From being influenced by Ridley Scott to being directed by Ridley Scott, Raised by Wolves has it all. A beautiful amalgamation of ideas born from Ridley’s work and a visual style directed by Ridley himself, it’s like Raised by Wolves was made for him… and us, of course.
Heavy SPOILERS for the entirety of Season 1 to follow
Let’s start with the obvious. I mentioned this in my regular non-spoiler review, but the series is visually reminiscent of the Alien franchise, no doubt a result of Ridley Scott himself directing the first two episodes. He has a distinct style when it comes to shooting sci-fi, and he clearly implanted that style right on this series from the get-go. But the connections and similarities don’t stop there, they extend into the central themes of this series which are almost all explored somewhere in the Alien franchise. There’s the idea of religion vs science, a core element of this story that led to the downfall of Earth and is the core source of much of the conflict on Kepler-22b. This is also inherently similar to ideas explored in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, those surrounding creation and god, and how that is a driving force for Michael Fassbender’s David. There is also the theme of motherhood, a theme through the Alien franchise and the driving force behind the character of Mother in this series.
On a more obvious note… androids! Between Blade Runner and Alien, Ridley Scott is no stranger to utilising androids in unique and exciting ways. What makes this connection even stronger is the use of white blood, commonly referred to as the “milk”. This is a direct decision, made by Ridley in the development of this series, to also use the white blood for these androids, really cementing this as a piece of Ridley Scott sci-fi. There is even a mask that shows up a couple of times in the season bearing an unmistakable resemblance to the engineer masks in Alien/Prometheus… like it’s basically the same thing. There is also the moment a devolved human shows up with a face looking just like that of an engineer. Then, to top it all off, the graphic birth of some sort of alien-android hybrid, similar to an alien we’ve seen before, that is sure to wreak havoc going forward.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this series is part of the Alien franchise since it’s easy to interpret that right from the get-go. I like the fact that it’s not part of the franchise, and that it’s its own thing. But I also like the idea that Aaron and Ridley could flip the switch in two seasons from now and find a way to link the two worlds into the same universe. You never know.
Now, let’s get to the finale, the episode that turns this series up to an 11. This final episode takes the series from one about two androids raising humans on an alien planet to one about a giant alien creature threatening the lives of everyone on that planet after being birthed by an android while power struggles occur as a result of religion seeping back into society. This massive episode throws twists and turns at the viewer, providing more and more mysteries while only briefly answering a couple of them. I want to first highlight the development of Mother and Father in a little more detail. In the episodes leading up to the finale, it became clear they were both experiencing human feelings that they were otherwise not programmed to feel. It really enhances both of their characters, to the point where there are a couple of rather emotional scenes between the two of them as their ideals clash in the finale. They both developed independently of each other, reacting to the world in different ways which I think is a fantastic detail.
Not far into the finale, we get the first big turn of the episode, the reveal of the hooded figure that had been following them, and the reveal that this planet was once inhabited by humans. This one moment opens up a whole world of history (quite literally) that we never knew existed. This planet definitely has a history, and it’s a history I can’t wait to explore more of. Will we see some devolved humans that can still talk? Or have they all gone the way of becoming one of those creatures? What happened to cause them to go nearly extinct? We’ll soon find out.
The tension builds and builds to the point where we finally get to the birth of Mother’s baby, an event that has been anticipated for much of the season. Only, where we thought we were going to get a cute little human/android hybrid it turns out to be some sort of serpent-like alien that is born out of her mouth. In case the series wasn’t already enough like a Ridley Scott project… it certainly is now that they’ve added a gruesome alien birth to the mix, similar to the ending of Prometheus. This is the completion, or the next stage, in the very clear allusions to Adam, Eve and the garden of Eden that the series has explored, now bringing the serpent into the story.
This isn’t even the last of it. Mother and Father decide to sacrifice themselves to kill the serpent alien by flying the lander down one of those massive holes. Guess what’s at the bottom of those holes… nothing! They go right through to the core of the planet and then back out the other side… guess you weren’t expecting that. Unfortunately, serpent alien survives the death mission, cracks out of the lander and flies off to just exponentially grow. It’s assumed Mother and Father survive their fall since this isn’t the same series without them, but that’s another mystery for next time.
Also, in true LotR: Return of the King fashion, the episode just doesn’t end. It also reveals, through Marcus’ journey, that there is another entire arc of humans, this time atheists, that have arrived at Keppler-22b. This is sure to be a problem for the characters we have followed so far, especially the kids who have disbanded and separated into those that want to follow Campion and those that want to follow Paul.
With all of these mysteries and unanswered questions, I suspect the next season will be even bigger and probably add more questions to the mix. Now there is a giant, flying, seemingly unstoppable serpent to deal with that will certainly not go down easily. I really want to know more about the history of this planet, much like how I wanted to know about the history of the engineers in Prometheus. I’m sure the thematic similarities to the Alien franchise will continue into the next season and I do hope Ridley comes back for another one or two-episode directing stint. I also do hope we see more of the Necromancers. Surely there’s away to bring another Necromancer into the fold to make for some more potentially deadly interactions. There is definitely more to how and why humans decided to come to this planet in particular and I’m sure that will all come to light at some point.
All I do know is; we are sure to get more dreadful futuristic human haircuts in the next season too.