The Raised By Wolves Colony Report: Let's Get Biblical

While the primary religion of "Raised by Wolves" is the Mithraic faith, which worships the sun god Sol, the series draws heavily from Judeo-Christian imagery and themes. The Mithraic faith is based loosely on the worship of Mithras in ancient Persia and Rome, a religion that was mostly eradicated by Christianity in the 4th century CE. The Mithraism of "Raised by Wolves" is a mix of ancient Persian beliefs and the biblical Old Testament, but most of the Abrahamic allegories have been bits of simple world-building detail for the larger battle between faith and atheism. In episode 6, "The Tree," the biblical imagery finally becomes a major plot point, hinting at possible paths the series could take. Last week's episode, "King," dug into ancient history by way of royal legends and tests of faith; this week, it's all a little more on the nose. 

When we last left Kepler-22b, Marcus (Travis Fimmel) had been captured by Father (Abubakar Salim) and Lucius (Matias Varela) and taken back to the atheist colony. Team Sol was looking like it might finally lose for good, but Sue (Niamh Algar) revealed that she has newfound faith and wants to reunite her family. Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father are at odds, and Father has brought some kind of ancient android to life. Things are weird, which means it's a day that ends in "y" on "Raised by Wolves." 

Spoilers for season 2, episode 6 of "Raised by Wolves" from here on out! 

A quick recap

After Sol sent Sue visions to help her save Paul (Felix Jamieson), she became a true believer. She brings some relics to the Tarantula, the storage unit for the atheists, and uses an EMP to deactivate the android guard. She uses the opportunity to steal the pentagonal box Paul believes contains the seed for the Tree of Life. Meanwhile, Marcus is being scanned by Lucius for weapons, and Lucius discovers the metallic card with the tree imagery and he takes it away. "Sol says a false prophet must suffer, and suffer Marcus, you will," he says, before leaving Marcus to his imprisonment. 

Among the human children, Campion explains the idea of a day without work, and it mirrors Leviticus 23:3, which commands that followers should work for six days and rest on the seventh. Tempest (Jordan Loughran) is dealing with more immediate problems, as her baby is coming sooner than expected. She doesn't even want to see the child, because she fears it will remind her of the child's father, who sexually assaulted her. Mother tries to reassure Tempest that the moment she sees the child she will love it, and is soon called off to reunite with one of her own adopted children, the rescued Holly (Aasiya Shah). Marcus is brought out before the children and asked to renounce Sol in front of them in exchange for his freedom, but he hugs Paul and gives a brief monologue about faith instead:

"She's right. I don't have any power, and as you say, I am just a man, but you don't have to have power to be worthy of Sol's love, children. You only need faith, and that is one thing that this robot can never take away from us."

Mother, furious, discusses her options with Sue. Sue tells Mother that killing Marcus will only make him a martyr, and a bigger hero to the children. This is probably true, but Sue also wants to reunite with her husband and try to grow the Tree of Life, so she has her own motives. Paul, likewise, convinces Campion (Winta McGrath) to ask Mother and Father to release Marcus. While he's chatting with Father about it, he meets Father's new android friend, whom Campion starts calling "Grandmother." Campion and the android touch and she turns gold and speaks ancient Mithraic, and the boy has a startling realization: "This is what I saw. It wasn't Sol!" he cries, realizing that he wasn't saved by any god, but this android creature. Mother shows up and immediately goes into kill mode, leading to a gold vs. silver android stare-down for the ages. Eventually, Mother wins, and Grandmother collapses. 

Mother makes Campion leave and the two parental androids finally get a chance to really discuss their new acquaintance. Father has named her "Bontanitac," because she grew similarly to a plant when he poured fuel-blood on her bones. She has the same processor in her skull as Mother, but does not have the same giant weapons system. Father says as much to Mother, pointing out the sheer space her weapons take up and being rather cruel about it. Father and Mother are clearly not getting along, and Grandmother/Bontanitac is making things worse. Later she and Father get a chance to chat, and when he tells her about the number of humans on the planet and Tempest's incoming baby, she shuts down mysteriously.

Marcus is up on the torture wheel where Mother blew Cleaver's (Peter Christoffersen) mind last week, and someone comes in wearing the freaky Mithraic torture suit. It turns out to be Sue, who tells him that she's going to help him escape in order to grow the Tree with Paul. Later, she helps him escape and they offer to take Cleaver with them, but Cleaver's mind is completely gone. Marcus tells him to eat the fruit of the Tree to heal his broken mind, then the three escape into the night. 

Tempest's baby is coming soon, and Mother gives her a signal to call her with. Tempest freaks out and leaves without it, wandering the shoreline before going into labor. She gives birth on the rocks in a rather graphic sequence, then cradles her newborn to her chest. Unfortunately, the sounds of her screams alerted one of the ocean-dwelling mer-creatures, and it comes ashore. The creature grabs Tempest's arms, burning her with the acid water, and then takes the baby. Miraculously, the baby is not burned, but the creature opens its chest cavity, puts the infant inside, and then dives back into the ocean while Tempest wails. Hunter arrives with his new headless robot buddy given to him by Father and stops her from running into the ocean. 

Mother goes to find Sue after Tempest returns to the compound and discovers her missing. She goes out into the desert and finds Lucius, roughing it on his own, and asks him if he knows where Marcus, Paul, and Sue went. He shows her the tree card relic and explains that it's not an instruction, it's a warning. Marcus and Sue don't read Mithraic, and Paul's understanding is limited, but Lucius was able to fully translate it, and the tree will bring destruction to whoever plants it. 

While they're waiting for daylight to try and open the seedbox, Paul asks Sue to sing him a lullaby. She has to really think to remember a Mithraic song, but she sings him one anyway. He falls asleep and she realizes her song is opening the seedbox. She picks up the seed inside and it immediately digs into the flesh of her palm. She runs away from Paul and Marcus, then screams and begins digging as fast as she can. When the suns rise, Sue is gone and a huge tree stands in her place. Marcus eats a piece of fruit from the tree that looks like a bloody brain and sees Sue's pulse beating in the tree, realizing what has happened. He places his hand against the tree and cries, and the credits roll. This one hurts.

Team Robot: God in the machine

Mother and Father are allegorically related to Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis. They are supposed to be the creators and protectors of life on a new planet, the mother and father of all humanity. Paul and Campion are their Cain and Abel, the first two sons of mankind. Cain eventually kills Abel, and it would not be all that shocking if we saw Paul (or Marcus) do something that killed Campion. The two androids have bickered often about their purpose and how to achieve their goals, first because of their programming, and then because of their incredibly different experiences. They are becoming more human by the day, and Mother even agrees with Father after Tempest's baby is lost that they have lost sight of protecting the children because of their own personal interests. 

The elder android challenges them both because she is an unknown, closer to their creator than they are but ultimately untrustworthy. She's our allegorical angel — if the gold glow and the floating didn't give it away. She wears a veil that could easily translate to a halo and asks Father in Mithraic why he isn't wearing it. He has to explain that he's never had one, because his type of android was not a religious being, but a functional one. Mother has no interest in exploring faith of any kind, and that includes interactions with Grandmother. Part of this is because of her staunch belief in science and atheism, and part of it seems to be a kind of narcissistic tendency. Mother likes playing God, and with the Trust gone, she has plenty of opportunities. Grandmother is a potential threat to her power, and yet another distraction for Father, which means that we're likely to see a more violent face-off between the two sooner than later. 

Team Sol: some Old Testament punishment

Team Sol got their precious Tree of Life, but at what cost? We've been told repeatedly that Sol puts his followers through tests, and being turned into a tree is either one helluva test or a truly cruel punishment. In the first book of the Christian bible, original sin is committed when Eve, convinced by a serpent, eats from the Tree of Knowledge. In her search for knowledge, Sue became the tree itself, though I don't think she's our allegorical Eve. Androids don't eat, so Mother eating the fruit would be unusual, but entirely possible, and she also has a serpent that she's pretty attached to in spite of its potential danger. Serpents in Judeo-Christian imagery are related to the devil and evil, and in this series, they're directly tied to the planet and Sol. This whole time everyone's been convinced that "Sol" is their god, but what if he's actually the Devil? 

Marcus thought himself to be the chosen one for quite a while now, and this episode even puts him in a crucifixion pose while Sue comes to talk to him. In the end, she makes the sacrifice instead of him, and he and Paul are going to be left to pick up the pieces. Will this be the thing that finally shakes Marcus of his delusions of grandeur? He's a false prophet and a madman, but now he's seen a horrific kind of miracle and it might actually make an impact. Whatever happens next, the Tree is going to play a huge role, and Sue will at least live on in that way. 

Looking ahead

Much of the series has revolved around how people react in times of stress. When we're surviving, we react differently, and Mother even explains this to Tempest before the baby is born. Humans, and androids apparently, sometimes act out of fear instead of rationality, and it can lead to long-term harm. We only have two episodes left, and anything could happen, but I don't think we've seen the last of Cleaver or Tempest's baby, and they will both have pivotal roles to play in the penultimate act. Mother and Father are headed for a showdown over the serpent and Grandmother, and the children are all sort of left to fend for themselves. Things are not looking particularly good for anyone on Team Sol or Team Robot, but that's just the way she goes on Kepler-22b, isn't it? 

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