“Raised by Wolves” 3-Episode Premiere Review: Interesting Narrative with Familiar Themes

Raised by Wolves review
Mother in ‘Raised by Wolves’ Episode 2 (Image: Screengrab)

Raised by Wolves got a 3-episode premiere on HBO Max on September 3, 2020. From what I can tell, while the overall story has been presented in an interesting manner, it’s going to be a series with a lot of plot conveniences and familiar themes.

This review of Raised by Wolves 3-episode premiere contains spoilers. You have been warned.

Trigger Warning: This review briefly mentions sexual assault.

I was looking forward to watching Raised by Wolves ever since the first official trailer was released. The show appeared to be well-made (with a good budget to play around with). With Ridley Scott directing the first two episodes and serving as an executive producer, I knew I was in for a fun time.

Having watched the first three episodes, I will say that I did enjoy the content from creator Aaron Guzikowski. However, I had to accept that there were going to be a number of plot conveniences going forward. 

Fans of Ridley Scott’s brand of sci-fi are sure to have a lot of fun, though. Raised by Wolves has androids trying to figure out humanity, themes of morality, the existence of other planets, dangerous aliens, and more.

The first episode, ‘Raised by Wolves’, opened with a voiceover from a boy named Campion. He talked about how two Androids named Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) were sent to Kepler-22b. The Androids were tasked with giving birth to and then raising human kids.

The opening couple of minutes of ‘Raised by Wolves’ made me roll my eyes. Of course, the space shuttle Mother and Father arrived in landed on the edge of a giant hole. Of course, it fell as Mother was making her way out of it. Could the writing team not have come up with something different?

Anyway, the Androids set up camp and got to work. In nine months, Mother’s able to nourish six embryos. Of course, the sixth baby’s not breathing once the umbilical cords are cut. Of course, Mother sang a tune to the baby and shed a couple of tears to help it come to life. The sixth child is Campion (the boy narrating the story). He’s special. Duh!

The six children are from different racial backgrounds. While things started out great, it’s all downhill after one of the girls presumably fell into the same giant hole the space shuttle fell in. The rest of the children grew ill and one by one began to die. Only Campion’s left alive because, you know, he’s special.

Not wanting Campion to remain alone led to Father contacting the rest of humanity. You see, in the world of Raised by Wolves, humanity went to war with each other because of religion. Non-believers were exterminated by those of Mithraic faith (those who believed in Sol). Certain Mithraic humans were selected to board an Arc (called Heaven) headed to a new homeland while Earth was destroyed.

The creator of Mother and Father (also named Campion) sent the two into space to begin a new community not bogged down by religion (and associated hate) and supported through science. But with Campion being the only human left on Kepler-22b, Father decided it was better for the boy to be with his kind.

Finding out what Father had been planning behind her back led to Mother snapping. The sequence of events that followed took me by surprise. I don’t know about you, but seeing Mother going full crazy was a sight to behold. The way she fought the four Mithraic soldiers (including one Android) was quite unexpected.

Mother’s true form and abilities are simply amazing, in my opinion. Even if this series isn’t able to deliver something satisfying during the finale, I think everyone will agree that Mother’s character design was definitely something unique. 

The first episode made it very clear to viewers that Mother’s objective was to raise young humans in a society not hindered by religion. And that’s exactly what she did, even if it meant procuring said humans through nefarious means.

With a handful of Mithraic soldiers on the same planet, along with deadly aliens, episodes 2 (‘Pentagram’) and 3 (‘Virtual Faith’) let us know what to expect as the series progressed. The grown humans will need to fight Mother to decide who will get to raise the kids and begin a new chapter for humankind. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the deadly aliens ended up having some kind of link to humans and evolution was involved.

When watching Raised by Wolves, I would recommend you go with the flow. As mentioned, there will be a lot of plot conveniences. The beginning ten minutes of ‘Pentagram’ made me go, “Really? We’re doing this? Ha!” at all of the absurdity that transpired involving plastic surgery and changing a person’s face.

There’s also some mention about a special kid who’s some kind of prophet for the believers of Sol and how the kid will lead them to the promised land. Due to the special kid being an orphan, he could be Campion or one of the kids that Mother decided to kidnap.

Perhaps the kid’s yet to be born? There’s a storyline involving a young girl being pregnant because the second-highest-ranking preacher of Sol decided to force himself upon a handful of girls while they were hibernating for 13 years in a simulation.

All I know is that I will roll my eyes if said special kid (the savior of all humanity) is revealed to be another non-POC child.

With 7 more episodes remaining, I have a feeling the main plot will feel a bit dragged down. Viewers won’t have to wait too long to find out, though. From what I can tell, HBO Max will be making two episodes available every week. I think the finale will be a 3-episode event? I’m not sure.

Anyway, the first three episodes of Raised by Wolves are definitely watchable. The presentation’s great even if the overall narrative doesn’t bring something new to the world of sci-fi. The writing does feature a lot of tropes. I just hope all of the kids don’t become too annoying. I would like the show to make me feel sorry for them if they get hurt or die.

At this point, I’m more worried about what will happen to Mother and Father (played amazingly by Collin and Salim) than I’m about the humans.

Have you watched Raised by Wolves? What did you think?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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