For those who are tired of never-ending sequences of Star Wars and prefer to watch a more intelligent sci-fi series, Raised by Wolves is a great choice. A remarkable show that may not be easy-digestion for those who still follow fairy tales of Star Wars.
In the first episodes, Raised by Wolves shows the Earth torn by a destructive, unfair war between a religious group called Mithraic (inspired by ancient Persian god Mithra) and rebellious atheists. The battle is under the dark shadow of a killer robot called Necromancer.
Necromancer is an advanced android that can fly and kill any creature by her scream as an ultrasonic weapon. It is the most advanced weapon created by humans by the knowledge found in some sacred scripture by Mithraics.
This weapon and its technology can erase the human race from the Earth. Still, unlike other apocalyptic movies showing robots vanishing the human race, Raised by Wolves narrates a different story by giving the Necromancer a vital role in preventing human extinction.
Campion Sturges, a famous rebellious hacker, hunts down a Necromancer and reprograms her to be a mother and protector of human children. He who falls in love with his reprogrammed android believes that she is the last hope of the human race to survive. He plans to send six embryos to the planet Kepler-22B and raise them as atheists by android parents – Necromancer (Mother) and a service android name Father. Campion Sturges believes that raising children without religion will create a peaceful future for humans.
The contradiction of the Necromancer’s identity as a killer robot and her new role as a mother creates notable dramatic conflicts in the series. We gradually get to know what she feels about children and how her feelings are evolving while raising them.
One of the best scenes to show the abnormal emotion of the Mother is when the first baby is born. She holds him in her arms, and while singing a strange, sad lullaby, a tear drops down of her eye.
This is the first emotional reaction of Mother, something opposite her robotic behavior from the beginning. Even Father gets surprised by her emotion and assumes it as a malfunction that weakens her. By this scene, Raised by Wolves, gives us a clue to how it will develop the remainder of the story.
In the first episode, Mother is just a caring android who has enormous empathy towards children. It reminds me of the movie “AI” written by Stanley Kubrick and directed by Steven Spielberg and how the robot boy loves his human mother.
This description prepares us to get surprised by Mother’s lethal power when she sees any threat to Campion (The firstborn and only survived child). Mother shows no sign of her destructive abilities before being attacked by a new group of Mithraics who arrive on the planet.
Then suddenly, she gets weaponized and kills the intruders to save Campion. She also kidnaps several children from the spaceship of intruders and then collides it with the planet. She reverts into her role as the Mother as soon as she returns to the settlement.
Even though the battles and conflicts between Mother and the soldiers who survive the spaceship crash are the motives of many actions, Mother’s evolving feelings toward motherhood and her dreams remain the series central motif.
Using the technology that takes humans’ minds to a virtual world when they are in hibernation, Mother goes to the virtual world and searches for her lost memories. She finally finds his creator (Campion Sturges – the hacker) and makes love with him. Their intercourse impregnates her digitally, something that is beyond her understanding.
By this impregnation, she experiences another level of maternity. Something more prior to protecting human children contradicts the original idea of reprogramming her by Campion Sturges.
Even though the storyline and the way it develops in Raised by Wolves are stunning, the plot has some flaws in detail. For example, in the first conflict with Mithraics, the android soldier beats Mother to the death, but suddenly she fights back and destroys the android soldier and kills others except Marcus.
In this scene, she doesn’t have time to wear her weaponizing eyes. Actually, she gets weaponized without them. It seems that the creators of the series add the eyes as a weakness to Mother’s character. Otherwise, she would be unbreakable.
Another instance is Mother’s power to make children sleep by ordering them. She never uses this power again. She also never uses the power to copy others’ appearances in the way she copied Marcus’ appearance to enter the spaceship.
Having Ridley Scott as the mind behind creating the atmosphere and creatures of the series, Raised by Wolves, has some similarities to Aliens movies made by Scott.
Discovering a new planet, unknown creatures, unanswered questions, and also impregnation are among the mutual concepts between Aliens movies and Raised by Wolves. Still, in Raised by Wolves, this happens differently.
Impregnation happens in more diverse ways here. A priest rapes girls and women when they are in hibernation. Tempest is one of the girls who got pregnant due to rape. Mother gets impregnated digitally in a virtual world, and it still seems to be just the beginning of the story. The planet has a yet untold history, but seeing the giant skeleton on the planet, we know it should be horrifying.
Besides some similarities to Ridley Scott’s Aliens, Raised by Wolves have similarities to other movies and series too. Necromancer has a female appearance, reminding the female robot in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927).
In Metropolis, there is a character named Maria, who takes care of children. Another Maria is a robot who is destructive and urges the workers to rise and destroy the machines.
Mother in Raised by Wolves has both personalities of real Maria and robot Maria in herself. Interesting to see that Mother has some similarities to Fritz Lang’s robot Maria in appearance when she gets weaponized.
Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009) is another TV series set in the future and involves spaceships, planets, and artificial humans. There have been many creative ideas in this series that can inspire stories like Raised by Wolves.
Searching for new habitable planets for humans was the motif of Battlestar Galactica. Cylons are artificial humans created with the same physical characteristics of humans. They are not electronic devices like androids, and they can feel pain or fear of death.
Since Cylons are made of flesh and blood like humans, the idea of getting them pregnant and delivering a hybrid baby was more convincing than what we see in Raised by Wolves.
Cylons are also closer to humans emotionally. They are not programmed like androids or better to say their programming is more sophisticated. They can plan and make decisions as a higher intelligence species.
Another similarity between the two series is the mutual destructive role of religion or ideology in humankind’s’ future. In Battlestar Galactica, the presence of religion is matching the futuristic lifestyle of humans. Dr Baltar creates a cult and, by the power of his followers, begins a war of power with Admiral William Adama commander of the Battlestar Galactica.
In Raised by Wolves, religious leaders and their soldiers are like medieval Christians who praise their priests and behave like slaves. Their obedience and the absurdity of their beliefs are not convincing for people who traveled beyond the solar system.
When I compare Battlestar Galactica and Raised by Wolves, I still think that Ridley Scott and Aaron Guzikowski have a long way to accomplish the world they created.
In the first season, they created more questions than answers, and I hope Raised by Wolves, will not end like Alien: Covenant (2017) when Ridley Scott left the audience with many unanswered questions.