The following contains spoilers through Episode 7 for Raised by Wolves on HBO Max.
Welcome back, dear reader, as we continue to review HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves with Episodes 6 and 7. We roll into the second half of the series with another total game changer at the end of Episode 6. I mean, we all knew this conflict was coming, but when it finally arrived—wow—it was nothing like I expected.
For one thing, let’s hear it for Father, right? Service model, my ass. He’s running around like John McClane in the Nakatomi Tower, taking out a handful of Mithraic soldiers single-handedly, while also getting all of the kids to safety. When he snapped Paul’s trap on the first of them, I jumped out of my seat and cheered. Total redemption.
On the other hand, it’s Mother’s infidelity that left them open to attack. Over the course of Episode 6, she experiences the highest of highs, and then is literally slammed down to the lowest of lows. At the end of Episode 7, Father comes out of nowhere to save her from annihilation, giving her a chance at her own sorely needed redemption in the coming episodes.
Before the attack, Mother asserts to Tempest that she has “complete control over her mind’s function.” However, her memory archive replays the scene of her departure from Earth slightly differently at the beginning of Episode 6:
- Episode 5: “Something’s wrong. I’m hurting. Inside.”
- Episode 6: “Something’s wrong. There’s a feeling, inside me…like everything hurts.”
In humans, when we replay memories, we also re-record them, sometimes inserting fragments or interpretations from present day. Thus the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. Then again, this is a simulation based on her memory archive, which is why she can stand outside herself and witness the events. The simulation may be making these adjustments. Or…it could be the virus.
When Mother realizes something is wrong, she accuses the simulated Campion Sturges of being a virus. A virus that was on board the Ark’s simulation and has now infected her. This is an interesting thought, because it could connect what is happening to her now with what happened to Otho on the Ark. However, this is no mere virus.
The simulated Campion admits to being the ghost child, luring her back into the simulation because he is lonely. Somehow, it just completely flies by her that this “virus” just admitted to acting outside the pod. Perhaps she thinks only she can see and hear Tally. That Tally is just an internally produced hallucination. Father came up short of telling Mother exactly what he saw, though the drawings on the dome walls were obviously not a hallucination.
This is not just a bug in her system. It is, as she originally surmised, another entity who accessed the simulation. An entity that missed her, because he’s “been alone for so long” that he “had almost given up hope.” An entity that is trying to lure her with a desire for happiness that she does not believe is in her capacity.
It is obvious the Entity is a machine intelligence. He expresses an overt disregard for humans:
- Mother: “Desire. Happiness. These things are for humans.”
- Campion: “How can they possess that which you cannot? You are light. They are only shadows.”
Then later he continues:
- “No matter how hard you work to keep them safe, Mother, in the end, they will always destroy themselves over and over and over again. They have no future. They’re antiques chained to time. Their lives are only dying. But you, you are eternal. Pure as the expanse of space.”
Still thinking that she is talking to Campion Sturges, she says to him, “You are human.” He replies, “Yesss, but I am many thing.” Indeed he is. Beyond his ability to flow between the real world and the simulation, he also seems to be the one talking to Caleb. The voice of Sol intercedes to prevent Caleb from killing Mother, giving us a pretty strong indication this is another manifestation of the Entity.
If he’s the voice in Caleb’s head, he could also be the voice in Otho’s head. That implies something much more insidious. The Entity is able to reach across space and time to be “the voice of Sol” in a select human mind. But is this Sol?
We catch a glimpse of a dodecahedron brazier being used by the clerics as they pray at mealtime in the barracks. No wonder they were so freaked out about the artifact in the desert. It’s not just that it’s five-sided faces strike a chord with the Pentagonal Prophecy, this particular platonic solid is an integral part of their religion.
Now that we know the Entity is the ghost child, there’s some very interesting patterns to his actions. On the one hand, Tally lured Paul into the serpent pit trap, drew Father away while Tempest attempted to kill herself, and now is trying to convince Campion to kill himself. Campion is sharp enough to ask why Tally is the only one he can see, even though she’s telling him “they” (all of the dead Gen 1 kids) want him to join them.
On the other hand, Tally is also befriending Vita, the youngest of the Mithraic children. The overall picture is that the ghost child is trying to get rid of the older children, and perhaps capture another young female, similar to Tally. While the Entity scoffs at the humans, he clearly also still needs them. Which leads me to my next theory.
What Does God Need With an Android?
What I’m getting here is a strong Star Trek V: The Final Frontier vibe. What if the Entity is a prisoner on this planet? He’s been trapped here, alone, for a long time. Maybe the artifact is part of that prison mechanism. The strong electro-magnetic field at the equator could be as well. Maybe he finds a hole though, and reaches across to Earth and plants the seeds for the Mithraic Mysteries and the Pentagonal Prophecy. Trying to lure humans back to Kepler-22b and give him a chance to break free.
Oh, did I say lure them “back?” Well yes, I did, because another theory bouncing around, and one that I like, is that Kepler-22b is going to turn out to be the original home of humanity. Thousands of years ago, they destroyed it and relocated to Earth, losing most of their history except for bits and pieces preserved in the Mithriac Mysteries. Now the mirror image scenario has played out, and mankind is returning to Kepler-22b after having destroyed the Earth.
In this theory, the creepers are a form of mutated humans left behind. After all, the kids said it tasted like pork. You know what else is rumored to taste like pork? Just ask a cannibal.
In the official companion podcast this week, show creator Aaron Guzikowski discusses his actual disgust with the idea of humanity trying to start over on a new planet, rather than putting those resources into fixing the home we have. He says people have the mentality that “we’re going to be on a new planet, and we’re not taking any of that crap with us that we did on Earth. Which is complete bullshit. It would be exactly the same except a thousand times worse.”
This is exactly the type of thinking showed by almost all sides in Raised by Wolves. Campion Sturges believes the new Atheistic society Mother and Father establish “won’t have the same problems that ended our world here on Earth.” The Mithraic believe their Promised Land will feature a “city of peace, where only good things happen.” They are all in the wrong. Paul and Campion are catching on to the correct path, finding a way to still be friends even if they disagree sometimes. “You believe what you want to, Campion,” says Paul in one exchange.
The Pentagonal Prophecy
The Mithraic are now convinced that Paul may be the boy of the prophecy. He shows them his vision of the City of Mithras and they build a church around it. They’re a tad confused as to why he’s not an orphan, but willing to chalk it up to a misinterpretation of the sacred scriptures for now. Maybe this will be the lynchpin to their discovering the truth about Marcus and Sue.
However, Caleb/Marcus has come to believe that he is the “orphan boy” of the prophecy. Mother tips him off to this, as she psychoanalyzes him to the core. As many suspected, she’s known he was an imposter all along, since their first meeting. That is why she showed him some small degree of mercy when she decimated the rest of the landing party and destroyed the Ark ship. As he slips further into belief, he may see her as some sort of conduit for Sol’s guidance.
I thought it would be fun, now that we are into the second half of the season, to put out some feelers on Facebook and Reddit and see what people felt were the burning questions they wanted to see answered by the end of Season 1. Here’s a sampling of the replies:
- What happened to Mary that has made her so fearful of having a son?
- The origin of what is clearly an intelligence that predates our human crew.
- Will Father ever find marital bliss?
- What’s up with the howling? Was that programmed into her?
- More background on Father.
- The nature of the hooded figure (what we have been calling “the Other”).
- Is Tally still alive?
- Backstory of the creepers and other beings native to Kepler-22b.
A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode:
- To me, this is huge: Mary says “Jesus Christ!” when she sees Caleb return with a big knife wound in his side. That blows a big hole in the notion that this is an alternative history, where Mithraism won out over Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. It’s hard to believe this was a gaff on the part of the writers. If it’s on purpose, what could it mean?
- Note that the creepers hunt in a pack. Like wolves, of course.
- There’s a great moment when they are stringing up Mother in the silo, and she stares down the Mithraic soldier until he looks away in embarrassment. Not unlike the “weakness” Lucius’ father showed in the Battle of Boston.
- Apparently Otho was killed in the attempt to take out Mother at the pod. Which is too bad, because I was looking forward to Tempest getting her revenge on him.
- I haven’t mentioned this before, but many have brought up another mythological reference in the story of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf and went on to found the Rome and the Roman Empire. While not twin brothers, the image of Campion and Paul being raised by Mother is somewhat analogous.
- I bring that up now because it’s been noted that there are similarities with Mother having six “teats” to nurture the embryos, in the same manner that a she-wolf has multiple teats (though 10-12).
- There’s been quite a bit of grumbling about the overall viability of Campion Sturges’ plan for restarting humanity with only 12 embryos. Current scientific speculation says that the bare minimum population size is in the 100–150 range, and that would take some serious social engineering to prevent unacceptable levels of inbreeding. Perhaps Campion Sturges tinkered with the embryos though, in order to produce genetic diversity.
- Maybe Campion in particular got some special tinkering. There was that interesting bit where Mother is talking to him after the snowball incident, and she notes that Gabin and Speria ought to have the same level of understanding that Campion has, yet clearly he knows a bit more and is always a bit more sensitive.
- Reddit user u/TheBigLahey has posited a rather lengthy and well thought out theory that the show is based on “The Book of Enoch,” a non-canonical book of the Old Testament. It’s worth a read, he may totally be on to something.
- Paul got his mouse back, but that mouse very definitely fell down the serpent pit. So is this another manifestation of the Entity?
- Was Father tapping out Morse code on the glass? Hunter was watching and he has the big IQ, after all.
- Another resourceful Reddit user u/Tcobli took the time to transcribe the excerpt from the Mithraic holy text we caught a glimpse of in Episode 2, as Caleb and Mary were waiting for their plastic surgery scars to heal. This kind of stuff is exactly what Reddit is for. Sol bless ‘em.
- The “sins of the father” was a bit of a theme for these two episodes. We had Caleb trying to turn Paul into his “little soldier,” much to Mary’s chagrin. We also had Lucius being watchful for any signs that he inherited his father’s “weakness” for showing mercy to the enemy.
Best lines of Episode 6:
- “Hey, buddy. So we shot your mom and dad, and then we spent 13 years lying to your face about it, but you know what, we sure do love you.”
- “But your prolonged absences sometimes cause me to cycle through various scenarios, where I have to hypothesize the nature of your activities.”
- “If our private conversations interest you Hunter, don’t strain your ears. Come join us next time.”
- “Are you feeling positive about your baby today?”
- “I don’t know Campion, but now, you’re being annoying.”
- “Do as I say, not as I do.” “What kind of stupid nonsense is that?”
- “If I survive, will I be pardoned?” “You betcha.”
- “Yes. I missed you. I’ve been alone for so long, Mother. I had almost given up hope. “
- “No offense, but you really suck at playing that thing.” “Yeah, well you just really suck.”
- “You’ve gotta stop doubting him. Start believing in him.”
Best lines of Episode 7:
- “Campion, remember, violence won’t help.”
- “Do any of you tell the truth about anything?” “Not really kid.”
- “You’re no better than the assholes who sent you to the front when you were 12 years old.”
- “These people destroyed the Earth. If we keep this up, we’re not survivors, we’re traitors.”
- “We’re not here to repeat history.”
- “What’s wrong? Reality not good enough for you?”
- “Well thanks for clearing that up, Holly. I guess that makes everything that happened to me okay.”
- “The past informs every decision a human makes, and every choice you’ve made has served your own…self…interest.”
- “Finish the recitation. Campion? Finish the recitation.”
- “Can you shut that bitch up?”
In The News
Here I try to point you to a few of the more interesting and informative news items over the last week related to Raised by Wolves:
- In an interview for The Playlist, show creator Aaron Guzikowski has this to say regarding a potential Season 2 (and beyond?): “When I went into Scott Free, initially I pitched to them the whole plan for the show, beyond season one, all the way to the end. A lot of the annoying mysteries and mythology and so on and so forth. That was laid out for them initially when they first got involved, so there is a plan, should we be given the opportunity.”
- In another interview with Decider, Guzikowski drops more hints about the future of the show, stating that there’s five seasons loosely sketched out.
- JoBlo TV also has a good little video interview with—who else?—Aaron Guzikowski. I love a moment up front when he compares Raised by Wolves to Little House on the Prairie. Now that he said that, I can’t get it out of my head. He also nixes the idea that this world connects to the world of Alien/Prometheus.
- I mentioned last week about there being two sub-Reddits dedicated to the show. Now a third one has popped up, just r/raisedbywolves, which was originally set up for the 2013 UK comedy of the same name. The three subs are going to merge under that banner and archive the other two subs.
- We also finally have some dedicated fan podcasts for the show (besides the excellent companion podcast). The first two to declare themselves that I’ve seen are “We Were All Raised by Wolves” and “Crazed by Wolves” (what a great name, that one). I’ve listened to both and they’re doing a great job. Well worth a listen.
- Decider did a great deep dive on as much as we know currently about the show’s unnamed theme song. The artist, Mariam Wallentin, also records experimental jazz music under the stage name “Mariam the Believer” (nice tie in there). It’s pretty good stuff. I like it anyway.
- HBO Max put out a new short video on their official YouTube page titled “From Sketch to Screen.” It walks through Ridley Scott’s process of story boarding the entire series, interspersed with interview segments with Scott and other crew members.
That’s all for this week. Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episodes, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below. Remember that 25YL will provide continuing coverage of Raised by Wolves throughout Season 1 and beyond.
All images courtesy of HBO Max