Episode 8 of Raised by Wolves begins with Marcus awakening from a visceral dream about cutting his own face off. Paul arrives and sits before him. As they talk, Marcus admits that he can’t go easy on Paul as Sol wouldn’t allow that either. He’s going to teach his son how to be a survivor.
Mother starts walking purposefully up to the wreckage of the ship, hooking herself up to a robot inside that helps patch her up. Using this robot’s guidance (called Karl) she starts trying to remove a foreign object inside. Only, her care-giving programming stops her from doing so. Instead, she’s forced to use fuel-blood to feed this self-proclaimed tumour.
This fuel blood comes from the other robotic doctors as Mother and Karl discussing her feelings of discomfort. They’re very human-like and even more interestingly, she discusses raising the kids to be pacifists but confused over them playing games depicting war as kids.
Campion continues to see Tally’s ghost and starts telling jokes to himself as a way of dealing with the issues. As we cut across to Father, it turns out his finger twitching is actually morse code. This morse code spells out “Sol is the light.”
Outside, Paul speaks to Sue about Marcus and going away on a trip. Not long after, he helps Campion by giving him some fungus to keep him strong. On the back of this, Marcus warns Paul against seeing “the atheist child” (Campion) from now on.
As we cut back in time, we see a bomber causing chaos just before the flight to Keppler-22B. Marcus and Sue promise to have each other’s back as they rush away from the scene. This feels like a very long time ago for Sue as she watches Marcus cautiously. This is well-warranted too as Marcus and Sue come to blows over what Paul’s been doing.
Eventually Marcus locks her in the barn outside and asks for everyone to pray with him. While he does, Paul seizes his opportunity and speaks to Campion, promising to break him free.
Using one of the skeletal hands, Campion manages to dig his way out of his cage. From afar he watches as Marcus burns the church to the ground. While Campion turns and runs, Paul grabs Sue and takes off with Tempest. All of them charge through the woods to where the lander happens to be. Father happens to be there too, but armed with an axe and clearly not himself.
Desperate for more donors, Mother heads off in search of fallen robots. Only, she instead finds one of the creatures native to the planet which charges at her. Unable to wield the necromancer powers, Mother manages to kill it before it kills her.
Interestingly, the blood seems to be just the fuel needed for what’s inside her. From this, Mother deduces that the thing growing inside her could be a carbon-based lifeform…is she pregnant? How is that even possible?
Anyway, Mother awakens and starts looking around. There, she finds Tempest who happens to be bleeding. However, she doubles over and tells her to stay away. This brings Mother into the familiar pod from before where she starts a simulation. Only, this simulation is with her creator Campion who admits that her “reward” is this living creature inside her.
Apparently that’s always been the mission and everything she’s been doing has just been preparation for giving birth to this thing.
The Episode Review
Oh Ridley Scott, it was definitely too good to be true. After 7 episodes of intriguing plotting and ideas, we descend into the realm of contrivances and unbelievably sloppy plotting.
While the ideas of Mother being pregnant and carrying a child are interesting, it also brings with it a wave of problems. Her mission was apparently always to have this artificial child but no part of the previous episodes even hinted that this was the case.
In order to find out this information for herself she needed to have: raised all the kids like normal, intentionally crash the ship, stumble upon the simulation pods, speak to her creator Campion who erased the records from her system on purpose (why do that if her true mission is to have a child?) and then intentionally get hurt by Marcus. This leads her to Karl (a miracle unto itself that this robot is even operational) who confirms what’s inside her.
It’s such a disappointing descent and one that, the more you think about it, the more incredulous it becomes. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Mother being pregnant but why not foreshadow this with a couple of stomach problems or malfunctioning programming segments through the season to hint that this was the case? The contrivances needed to explain how Mother learns about this feel ill-fitting in this series.
In terms of atmosphere, direction and cinematography though, this show is fantastic and there’s some great ideas at play. Unfortunately, this is all undermined by the writing. Thankfully Marcus’ angle (despite the Ragnar-esque craziness) is the saving grace here and he does a wonderful job carrying the religious aspects as he descends into madness. There’s definitely enough here to watch through and persevere with but hopefully we get some answers soon.
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