The Raised By Wolves Colony Report: Nothing Is As It Appears

We're back for another week of the "Raised By Wolves" colony report, in which I will attempt to recap and explain the absolutely gonzo stuff that's happening on our screens each episode. In the first episode, we were brought up to speed on what's going on in the Tropical Zone of Kepler-22b, where Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) are doing their absolute best to raise a family of unruly humans. Marcus (Travis Fimmel) also made his way to the Tropical Zone, with plans on rescuing some of his fellow Mithraic survivors from the atheist Collective. The following episode expanded on the war between the faithful and faithless, with the androids and their brood caught in the middle. Mother's seventh child, the monstrous snake-baby, also returned, and everyone set out to hunt it because they believed it was responsible for killing a group of humans. For every question answered, "Raised by Wolves" brought up three more, and episode three continues in that confusing but fascinating vein. 

This week, Marcus's son Paul (Felix Jamieson) and the androids' son Campion (Winta McGrath) get themselves in way over their heads; Father discovers something unusual about the android skeleton he uncovered; and Mother finally reunites with her big, beautiful serpentine son. Things have already been absolutely bizarre, but it looks like they're only going to get weirder. 

SPOILERS for season 2, episode 3 of "Raised by Wolves" from here on out.

A Quick Recap

The third episode of "Raised By Wolves" season 2 picks up right where the second left off, and Mother finds Father and his crew of Mithraic prisoners/human grenades out hunting the snake-baby. Mother is disappointed in him for using the humans as fodder, but he explains that protecting the children is more important. The two are definitely at odds, even if they were getting along better for a little while there. Father tells Mother that he needs her (for whatever that's worth) before taking the humans in another direction. Father activates the helmets on the Mithraic prisoners, which end up being lures for the serpent. This alerts Marcus, his new girlfriend Decima (Kim Engelbrecht), and recruit Tamerlane (James Harkness), who land to rescue the Mithraic prisoners. Marcus tells Father, "I don't like robots, but for some reason I really like you," but they end up fighting anyway, and Marcus uses his Sol-powers to stab Father in the ear and disable him. Apparently, Marcus isn't harmed by electricity anymore, which is going to be a problem for any of the atheists with electric weapons. 

Marcus asks his former comrades to join him, and Lucius (Matias Varela), who once stood up to Marcus, spits in his face. "The only thing that's going to bring purity to this planet, Marcus, is your death," Lucius snarls, and Marcus replies with a sassy "Let's agree to disagree for now, mmkay?" Everyone but Lucius ends up joining Marcus' new cult of Sol, and they start heading back toward their "church" inside the cave system. Paul, Campion, and the android girl Vrille ((Morgan Santo) have already arrived back at the cave, and Vrille chats with the boys while repairing her damaged leg. While complaining about the damage, she mentions that "it could be worse, my mother broke my neck once," but when Campion probes, she informs him that "that story's restricted." Did Decima kill the real Vrille and create the android version in order to process her guilt? Whatever the case, the statement is bone-chilling. The kids have a chat about being an android and the paradox of Vrille's very existence, then sneak out just as Marcus and the rest of the Mithraic return. Paul sees his father and is shaken by it, but makes Campion promise not to say anything. 

Meanwhile, Mother finds, and destroys, a trap the atheists had set for her serpent child, informing them that they would have only made the creature angry with their attempt. She thinks it's nesting atop the mountain and is going to kill it herself. The Trust, another name for the artificial intelligence that controls the colony, sends the human soldiers along with her. Their leader, Cleaver, (Peter Christoffersen), questions her motives because she's a necromancer. She explains, "I didn't choose the body I was given. My purpose is caregiving, keeping my children safe." She scales the mountain and discovers that the giant snake is an herbivore, feeding only on large pumpkins that grow on the planet. She even offers it meat, killing a bird and holding it out, but the snake-creature returns to its pumpkins. As a result, she lures the snake down the mountain and puts it in a giant cave cage, much to everyone's chagrin. Snake-baby has quadrupled in size and is now absolute massive, so the atheist's concern is warranted. 

While Mother is off snake-wrangling, the kids resurrect Father. They've had to do this a few times now, and Campion explains to Father that his model of android is a particularly resilient one. Apparently, even if Father's body is completely destroyed, they can upload his personality into another one. That feels like foreshadowing, so let's make sure to remember that factoid. Campion wants to tell Father about Marcus, but Paul demands that he doesn't, because "someone has to keep the faith going." He uses Campion's concern for Vrille to stop him, as the atheists are prone to destroy anything related to the Mithraic. 

Father confronts Mother about her serpent child, explaining that the creature is harmless. "This animal is more akin to a parasite than a child," he tells her, and it's clear that whatever rekindling their relationship had been doing is now over with. Father, distraught, goes to talk to the weird skeleton he found with Vita (Ivy Wong). Some of his "fuel-blood" drips on the skeleton and appears to make it grow, so he sets out to get more fuel-blood to continue experimenting. "It seems that Mother's not the only one capable of creating life!" he exclaims, having clearly never read Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." 

Sue (Niamh Algar), the atheist colony's new medic, is asked to test samples from the serpent. She ignores the commands for a few minutes, looking increasingly distraught before eventually complying. She determines that the creature is still developing and has "mother's milk" in its stomach, which means there's a "mama bear out there somewhere." She starts putting two and two together, asking the age of the creature and remembering Mother's pregnancy. Sue ran tests on the snake when it was still in Mother's womb, and she's now realizing that Mother gave birth to the snake-creature, not any kind of android or human. 

Paul is brought before the Trust and asked about his knowledge of Marcus. It's revealed that when they first captured Paul, they questioned him at length. He said that Marcus killed his father and he wants him dead, which we know to be a lie, sort of. (Paul's parentage is extremely complicated.) He continues to deceive the Trust, though it rewards him for perceived truths by telling him that Marcus is going to be hunted within the next 24 hours. The Trust then gives him the mouse he had when they were captured. It's very likely that the Trust knows Paul is lying and is using the mouse to spy on him, but Paul is none the wiser. 

Father needs more fuel-blood to continue his experiments and goes to the main atheist compound to trade for it. He agrees to fight Billy, a killer robot with a gun for one arm and a chainsaw for the other, in exchange for a few gallons of the stuff. Hunter (Ethan Hazzard) tries to talk him out of it, but Father doesn't listen. To protect Father, Hunter gives the android his pendant of Sol, which Father thinks is silly — but allows. Father ends up kicking Billy's over-weaponized behind to the excitement of everyone, even the atheists.

Paul and Campion go off to warn Marcus, while Holly, one of the other Mithraic children, comes with them. They end up arriving while Marcus is showing Decima the shed serpent skin he found, which he claims absorbs the sun so he can maintain Sol's power even in the night. He spots Paul and the others and invites them forward, right before the credits roll.

Team Robot: Mother and Father are at Odds

Things aren't going so hot for Team Robot this week, with some serious strife between Mother and Father. When they have their initial discussion before the snake-baby is brought down from the mountain, Mother tells Father that she thinks she "deserves to be destroyed." He replies, in typical no-nonsense Father fashion:

"You once told me I had a penchant for melodrama. You're good, Mother. So please, do not take any unnecessary risks. The children need you, and for whatever it's worth, so do I."

Unfortunately, whatever trust she created with Father is broken when she brings the serpent child back to the colony. Mother is clearly having an identity crisis, trying to reconcile her caregiving instincts with her previous programming. Similarly, Vrille is having her own existential quandaries, discussing what it's like to mimic another life form with Campion and Paul. Despite Vrille technically being part of Team Sol, she's not at all interested in the faith or Marcus' plans, so she's really more Team Robot. Besides, she is an android. While discussing her existence with Campion, the adolescent tells Vrille: "Father once said to me, if you pretend to be something long enough, eventually, you won't need to pretend."

Vrille says that she would like to not have to mimic but to "simply be." She then tells Campion that the "real" Vrille would have appreciated the way he thinks, and he asks her if she appreciates it as well, or if she's just mimicking what she thinks Vrille would have liked. Vrille's response is kind of brilliant: "That's a funny question. I don't like paradoxes." 

Back at the atheist commune, Campion and Mother have a tender moment with her seventh child, though it seems to get jealous and pushes itself between Mother and Campion. There's no way that thing isn't going to cause more problems for our unusual little family, and Sue's becoming aware that it's Mother's child, which can only lead to more conflict.

Team Sol: The Chosen One Regains his Flock

In a surprising twist of fate, things are going pretty well for Team Sol. Marcus has a whole host of followers whom he's calling his "family," and most of them seem pretty willing to join in on his theological nonsense. One even calls him her eminence and he corrects her, explaining that there's no need for that kind of thing now. In fact, he tells them that they're all going to forgo their surnames as well, because of the aforementioned "one big family" ideology. We see him kissing Decima, so he clearly doesn't mean they're all siblings. While Marcus is almost always completely unhinged — a kind of joyful version of Jack Torrance in "The Shining" — he's never seemed happier than he is in this episode. He even finds a starfish carcass of some kind on the beach and holds it up to frame his face, grinning like an absolute maniac. 

Now that Marcus has been reunited with Paul, he's likely to be even happier. How things will play out between Paul, Campion, Marcus, and the rest of the Mithraic is yet to be seen, but it's definitely going to benefit Team Sol because they'll have forewarning of the atheist attack plan. 

Looking Forward

While it's almost always difficult to try and predict where "Raised by Wolves" could go, this week makes things even more difficult. I didn't expect to see Marcus reunited with Paul so soon, or for Campion to be along with him. I also didn't expect the serpent child to be an herbivore and come down calmly from the mountain, so this week was full of surprises. The one certain thing is that Sue's knowledge of the snake-child's origins is going to cause problems for Mother, who is clearly attached to the thing in a maternal way. The serpent is her child with some ancient force within the planet, and this planet seems hell-bent on killing its invading bipedal residents, so there's almost no way that it's actually benign. 

"Raised by Wolves" is unfolding its story at a surprisingly speedy pace compared to the slow burn of season 1, so I'm especially curious to see what they're going to do once these initial conflicts are resolved. 

New episodes of "Raised by Wolves" debut Thursdays on HBO Max.