Thursday, March 3, 2022

REVIEW: 'Raised by Wolves' - Tempest's Labor Creates the Perfect Distraction for Sue to Scheme with Marcus and Paul in 'The Tree'

HBO Max's Raised by Wolves - Episode 2.06 "The Tree"

While Mother is distracted by the imminent birth of Tempest's baby, Sue and Paul make plans to free Marcus and plant the tree - but are met with a horrifying discovery.

"The Tree" was written by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Alex Gabassi

The civilization on Kepler-22b may have looked to Earth as their second chance to get things right. Humanity was destroyed on this planet. They needed to go elsewhere to survive. It could be a fresh start that wouldn't be bogged down by the mysteries that ruined this place. And yet, the Mithraic text made the voyage as well. That allowed a sect to grow prosperous there too. It was built as a religion. It may be a different experience altogether on 22b. This planet has more landmarks that connect with the literal text. The devout are willing to see those connections. They build on it instead of simply letting their faith inform their behavior. They see a higher calling. A mission that propels them to salvation. They have to believe in order to be offered that greatness. It's enough to corrupt their souls in quick order. Sue didn't believe. She resorted to prayer to save Paul's life. She was gifted with an answer. The Signal spoke to her. This entire family has been touched by the voices that echo throughout this planet. They can even reach the tropical zone. No place is safe from that influence. It all seems like a manipulation of people at their most vulnerable. Sue needed to save Paul. And now, she is a true believer. She is tasked with a mission. One that is deeply connected to all the mysteries that have already occurred. The connections are thin. They are daunting. One relic of the former civilization is given more importance than the rest. It's what Sue needs to unlock. In doing so, she causes pain and turmoil for Seven. That connection is apparent. Not even Campion can calm the creature. It takes a lullaby to open the box. Brute force doesn't work. Sue is given that opportunity. As a result, she receives the gifts bestowed within. A seed buries its way into her and begins a feral transformation. It's one that results in a tree. She stands tall and prosperous. Marcus eats from it while Paul calls out for his mother. No response is heard. She may have had to give herself to the cause. She wanted this to happen. She knew when Mother would be distracted. That made it easy for her to break Marcus out of prison and run away with Paul. They are a family once more. They can believe in that concept together. They are no longer enemies determined to destroy the other for what they have become. They are united. It might come with a cost. However, the show is rather tentative when it comes to anyone truly dying along the way.

Great challenges reveal who these characters are. That's the lesson Mother passes along to Tempest the day she is set to give birth. She wants the other children to be there to keep her committed to this path. She can't turn away and regress without it also harming the baby. She needs protection. Tempest is determined to do things her way. She is terrified of this child. She doesn't want to be its mother. She doesn't want to look at it. She's sickened by Mother's insistence that everything will change once she sees her child. It's such a condescending perspective. And yet, that's exactly what occurs when Tempest gives birth out in the wild. It's a sequence meant to test her and prove her strength. It's a journey. One that results in her being strong and compassionate enough to embrace this child. It's grueling. It's something she undertook to reveal her true self. She needed to see that herself. She didn't need others telling her how much she has grown in Mother's care. Everything has seemed so stable. Nothing has changed. Everything has though. That's a complicated narrative dynamic. One where the character has to feel stationary even when massive things are happening. Plus, it has to allow room for things to get really weird too. As soon as Tempest gives birth, she loses her baby. It's a tragedy. Her child is taken from her by a sea creature. No one makes it to her in time. As such, she is devastated by this profound loss. It too will shape her. These experiences will forge an identity. That's what Mother wants for all her children. She can't protect them all the time. She knows when to be more skeptical of her surroundings. She knows Father and Campion are too trusting when it comes to the sudden existence of Grandmother. Father grew her in his lab. She saved Campion's life. And yet, mysteries loom throughout her code. It doesn't make any sense. It simply further aligns the connection between the civilization of the past and the new colony that has started to grow. Mother has a vision of the future. She is determined to make it a reality. Campion must obey her orders. In doing so, he may not obtain an identity all his own. She is a caretaker by nature. She loves all her children equally. That remains true despite how often they go against her wishes. She offers unconditional love and support. She wants them to be perfect. She fondly remembers the past. She worries that makes her too sentimental. No one would ever say that about Mother. She doubts her ways though. That's enough to ensure more trauma persists in this strange, unnerving world.