Thursday, September 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Raised by Wolves' - Mother and Father Land on a New Planet to Begin Raising a Family in 'Raised by Wolves'

HBO Max's Raised by Wolves - Episode 1.01 "Raised by Wolves"

After Earth is rendered uninhabitable, Androids Mother and Father start a new settlement and family with human embryos on the planet Kepler-22b. Twelve years later, only one child, Campion, remains, and the arrival of an Ark of surviving humans called the Mithraic presents a threat that Mother has no choice but to confront.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of HBO Max's Raised by Wolves.

"Raised by Wolves" was written by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Ridley Scott

A planet has been destroyed. Civilization battled over ideologies and essentially sent their remnants fleeing after the destruction occurred. Two androids were sent to a far away planet to restart the human race. They did so to prove that it was perfectly reasonable and acceptable for androids to raise children. That was apparently a controversial topic on Earth. It contributed to the war. It was a battle over science and faith. Those who believed had to uplift the need for human connection above all else. A robot can't accurately portray the bond that comes from a mother or father's love. The technology insists that so many advancements can actually improve the well-being of those who nurture it. Mother and Father are programmed with the core objective of looking out for each other. They are determined to succeed. Their mission seems simple and basic. They know exactly how to operate when they land on this planet. Keeping people alive is incredibly difficult though. It's not long before their next generation of humanity dwindles down to one soul. It's the one who was special from the day he was born. He wasn't breathing but Mother brought life into him once more. That was her core function during the initial days of building this civilization. It's all about populating the known universe. They understand that threats are still out there though. Even these androids carry the baggage from the former world. Those conflicts still define this new planet. It's not a place for civilization to begin anew without the burden and preconceptions of a former world. Instead, it's very much extending the conflicts of one planet to another. The human race hasn't been killed off completely. Mother and Father know it is only a matter of time before the Mithraic arrive on this planet. They ascribe that community as being the malicious beings who destroyed all that was good and noble of the former world. However, Mother and Father still fail in their core objective. It pushes Father to make the argument that it's better for Campion to grow up with his own kind. He can't be abandoned on this planet where absolutely everyone he knows has died. These androids aren't perfect. They fail as well. They break down. They may not be fixed and come back to life. Mother is exhibiting strange behavior. She has incredible abilities. At times, those are used to comfort and connect with the children. At other times, they are absolutely terrifying. It presents as Mother being so much more than that core function. She is more than just the maternal figure tasked with restarting civilization. She may actually be the reason why war spreads to this planet as well. She has programmed beliefs. She has to prevent Campion from being tempted by religious beliefs. She doesn't want that for him. He still questions it though. Because he has been told these stories throughout his life, he wants to understand why he is still made to suffer. His life is defined by death. He comes to realize that Mother may actually provoke that. He doesn't see her kill Father. Nor does he have the time to actually process what that loss actually means. It's only shortly thereafter that he feels compelled to reach out to the arriving Mithraic ship. This settlement is soon greeted by these travelers. They think it's necessary to take Campion away from this unhealthy and impure environment. Mother feels the same way. She has to destroy this threat to this new world. She brings war to this planet by attacking the ship and kidnapping the children. She is saving them from the evil threat of religion. In reality, she is terrorizing her own child. He sees exactly how powerful and lethal she actually is. Marcus and his friends believed it would be easy to take her down because she was already malfunctioning. Campion needed them to promise to fix her too. And yet, she had reserves of power that were crushing instantaneously. It's gruesome and horrifying. This power is so destructive. Mother expresses it believing she is fighting for something larger. She is fighting against the pressure of religion and the need to extend the human race. In the end, she may only solidify those beliefs because the new children come together to pray as they face a strange new world that has taken them captive. That makes for a captivating premiere. One that starts out with a basic, straightforward premise. One that shows almost an absence of emotion as the deaths grow more and more expected and procedural. But it's still a profound expression of power. It's set against the backdrop of a gorgeous and brilliant world. It's insanely creative. That beauty may only mask an inner darkness. People should feel secure in their family units. Campion has been raised to fear. Big aspirations are forced onto him. He remains confused because of how massive the societal shifts constantly are around him as he has to helplessly watch.