Raised by Wolves Review: “The Beginning”

Raised by Wolves ends its season by confirming that, yes, the creatures are some version of human being, so Terrans have been to Kepler-22B before, or we’re dealing with a bizarre parallel world, or…. Well, see below.

Title: The Beginning

Cast and Crew

Directors: Luke Scott
Writers: Aaron Guzikowski

Amanda Collin as Mother
Abubakar Salim as Father
Sienna Guillory as Mary
Niamh Algar as Sue
Jordan Loughran as Tempest
Felix Jamieson as Paul
Travis Fimmel as Marcus
Aasiya Shah as Holly
Ethan Hazzard as Hunter
Winta McGrath as Campion
Matias Varela as Lucius
Ivy Wong as Vita
Litha Bam as Bartok
Clayton Evertson as Dorian
Loulou Taylor as Cassia
Fadzai Simango as Leash

Premise

Marcus survives, new survivors arrive, evidence confirms that humans have been on Kepler-22B before, and a terrible beauty is born.

High Points

This season has given us a compelling mystery, connected to the notion of cycles in history, though how that resolves remains uncertain.

Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim continue with note-perfect performances as Mother and Father. Salim even makes the jealousy subplot work, while Collin deals with circumstances that would have strangled another actress.

Low Point

Biological “devolution” does not, strictly speaking, exist. Evolution has no fixed direction. A follower of Sol might be open to that interpretation, but a dedicated atheist would not, and that’s who describes the concept here.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 Raised by Wolves uses several established SF tropes, but it’s like nothing I’ve seen before on television.

Incidentally, we’ll be reviewing Rosemary’s Baby (book and movie) later this month as part of this year’s October Countdown.

Acting: 5/6

Story: 4/6 The story is gripping, but it throws a good many twists and new subplots our way, with too little explanation for a season finale.

Production: 6/6

Effects: 6/6 Once again, we have a number of exceptional effects. The awkward ones are mostly limited to visions, so I’ll give those a pass. Visions do not have to look real.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 So did Terrans land here before? Are we witnessing weirdly-specific parallel evolution? Will time-travel play a role, wherein the plane’s past is the survivors’ distant future?

Or will something quite different answer our questions?

In total, Raised by Wolves, Episode 10, receive 35/42

Lingering Fear

The season leaves too many lingering questions, so I’ll express a lingering fear. I hope they’ve worked things out, and we’re not witnessing yet another Twin Peaks, Lost, or Battlestar Galactica, where brilliance spirals into an annoying conclusion that reveals only that the writers had no idea where they were going.

12 replies on “Raised by Wolves Review: “The Beginning””

  1. lost says:

    On the “devolution” front, my guess is that this isn’t biologically driven “devolution” we’re seeing. I have a strong suspicion that there is at least one intelligence on (or in, perhaps?) that planet that is monkeying with things. Also, colloquially, “devolution” is subjective so it the term could easily have been used in that sense, though I’m not giving the producers a pass on that just yet.

  2. Jethro says:

    So I just binged the entire season and — for the most part — I loved it. Especially the aesthetics. There were some real Metropolis vibes from Lamia’s weaponised form, for example. The first episode was one of the strongest First Episodes I’ve seen in a while.

    But…

    It took a bit too long not getting to it’s point. The androids were becoming less and less rational, for example. And some of the plot twists in the last episodes didn’t come off as plot twists as much as “Well no actually it was something else”.

    I’m not a huge fan of season-ending cliffhangers, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do them.

    This was the wrong way. They didn’t answer any questions, and just raised more. You’re supposed to be left going “Wow! I can’t wait to see where they go with this!” rather than “WTF just happened?”

    Basically, they didn’t generate any faith that they’ll answer anything in season 2, if there is a season 2.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      Season Two has been confirmed, though dates are not.

      But yes, they needed to answer a few more questions in the finale. They answered perhaps one or two, and one of those they had more or less answered in the penultimate episode.
      We know that humans have been there before, and the creatures are descended from human beings.

      • Jethro says:

        Sorry, I don’t feel the need to spoiler-wrap when we’re discussing the last episode:

        > We know that humans have been there before, and the creatures are descended from human beings.

        That’s actually exactly what I’m talking about.

        That doesn’t answer anything because “what are these creatures?” was never a question. It was never presented as a mystery. This is a surprising reveal that happened right at the end of the season, came out of nowhere, and in no way relates to the main story.

        They didn’t answer any of the questions the story had raised, they just threw more crap at us that we can now hope they resolve next season.

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          How were these things never mysteries? The planet’s past has been fairly central, and I’ll assume (unless they reveal they were pantsing the series) the mysterious origins of Mother’s tech is connected somehow.

          But I would agree they needed to do a lot more here.

          What questions do you most want to see answered?

          • Jethro says:

            > How were these things never mysteries?

            I’d hardly consider “planet has creatures on it” to be a mystery.

            At most, they wondered how they hadn’t seen them in the area before — but in no way did they tie that to the “Humans have been here before” thing.

            Also, I don’t think the planet’s past was central at all until the “maybe humans have been here before” thing. Actually, not even then. It was just thrown out there, really. When the Mithraic encountered the… uh… Parkour person? They casually mention that maybe Humans had been there before. Nobody seemed at all surprised by this.

            • JD DeLuzio says:

              The planet’s past became important early on, and it’s not that the planet has creatures. It’s their nature, for which the show began dropping clues early on. That nature very directly points to humans being on the planet in its past. Again, if all of this has an underlying explanation, it’s impressive. If they’re making it up as they go along, I’ll join you at the virtual bar and fume about it.

              But again, what mysteries do you think they should have addressed?

    • lost says:

      The androids becoming more irrational (or “human”) appears to be a deliberate choice rather than poor writing at least.

      I am hoping they do have some sort of future plan that required all the slow burn stuff, especially in the first episodes. I’m not convinced that is the case, but at least there’s some chance of it. The first few episodes of the second season will make or break it.

      • Jethro says:

        Oh the androids behaving that way was obviously deliberate writing. But it was written badly. They kind of — kiiiind of maybe explain it with Mother, but not with Father. They don’t explain androids very well, in fact.

        • lost says:

          Was it written badly, though? Or is it something that hasn’t yet been revealed that leads to it? it’s just one more aspect of the ongoing mystery along with why Campion hasn’t been affected by eating those radioactive things when everyone else was, who or what the voice is, and what’s up with that thing at the bottom of the holes since it clearly wasn’t a typical planetary core.

          All that said, at the moment, I can accept that there is a broader plan that will hang together. But it won’t take much to convince me otherwise when the next season starts up.

      • Jethro says:

        > But again, what mysteries do you think they should have addressed?

        For example, they had an android actually get pregnant. And they kiiinda were explaining it, but then she goes and gives birth to the Midgard Serpent throwing a lot of what we kiiinda knew out the window.

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