The Raised By Wolves Colony Report: Of Gods, Men, And Machines

Season 1 of "Raised by Wolves" was a strange but recognizable story about androids trying to figure out their place among humans that got turned on its head when Mother (Amanda Collin) gave birth to a giant serpent. Season 2 continually upped the ante, getting exponentially weirder with each episode. The series began as a battle between science and faith, logic and emotion, but has evolved into something much more complex. In the season 2 finale, "Happiness," the HBO Max series sets things up for an even wilder possible season 3, answering some questions about the Kepler-22b's history and setting some terrifying planetary plans into action. 

In last week's episode of "Raised by Wolves," Sol was finally revealed to be one of the series' big bads, an "entity" that wants to destroy humanity on the planet. Mother's seventh child, the serpent, combined with the Tree of Life, formerly Sue (Niamh Algar), to become a giant Kraken-like flying monster capable of immense destruction. Will Mother be able to stop the serpent with the help of Grandmother's (Selina Jones) veil? Will Marcus be able to settle into life among the remaining atheists? Will Father have more jokes? All will be revealed, and more, though I can't guarantee I'll have all of the answers. This is "Raised by Wolves," after all. 

Spoilers ahead for the season finale of "Raised by Wolves." 

A Quick Recap

If you thought that all of this season's mysteries would be neatly wrapped up in the finale, you're probably watching the wrong show. "Raised by Wolves" abandoned any promise of a standard narrative about halfway through the season, and if you're along for the ride, you're along for the ride. The season finale begins with Campion (Winta McGrath) using his blood to make a copy of Vrille's (Morgan Santo) final words, etched into a fallen log. When he asks Paul (Felix Jamieson) to read it to him later, Paul informs him that it's all "Earth stuff," and that it doesn't really matter. The two have a brief chat about their grief, as Paul just lost his mother, Sue. As the series progresses, it's positioning Paul and Campion to be the two "sides" of the human factions, as Campion is an open-minded and sweet-hearted agnostic, and Paul is a true believer whose faith hasn't even been shaken by having his mom turned into a tree. 

Marcus (Travis Fimmel) continues to help Mother in her effort to kill the serpent, and it's truly bizarre to see these two teamed up after two seasons at each other's throats. Even Father (Abubakar Salim) voices his hesitation in trusting Marcus, though Mother reassures him and Grandmother both that Marcus' hate for Sol/"the entity" means their goals are aligned. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," the old saying goes, and the serpent has become everyone on Kepler's enemy. Mother takes on Grandmother's veil to dampen her emotions and goes off in search of the serpent, telling Father to take Grandmother back to help watch over the children. While there, Grandmother shows the children the tree artifact card and we see a very graphic animation of what happened to Sue when she turned into the tree. Father sends Vita (Ivy Wong) outside during the demonstration and later discovers her playing with a relic, making him question whether he's truly able to protect the children when he cares about their well-being so deeply. Grandmother even comments on her own immediate love for the children, telling Father she wonders how he and Mother were able to protect their brood for so long while also feeling so many conflicting emotions about them. 

While Mother and Grandmother work on trading the veil, Hunter (Ethan Hazzard) and Tempest (Jordan Loughran) puts her infant through some tests. The baby has webbing between its fingers and appears to have started mutating in response to drinking the breast milk from the fish creature, and Hunter has the medical system perform "corrective surgery" to remove the webbing. 

Mother goes to fight the serpent and they fly into outer space. It reaches out with some of its tentacles in an attempt to attach to her milk ports, but Sue sealed them up earlier this season. Mother uses this moment of weakness to go on the attack, and she defeats the serpent, which launches itself towards the planet. When it lands and dies, the tree grows back up out of its corpse, extending its roots back into the ground. The tree doesn't have any of its branches or leaves, and it looks dead, but clearly, it still has some connection to the entity. 

In order to continue to protect her family, Mother decides to keep on the veil. She believes it will allow her to make the best decisions, and she explains to Father that Grandmother will temporarily take her place in their family unit. Father is hesitant, though he clearly enjoys Grandmother's company. The two flirt and Father points out to Grandmother that he is devoted to Mother. Their flirtation and possible romance could be a huge point of conflict next season, driving a final wedge between the android parents. Mother discovers that Grandmother is using a modified game system to start "de-evolving" the humans, turning them into the fish creatures that inhabit the acid ocean. She is so overwhelmed with fear and anger that the veil encases her entirely, like a giant condom of trapped emotion. Grandmother finds her and it's revealed that she was responsible for the original humans of Kepler turning into fish people and going into the ocean — and she's going to do it again. She promises to release Mother from her captivity inside of a hyper-space sleep unit "once the humans have gone back into the ocean," and then Mother becomes trapped inside a prison in her own mind. We then see her taking the modified game systems out to the human settlement outside the colony, intending to spread the fish DNA through everyone living on the planet.

Meanwhile, someone breaks into the Tarantula and steals the Mithraic punishment helmet. Marcus gets blamed for it on account of his previous dealings with Sol, and Grandmother even warns Marcus that "the entity always returns to fertile ground." Marcus goes back to the pit to try and figure out what to do next, and he's ambushed by Lucius (Matias Varela), another of Sol's "true believers." Lucius tells Marcus that he heard a voice telling him how to punish the "false prophet," and he takes Marcus out to the remains of the Tree. He crucifies Marcus upside-down on the tree, then puts on the helmet so he can die "faceless" and "in shame." Then Lucius waits, going to check after some time to see if Marcus has died. He checks for a pulse and finds none, then removes the helmet and laughs because he is now the "chosen one." He stops paying attention for a moment and it looks as if Marcus has disappeared. But Lucius quickly realizes with horror that Marcus has started floating, and the blood from his wounded hands is raining upon Lucius' face. The episode (and season) ends with Marcus floating, crucified and upside down, above the dead tree that was once his wife. 

Team Robot: I have no mouth and I must scream

Things are looking really, truly dire for Team Robot. Vrille is dead. Father is falling for the sweet lies of Grandmother. Mother is trapped in a terrifying hell, unable to interact with the outside world in any way and just wander a prison of her own thoughts. If there's anything most existentially unpleasant than the idea of existing in your own mind alone in perpetuity, I don't want to hear it. Team Robot is slowly but surely becoming Team Free Will, as the entity deep within the planet and Grandmother are both keen on removing people's autonomy. Choice has been a major theme throughout "Raised by Wolves": Mother had her autonomy taken from her through both the trickery of the entity and her programming, and the veil seemed like it would finally give her the ability to separate herself from her "programming" (in this instance, her trauma). Instead, it forced her into a cocoon and then an even more restrictive prison, stealing her voice from her in every way. 

The goal of Team Robot has always been for the children to grow, survive, and thrive. Mother wants them to be able to do that as humans, and she wants them to be able to make their own choices instead of having Grandmother make the decisions for them. In Christianity, which the series riffs on frequently, free will is both integral to being human and the cause of our downfall. Free will is humanity's greatest blessing and its greatest curse, and now Mother fully understands what it is to be human

Team Sol: An apocalypse finds its anti-christ

Since the beginning, the series has dug deep into faith, and what it looks like to different people. Sue's newfound faith got her killed. Marcus' self-important and mildly insane faith got him killed. Now, Lucius has turned Marcus into some kind of martyr, having put the man through one of Sol's tests in a truly terrible way. Lucius tells Marcus that he only went halfway down the tunnel, and that he plans on going "all the way." We know that the center of the planet is some kind of weird, hollow core, so does that mean Lucius intends on going all the way to the center of Kepler-22b? Or has his sacrificial offering of Marcus changed the whole situation and the inverted cross imagery is the sign of a risen anti-Christ? Here's hoping that we haven't seen the last of Fimmel, because he's been a blast to watch for two seasons, injecting some warmth into an otherwise cold show. If he gets to go full fire and brimstone in season 3, I'm thrilled. 

Team Grandmother: A wolf in shepherd's clothing

The season finale introduced a third set of goals, and they belong to Grandmother. She was responsible for the humans turning into fish-creatures on Kepler, and she wants to do it again, making her a kind of god on the planet. Just as the atheist encampment has started making figurines of Mother as idols, Grandmother is a god to the ancient people. Though she claims to work against Sol, it appears that both she and the entity want the planet's surface free of humans. Simple-minded fish creatures are acceptable, because they cannot evolve and grow, and will hopefully never rise up against their "gods." While we will have to wait and see what Grandmother's full intentions are beyond turning the kids into fish and Father into her romantic partner, it's clear at this point that they're not truly altruistic. It's no accident that her type of android is called a "shepherd," as she's a wolf in sheep's clothing. The "wolves" of "Raised by Wolves" are symbolized by many things, including the foundation of Rome by brothers Romulus and Remus (Campion and Paul?), but the androids as wolves allegory is now extra clear. 

Looking forward to season 3

Season 3 hasn't been guaranteed by the folks at HBO yet, but if we get a renewal on this daring and totally bonkers series, then we have lots to look forward to. The first two seasons have been incredible explorations in world-building and character development, giving us people to root for despite being set in a world that feels completely alien. It's smart, it's silly, it's so very, very weird, and there really isn't anything else on TV willing to be this ambitiously strange at the moment. 

Season 3 would likely give Father a chance to truly shine with Mother locked up, and the kids are starting to come into their own. Hunter and Tempest have a baby to raise, Campion and Paul have a society to figure out, and Father finally found someone who likes his jokes. Things can only get even more interesting from here, and I'll say a little prayer that "Raised by Wolves" comes back for more. Just, you know, not to Sol. 

The season finale of "Raised by Wolves" is now streaming on HBO Max.