside and notice smoke coming out of a chimney in the distance.
It’s Birdie’s house too, prompting Gus to rush up and pound on the door. A woman answers and reaches out for him. It’s not Birdie though but instead one of her work colleagues, Judy.
As they sit down and talk, she reveals that Birdie saved her life. Unfortunately, she’s no longer around. One night she packed a bag and head out to try and find Gus. That was 10 years ago and since then, no one has heard from her. It’s assumed that the virus got her but is that really true?
Gus has other ideas. Fort Smith is what seems to have brought everyone together and he believes the answers lie there. It’s also where the outbreak first began.
Judy hands over a key for the attic, which throws an unexpected spanner in the works, as they head up and begin looking through Birdie’s belongings.
Among the documents Bear notices a project called “Genetic Unit Series 1” or, GUS in short. That means Gus is the start of all this, and now we see how.
That night, during the flashbacks we’ve been experiencing, Richard and Birdie both work together to bust Gus out and evade the authorities. As we soon come to learn, Birdie isn’t really his Mother and she makes a big decision, using Richard to keep Gus safe while she heads back in to burn and destroy her research.
With a lockdown imminent, she promises to find him as Richard is left with this baby. This also explains why he was in isolation and hurrying across to hide out in Yellowstone National Park.
The Episode Review
Thee truth about Gus comes tumbling out as this small boy is forced to face the reality of his situation. It’s a devastating and heartbreaking reveal, one that sees him question everything he’s ever known. It also seems likely now that this virology lab is where everything began.
Everything here links back to the opening episode, where we now understand why Gus and Richard hid out in Yellowstone and why he’s so important. Gus is essentially patient zero and it’s not outside the realm of possibility to believe he could well have the cure to this disease that’s been ravaging across the landscape.
Interestingly, this episode is the shortest of the season which allows for a much tighter and concise chapter where Gus learns the truth but we also see more about Richard and Birdie’s whirlwind romance. Which is less a whirlwind and more like a sudden strong gust that dissipates quickly to be honest!
Either way, with more answers spilled in this episode, everything is set up nicely for a dramatic finale to follow. It seems clear now that everything is going to end on an almighty cliffhanger, with a single 50 minute episode looking unlikely to wrap everything up. Still, there is a season 2 renewal so at least that’s something!