Review – Raised By Wolves – Ep. 1

Image courtesy of WarnerMedia

Raised By Wolves is the latest big budget sci-fi television series distributed by HBO on their new streaming service HBO Max. The series is relatively new premiering this past September and has received high praise from critics. Wolves has already gained the popularity to earn it a second look for season two next year. 

The first season opened with an exciting, action packed episode that is sure to make even your general non sci-fi fan highly entertained by the action and entertainment in HBO’s latest post-apocalyptic series. Wolves began with us meeting two androids “Mother” and “Father” who are strikingly similar to humans with digital programming being the only giveaway that these two are truly Androids. Mother and Father crash land onto an unknown earth like planet. “Kepler-22b” a very dark and bare planet that shares many characteristics with earth but also not really possessing the characteristics that make a planet inhabitable. 

Upon their crash landing Mother and Father set up camp and begin their primary mission on this planet. They begin trying to produce human children with the help of six human embryos and digital ‘umbilical cords’ clearly signifying that Mother and Father despite their human-like presence and trendy space suits are clearly not human and overall are very odd. The actual birthing process of these children is just as strange as the reproduction process, each child is removed from a vat of goo next to Mother’s bedside, the first five being removed without issue but the sixth appeared to be stillborn. Mother asked to hold the child and eventually brought it to life after holding it close to her chest and letting a few tears fall onto it. Despite her android build this is the first sign of true emotional instability from Mother. It’s also a showcase of Father’s determination to stay true to the mission and in some ways that could’ve been detrimental. Mother’s emotions kept the child alive, the last born was intended to be named after their creator and thus he was named Campion. 

Ironically enough, Mother’s emotions lead to them having the one child who lived the longest, through a series of tragedies and sickness over the course of twelve years all of Campion’s siblings pass away. Tally was first after straying away from the family and falling into a similar hole to the one their Parents crash landed onto. The rest of the children passed away due to poor weather conditions and sickness, a clear sign that this planet is difficult for humans to inhabit at the very least. 

Just prior to the death of his last sibling Spiria, Campion and Spiria are taught about the Mithraic and how their beliefs say it is a sin for Androids like mother and father to raise human children like them. Despite this dissension between the Mithraic and Androids, following the death of Spiria Father returns to the abandoned spaceship stuck in a hole and tries to climb down and make contact with the Mithraic. As Campion follows Father trying to do this Father explains that the Mithraic will be the one option left for Campion to have a viable life. Once Mother and Father have passed with no siblings Campion will be alone and thus the option of living with the Mithraic would be best for Campion. This is the one time we see Father acting on emotion the way Mother has but it’s much more subtle. Father has seen Campion praying which is part of the Mithraic beliefs, he knows Campion has a closer relation in terms of belief as those on the Ark and after seeing the Ark was near decided to try and make contact even if it would be deadly for him. When Father is unable to reach the ship he insists that Campion doesn’t tell his mother until it’s too late for her to stop them. 

Once Campion and Father return Mother is continuing to take an apparent turn for the worst. As she awakens from her ‘sleep mode’ she tells Father she was flying and Father believes she needs to allow him to do a systems check on her but she wont allow it. After Father leaves Mother demands that Campion tell her what they did that day again reacting extremely emotionally after finding out about Father’s actions. Upon confronting Father and learning of his desires to make contact with the Mithraic she completely unhinges and kills Father after being antagonized regarding her mental state. Once again emphasizing the deterioration of Mother either programably or emotionally. 

Mother attempts to play off the death of Father to Campion but the young boy has a feeling something is up and after Mother returns to sleep mode following a lack of energy Campion risks his life to make contact with the Mithraic Ark. The introduction of the Mithraic is when things truly begin to get interesting as these men clearly have negative intentions essentially fulfilling everything Mother expected to negatively happen including attempting to kidnap Campion and kill her under the guise that Campion is their prophet. While Campion had hopes these men would help his malfunctioning Mother it’s clear at this point Campion’s trust for his mother is wearing thin. His initial belief that his parents would get him and his siblings through anything fades with the passing of each member of their family. Now when Campion is left only to trust his clearly malfunctioning android Mother and instead tries to make a decision himself. 

This decision leads almost all of the Mithraic men to very painful deaths. Those on earth and eventually those on the Ark after Mother goes grand theft spaceship and takes their spacecraft back to the Ark, and wipes out nearly everyone on the Ark. She did manage to spare the lives of five children from the Ark to give Campion five new friends. Mother arrives with Campion’s new friends as he is burying one of the Campion soldiers she killed and as he watches the Ark crash into a large mountain killing the rest of its inhabitants. The only surviving Mithraic member Marcus watches the explosion as well and tries reaching the Ark to no avail. As the episode closes so does Campion’s trust for his mother. 

Campion made the choice to reach out to the Ark to try and help himself and his mother. Even knowing she was dangerous and malfunctioning he refused to join them on the Ark without her. Still he did want the help from the Ark and instead Mother traveled all the way to the Ark and killed every member on board in spectacular fashion. Mother’s android ability to make humans explode from the sheer shrill of her scream is not just interesting but graphically its executed very well. 

Mother is very much an unhinged character who is emotionally attached to Campion. Her attachment has consistently kept him alive despite leaving him in a dangerous environment along the way. The entire basis behind setting up on “Keplar-22b” was dangerous and shows that Mother and Father are programmed with specific intentions in mind however Mothers actions and unhinged emotional instability would indicate that there’s a malfunction in her programming or that she was at least programmed very differently from Father. The new introduction of five children is interesting as Campion has new friends and at this point they appear to be the true final hope at revitalizing the human race following Mother’s destruction of the Mithraic Ark. 

Image Courtesy of WarnerMedia

Personal Takeaways:

The graphic work is great, as someone who has struggled with entertaining this genre due to corny graphics we have definitely entered an era where those type of issues are out the door even in some of the most insane instances.

How badass is Mother? Hopefully she isn’t a total one dimensional overly emotional mother android and there’s some real depth that they flesh out with her character because thus far the way she has carried herself in fight scenes she is a super entertaining character despite her robotic nature.

Cant blame Campion for reaching out to the Mithraic but oof, that did not work out well. At the end of the day gotta blame Father, who sticks so stubbornly to the plan that you nearly feed the stillborn then back to life Campion to the rest of the children but when Campion is the last left turn your back on the programming and reach out to the Mithraic. 

Very interesting to see robots or androids with emotions, as stated above both Mother and Father acted in emotionally unstable ways that would get them killed for the sake of Campion.