The Garden Of Keplar
If there’s one thing that remains consistent through Ridley Scott’s work it’s the atmosphere. Whether it be the Alien franchise, Gladiator, Blade Runner or whatever the heck Raised By Wolves is, each of these works have a really chilling and moody tone.
That much is especially evident with HBO Max’s latest sci-fi which is as weird and strange as it is thought provoking and intriguing. It’s a show that challenges religious and atheist ideas whilst carving a unique slice of the TV pie.
It’s way too early to be making bold predictions but the opening chapters certainly look promising.
Mother & Father
Mother and Father would always keep us safe. Or so we’re told. Welcome to the chilling opening to episode 1 of Raised By Wolves. No sooner have the words been spoken, then a rocket touches down on Kepler-22b.
These two androids – Mother and Father – are forced to abandon their ship. As they salvage what cases they can, the duo walk on.
They find a good spot and create a strange futuristic tent for Mother. Initiating Trimester 1, the male inserts tubes into the female and awaits the inevitable.
That inevitable occurs 9 months later. The pair have grown a baby and like a scene ripped right from The Matrix, they take it from the gooey bath of fluid and place it alongside numerous other children. Six of them to be precise.
Infants Exploring The World
As we skip forward in time, we see the children have now grown to toddlers. Mother and Father’s number 1 priority was always to keep their children happy and safe no matter what.
However that may be easier said than done when Father finds large skeletal remains of a giant creature buried underground.
Things take an even more alarming turn when Tally goes missing. She wanders off alone and presumably falls into the same pit their ship crashed in. Raising her head to the sky, Mother howls in pain as the family mourn her passing.
4 Years later
Four years have passed and Tally isn’t the first of the deceased. Campion, Beli and Spiria are the only ones left but the latter is incredibly ill. As they sit with Mother, she discusses the cold, hard science of the situation.
She reminds them they’re atheists but it’s no good. The family suffer another casualty.
As Mother drops to her knees and tells Campion he’s strong, white liquid oozes from her nose. Although she tells him she’s overloaded, back in the barracks she speaks plainly to Campion. Using her strange powers, Mother is able to imitate her siblings’ faces.
With the Arc of the Mithraic orbiting the planet, Father tries in vain to make contact from his ship. With the war over, Father tells Campion that humanity will be happy to have him back in their ranks.
Through meditating, Mother relives a moment of her flying but overlooking devastation in a futuristic world. When Father learns of this, he asks to do a systems check. Sensing that his Mother is breaking down, Campion struggles to lie and reveals he went to the hole earlier that day.
This unfortunately sets Mother off the deep end as she literally rips the heart out of Father and leaves him to die. After telling Campion, she turns in for the night while the young boy descends down the hole.
He heads in and makes contact with the outside world. Pressing a button, the rocket suddenly fires and causes a shortwave across the hole.
After lying with Mother, who’s passed out on the floor, Campion is awoken by men of faith approaching. One of them, Marcus, speaks up and invites himself to dinner.
Alone, the soldiers discuss the android and whether the boy is a prophet or not. Believing that “she” killed the others, they agree to take Campion with them before they leave.
In the morning Marcus does just that. He tries to encourage Campion to join them. Unfortunately it’s the last straw for Mother who manages to destroy the soldiers through her bizarre powers, vaporizing them with a piercing wail.
A Crashed Arc
Mother steps up to Marcus in his ship and knocks him out. Instead, she takes off in the rocket herself and heads up to the arc. Adopting Marcus’ appearance, she manages to make her way onboard the ship. As she does, she screams and turns the entire vessel into a bloody, disgusting mosaic of death.
Completely beside herself with rage, Mother overrides the ship and sets a collision course with Kepler. As the ship crashes down, Marcus watches in incredulous fear as his arc crashes and explodes in a brilliant blistering display of colour.
On the back of this, Mother touches down in Marcus’ ship with a whole group of new kids. Only, Campion rejects her knowing that he’ll no longer be safe with this murderous android.
The Episode Review
What a bizarre, utterly engrossing 50 minutes of TV. There’s obvious symbolic similarities between the story of Adam and Eve and that of Mother and Father.
The post apocalyptic Garden Of Eden and the three surviving children both plat into this concept. Here though, it plays out as a fascinating contradiction against Mother imploring them that they’re definitely atheists.
The soldiers look like the Knights Of Templar but instead of a cross we’ve got a sun instead. If that wasn’t enough, Mother’s weird destructive form is tellingly in the form of a cross.
There’s so much religious symbology here that it would be very easy to write this off as bludgeoning you in the head with it all. However, it just seems to work so well.
The characters are engrossing, the ideas fascinating and all of this ties into some of Ridley Scott’s better aspects as a filmmaker. Let’s hope this series can maintain that level across the season.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|