In season one of Raised By Wolves, we learned the influence of the Mithraic god, Sol, whose teaching and implied messages were filtered through the minds of human men who then twisted them into meaning whatever best suited their needs, as all religion can be made to do. In season two, we’re seeing how that very practice is put into play by the opposing side, the atheists, who claim not to be governed by faith but by the cold, steely reason of a machine; although putting trust in a machine is just another version of putting faith in something you have no real control over. A person can push and pull the levers. Throw the switches. But outside forces still intervene. Just like a person presses play on their defense mechanisms when they’re threatened or when their feelings are hurt, a machine is hardwired to protect its functionality at all costs. Whether we have other plans or not. The atheists think they are free from the unpredictability of faith in a higher power, but we will soon see where the pieces fall when the Trust, the quantum computer made by Campion Sturges to guide them, goes into overdrive to maintain its glitchy sovereignty.
The idea that machines and computers are easier to trust because they don’t factor in their own interests is further challenged by Mother’s new outlook on life following the birth of No. 7, the huge indigenous flying reptile prone to acting out like the cranky baby it is. Mother, who goes by Lamia to anyone other than her “family,” has been exhibiting more and more human characteristics that go well beyond her programming. She’s been lying, withholding the truth about No. 7 along with her newly appointed position as a punisher for the atheist colony. And she struggles against the impulse to protect No. 7, even though she knows she’s the best suited to kill it.
The first we see of No. 7, it’s four times the size it was at the end of season one, and we’re tipped off to just how fast it grows by the massive shed skins strewn around various parts of the tropical zone. In the first episode, Campion discovered a nest of eggs while out scavenging with Paul and decided to keep one, hoping to hatch it into a pet. His own inner beliefs led him to fess up to Mother about his finding, and she told him to take the egg back to its nest because it wouldn’t be able to hatch without its mother. When Campion attempts to place it back in the nest he found it in, he slips against the tree he’s climbing, which we’re being led to think is the “tree of life” referenced in Mithraic scripture, and the egg breaks. When this happens, the maker of the egg is alerted to a problem, and we see that this is no bird egg but the egg of No. 7. Babies having babies. It’s a tough life out in these sandy streets. All in all, not a picturesque way to meet your newest family member for the first time, but the seeds of an emotional bond are planted all the same.
When No. 7 slowly approaches Campion, we don’t see any hostility or urge to attack, which seems unusual for a huge flying serpent. Instead, what registers in its eyes is more like a gentle curiosity and a desire to communicate, which Campion later expresses feeling emanating from the creature. Not yet knowing that this beast is his sibling, he already vows to protect it from the rest of the colony, which has set out to destroy it after it pulls a few of their members, one of which was a child, into the acid water.
Just as Campion and No. 7 find their way toward each other in this new temperate locale, Paul and Marcus are on similar separate paths leading to the same place. Marcus’s immediate desire to form a new family unit with Decima (Kim Engelbrecht) and the droid daughter Vrille (Morgan Santo), who she created in the likeness of her dead human child, puts them into close proximity to Paul and Campion as they’re scavenging for resources. When Vrille gets shot by a tanker of atheist soldiers while playing with a baby bird, she gets separated from Decima and Marcus and comes upon Paul and Campion, who she requests help from. Paul, who kind of sucks, tries to ditch her, shrugging her off as being only a droid, but Campion is compelled to help. It’s interesting to see how Paul, raised as a religious Mithraic, is so much less compassionate than Campion, who remains an atheist with his own unique, and more genuine, blend of spiritualism.
Now that Vrille is under the care of Campion, it will only be a matter of time before Marcus catches up to them and finds his way to Mother, Father, and the rest of the clan. When he eventually makes his way to their colony, he’ll also come to find that the surviving Mithraics he conned in season one are being held captive there, which will make for an uneasy and, most likely, violent reunion. He’ll also be called to make heads or tails of the juxtaposition of his true atheist self, living in a colony of his original peers, and the Mithraic façade that he’s been wearing like a literal mask for so long. His cult-leadery ability to use airy faerie scripture nonsense to manipulate people into doing what he wants them to sends a strong message against the type of organized religion that led to the wars that destroyed Earth. If Marcus converts these atheists like he intends to, it probably won’t be long until their newfound paradise dissolves into similar tumult.
Marcus has been drinking his own Flavor Aid for too long, and he’s getting better and better at bending people’s ears to his phony bologna. He’s well on his way to converting an atheist soldier, the very one who was sentenced to punishment by Mother for being discovered as the one who burnt the Sol symbol into the ground in front of their dwelling. And he’s been living a lie for so long that he momentarily forgets that his new companion, Decima, isn’t a medic like his estranged former partner Sue was. The added influence of having swallowed one of Mother’s necromancer eyeballs at the end of season one probably isn’t helping matters much as his memories and emotions bend and twist from one moment to the next, leaving him with a lofty and combustible sense of who he is and what his purpose should be. Will being around so many atheists, for the first time in a long time, help him revert to his true self? Or has his mask fused so well that it’s past the point of removal?
Eggs in a Basket
• We’re told in this episode that “The Trust has a zero policy for violence,” but the level of punishment put into action against anyone who disobeys seems to pretty strongly go against that philosophy.
• Where are these people getting cigarettes from? I can’t imagine how nice it would be to smoke a cig during stressful times like these. Good for them.
• I cried and then laughed at myself for crying when Mother started lactating after hearing No. 7 cry out while flying away. It was equally sad when she asked to have her milk ducts sealed up.
• Marcus thinking that No. 7 is the sword he needs to master in order to gain access to the tree of life will hopefully lead to a pretty exciting fight scene.