Raised by Wolves season two has been an excellent example of how to blend mystery, sci-fi, and character development. There are robots, atheists, and religious nuts all running about while the collective — the atheist colony run by a computer A.I. — seems to run the show. Everyone is getting in each other’s way to form a healthy and happy society on a brand new planet after humans trashed Earth. In the fourth episode, out today, we begin to see a transfer of power and what that means for all of the characters.
This episode opens with Paul (Felix Jamieson) speaking to Marcus (Travis Fimmel) after he was spotted observing his religious cult. Campion (Winta McGrath) and a few others are there too, but there seems to be peace, at least. It’s a bit odd Paul would even want to speak to Marcus since he killed his real father, but the show does explain his thinking however nonsensically. True to the show, Paul explains how he hates his mother Sue (Niamh Algar) as if mothers are guaranteed to suffer in this narrative.
This episode continues to show how the atheist colony is evil and manipulative. In an act that was hinted at in the previous episode, Paul is poisoned along with others in Marcus’ tribe. The special effects make the virus he’s given look like a fungus growing all over him. It’s unnerving and quite well done. You might even feel a bit sick. This effectively creates a problem for the good guys and bad guys to overcome, maybe even together.
After a brief chase with Campion — as well as our first look at the acid monsters that look like a mermaid — Mother (Amanda Collin) is called into action to save Paul. There’s a brief fight sequence that feels a bit unnecessary, but it certainly is cathartic to see our main hero and villain fight. This leads to a major turn as Mother gains back her eyes and rushes to save Paul.
It’s here that the episode begins to reveal how things may play out in the second half of the season. Not only is Mother given back her incredible powers, but the Trust computer A.I. is decommissioned. The Trust has been only somewhat present in Raised by Wolves but seems to serve as another higher power that once had control, but soon has lost it. Much like mankind or made-up gods people believe in, these things come and go. Marcus’ abilities are also lost, which throws into question his abilities to lead his cult of followers.
A few elements don’t quite work, like one of Marcus’ followers killing her robot daughter. It’s brutal and proves the mother is capable of being an awful parent as was hinted in the last episode, but it plays out in a way that feels forced and unnecessary.
In another scene, Campion ends up fully believing something is tied to god, which ties into another development but seems ridiculous. Campion is wandering an alien world with many mysteries and yet rushes to believe he is seeing a god? Where did his ability to think for himself go? Add in how Father foolishly played god and isn’t realizing he has endangered everyone and the episode stumbles a bit with character work.
By the end, Raised by Wolves episode four “Control” is good, but feels a bit clunky. The plotting leans into some excellent special effects with Mother back with her power but loses sight of the great character work of the last episode.
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