Raised by Wolves So Far
Earth has been destroyed after years of religious wars between the Atheists and the Mithraic zealots. As we saw last week, the Atheists send a small ship with two androids to the remote planet of Kepler-22b with the task of raising children and restarting humanity. Old conflicts begin anew when the Mithraic find their way to the planet and one of the androids, Mother, kidnaps the Mithraic children and raises them with Father along with their lone surviving kid, Campion. The new additions have problems integrating into their new home while their parents search for them.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]
The androids recently discovered the main food source is poisoning the Mithraic children and have yet to find a suitable replacement. Father proposes slaughtering the strange creature he captured so the kids can eat something. Campion, who has a highly pronounced sense of empathy, doesn’t want to see anything die, even if it’s for survival. His attempts to forage for food are unable to turn up anything edible.
Afterwards, Father decides to use the killing as a teaching opportunity and demands one of the kids perform the deed in a tough love moment. They might be young but the unforgiving environment is going to force them to grow up faster. In the end, Tempest kills the animal out of necessity; she is eating for two after all. But while she begins feasting on the carcass, she makes a grim discovery and immediately loses her appetite.
Over in the Mithraic camp, a power struggle plays out between the religious and military factions and things become more complicated when Marcus’ rival, Ambrose, learns his secret. When it looks like the group won’t survive the night, Marcus miraculously saves the group and is able to seize control as a result. As leader, he refocuses the effort to save the children and they have a brief encounter with a mysterious stranger who may have been living on Kepler-22b longer than them or the Atheists.
Episodes four and five of Raised by Wolves presents the new dynamics between the two main groups. In the Atheist settlement, the Mithraic children provide a different perspective on restarting society.
On one hand, they are reliant on Mother and Father since they lack survival skills and are receptive to their teachings on how to manage in the new hostile environment but unlike Campion, they already have their prior experiences to draw upon. Their minds aren’t as malleable and impressionable as the android’s lone surviving child.
Out of all the new additions, Tempest, is the most developed and intriguing of the bunch since she is hesitant to accept either way of life between the Atheists and Mithraic. She has her reservations about how effective and nurturing robot parents can be but has the misfortune of suffering at the hands of a Mithraic leader which causes her to reject their ways.
In addition, the relationship between Campion and Paul, Marcus’ son, shows a bit of normalcy in this world. They are partners in crime getting into mischief (though well intentioned) that Mother and Father would not condone. Their growing closeness may serve as a bridge between the two warring sides, especially since their parents are on an unavoidable and violent collision course
Elsewhere, Raised by Wolves doesn’t paint a pleasant picture of religion. The Mithraic leaders are never shown in a good light. Ambrose has an arrogance about him being carried on a makeshift litter while everyone else must walk. Then there are his desperate attempts to guarantee forgiveness in order to convince the others to do his bidding even though they would be committing sins against their god.
Then there’s the former leader of the group they find who raped women in hibernation, including Tempest. It should be interesting to see how Marcus’ reign plays out since he’s not a true Mithraic. Will he be just another in the line that exploits the group’s blind faith for his own needs or if he’ll temper their fanaticism.
The world building of the planet itself continues to be a bright spot. We learn more about the strange creatures and how they survive on the planet while also being introduced to a new intelligent inhabitant on Kepler-22b who may be human or an alien. Plus, the land gives off a supernatural vibe with Mother and Father having hallucinations of one of their deceased children and Marcus having a sex induced vision of his wife’s bloody death and his sharing of the Mithraic rapist leader’s fate. It should be interesting to further explore this mystery.
The episodes also provided some insightful backstories on Campion and Mother. For the former, we learn he’s always trying to pacify the suffering of others. When his siblings destroy embryos in the same reproductive equipment they were born in, he tells them they melted snowballs to shield them from the grief of killing since death is forever. He is willing to carry the burden for others and the incident shaped his current views.
During Mother’s flashback, we receive more glimpses of war-torn Earth and meet her maker, the original Campion. Through his reprogramming process we see how she changes from an instrument of war to a savior for humanity and all the missteps on the way (a murder of a robot baby is particularly disturbing). During the various scenes, affection develops between creator and creation and we see how special Mother really is.
As great as the flashbacks are, how they are introduced is a bit questionable. Mother plugs into the hibernation simulations that the Mithraic have on their ship. It’s hard to believe that amongst the crash site debris, the pods would still have power to function. Furthermore, there are loud verbal warnings that the system is not geared towards androids but she does it anyway. For someone who is already experiencing mental stability issues, it doesn’t seem a good choice to plug in (the glitchy visuals are a nice touch though). There could have been another way to trigger the flashbacks but then maybe we wouldn’t receive Mother’s immediate emotional responses to the unlocked memories.
The fourth and fifth episodes of Raised by Wolves further builds upon the world, characters, and their relationships and helps set up the impending rescue attempt.
Raised by Wolves releases new episodes Thursdays on HBO Max.