“Infected Memory” delves into Mother’s creation, as things get weird for Marcus, and Campion and Paul turn vegan.
This recap of Raised By Wolves season 1, episode 5, “Infected Memory”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Raised by Wolves episode 5 begins by reminding us of the new status quo in the Mithraic camp. With Ambrose dead, Marcus is now “His Eminence”, which splits opinion but goes down pretty well, all things considered. Sue, though, is a bit worried about the voices he claims to have heard, but he blames it on the earwig implant and plays it down. They head out on the trail of the children, now freed from their cowardly leadership.
Things are at least looking up in the settlement, as the kids all sit down to tuck into the steaming remains of the alien Tempest butchered in the previous episode, though there’s some debate about whether its unborn offspring is included in the meal. Apparently Mother buried it, but Hunter reckons she wouldn’t waste the nutrients — does this guy have any real function besides being irritating? Nevertheless, Mother and Father continue to bicker, with the latter particularly frustrated in trying to teach the kids to hunt the aliens.
During their wandering, the Mithraic stumble on the guy who raped the comatose passengers — including Tempest. He has been living in the wreckage of the Ark of Heaven, bound to a LEASH, an android who doubles as a mobile prison system. The rapist has to wear a weird spiky helmet that obscures his face and will crush his head if it or the attendant android are tampered with. Marcus thinks he might be useful as cannon fodder; he also thinks the Mithraic can spend the nights in the Ark, as he has been doing.
“Infected Memory” begins to show a quickly burgeoning relationship between Campion and Paul, who spot one of the native aliens eating the fungus from one of the hole walls. Campion reckons they could eat it too as a more ethical alternative to the meat. Back at the settlement, Mother talks with Tempest about her nature, using a metaphor about salmon beating themselves to death in other to feed their young to make a point about the cycle of life. Needless to say, Tempest isn’t exactly thrilled by this analogy.
One of the Mithraic, Cassia, clearly has a thing for Marcus, so that’s something to keep an eye on in the future. Sue, meanwhile, wants him to call her by her real name when they’re alone, which Marcus pretends not to remember. It’s a joke for now, but is there a hint of foreshadowing here? Is Marcus losing touch with Caleb and becoming simply Marcus, Mithraic believer? These are the things that happen when you spend your evenings knocking about with a noisily praying rapist, I guess.
Raised by Wolves episode 5 dispenses some vital information about Mother’s backstory after she’s led by a child in the woods back to the Ark’s sim, which takes her this time to her own origins, as she sees herself being shot out of the air and taken away as she claims not to recall any of this.
Her captor turns out to be her creator, the original Campion, an atheist hacker and traitor who was born Mithraic and used the education they gave him to steal technology after denouncing Sol. He’s a wanted man with a bounty on his head. “Infected Memory” leads us through his nurturing of her motherly instincts, reprogrammed into her; her early interactions with a baby result in her snapping its neck — don’t worry, it’s just an android — but eventually her subroutines are rewritten to the point that motherhood is baked in there somewhere. The present-day Mother, seeing this for the first time, looks on, teary-eyed at the fact that Campion clearly loves her. He gives her the mission to take the electric razor spacecraft full of embryos to continue humanity on Kelper-22b, explaining how he can’t come along since he can’t survive the journey. Mother feels real emotion, she’s “hurting inside”, so he removes the memories they share to keep her on-mission, though he archives them so she can retrieve them “if necessary”. Freed from that emotional burden she gets aboard the ship. “You are the new mother of humanity,” Campion tells her, “save us.” As the ship departs, this vision of Campion tells the present-day Mother, still watching, that the children are in danger and she needs to get back to the settlement.
When she returns she finds Tempest having ingested something and helps her spew it all up, saving her life. Tempest accuses her of only caring about the baby, but Mother says she’ll protect all of them no matter what, which can’t help but sound creepy when she says it.
Meanwhile, the Mithraic trace the signal to a giant monster skeleton that’s heavily booby-trapped; the signal devices are being used as bait, and when they find them a very agile humanoid in rags makes off with them. Marcus, somewhat improbably, figures out that the whole cavern’s a map that they can use to lead them back to the settlement, where Mother is grateful to “their Creator”, which Father interprets as the beginnings of faith. Paul and Campion, chums now, are only eating the fungus and preaching to the other kids about how they should stay off meat. Typical vegans.
“Infected Memory” ends with some more weirdness, which is becoming a trend. Marcus speaks with the rapist, who claims to have been in direct communication with Sol but then abandoned by him after carrying out his rapey wishes, which is a likely story. Marcus and Sue have sex, and as they do Marcus sees the roof of the cavern contort, a reflection of himself wearing the rapist’s helmet, and imagines having bloodily shanked Sue. Romantic! The next morning, the Mithraic follow the map back to the settlement, where, from a distance, Marcus and Sue observe Father teaching the children to sling rocks.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.