Bold and gorgeous, Raised By Wolves Episode 4 takes a big swing and with it a giant leap forward narratively when Marcus takes the reigns.
Split into two storylines, Raised By Wolves Episode 4 is continuing to ramp up the mystery and the moral complexity of the first three episodes. While Mother, Father, and the children are grappling with survival and compassion, Marcus and the Mithraic are struggling with treachery. Distrust and false faith make the group vulnerable when they find themselves freezing to death. The makeshift family in Mother’s camp find themselves at odds over necessity and kindness. Life is harsh on Kelper-22b.
Amanda Collin(Mother) and Abubakar Salim(Father) brilliantly are able to seem more humane than the humans. Both actors are stilted and alien in their mannerisms and behavior, and yet both manage to convey a deep sense of morality. They are more than simple products of their programming, especially in Mother’s case, who is essentially a jailbroke robot slumming it as a nanny before reverting to an unstoppable killing machine. Undoubtedly that is the point. Just like the lines between synth and human blur in Blade Runner, so do they in raised By Wolves regardless of appearance.
Father’s insecurity about his place in the family is something most fathers can relate to. Gender roles remain firmly enriched. Standard jobs define us. Men are the protector, and women are the nurtures even when you are androids. When he tries to convince Campion to kill the alien, he is doing it out of both necessity and also to feel useful. Just as he can’t escape his human gender norm, neither can Mother. In caring for Tempest she yearns for a child biologically of her own. It is a natural instinct, but it is curious for an android who was repurposed from Necromancy.
Along with essential questions about gender, and sympathy, there were also sweeping hints at what death means in Kepler- 22b. Campion realizes the importance of life, all life. He inherently understands death is permanent. What he doesn’t know is death could be just the beginning on this strange new world. By the episode’s end, Tally has shown herself to Father. She could be a ghost, an intelligent lifeform manipulating the situation, or something even stranger.
These are audacious questions to be asking only four episodes in on an utterly unique science fiction vision. Creator Aaron Guzikowski confidently expects his viewers to keep up and enjoy the ride. So much so he slowed the first episode to a crawl to allow time for the world to be built one grain of sand and one myth at a time.
Is Death The End?
In Raised By Wolves Episode 4 the concept of death is explored from many angles. Father becomes angry with his children because they leave the creature wounded when they tried to kill him. Father doesn’t want the beast to suffer even though he knows his death is necessary for his children’s survival. He tells the creature to be grateful she is not intelligent because death is unpleasant when you are intelligent. What he means is self-awareness. When Tempest killed the beast and began eating her she realized she was eating a pregnant alien. She feels responsible for the death of the baby just as she is growing one of her own.
Father arrogantly believes the alien is unintelligent, but that is probably wrong. What if the alien they killed was just one type with an entire ecosystem of life on the planet? One of those life forms may be mimicking Tally or may have resurrected her. Tally has now appeared to Father, Paul, and Campion in one way or another. She exists. We just don’t know how true to her original form she is.
What Happened To The Other 6 Babies?
We know Campion’s siblings died of radiation poisoning. The carbo contained enough to kill the children slowly. Tally evidently was spared this slow death when she went missing. A clever bit of writing showed exactly what happened to the six unborn babies and made Campion even more mysterious. In her attempt to help Tempest avoid any more trauma from having to carry and deliver her baby to term, Mother has to remember her painful past. She was programmed to love and protect the children, but her compassion extends beyond Father’s. The sympathy she shows Tempest is interesting. It also serves as an entry point for the other Atheist children’s fate.
How Is Campion Special?
The last surviving child of the twelve who were sent with Mother and Father is both physically and emotionally different from his siblings. He also appears to be different from the Mithraic children who he is living with now. His body can tolerate radiation; no other humans can, and he is preternaturally mature. When his siblings accidentally thawed the last remaining six embryos, he understood, when none of the others did, that they had killed the unborn babies. Campion protected them from the truth because he wanted to spare them the guilt and pain. He was very young and should not have understood what had happened any more than his siblings did.
Campion was always unique from his siblings. Smaller and seemingly weaker, he is the hardiest of the group. What makes him so special? Did he benefit from protective parents, or is his DNA fundamentally different? It could be as simple as a Mother’s love. When he was born, and Mother sang to him, he started breathing. Mother cried tears onto his face. Maybe he was altered by that fluid exchange, and he is now more than human?
What Is The Lullaby Ambrose Recites?
Who Is The Orphan Boy In The Prophecy?
Religion, sci-fi, and prophecies are mainstays of good genre entertainment. Ridley Scott’s muted fever dream is no different. Raised By Wolves Episode 4 told us very little about the prophecy while opening so many possibilities. Many have speculated that Campion is the orphan boy the Mithraic foretell. He is an orphan by human standards and is definitely unusual, but I predict unassuming Paul is the special child of the myth. He is an orphan, and he probably has some secrets to reveal in the weeks to come. Someone has a love for Dune because a prophet named Paul, who has a mouse, is genius. Paul’s Freman name in Dune is Maud’ib, which means desert mouse.
Triads are important for symmetry, and Mother’s telling of the Three Little Pigs may have been a clue there are three prophets, each raised by different parents and with a specific agenda. All three are humans but could be raised by something that presents as something else. The androids look human but are synthetic, although they appear to be evolving more each day. Paul was raised by two people who claim to be his parents but aren’t, and who knows how Tally survived(if she did). All three children are, in essence, raised by wolves in sheep’s clothing. A final completely out there possibility is Marcus himself. He’s not a boy, but he is a male orphan.
What Is The Giant Rock?
Some sort of large rock structure is sporadically radiating heat in the middle of the frozen tundra Marcus, and the other Ark survivors find themselves. Ambrose thinks it is a gift from Sol, while Marcus believes it should be explored for shelter before they all freeze. In a deftly executed plot beat that outed Ambrose’s treachery and promoted Marcus in one brutal move, the mysterious monolith proved humans aren’t the most powerful on Kepler-22b.
When Marcus realized Ambrose was trying to kill him using an earwig and an android, both are taken out quickly. Raised By Wolves Episode 4 killed Ambrosein a fiery death by hot rock. His death raises more questions about what the stone is and if it has a plan. Sue asks Marcus what he heard, and he claims a voice. Has Marcus found Sol? The rock heated up after Ambrose’s death. Was that retaliation for Ambrose wanting to blow up the stone, or is the stone providing heat again because Ambrose was a sacrifice? If that’s the case, how long until it demands another one? Could the stone be a large egg growing one of the massive desert worms that make the huge holes all over the planet?
Are The Androids Breaking Down?
A brief curious comment made back in the Ark’s camp indicated androids malfunction when they are out of range of their siblings. Just like humans, androids fail to perform successfully when they are lonely. Do all androids have siblings? If so, is Mother using the children as surrogate family members circumventing her breakdown? Or are Father and Mother breaking down because they have been without their siblings for all these years? The Mithraic android was accused of malfunctioning, but maybe she was following orders?
Mother and Father think her coding is breaking down, and she is reverting to a Necromancer. It’s likely she awakened the warrior side of herself like any mother would trying to protect her child. She has become highly devoted to Campion. It makes more sense that she is using all her skills to keep Campion and the other children “safe”. It also explains why she enters the sim pod she found in the wreckage. Mother wants to revisit her memories of Campion and the deceased children.
The mythology of Mithra continues to be front and center in Raised By Wolves Episode 4. The split focus episode saw Sue, Marcus, and the other Mithraic survivors having a crisis of faith. Their religious leader Ambrose is a jealous, paranoid man who, unfortunately, got information he is right to be wary of Marcus and Sue. Now that Marcus, an Atheist in disguise, is in charge of the Ark, he can go after Paul and the others. Will the androids and Marcus redefine their alliance from Earth? Catch up on all our Raised By Wolves coverage here. Get a free trial of HBO Max here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.