Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
A little over a week ago Sci Fi series Raised By Wolves ended its second season and it took the show to new heights (both literally and figuratively). For those unfamiliar with the series the HBO Max series is set in the far future where the Earth has been destroyed by a great war between a religious sect called the Mithraic and an atheist sect. On the mysterious planet of Kepler-22b two androids “Mother” and “Father” that escaped Earth try to protect their human children from dangers old and and.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first season and the new season blew my mind! This review is going to be SPOILER HEAVY so I recommend getting fully caught up before reading on. With that out of the way let’s swap out our eyes, take flight and scream about Season 2 in three slices:
Slice #1 I’m a Believer
I enjoyed Travis Fimmel (Vikings) as Mithraic zealot Marcus in the first season and as his role is expanded in the second season he only rose in my estimation. Marcus has a wild, unstable and potentially dangerous demeanour but it is mixed with a cheeky charm, singular wit and loads of confidence. So it’s no wonder that he is able to start a mini Sol-worshipping cult. I liked his doomed relationship with his convert/lover Decima (a very strong Kim Engelbrecht) and he even convinces her to “kill” creepy android and surrogate daughter Vrille (we will get to her later). Marcus’s influence is so strong he even brings some of the androids’ children into the fold, though with disastrous consequences. His little cult does not last long but while it did he shone brightly.
And speaking of conversions, we had the surprising turn of atheist medic Sue after “Sol” answers her prayers and shows her a way to save “adopted” son Paul from the horrible effects of that bio-bomb. But what does she get for her faith? She gets turned into a freaking tree! That has to be one of the most shocking moments in a series with a few shocking moments. And the demo of what happened her has to be one of the goriest scenes of the show so far. Niamh Algar has been one of the show’s strongest performers and I was sad to see her go, especially in such a terrible way. But it was well handled and moved the plot along well so I give them points for the decision.
Slice #2 Creatures High and Low
Season 2 moved the action from the barren wastes of the surface of Kepler-22b to the sub-tropical core. And with that change of location we also have a new creature, acid-ocean dwelling aquatic creatures that devolved from humans. One of them even kidnaps Tempest’s newborn, who in a moment of some strong post-partum grief (at least I think that’s what it was, I’m no psychiatrist) decides it is better to leave the baby with Mama Monster. Thankfully Hunter was not about that life. Even though she wasn’t the most rational I understood that she was going through a lot, including the constant reminder that the child’s father was her rapist. Poor lady. I loved the design of the creatures and the effort to make them slightly sympathetic. They’re not evil; they’re just animals.
And speaking of sympathy we also have the Serpent aka Number 7. Now I know many fans were put off when Mother gave “birth” to a giant flying snake in the Season 1 finale as it felt way too out there. But I rolled with it and the payoff this season is more than worth it. The serpent, brought to massive life by some stellar visual effects, goes from a sympathetic, vegetarian creature to a kaiju-like monstrosity that would not be out of place throwing down with Godzilla. When Number 7 gobbled the tree formerly known as Sue and transformed I was like WHAT THE HELL?!! And this of course leads to the jaw-dropping showdown with Mother which, though brief, did not disappoint.
Slice #3 Androids New and Old
I wrap things up with the titular “wolves” of the series, the androids. New android Vrille (Morgan Santo) was super creepy (even before she lost her face) and her massacre of almost the entirety of Marcus’s flock was just jaw dropping. And of course that idiot Campion is gonna fall for the murder-bot. What an idiot. Amanda Collin is in top form again as Mother/Lamia. And she goes through a lot this season: preparing to kill Number 7 then fighting to protect it; the strained relationship with Father; her conflict with her AI “brother” the Trust; her inability to help the infected Paul; getting her eyes back and becoming the dreaded Necromancer once more; taking over as leader of the colony despite nobody wanting her; the emotional struggle to battle the transmogrified Number 7; the struggle with her children joining Marcus’s cult; eventually allying with Marcus against Number 7; donning Grandmother’s emotion-blocking veil and having to kill her child; and then the final betrayal by Grandmother. As I said, a lot.
We’ll talk about Granny soon but I just want to say I loved Father even more this season. From his fascination with the ancient android to his exciting battle royale with the armored droid to his sexually tense relationship with Grandmother, Abubakar Salim truly hit it out of the park. And Selina Jones was a great addition as Grandmother. I loved her design, the mystery surrounding her origin and Jones’s otherworldly performance. I mean, I knew she was bad and was going to betray them but if I was Father I would have been fooled too. Have you seen her? And I haven’t even talked about the mysterious “Entity” and all the Mithraic lore that got built up this season. Or the cliffhanger of Marcus floating upside down. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is he still Marcus? I don’t know but I NEED to know.
With fantastic pacing, awesome action, great effects work, mind-blowing twist and a grand sense of mystery and wonder Raised By Wolves Season 2 is a winner in my book.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out of 10
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.