Raised by Wolves reaches an end in “The Beginning”, teeing up a deserved second season with a generous helping of sci-fi weirdness.
This recap of Raised by Wolves season 1, episode 10, “The Beginning”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After a season of surprisingly high quality given Ridley Scott’s late-career self-serving indulgence, we have reached the finale of Raised by Wolves, anachronistically titled “The Beginning”. And fittingly enough it’s a weird affair, full of difficult-to-explain developments, very on-brand jokes, and some wince-inducing body horror for good measure. Weirdly, the episode opens with Marcus, a little worse for wear, waking up delirious after the beating he received in last week’s cliffhanger, and spotting the lander in the distance. “Your king is coming,” he mutters, staggering off in its general direction, and we barely see him again.
Instead, Raised by Wolves episode 10 focuses heavily on the relationship between Mother and Father, the plight of Campion and the Ark’s children, the backstory of Kepler 22-b, and Mother’s pending birth to the potential savior of all mankind — that, though, takes something of a turn. We’ll get to it in a minute.
In the meantime, Mother and Father put the lander down in a barren part of the planet full of mist and gnarled, dead trees. The scanner picks up a bunch of readings of the scurrying natives, but they all flee when they sense the craft approaching, and Paul insists that they’re on a holy mission from Sol anyway, so all will be well. Paul’s relationship with Sol is very strange in “The Beginning”, and gets stranger as it goes, especially once he starts becoming privy to information that he shouldn’t know. Again, more on this in a bit.
Mother is heavily and visibly pregnant now, but she’s in a pretty good mood, which I must admit hasn’t been my experience of pregnant women. This final hour wrings tons of humor out of the idea of this very human scenario causing a very human rift between Mother and Father that they can only work through in comically robotic terms. Father is jealous and angry about Mother having conceived a child while essentially cheating on him, and he can’t comprehend why. He tried to delete the thoughts but they keep returning. Mother confesses to him about the sim, and about how she used it to inhabit her own memory files and access a hidden file that allowed her to “interact” with their creator and “download” additional programming. “You mated,” sulks Father, cutting right through the excuses. And that isn’t even the bad news. Campion and his siblings, she explains, were only practice for the real mission, which is growing inside her currently. Their argument gets more petty and amusing as it progresses, in full view of everyone.
But it’s obvious there’s something up with Mother’s kid. Sue tests her amniotic fluid and finds it’s growing at an extreme rate. Hunter believes it’s divine, since all the kids — with the exception of Tempest — are pretty big on Sol again, especially Paul, who still believes that Mouse has been resurrected as proof of the deity’s all-knowing love. Speaking of Mouse, he leads Paul to a cave full of moving hieroglyphics, which might explain how he gets all the information that he turns back on Sue later, but “The Beginning” doesn’t make it clear.
Either way, Father leaves, explaining to Campion that he has “reached a point of intolerance with Mother.” Ha! Marcus roams, too, continuing to have visions that reaffirm he’s the chosen one and Sol’s true servant, though if that were true presumably he’d have been blessed with a better sense of direction. And Paul, as a gift to Mother’s child, sabotages the lander — an act that Sue catches him in the middle of, prompting her to insist that Sol doesn’t exist and that Marcus went insane.
Given what happens when Mother actually gives birth, we have to at least entertain the idea that Paul is really in direct communication with someone, since, again, he becomes aware of information that he wouldn’t know otherwise, and the idea of ensuring that Mother’s offspring remains in a specific part of the planet seems to fit with a broader plan for impregnating her with a murderous flying space snake in the first place. The Raised by Wolves finale gives no real sense of what that broader plan might be or who it might have been concocted by, but a second season has already been confirmed, so someone’s obviously thinking about it.
Factoring into that is the story of the planet itself. In “The Beginning”, Mother is attacked by a weird figure we’d previously caught glimpses of skulking around, and it turns out to be a humanoid alien, its complexion a bit similar to the more primitive ones we’ve seen thus far. It’s wearing a cloak and carrying around a Neanderthal skull that when Father analyses it — by taking a bite, no less — turns out to be local. His working theory is that the aliens aren’t evolving, as Mother suggested, but devolving. That suggests this part of the planet, or perhaps even this planet in general, isn’t exactly an ideal setting for raising a newborn, but Mother is adamant since she feels stronger here.
There’s no wonder, really, that Father is losing patience with Mother. While he buries the alien, he explains to her how he plans to get Hunter to erase the memories of their time together so that he doesn’t continue to mimic human love for her — hilariously, he’s confident that this version of her won’t inspire the same feelings as before, and it’s difficult to disagree.
Raised by Wolves episode 10 really kicks into gear when Sue is woken up by the blaring amniotic sample; the baby is on its way. The problem is that Mother is missing and that Paul, having somehow discovered who she really is, holds her at gunpoint. Sol, apparently, let him know that she’s an atheist demon, and her name is Mary, which is justification enough to shoot her. And I thought my kids had an attitude. Sue, badly wounded, instructs Campion and the others to find Mother and tell her that the baby has to come out now or it’s going to die.
As it turns out, Mother doesn’t have much choice in the matter anyway. While she’s exploring a cave during which flashbacks seem to suggest the natives revering a goo-spewing android skull that she discovers — correct me if my interpretation is off, here — she goes into violent labor, and her flying space-snake with its suggestive sucker is born — through her mouth. Lovely. It quickly latches onto her and begins to feed, which is how Father finds her, cradling the newborn but reluctant to reveal it to him since she has determined that it wasn’t their creator but something else that has seeded this thing inside her, for purposes as yet unknown. She’s worried that once it’s done suckling it’ll want blood, so the only option is to kill it — a task that Father enthusiastically offers to help with.
Thus, Mother, Father, and the space-snake fly the lander directly into the pit, through the tunnels, and into the planet’s molten core, where both androids malfunction and collapse while replaying memories of them with the children. When they smile, it’s weirdly touching. They say their goodbyes and plunge into the lava — or so it seems, anyway.
Meanwhile, Marcus, in an obvious second season tease, runs into more Mithraic from another Ark. He kills all but one, and through the survivor’s earpiece explains to their superior that he is the king of this world and that Sol doesn’t want them there. He and his victim kneel to pray as we see the Ark drift overhead, in the planet’s atmosphere.
This is where “The Beginning” gets a bit confusing for me, as Father wakes up just as the space-snake is wrapping itself around the lander controls. Next news, the craft has rocketed out of the planet’s mantle and re-emerged above-ground, forcing Father to grab Mother and make a hasty getaway, leaving the snake aboard. So, they didn’t melt in the lava, then? Didn’t we explicitly see the craft get burned up? Am I going nuts?
Whatever. As an injured Sue and the other kids look at Campion for guidance, just as Mother and Father predicted, we cut back to the crashed lander for a final, ominous scene, as the space-snake, now huge, breaks free and floats off into the trees in search of a second season.
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