Gus and Tommy spend much of their storyline in “Sweet Tooth,” walking through the Great American unknown. They traverse fields and forests, and as a result, they spend a lot of time against greens and browns. Those colors serve to emphasize just how much of the country’s landscape has assumed a more primordial aesthetic in the wake of the apocalypse. Amongst all this, you can always spot Sweet Tooth and not just because he has enormous antlers sprouting out of his head. It’s thanks to the bright orange vest he wears.
It’s not the only place where viewers can find the color. When we first meet Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen) as she leads members of the Animal Army, she wears a bright orange jacket, while the kids around her have more subdued hues. Across other episodes, you can see orange pop up in various characters’ costumes as well as in the background. Most often, orange appears in moments where the audience needs to feel hopeful, and that’s very much intentional.
According to Netflix, “[Orange] adds an optimistic pop, and is meant to symbolize hope.” It makes sense since that level of bright orange isn’t typically seen in nature, so it showcases that even though the world faced devastation, humanity is still out there, ready to create a new home for themselves. Gus embodies the next stage of human evolution, while Bear shows how the next generation can experience greater compassion than what’s come before. As you watch (or rewatch) “Sweet Tooth,” keep an eye out for other instances of orange to see how it factors into the greater themes of the plot.