Thursday, September 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Raised by Wolves' - Campion Guides the New Mithraic Children Through the Settlement in 'Pentagram'

HBO Max's Raised by Wolves - Episode 1.02 "Pentagram"

After a confrontation with Marcus, Mother discovers and takes five Mithraic children (Hunter, Tempest, Paul, Holly and Vita) back to her settlement. While Mother, Father and Campion adjust to living with a new group of Earth-born children, Marcus struggles to survive alone on Kepler-22b.

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 next episode of HBO Max's Raised by Wolves.

"Pentagram" was written by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Ridley Scott

Marcus and Sue are actually imposters. They had their faces significantly altered so they could gain entry to the ship leaving Earth. They understood that the war was destroying the planet. It was devastating. They relied on androids to provide this miracle option to them as well. Even a damaged android had the ability to perform this procedure. It's invasive. Moreover, it completely reshapes their identity as a family. When posing as this new couple, they take on a son too. Marcus and Sue have to care for Paul even though they are going through the motions of what this religion actually is. Marcus was positioned in the premiere as a knight for the Mithraic. He was in charge as first contact was made with Mother and Campion. He is the sole survivor of that encounter as well. His fellow soldiers were quickly killed by this adversary. The support ship in space was brought down by Mother too. That highlighted the reserves of power and destruction that were programmed deep within her. People understand that they should fear her because of all that she is capable of doing. It's inferred that all of these abilities extend from her eyes. When she no longer has them in, then she isn't as dangerous. That makes them a valuable item. If someone knows where they are, then they have the potential to make a serious difference on the settlement. Mother needs them in order to feel powerful. She needs Father to respect the actions that she made. She did them in direct conflict with him. He was killed as a result of her belief that a different solution to their situation had to occur. She is able to revive him though. This family unit is being rebuilt on Kepler-22b. Just like Marcus and Sue, Mother and Father have taken in a new group of children. They have replaced the old ones with the new. Mother even suggests that it's important to discard the memories of the original generation of children under their care. It's more important to focus on the present day. It will be much more difficult because these children have a firm set of beliefs and connection to the Mithraic teachings. They have faith. They pray for strength and protection. They are terrified of her. They have every reason to be as well. They even suggest that Mother is responsible for all the previous children dying. Campion has been saved so far because he had a strong connection with her. That may not last forever though. He has his doubts. He deliberately takes her eyes away. When danger strikes the settlement once more, Father supports Mother. He is more than the android programmed to tell jokes all the time. He is capable of nurturing children when they need it. However, he demands Campion support Mother's wishes as well. He is denied any sense of agency in that moment. These children are vulnerable and need proper guidance to form productive lives. Right now, they are casualties of a war that they may not even fully understand. Campion is receiving a new perspective on life because of these new additions to his family. Tempest is terrified because she is pregnant as a result of rape. Mother senses that and offers additional protections to her. This planet is still a terrifying place to live though. Mother and Father don't have all the answers. Sure, the sudden addition of animals on this planet is odd. It doesn't immediately make sense. It mostly suggests the viewer should never be too comfortable. It will always be unnerving though because of the young children involved. They are impressionable. They are constantly thrown into danger. That makes things intense. But the audience needs to have an emotional connection to the story as well. Right now, it's a war of people trying to force their ideologies onto the next generation. It works for some too. The desire to question those narratives is only rarely supported. Father sees the value in that. He still forces Campion to submit though. And so, this narrative may only go so far before it becomes these children needing to do what the androids have been programmed to act instead of having any sense of independence themselves over the start of a new civilization. The religious won't let their beliefs die easily. Mother is harsh towards anyone with a dissenting point-of-view. The battle lines are set. The war has arrived on this planet. Marcus is saved by his friends. They will likely gather once more. These children could be a priority for them. However, the threat from the androids given everything that happened with Earth's destruction is likely to weigh on their souls as well. At what points does a family become real? Marcus and Sue have blended into a narrative that wasn't theirs. Mother and Father are doing the same thing. Does that prove how both sides are destructive in the end? Or does it open up the question about true love and connection despite the flaws of humanity?