The following contains spoilers through Raised by Wolves Episode 10 on HBO Max.
Welcome back, dear reader, as we continue to review HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves with the season finale Episode 10, titled “The Beginning.” Clearly, this is indeed just the beginning. This series was never intended to be a one-and-done season. Show creator Aaron Guzikowski has said in interviews that he has a “bible” for the show that outlines a potential five season run. Given the mid-season thumbs up on Season 2, it looks like HBO Max is pleased with the results so far.
The comparisons to Lost were already being bandied about in social media, and the finale should solidify it. We have a disparate group of castaways, with morphing alliances and divisions. They are stuck on an “island” that turns out to have a mysterious history which they uncover bit-by-bit. That history points to a deeper conflict between no less than the forces of good and evil.
Fans who were hoping for answers in this final episode of Season 1 are going to be disappointed, but hopefully not bitterly so. As far as forward progress goes, we did get closure on a few story arcs. Paul finally found out the truth about his parents. Mother’s baby was born. And…well, OK yeah, that was it. Everything else is just new questions. Still, the setup for Season 2 and beyond is quite intriguing. You can see now why Ridley Scott couldn’t pass up being more directly involved in this particular project.
Baby Makes Three
Poor Mother believes she still interacting with their creator right till the end. So much so that she actually prays to him for understanding as she stands at the edge of the pit. In contrast, Father talks to himself for guidance, though he’s using stick figures—not too dissimilar from Tally’s stick figures—as a sort of idol to focus on as he does so.
Mother presumed the instructions for creating this new kind of being were loaded into her programming by Campion Sturges back on Earth. Their origin more likely lies in the original specs that were uncovered in the Mithraic scriptures. This baby is the mission, but the mission too goes back much further than anyone imagines. The Entity told her that this baby is the future of humanity, but so far that doesn’t look like a very positive future. He wasn’t exactly truthful with her on a lot of other fronts.
The baby does not appear to be a pit serpent, given its more leech-like mouth. Though this could be an early form that will metamorphose into the larger dragon-like creature. It can fly, after all, and it is growing quite rapidly. It’s not hard to see that it could achieve that size by next season.
As predicted, we found out the creepers are “devolved” humans. I put that in quotes because in reality, there’s no such thing as devolving backwards back down the evolutionary tree. They could evolve forward into a more animalistic form in response to some sort of selection pressures, perhaps. But reinstating Neanderthals, for example, would take the guided hand of an intelligent designer. Hopefully, the writers know this and it’s not just another hold-your-nose moment for the hard sci-fi fans.
The hooded figure stands apart from the rest of the creatures, not being as “devolved.” As we mentioned last week, he seems to be working for the forces standing against the baby, given that he tries to push Mother into the pit. The forces supporting the baby recruit Paul, bribing him by returning Mouse, and directing him to keep the baby on this side of the planet. Now that Mother and Father took the baby through to the other side, we’ll see why that was. It seems to be flourishing so far.
The card that the hooded figure left for Mother almost killed her last episode when it somehow triggered a reverse flow of her power into Otho. However, the vision that she had through that card is what brought her to this place to have the baby, and she feels more powerful here. Her vision happened at the site of the pit, but from a time before it was there. Could it be that whatever ceremony she witnessed was part of creating the pits? Was dark photon energy involved, and she’s feeling some residue of its effect?
The creatures are swarming the landing site as Father flies the lander near. They scatter suddenly, and Mary speculates that they’re afraid of the lander. Watching carefully though, that happens right after Mother says the baby moved. Could the creatures be telepathically connected to the baby? If so, did they leave in support of the birth, or because they feared it?
So we leave Season 1 behind still not really knowing who the orphan boy of the Pentagonal Prophecy is. Campion is probably the chief contender, as he was at least leading one of the factions on the planet. A faction that includes Hunter and Holly, who believe they were selected to bear witness to these events and document them in a new set of Mithraic scriptures. Even Mary, the only adult left in their group, appeared to be deferring to Campion.
Paul was not part of that group. He ran off in the confusion after shooting his “mother” and apparently got away. Presumably, he will seek out the remaining Mithraic survivors back at the settlement. Now knowing that he is, in fact, an orphan, he might also be installed into a leadership position as the new chosen one/eminence. This would nicely set Campion and Paul against each other as leaders of the two opposing factions, leaning into the Romulus and Remus mythology that may lay behind the show’s origins.
Which brings us to the former eminence, Caleb/Marcus. Ya know, it’s a tribute to the actor’s abilities that I hate his character so much. Speculation is that he may have some abilities now, having ingested dark photonic energies from the necromancer eyeballs he was forced to eat last episode. Judging by his appearance, I’d say it’s a strong possibility. That said, he’s the least likely contender to be the “orphan boy” of the Prophecy, even though he’s personally convinced that he is Sol’s “one true servant” and has been promised to be made king of this world. Caleb only has one follower, the poor Tarantula soldier (more on that later). If he doesn’t kill him too, that is.
A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode:
- One of the points that is constantly revisited by folks with questions is the scene from Episode 1 where Mother howls after Tally’s death. Why did she howl like…well, a wolf? One sharp viewer commented that it reminded them of Roy Batty howling after Deckard “retires” Pris in Blade Runner. Could even be a bit of a tribute Ridley Scott threw in there, since he directed that episode.
- If the Mithraic got the tech to build the necromancers from their scriptures, perhaps the name was also given through the same means. Furthermore, if the scriptures also pointed them in the direction of Kepler-22b, it could very well be that the necromancers have a deeper purpose to fulfill on this planet, i.e. to raise the dead.
- If you were wondering who those guys in black were that Marcus encountered and wiped out, they are apparently a third faction of humans known as “Tarantulas.” HBO Max has an “explore Kepler-22b” feature on the official website that has a hidden Easter egg image of “Tarantula ship” concept art.
- We Were All Raised by Wolves podcast brought up a good point that might answer one burning question folks have raised. In Episode 6, when the attack on Mother falls apart and she is freed of the trap, she levitates and explodes a bunch of boulders, rather than just obliterate the humans with her siren. Yet back at the settlement, she does blast a soldier who is about to shoot Father, so she was capable of doing so. The thought is that this occurred after her discussion with Campion about being a pacifist, where he pointed out all the killing she had been doing lately. In light of that, perhaps she was attempting to just deter the humans in the forest—hurt them but not kill them. Could be.
- This is pretty wild speculation, but what if the serpent pits turn out to be worm holes? Making Kepler-22b the hub of some lost ancient civilization.
- Of course Father’s “only solution” is to sacrifice himself.
- The lander was protected from the fire of the planet’s core in the same manner that Hunter’s arm was protected from the furnace of the dodecahedron artifact.
Best lines of Episode 10:
- “I was reticent to ask at first, as I found this subject…oddly disturbing. I even tried deleting the thoughts eliciting from my working memory, but, for reason I can’t comprehend, the…thoughts keep returning.”
- “I haven’t even told you the upsetting part yet.” “I disagree, Mother. The idea of you mating with someone makes me feel oddly displeased.”
- “I see now that my wellbeing is of no concern to you. Perhaps it never was.”
- “Jealous. Of my baby.” “No, jealous he didn’t help make it.”
- “Maybe Mother took us from the Ark for a reason. Maybe Sol has been working through her all along.”
- “You’ve become something of a warrior, haven’t you?”
- “You and your surprises.”
- “One word out of you and you’re going into the pit.”
- “This planet has a history, Mother. A history I fear we are dangerously ignorant of.”
- “Given what they’ve been eating, I have a feeling this might cause them some…distress.”
- “I will retain my behavior model, but I feel confident I won’t, as you say, mimic human love for you a second time, as I don’t believe this version of you will inspire the same feelings the version I met 12 years ago did.”
- “I am not your enemy.”
- “Sol…guide my hand.”
- “And I will never be anything but a creator of death. I will kill it.”
- “We know your Ark crashed. You’re not exactly in a position to be making threats.”
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:
- One of the burning questions on Reddit has been where does the settlement on Kepler-22b get their water, and now an article on The Hollywood Reporter finally reveals the answer. OK, well, not really, but it does talk to the innovative way the production solved their on set water needs.
- The digital comic released last week has now been made available in PDF format for free directly from the HBO Max
- Den of Geek has a nice interview with Jordan Loughran (Tempest), talking about her preparation for the role and thoughts about her character.
- While the full article is behind a pay wall, the opening paragraphs of the Sunday Times’ interview with Ridley Scott are quite amusing. He doesn’t have much love for critics of the show, nor for what he sees as the “brain-damaging bullshit” of today’s action movies.
That’s all for this week. Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episode, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below. Thanks for joining 25YL for Raised by Wolves Season 1. Now let’s all hurry up and wait for Season 2!
All images courtesy of HBO Max