Raised by Wolves: Full Season
September 6, 2020 8:15 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Executive produced by Ridley Scott (who also directed the first two episodes) Raised by Wolves is an original science fiction series exploring faith, belief and artificial intelligence in the 22nd century when the survivors of mankind's last great war meet on Keppler-22b.

On the whole I've been greatly enjoying what's been shown so far, and binged the first three episodes. A few points of note:
  • While they are called Mithraists, the religion of the colonists appears to be the Roman cult of Sol Invictus with some Christian influences. The Mithraists have Roman names (Marcus, Lucius, Drusus, etc), suggesting that we're looking at an alternative timeline in which the Roman Empire survived and subsumed other religions.
  • I thought Amanda Collin is doing an amazing job as Mother, deliciously balancing loving and creepy, brittle and dangerous.
  • I very much enjoyed the switcheroo of Marcus and Sue and their coming to love "their" son (in virtual reality, no less).
And a few disappointments:
  • I remain a little confused by the distinction between the two sides, and the role of androids within each. Religious believers against atheists is potentially a rich source of conflict, but I'd expect a little more. Marcus's training as a youth seems to breed a revulsion for AI, yet he and Sue use an android to complete their disguises. Mother is a reprogrammed Mithraic Necromancer, but if androids can be reprogrammed, why did the atheists lose the war? The Mithraists are simultaneously slower and yet more advanced?
  • Mother's face-swap ability felt more than a little convenient, but I'm willing to let it pass.
Since Wolves is being released in a similar sequence to Season 2 of The Boys (three episodes up front, with others to be released later) I thought it best to include the entire season in one post. I look forward to reading your thoughts!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (85 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Mother is a reprogrammed Mithraic Necromancer, but if androids can be reprogrammed, why did the atheists lose the war? - this was met with disbelief and/or shock by the Mithraics, which makes me think it's a one-off: I think that Mother's mysterious creator (whom Cambion is named after) was a lone genius (possibly with Mithraic training for a head start).

It's not a blast, per se - the child body count is far too high for that - but it's definitely engrossing, and I am looking forward to this weekend, when two more episodes drop (I'm in Canada).
posted by Mogur at 3:22 AM on September 7, 2020

What a great show.

I didn't catch on that it was an alternate timeline with the Romans, I kept thinking "how does a major religion take over by 2145?" That makes the title of the show make much more sense.
posted by Catblack at 8:03 AM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Very compelling.

Interesting aesthetic choices and informs the alternate timeline aspect of the story (which, no, isn't super apparent). I'm only on the first episode, very curious where/ how they take the worldbuilding.

In particular, the Mithraist's uniforms look B-movie cheap (but aren't)!

Mother (Amanda Collin) does the not-quite-human/ android thing convincingly.

Is Mother supposed to be a different model than Father? The energy density depicted feels unbelievable.
posted by porpoise at 3:25 PM on September 7, 2020

To answer my own question, yes. I wasn't going to binge, but ended up enjoying all three eps.

It's far from hard science fiction, but its telling an engrossing story. Everyone's super easy on the eyes. The acting from the principles is good enough and the child actors aren't too annoying.
posted by porpoise at 5:42 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

To me, this has the feel of some high concept sci-fi from the 70s. (Zardoz comes to mind.) I like that it doesn't dumb things down too much. I'm sure we are going to see giant snake beasts soon, and that's going to be awesome.
posted by Catblack at 8:20 AM on September 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I really like it. I didn't catch the alternate history bit, but it makes sense. This definitely feels like old-timey science fantasy, but that's OK.
posted by confluency at 8:28 AM on September 8, 2020

I’m mostly enjoying it, but here’s one thing bugging me: so far the only living animal life we’ve seen on this planet are carnivores. They’re pack hunters and possibly apex predators (at least until we see a dino-serpent-thing eat one. Prediction!) Where are the herbivores? Ridley Scott, that’s not how food chains work.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:13 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m mostly enjoying it, but here’s one thing bugging me: so far the only living animal life we’ve seen on this planet are carnivores.

I didn't notice it at first until Father caught one- they kinda look like mutated people. But that's probably me reading into it.
posted by ishmael at 3:40 PM on September 8, 2020

Yeah, as confluency and I mentioned, this isn't a science-based work of science fiction and I have to turn off a good chunk of my brain. Ep 3 starts getting more wtf-ey.
posted by porpoise at 5:29 PM on September 8, 2020

the only living animal life we’ve seen on this planet are carnivores

I'm holding out hope that the person-sized lizard guys are actually sentient (partly due to script logic, because here at the end of episode 3 our heroes have imprisoned one and no doubt its parents will come looking for it). Maybe they have all the herbivores penned up in underground warrens somewhere.

One thing I like about this show is how Father takes on the more traditional nurturing / emotional support roles in their family, while Mother does the disciplining and protecting the family from outside threats. I also think it's interesting that we're looking at a conflict between two different "family is what you make it" groups, with Campion and his android parents versus the secret atheists who have de-facto adopted the Mithraist kid.

I'm looking a bit sideways at the whole "prophecy regarding an orphan" thing, because for God's sake, not another fucking prophecy about the child that is to come, but anyways Campion and the kid with the mouse both seem to qualify at this point.
posted by whir at 6:23 AM on September 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

the only living animal life we’ve seen on this planet are carnivores

I strongly suspect that the scrabbly possibly-degenerate-mutant-humanoids were in some sort of torpor state until the Ark crash broke open their tunnels... for something like a decade there's been zero life on the planet per the experience of M&F raising the children, and then after the cataclysmic crash these things are suddenly on the prowl nearly nightly. I think one of the Mithraists mentioned the tunnels they hid in during Mother's fly-through as being new or uncovered recently.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:05 PM on September 9, 2020

Just word of warning that the IMDB page seems to contain a serious spoiler or two.
posted by Catblack at 9:24 AM on September 10, 2020

Fanfare: Keep your eyes closed children, I'm weaponized.
posted by gwint at 8:34 PM on September 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

This show is pretty silly, it's like... a deranged demigod floating around the 70's TV show Land of the Lost? But as long as Ridley Scott keeps putting milk in his androids, I'm in for the season.
posted by gwint at 8:42 PM on September 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Is it just me or is the CGI of Mother's flying necromancer form really, really poorly done? It's 2020 where I live and she looks like something out of ReBoot in 1995.

The show has raised a lot of intriguing questions but I'm still not sure it's actually good. We're in a post-Lost, post-Westworld era; I don't have a lot of faith or patience left for puzzle box shows that are unlikely to provide satisfying answers.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:16 PM on September 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don't know what I find endless fascinating about this show, I guess I'm just a sucker for this kind of sci fi. I am conflicted though, on one hand I love the old timey style scifi where it's like "no time to explain, try and get inside the giant alien basalt pentahedron we just found in the desert", on the other hand i'm bothered that mother and father aren't collecting the wreckage of the ark ship to smelt down for hand tools.
posted by LegallyBread at 5:41 AM on September 11, 2020

Good show so far. I like the world building, the actors and the weird stuff going on. It feels original at least. But I'm worrying that it's going down the not-so-good path of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant and that we'll be treated with copious amounts of stupid.
posted by elgilito at 6:19 AM on September 11, 2020

I think my sort of lingering waiting-for-the-cringe moment is discovering that the creatures are just (jazz hands) some kinda goddamn antisemitic trope, because 2020, and the show is already dancing around faith versus atheism.
posted by Kyol at 9:25 AM on September 11, 2020

Just watched the next two episodes. I guess what I like most about this show is that it's never boring. There's so much stuff going on, and it mostly escapes the obvious lazy narrative choices. I'm pretty sure a lot of these characters have plot armour and can't die except possibly in the finale, but apart from that I can't predict what's going to happen.

But despite the magical and fantastic nature of the science and technology, and the many unanswered questions, it all sort of makes sense -- so after the initial WTF of discovering that Mother is secretly a flying shapechanging murder robot that can make people explode, everything has been more or less logically consistent and limited. Mother needs special eyeballs to be a murder robot. Mother can use the Mithraic simulation to explore her own memories. None of these things feel overly arbitrary or deus ex machina.

At the same time, while the technology is often indistinguishable from magic, some of the details are just gritty and realistic enough to make the world feel real -- e.g. the way that a lot of plants in the alien ecosystem are almost edible, but not quite.
posted by confluency at 11:10 AM on September 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

While they are called Mithraists, the religion of the colonists appears to be the Roman cult of Sol Invictus with some Christian influences. The Mithraists have Roman names (Marcus, Lucius, Drusus, etc), suggesting that we're looking at an alternative timeline in which the Roman Empire survived and subsumed other religions.

See I'm not so sure this is an alternate timeline. A worldwide Roman-based autocratic theocracy sounds like the middle of the collage on Steve Bannon's vision board.

Others have mentioned, and I noticed too, there's an odd intentional amateurism in some of the design, which as a whole is extraordinary because Scott. I think he's trying to invoke the same aesthetic we remember from early Dr. Who or Star Trek, but doing skin of our teeth production backed by millions of dollars and the eye of one of the better directors in the genre. So it looks ill fitting, but he totally meant to do that.

Yeah, I like this whole exploration of kinship, clanning, cults, and the post-human. I think I'm going to stick around for a little while longer.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:53 PM on September 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Up to ep five now, and it's becoming increasingly fantastical, and the logistics and ecology don't make a lick of sense.

Has everyone just given up because humans have fallen beneath the minimum viable population? Is there going to be an deeper explanation of Mother other than 'subroutines got crazy.'?

I really like the contrasts between Mother and Father's relationship with Sue (Mary) and Marcus's (Caleb). Sue's rough haircut is tellingly not Mithraist but looks great on Niamh Algar.

The show is gorgeous, though. Except for necromancer mode Mother. It's pretty bad. But the megafauna remains are rad. The worldbuilding is coming in drabs, I hope there's a lot more of it. I'm enjoying the stone-age sentient(s).
posted by porpoise at 6:12 PM on September 11, 2020

Others have mentioned, and I noticed too, there's an odd intentional amateurism in some of the design, which as a whole is extraordinary because Scott. I think he's trying to invoke the same aesthetic we remember from early Dr. Who or Star Trek

I'm getting a strong Metabarons/Enki Bilal /Incal vibe.
posted by ishmael at 7:34 PM on September 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yes! As soon as I saw those Mithraic helmets towards the end of E5, I was like-- whoa, Moebius!? Even though most of the art direction still feels like 60s Star Trek, the desert landscape and certain elements are actually Moebius-like. Heck, he even illustrated a few necromancers once upon a time.
posted by gwint at 9:39 PM on September 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Only on episode 3, so I'm not looking at comments, but so far it's pretty, I really love the kind of Art Deco ness of it — but most of all the show is eventful. I was worried the second episode would squat on what had already happened and go into timewasting soap opera mode and just farm drama, slurp slurp slurp drama drama drama drama, tiny tiny steps maximally squeezed, but it had more to reveal. Okay so the third episode was a little bit of a dropoff... but hopefully there's enough gas in the tank. Not interested in this fucking prophecy shit.

So I didn't really verify, but it looked like there were more than 5 kids in the snowy forest room, and I guess Mother just picked genders and ethnicities to match the dead kids? Harsh!

The Mother actress is constantly knocking it out of the park. The Father guy is lower key but really good, and incredibly handsome omg. The Marcus dude from Vikings is okay but he reminds me of Jax from Sons of Anarchy and I feel revulsion. He's fine. The Sue actress is really good, she conveys a lot of buried unhappy complexity with a tiny amount of dialogue.
posted by fleacircus at 11:36 AM on September 13, 2020

I am loving the show but am low-key wincing for what the actors playing Mother and Father have to go through - ie those bodysuits do *not* look warm, and I rather suspect that they are sewn into them, which would make bathroom breaks a big deal. Also, running through rocky terrain in what are basically sock feet.
posted by Mogur at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

discovering that the creatures are just (jazz hands) some kinda goddamn antisemitic trope

I don't think I follow this, what do you mean? Are you talking about them in the context of atheists versus believers?
posted by whir at 8:30 PM on September 13, 2020

I'm not sure how spoilers work in this kind of thread (does everyone get the new episodes at the same time?)...anyway, the comment about what the creatures taste like seemed significant, especially in combination with their appearance. I'm guessing they're sentient or otherwise human-like. It seemed like the shrouded mystery figure in the serpent cavern might be one of the same creatures? If its form was revealed I missed it.

Also I'm not sure what's going on with all the "voice of god" stuff but I hope they don't go somewhere annoying with it.
posted by randomnity at 1:52 PM on September 14, 2020

Not in the know, but I didn't read anything into the "taste like pork" comment. Italian Mithraicism seemed to have both piglets and chickens as sacrificial food animals.

Speaking of, switching to a diet of pure skeletal protein from purely plant based... they're going to be severely constipated, to the point where it might resemble toxicity/ poison.

Again, just speculating but I suspect that the hunted (and devoured) creature might be akin to the stone-age sentient similar to how great apes and humans are related. Unless there's some pretty severe sexual dimorphism going on. The hunted creature had no body adornments or clothing whereas the sentient had clothing, traps, etc.

As for episodes, it seems like their dropping for me on Thursdays with double episodes.

I have lots of thoughts about the "toxicity" of local flora, chirality, polysaccharide evolution, micronutrients, and how the planet was chosen in the first place. But I won't inflict the on everyone.

That giant polyhedral thing in the middle of the desert screamed IONIZING RADIATION at me.
posted by porpoise at 2:41 PM on September 14, 2020

Yeah, I was thinking it looked like Mother and Father were basically costumed by someone going to a latex specialist shop while the kids and mithraists are all bundled up for the cold. And while it's clear the androids have some degree of "strategic padding" (ahem), still, oof.

And, I dunno, the brief glimpses of the creatures are giving off distinct goblin vibes, for better or worse.

And yeah, porpoise, when they were analyzing the nut bundle with the trace fractions of *mumblety mumble poison*, I was thinking.. So, like apples? Or any number of other nuts and seeds that require preparation before consumption? How did they choose this planet, anyway? Is it just a fucked up touchdown that landed the both of them in some barely livable high steppes?
posted by Kyol at 8:50 AM on September 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

i like it. though...

why don't they know how to just leech out the tannins or whatever?
why does the necromancer have a navel?
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:28 PM on September 15, 2020

I think there are four Mother and Father latex suits. The suit used by the actor depends on where the camera is. There's a suit with a velcro closure on the back for front shots, one on the left for right side shots, etc. They look like they were dipped in vat of Rust-oleum Grip Dip.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:41 PM on September 15, 2020

The fourth episode was exactly the kind of wheel spinning bullshit I hate, and I'm turning on this show with the mystery stuff. Also kind of mystified by them finding a second wreck that somehow has another D12 with milk beside it, so much like the first wreck site, and where things are doesn't feel like it makes any sense.

But a giant dodecahedron in the desert is my aesthetic so okay. Fifth ep was better I guess but the voice of Sol and the ninja map maker character is just.. not promising.

The food stuff seems to have gone to really dumb place and I don't see a redeeming escape. Can you really not process any of the fucking food? Can you not cut the pit out of a space yam before it ruins it? Did Mother and Father really not check stuff on the trees just because it was high up? JFC.
posted by fleacircus at 11:15 PM on September 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hello from the far side of Episode 8. Pretty sure this batshit bonkers pastiche of a series was written by GPT-3.
posted by gwint at 6:35 PM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

Are we supposed to think that Marcus is part android because of that last shot? And what, again, the hell is with Paul?
posted by Countess Elena at 8:24 PM on September 24, 2020

Watching the penultimate ep (of season 1?) and this is indeed mad bonkers.

So, yeah, it seems like a HAL9000 programming bug (subroutine conflicts) and some mystical/ philosophical stuff mixed with biological imperative in an android gynoid.

But the show is so goddamn visually and artistically beautiful. Before my time, but I'm getting strong 70's psychedelic Michael Moorcock and 'Heavy Metal' vibes.

Me likee.

Bit (pleasantly) surprised by the character development of the captured children. Rather (pleasantly) surprised at Father's development.

Travis Fimmel is pretty damned disappointing in his role of Travis Fimmel. Amanda Collin and Niamh Algar are absolutely standout though. The former does not-human and the later does humanistic to the hilts. The chemistry between them is unblievable!

"I'm a doctor, not a mechanic."

Tempest (Jordan Loughran) is an incredibly difficult role to play. Especially when that role is predicate on the Necromancer tapping your rapist genetic assaulter's blood to feed/ gestate a whatever ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ cyber-teratoma of their own.

... and we get confirmation that this is an alternate timeline where Remus/ Romulus Mithraicism did a Christianity and the Holy Roman Empire persisted better than just a Vatican. Odd that it became an Atheist vs. Mithraicism rather than Mithraicism vs. all-kinds-of-"Eastern Philosophies" and Islamic (and Christian) and "pagan" religions.

Yet the ethnicity phenotypes of the actors are deliberately varied (as opposed to mixed/ not-present). As a visible minority immigrant as a child into a country that was much more homogeneous than now, where I look like one of the now major visible minority, who has 90% dated outside of their visible minority in the past...
posted by porpoise at 9:00 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Marcus is part android because of that last shot?

You've got me. I read it as the eye being damaged in Marcus's mouth, but that doesn't make a lot of sense unless "androids are made of milk" holds - and that android parts are as durable as the plot requires them to be.
posted by porpoise at 9:02 PM on September 24, 2020

Oh, ok! I thought it was the Sol pendant that got crammed into his mouth. To be honest I was half covering my own eyes because I get squeamish about watching close facial trauma.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:11 PM on September 24, 2020

Yeah, the opener to ep9 definitely got me looking away.
posted by porpoise at 9:24 PM on September 24, 2020

Despite my earlier optimism I think that logic has now not only left the building but is hailing a taxi.

It's looking increasingly like all of the unexplained weird shit, including the magic necromancer biology, is Because Of Ancient Aliens, so... OK, I guess. It's still very pretty, and I know it was filmed pretty close to where I live. And I'm glad that Father is back!
posted by confluency at 1:11 PM on September 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

This show is very bad hahaha.

It was nice to have Father back. Also kinda glad we're finally away from the farm location. Also, a D12 with a gargoyle head looking like an Atari 2600 duck dragon slash BB8- I appreciate that kind of nonsense.

Amanda Collin's ability to carry a scene with a buzzcut and a rubber suit continues to be so amazing.

If you told me this show was by the JJ Abrams crew with its bullshit mysteries and magic fluids everywhere, I would believe it. Reversing the blood into the bucket head guy to make him superhuman is like liberatingly stupid lol. (Also didn't they say he couldn't see out of the bucket? He can, apparently, but it's robo-vision?)

I like the devil voice telling Paul a) "please destroy all these magic metal cards; I suddenly realized what a plot debt they are" and b) "tell Campion i'm not evil btw, just tell him that."
posted by fleacircus at 11:53 PM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

This is bonkers. It’s all the tropes with none of the motivations! What are people doing and where are they going? Nobody asks questions or cares about survival. These all must be things of a long forgotten past.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:08 AM on September 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, what is it trying to say about anything? Other than mothering instincts and making babies.

If I see one more thing with barren women who feel less-than contrasted against unconsenting pregnant women I’m going to barf robot milk forever.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:18 AM on September 26, 2020 [8 favorites]

If I see one more thing with barren women who feel less-than contrasted against unconsenting pregnant women I’m going to barf robot milk forever.

Urgh, yes. I would very much like this and many other pregnancy-adjacent tropes to die in a fire.
posted by confluency at 12:23 AM on September 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm guessing one of the themes they are going for is: In this alternative history, the Roman Empire is still around but there is no Christianity because Jesus was never born? So now we're having a virgin birth via android? I mean, she has dream sex with her sort of god in a short of church even?

There have been a bunch of laugh out loud moments in the second half of this season but the reverse blood transfusion that created Super Buckethead was definitely the biggest.

Just found out the series has been renewed for a second season! It must be inexpensive to produce, compared to most HBO shows.
posted by gwint at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2020

Super Buckethead was unintentionally hilarious. I did appreciate that his head just got squished by the bucket and we never got a Dramatic Face Reveal of some cool character actor (I just looked it up, and apparently it was two dudes. Maybe one guy to do the voice and one to run around with a bucket on his head).

It has sadly become clear that Travis Fimmel's acting range consists of 1) a really weird guy and 2) the same guy, but under the influence of either drugs or divine visions or both. I thought I was kidding when I called this show "Ragnar Lothbrok in spaaaaace" after seeing the trailer, but I guess I wasn't.

I really really hope this isn't all leading towards a Jesus allegory. It totally is, isn't it?

This show is terrible and I love it; I will definitely watch a second season.
posted by confluency at 1:52 PM on September 26, 2020

Also: I found the subreddit, and through the subreddit a quote from the official site for the show (which I can't actually see because it's region-locked!) which confirms that the Mithraic religion is a recent development. This explains e.g. Mary / Sue shouting "Jesus Christ!" a few episodes ago, which would have been a weird plot hole if the alternative history theory were correct. (I did like the alternative history theory, though.)
posted by confluency at 2:12 PM on September 26, 2020

Sue shouting "Jesus Christ!" a few episodes ago

posted by gwint at 3:57 PM on September 26, 2020

This explains e.g. Mary / Sue shouting "Jesus Christ!" a few episodes ago

What are the odds they are retconning to explain away a spontaneous outburst for a take that they needed and couldn't reshoot?
posted by ishmael at 4:43 PM on September 26, 2020

I really really hope this isn't all leading towards a Jesus allegory. It totally is, isn't it?

I'm just glad they aren't doing cute music choices at the end credits bc I fear they'd do "Monkey Gone to Heaven" for the "If man is 5" part.
posted by fleacircus at 5:55 PM on September 26, 2020

Apparently, there's a comic book prequel [cbr.com] to 'Raised by Wolves' that explains more about Sol.

Something something fifth element force or something.
posted by porpoise at 11:42 AM on September 27, 2020

I'm all caught up and ready for the last episode. Like many folks here I'm liking the show and also finding the plot ridiculous. There is a sort of nice internal rhyming as tropes are visited and revisited but the actual day to day mechanics make no sense. (My #1 question: where are they getting drinking water?!) But I think they've got the story coherently plotted out enough that the final episode will be fun and satisfying and leave plenty of room for a second season. The big question is whether they'll actually show the Magic Alien Baby or hold it for a big cliffhanger a la the original V.

Speaking of TV references I keep thinking back to Earth 2 when watching this. All the weirdness on the planet; the holes, the dungeonmaster's dice, the whispers and resurrections.. Earth 2 had that same feeling of planetary mystery.

The other reference that's inescapable here is Alien and Scott's lifelong obsession with pregnancy as alien phenomenon. It feels kind of tired here and just on the edge of misogynistic. Really it makes me wish that someone would pick up Octavia Butler for a prestige TV treatment. Parable of the Sower is the obvious one to adapt but its' pretty time. Give me the Xenogenesis series as TV if you want some really creepy alien pregnancy metaphors.

Really it's Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim's acting that keeps me going back to the show. Mother is somehow more Tilda than Tilda herself, and then with the depth to switch back to vulnerable maternal figure when needed. And Salim is the perfect foil as Father providing much needed levity and laughable earnestness. They are the center of the show and they are terrific.

Bonus link: Wikipedia on Mithraism, which is way better than the average Wikipedia article. I had no idea how fully developed Mithraism was, particularly the detailed symbology of its bull slaying set piece (Tauroctony). AFAICT absolutely none of this historical detail is used in the TV show, the iconography seems to be made up or generic Roman with bits of Sol Invictus scattered throughout.
posted by Nelson at 11:08 AM on September 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


That's quite possibly the most comprehensively jumped shark I can ever recall seeing in a TV series. Including the one that originated that trope.

This show is terrible and I love it; I will definitely watch a second season.

I concur.
posted by flabdablet at 10:24 AM on October 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Paul: You're not my mom!

Sue: How could he possibly know that?

me: Forget it, Sue, it's Ridleytown.

I will also watch another season of this glorious hot mess.
posted by ishmael at 2:40 PM on October 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

Also, what's the new term? Puking a snake? "That show really puked the snake".
posted by ishmael at 2:44 PM on October 1, 2020 [11 favorites]

Is it just me or is the CGI of Mother's flying necromancer form really, really poorly done?

It doesn't help that she's t-posing like a Bethesda NPC that suddenly believes it's a sweet roll.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:35 PM on October 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was starting to wonder what was _left_ for a second season, but they nicely just added some random bullshit in the last 15 minutes, didn't they.

Whuf. That was a thing. Of course I'll tune in next year, but god only knows why. It wasn't ... bad? But it sure wasn't good, either.
posted by Kyol at 5:41 PM on October 1, 2020

Ha! I just realized her name was "Mary/Sue"!
posted by ishmael at 5:58 PM on October 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well, that was all a bit crazy pants.
posted by porpoise at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2020

confluency: it was filmed pretty close to where I live.

Hey, I was wondering about those weird looking trees near the original settlement. Are they real? Or just set dressing?
posted by Tom-B at 7:44 PM on October 1, 2020

Well that certainly delivered on the bonkers. I mean, I thought to myself "As long as it doesn't end up being a xenomorph, this show can't get worse" I was... mistaken.
posted by gwint at 8:16 PM on October 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yes, they're real! I think they're quiver trees. They're not endemic to this part of South Africa (apparently their natural habitat is the Northern Cape -- the series was filmed on a wine farm in the Western Cape). I'm guessing that there were some existing specimens which had previously been planted in the area for decoration.

I've read that the owners of the farm liked the spiral plant arrangements so much that they asked to keep them after filming completed, so I'm hoping that I will someday be able to see them in person.
posted by confluency at 3:10 AM on October 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Post-finale comment: I don't know WTF I just watched, but at least it definitely wasn't Space Jesus, so I can't say that I'm disappointed.

(They flew... through an entire planet? The core, and everything? And out of the other side? Does anyone on this writing team understand scale, or how planets work, or anything? I know this is a small thing to get hung up on in a show with a levitating murder robot and space arks and magic head voices, but come on!)
posted by confluency at 5:00 AM on October 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, that was pretty much American sci-fi television at its "best" in a nutshell—promising, visually interesting, compelling…then ran out of ideas early and crashed with airtime left to fill, so…magical flying snakes, more Ridley pregnancy pervishness, magical spacepod, endless robot arranged marriage bickering, more fucking magical Paul nonsense, and so.many.TERF.bangs.

Just glad we started watching Lovecraft Country while we were shelling out the bucks for HBO Max, or I'd be bitter about that $13 right about now. Definitely not inclined to pay for it next go-round, with a fresh second ark full of religious nits to deal with parked in orbit and that horrendous actor playing Marcus Whatever, Esquire gnawing the scenery.

Sigh. I want a spinoff with just Mother, Father, and Campion as a sitcom.
posted by sonascope at 6:19 AM on October 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Finished watching the whole thing, some random observations:

The show is at its best while the scope remains narrow. The relationships are interesting. Just an intimate story about survival, faith and family. When the first few Mithraists arrive and tell they're interested in the land, it could become a small-scale space Western, enough conflict there for a whole series, no need add on more stuff.

I like the commentary on colonization. When the Mithraists take over the settlement, the first thing they do is to build a church; strong Jesuit vibe there. Their aesthetic and priestly haircuts are spot-on. It recalls stories of the colonization of South America, religious zealots going crazy in the wilderness. I'd like to see more of this angle.

I love the levitating murder bot. Sci-fi these days lacks imagination, unable to conjure something different. At last, here's some technology indistiguishable from magic, worthy of Jodorowsky. When she has to take off her eyes it's brilliant, straight out of Greek myth. But the war flashback is disappointing, a vision of the future still stuck in Dubai. WW1, but with medieval helmets? People still using guns? I want to see non-phallic weapons, how about, say, handheld spheres, or small parabollic emitters? Devastating weapons with novel weak spots to be creatively exploited. But it's always guns. Yawn.

The pregnancy stuff is off-putting, conception as a holy and mysterious thing, the "sacred feminine" seen through a twisted male lens. Blade Runner 2049 was a bit like that too.

Puking the snake is definitely the new jumping the shark. FWIW Lamia, the name Mother gives herself, is associated with snakes in Greek mythology. That doesn't make it less stupid.

All the rest of the "mystery box" stuff that was tacked on seem pretty obvious. The "native" neandertal skull, the devolved creatures. It's gotta be time travel. There's gotta be an apocalyptic final battle that makes all the holes in the planet. The colonists are hurled back in time and become the creatures. Somehow they become telepathic. About the snake, I dunno, it just seems like some Prometheus-level bullshit at this point.

But despite all of its flaws, I still like it. Curious to see what happens next season.
posted by Tom-B at 8:06 AM on October 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

I love the levitating murder bot

Me too. I suspect that the folks saying its CGI is rubbish are probably missing the callback to Metropolis.
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 AM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

They flew... through an entire planet? The core, and everything? And out of the other side? Does anyone on this writing team understand scale, or how planets work, or anything?

exit point needed more rickshaws
posted by flabdablet at 9:18 AM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Wow the finale was just terrible. Like insultingly bad. She gave birth to a flying penis worm with a leech mouth? And this being Ridley Scott, of course this birth has to be through her mouth. I did love the bit where Father is all practical and "we can throw it down the pit." "No, we can't, it flies". D'oh!

But it wasn't just the big climax that was stupid. It was everything about this episode. Little Paul turning all Alia on us? Shooting Mary / Sue so we don't know whether her contract gets renewed? Campion shouting over and over again in the unexplained British accent? The... whatever that was with Travis Fimmel? Maybe swallowing Necromancer eyeball gives you your life back, but only at the cost of bulging forehead veins? A freakin Neanderthal skull? Really? Just all awful and stupid.

I'm hurredly warning my friends I previously recommended this show to. OTOH, yeah, I'll watch a second season if they get some compelling writing. The double-barred cross logo on the new spaceship was a nice hook.

Bonus link: younger Fimmel was delicious as a Calvin Klein model.
posted by Nelson at 3:43 PM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


It started off really well for me and now it's gone all... bumpy and problematic.
I think Mother and Father are cool as they started off being different androids that what I was used to seeing. I thought the "floating murder-bot" was kind of fun. Father was a good amalgamation of traditional fatherly values, about what I expected from a 'droid with limited programming. I liked the colour palette at first, as I thought that when there was going to be colours that they'd really be dramatic. hmm.
Then Father has angry and jealous feelings? He has to make a little stick-figure diagram on the ground to figure out what to do?
A floating murder-bot that was reprogrammed in to a Mom (neat idea! Floating Murder-Mom!) was also outfitted with a womb that is able to birth an alien floating leech, but that womb never shows up in diagnostic scans?

In the future, no one needs to drink water.

The Mithraicism was mention upthread a bit, and Sol seems to be the main deity that everyone believes in, which is weird enough that it still bugs me that people are walking around expecting their god to put in an appearance just around the next corner. That ship at the end has a Cross of Lorraine variant on it which, coupled with Mary/Sue's exclamation of "Jesus Christ", leads me to believe that the so-called "atheists" might actually be Christians, and no one actually knows the actual definition of atheism for some reason.

I really needed to know what the source of the Voices was. I needed to know how the frickin' mouse came back from the planet's core. Between the Voices and the weird manifestations of the dead people (and mouse), it just gave too much fodder for the "Poor Communication Kills" trope. I can't recall how many people, including Father, saw and heard strange things and decided to just not tell anyone.

The symbolism ended up being heavy-handed and blah (egg and sperm, serpent and garden, Mother and Father). From the shot composition, they appeared to pass through the core and arrive on the far side of the planet. How do they get back? What does the giant leech eat when there are no huge herbivores? How does it fly? How does evolution work in reverse?

I'll probably watch season 2 for answers, and also because Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim are really great to watch, though I'll be super-disappointed if the whole religion thing doesn't end up with the mouse being revealed as Lucifer.
posted by Zack_Replica at 6:16 PM on October 2, 2020 [6 favorites]

So... the title sequence and opening theme song are captivating and wonderful. And that’s the extent of anything good I have to say about this show.
posted by Auden at 7:17 PM on October 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Aw, geeze. Can't believe I hadn't thought about that.

Why the heck would Sol (the God/ the star that Earth orbits) be hanging out at the star system Keppler 22b (or whatever)?
posted by porpoise at 8:36 PM on October 2, 2020

She gave birth to a flying penis worm with a leech mouth?

They're still not sure it is a baby.
posted by flabdablet at 11:40 PM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Why the heck would Sol (the God/ the star that Earth orbits) be hanging out at the star system Keppler 22b (or whatever)?

Because wormholes.
posted by flabdablet at 11:48 PM on October 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I hope I don't watch season two of this.

I admit I was looking down at my laptop more than up at the screen during this, but I guess Kepler 22B is like Eden and this is some kind of reverse fall stuff? Like, the tropical zone is great but there's something trying to mind-control people to stay the fuck away from it.. "Sol" is some Devil being that wants to get all up in Eden, so it wants people to come here and have babies and they "devolve" and produce some snakes but the snakes all fail to get into the Edenic tropical zone and leave their bones around. Maybe Sol keeps harvesting Earth or other planets to get people here to fuck with and this last time is for all the marbles

I don't really get why Paul tried to sabotage the whistle shuttle, AND was very pro snake-baby. Was he trying to keep them around the special birthing zone? There really wasn't any chance of them leaving; Mother was pretty adamant. And the shuttle proved instrumental in getting the sperm snake back into the tropical zone.. so I guess that was just a happy accident?? Is the snake flying around thinking, "WHAT?! I thought I was dead! HHAHA shit I should have tried that shuttle thing years ago!!!"

I wonder if this is an iteration on Prometheus, which had the idea of a beacon world with a symbolically significant journey there, perhaps a return to where humanity's seed is kept, but then it wasn't very special; it was just a weapons dump. So now Kepler 22B is a beacon/seed world, but it's timey wimey and when you get there there's more to do than explore a shitty dungeon and get betrayed by robots; there's a wilderness hex crawl with mind controlling devil ghosts and base building minigames and big D12s with fiery anuses and stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 2:48 AM on October 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

The idea that this show becomes part of Alien-universe canon is depressing to me, a guy who owns a Weyland-Yutani logo t-shirt.
posted by gwint at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Forgot to mention: did anyone notice that the flying snake has the same face as the creatures? So: snake mates with devolved humans, gives birth to hybrid creatures who are telepathic and able to induce visions in others, an apocalyptic battle makes all the holes in the planet, everyone is hurled back in time by the apocalypse, the arrival of the androids becomes the prophecy that we briefly see drawn in the cave. Season 2 in a nutshell.
posted by Tom-B at 9:12 AM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

The worm grows into giant flying snake by huffing planet core vibes? (also flying just because it's cool?)

So tired of the trend of hand-wavy mystical-bs SF (huffs off, still angry at BSG)
(and i say this as someone who loves me some mysticism)

Hope the atheists show up, kill off all the Mithraics and party down with the snake gods.
posted by kokaku at 2:19 PM on October 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

*tunes in the show* Wow... compelling.

*three or four episodes in* Hmmm..... *rolls eyes*

*last episode* Oh, for fukssakes...

This show kind of feels like a bigger budget, boneheaded version of Land of the Lost. With kids that are far more annoying.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:57 PM on October 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Half the writers room was writing a remake of Lost in Space and the other half was doing a remake of LOST in space.
posted by condour75 at 8:37 PM on October 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

I really wanted to like this, and...generally I do. The whole idea of planet-level weirdness makes me think of Solaris. Very much liked Mother and Father. The group of kids took some time to gel for me, but worked for me by the last episode. Not a huge fan of the Marcus character at all, though I think it's the actor. Just not sold at all; there's zero range here as I think someone note above. Haven't watched Vikings, so I dunno.

As the birth scene was getting closer, we looked at each other and said "what, maybe a C-section" but lol no.

Random thoughts: So, where are all the bugs? And who was doing parkour in the map cave? How is Marcus still alive? He almost certainly had a TBI, then walked untold miles but was still spry enough to beat 3 armed dudes without much trouble? Maybe all is made clear in Season 2, which I will certainly watch. But yeah, I'm definitely on the "this was a glorious hot mess" train.
posted by jquinby at 1:30 PM on October 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I made it about halfway through the second episode before bailing out, and looking at the comments above I think I made the right choice. I did think that Amanda Collin was doing good work; I'll hope to see her in something a little less WTF in the future.
posted by Zonker at 6:06 AM on October 31, 2020

I will give the show two concessions: First, I love the opening theme and would watch a 20 minute version. Second, FTL implies breaking causality, so if you're willing to give the show FTL you also have to give it time travel. The crash of the Ark with its FTL engine is an explanation for all kinds of non-causal weirdness that the colony never noticed before.

I loved the first few episodes, though it was clear it was about to get shlocky when the first episode concludes with an invincible superweapon. About 4-5 episodes in I wondered "am I getting Scott'd? Is this going anywhere?" The final 3 episodes could not have made it any clearer that nobody involved in the show has a plan. Lots of beautiful weird shots, weird incongruent symbols, a plot that would work better while on massive amounts of drugs.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:46 PM on November 27, 2020

‘Raised by Wolves’ Finale Explained by Showrunner (Collider.com)
posted by D.Billy at 7:41 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

For me that explanation makes things worse, not better.

I know this is 2021 and I know this is the era of production teams making shit up as they go along for the sake of cranking out multiple seasons of that sausage but I'm the kind of old-fashioned curmudgeon who vastly prefers his authors to have a well-conceived idea of where they're trying to head and what they want to say from the get-go.

If I want to watch sausages being made I can just go to YouTube.
posted by flabdablet at 5:45 AM on October 26, 2021

Mother needs special eyeballs to be a murder robot.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think hat sentence is likely to stick in my mind for a while.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:09 PM on April 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's right up there with "By the time I got home, Grandmother had eaten almost all the porcupines."
posted by flabdablet at 7:55 PM on April 2, 2022

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