Sweet Tooth: The Tree & The Blood Of The Earth, Explained: Did The Tree Sapling Spread The Sick?


In Sweet Tooth season 2, Gillian Washington got us familiar with a scientist from the United Kingdom, Dr. James Thacker, who had set sail to the Arctic somewhere in 1911 to find a cure for his muscular degenerative disorder. He had heard about a mysterious village where people were free of all illness and lived beyond 100 years of age. But no one ever heard from him again. It was believed that Thacker and his entire crew lost their way and starved on the ship, HMS Simpson. Some 100 years later, Gillian found her great-grandfather’s diary and brought it back to her laboratory, Fort Smith, to find the cure for her family’s illness. An impatient Gillian injected herself with what I believe was the extract from the purple flower, which was a dormant version of The Blood Of The Earth, but we will come to that later. So, in a way, Gillian had activated the airborne virus that spread so fast that it destroyed 98 percent of humanity in less than 10 years. The outbreak was named “The Great Crumble.”

Spoiler Alert

What Was The Blood Of The Earth?

In the post-apocalyptic world, every scientist, including Gertrude Miller and Aditya Singh, had been trying to find the cure for the chaos. They both believed that answers to the mystery lay in Thacker’s diary because he was the one who had unleashed evil upon the world in his greed. In the diary, Miller or Birdie saw the drawing of a mysterious cave, which she believed was the root of all evil, and it was from there that it all began. So, what had actually happened in the past? Thacker found the cave where he came around a sacred tree, depicted as the mythical Tree of Life in the series. Thacker believed it was his “fountain of youth” that would cure all his ailments and make him immortal, like in the stories he had heard about the rumored village. He took the ax and struck the sacred tree. Out came a thick red liquid, which he called “The Blood Of The Earth.”

Where Did the Tree Come From?

Thacker thought the liquid was the answer to all his questions, but contrary to his belief, it contained a virus that quickly spread among his peers and killed them all. Now, the Sweet Tooth series refuses to divulge the origins of this sacred tree. In mythology, there are numerous references to the Tree of Life, but we have to see if any of them fit with the sacred tree in this story. In Nordic and Turkic folklore, the sacred tree is believed to connect the three worlds, i.e., heaven, the land of the living, and hell. So, obviously, the beautiful leaves and fruits would be up in heaven, but those thick, dark stems go deep into the fiery pits of hell. So, it could be speculated that “The Blood Of The Earth” was nothing but an evil sap from hell that was spilled upon the Earth after Thacker cracked open its tree branch. Another folklore in Christianity portrayed the sacred tree in a negative light, suggesting it would bring death and destruction to mankind, and maybe it was exactly what happened when Thacker toyed with the unknown. 

However, putting aside the mythological elements, it can also be speculated that the seed of the evil tree was brought by a meteor from outer space centuries ago. The impact might have created a cave-like structure that protected the seed from the cold environment, therefore creating a suitable condition for it to flourish into a large tree. In its branches, the tree contained an extraterrestrial virus that quickly spread in the atmosphere as soon as Thacker put an ax on it. Maybe it was never meant to come into contact with humankind and would have remained hidden forever if Thacker’s curiosity hadn’t led him to that cave. We have seen similar effects of extraterrestrial meteors in shows like Katla and Night Country. And yes, we have also seen a deadly outbreak of a similar kind in The Last of Us, though it didn’t make people sick but turned them into zombies. Nevertheless, it’s evident that the tree was not as sacred as everyone believed it to be, and Gus did the right thing by burning it down to the ground.

What Caused the Purple Flowers to grow?

Throughout Sweet Tooth seasons 1 and 2, we saw the growth of a mysterious purple flower, which was deemed to be the carrier of the H5G9 virus. Now, as the Netflix show introduced a sacred tree in the third season, it all makes sense. The sap from the tree, or “The Blood Of The Earth,” might have contained a special pollen that, when in contact with a suitable ingredient, led to the growth of purple flowers that further spread the pollen or the virus, causing the sickness in humans. And I am not sure of this one, but it could be possible that Thacker, in his madness, had taken a sip of the sap that he had collected from the tree, which was why a large purple flower grew right in the center of his chest. So yes, the purple flower was directly associated with the sacred tree, and I really want to dig deeper into the question of how these flowers or the pollen suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth after Gus burned down the tree. I mean, don’t all plants exist in their own right and are not necessarily interconnected with each other? So, how did burning down the tree end all strains of the virus or the pollen? I guess we might never find our answers because, in the end, the creators of the Netflix series want us to remember that Sweet Tooth is all about friendship and associations and not about an evil tree and a deadly virus. But then again, it can also be speculated that since the tree was mystical in nature, everything that came from it, including the purple flowers and the virus, derived life from this very tree. And if that’s the case, then destroying the tree effectively cut them off from their life source, causing the sickness to end once and for all. 

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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