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 (32 comments total) 6 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


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 [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


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 [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 [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


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 [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


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


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 [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


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


Fanfare: Keep your eyes closed children, I'm weaponized.
posted by gwint at 8:34 PM on September 10 [3 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 [2 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 [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


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


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


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 [1 favorite]


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 [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


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 [3 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 [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


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 [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


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


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


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 [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


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


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 [2 favorites]


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