Aaron Guzikowski’s “Raised by Wolves” places the human experience into a new world with adaptive androids that in most cases are more redeemable than the humans they serve. The show follows a family composed of a male and female android that are raising a pod of human children, in which the female android had grown from embryos. Guzikowski’s artistic choice on the droid’s sophisticated technology enables them to mimic the traits of humans to an uncanny degree, which often leaves the audience to question whether they possess souls of their own.
The finale of season one left the two Android parents, appropriately named Mother and Father, in a deep dive into a seemingly bottomless pit, only to reemerge in the coveted tropical zone. All the while Mother is holding her insatiable snake child in hopes to protect the human children she and Father were tasked to raise. The androids wake to find their fellow atheists have also landed on Kepler 22B.
Earth, which was destroyed in an apocalyptic battle between the sparing Atheists and the monolithic religious group called the Mithraists, has led a select number of humans to a planet that they could inhabit called Kepler 22B. Mother and Father seem to be the first from Earth to inhabit the planet before the other successful fleeing humans, yet certain artifacts are questionable relics of a possible colonization prior to their arrival.
Mother, who was originally developed by the Mithraists, had a complete android makeover. Floating through the air like Jesus Christ on the cross, she was the fearsome killer who helped destroy Earth with her ear splitting screams and laser eyeballs. An Atheist engineer reprograms her to embody the ultimate mother but her ferocity from her past programming returns when her children are threatened.
The first episode of season two from the dystopian drama quickly picks up where it left off, almost too quickly. All of the characters have successfully arrived in the tropical zone and the Atheist leader called the Trust is the ruler. The Trust is also an Android and exists in a tube-like structure. It doles out responsibilities for all of the Atheist colonists and the Mithrain prisoners.
Amanda Collin is effortless as Mother, watching her portrayal of an invincible Android parent makes it easy to forget that she is actually human or an android depending on the scene. The manner in which Collin and Abubaker Salim who plays Father, depict these characters is unique in its own dystopian universe. They mastered the slight animatronic gestures with such subtlety that their android origins hardly separate the viewer from the parental plight that they live within. Both Collin and Salim describe how they embody the robots as ever evolving. “We were finding our own answers even to our own questions that we were discovering. There isn’t even necessarily a key. It’s more about exploration,” Salim said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
As the viewer, it is easy to feel more of a connection to the androids than to the other human characters. The droids only seek to raise and protect children, yet the rest of the humans, both Atheist and the religious kooks the Mithrains, pick up where they left off on Earth and try to convert or defeat the other. Albeit Mother murdered many Mithrains in season one, her entire programming required her to protect children at all costs as well as raise them as atheist, season two has taken a turn with her droids development of more human emotion.
As Mother is slowly gaining more humanistic traits, mostly empathy and sorrow. She is conflicted in regards to her snake child, a part of her appears to have a connection to it, while the other part of her seeks to kill in fear of it harming her human children.
The show is hardly comparable to anything in the sci-fi world, from the mythology to the alien snake that glides in the air similar to the snake that tempted Eve to gain knowledge but in this world Eve is a robot. As the viewer we don’t yet know the motives of this alien serpent that has Mother confused with her task to raise children, leaving her to decide whether she should kill it or let it reign as a supreme being. Mother’s inner protocols that have been programmed to protect and exalt children are being alerted that this being is a child and oddly enough her child, which she birthed in season one and named number 7. The serpent beast is curiously part droid and highly symbolic to the plot of the perceived prophecy from both camps of Atheists and Mithrains. An interesting take on the Garden of Eden.
When we think of robots we either think of obvious robots, like those in the Star Wars universe or something along the lines of the advanced imagery in films such as Blade Runner who are the complete embodiment of humans. What makes this show stand apart is that androids have never been played this way in entertainment. Collin noted it in an interview with Gold Derby, “There are so many gifts in playing somebody that has never existed before. That’s a huge freedom. There’s no right or wrong!”
I wouldn’t suggest hopping right into season two of “Raised By Wolves.” The plot is complex yet riveting, so in order to grasp what has happened to the characters, watching season one is absolutely required. It is full of twists and intricate plot details that grip the viewer from the start, although the plot is fantastic the real draw is the droids. You can find “Raised By Wolves” streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes every Thursday.