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The Indiana Jones Reference You Missed In Sweet Tooth

The Netflix fantasy adventure series "Sweet Tooth" has received strong reviews for delivering a captivating tale of a young boy, Gus (Christian Convery), with some very prominent deer features. These include, of course, his practical effects-driven ears and the pair of horns sticking out of his curly mop of brown hair.

"Sweet Tooth" is based on a well-loved set of graphic novels written by Jeff Lemire and published on DC's Vertigo imprint in 2009. The adaptation of the comics has been in development since at least 2016, according to Deadline, but became a pandemic success story when the show managed to continue production throughout 2020 after the cast and crew were granted exemptions to film in New Zealand, via Stuff. The challenges "Sweet Tooth" faced were particularly appropriate considering the show's focus on a mysterious virus that has cataclysmic impact on the world at large.

While "Sweet Tooth" deals with some dark issues for a show that features a child actor in its leading role, the series manages to balance its tone by employing film making techniques and story beats recognizable in Steven Spielberg's movies. One of the episodes even features an extended homage to one of the director's most famous films, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which can be easy to miss.

The train sequence in Sweet Tooth is a callback to The Last Crusade

Netflix shared some facts about the making of "Sweet Tooth" that demonstrated just how much inspiration the showrunners took from Steven Spielberg. The article notes that creator Jim Mackie worked with his director of photography, Dave Garbett, to craft a film that visually evoked classics such as "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Jurassic Park."

Episode 6 of the show's first season, however, took those cues a bit further. The episode features an extended train sequence which, Netflix reveals, is a direct reference to opening moments of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," in which River Phoenix played a young Indiana Jones. That segment is memorable for providing some of the first actual hints of what Indiana was like before becoming a globetrotting archeologist and for its gripping train car combat scenes.

"Sweet Tooth" emulates those moments in the episode's climactic fight between Jeppard (Nonso Anozie) and the Last Men patrolling the car. While the segment ends sadly as Jeppard's friend Jimmy (Suli Moa) stays behind to ensure that Gus can escape, it remains an excellent callback to some stellar source material.