As predicted, “Happiness” answers few questions, but it’s a lovely-looking glimpse of where an inevitable third season might take us.
This recap of Raised by Wolves season 2, episode 8, “Happiness”, contains spoilers, including for the Raised by Wolves Season 2 ending.
Well, folks, we’ve reached another Raised by Wolves finale, though this one admittedly feels like something of a stopgap rather than any kind of ending. With this much plot to go over, there’s no chance of wrapping everything up neatly in a 45-minute episode, but given the show’s recent run of demented form, a finale at least seems like a good excuse to go properly nuts and leave things on an even more ambitious and confusing note than usual. First, though, a melancholy one.
Raised by Wolves season 2, episode 8 recap
You’ll recall that at the end of the previous episode, Vrille developed serious spinal issues like that time when Mike Tyson broke his back, and her final act was furiously engraving a bunch of rune-looking characters on a nearby tree. “Happiness” opens with Campion smartly copying that final missive — from the dialogue at the time, I assume it’s information to preserve the original Vrille’s memory, which was the android version’s purpose anyway — onto a cloth using the juice of squeezed berries, and at Vrille’s makeshift grave, he snatches one last look at her ruined, horrifying face as the mutated serpent flies noisily overheard, reminding him and the audience that there’s a giant, flying mutated serpent we need to be worrying about.
As we’ve been building to over the last few episodes, Grandmother might well hold the key to dealing with the serpent. Mother has brought Marcus before her, and in their conversation, we get a little bit more chatter about “The Entity”, whatever nebulous force everyone has been confusing with Sol. Grandmother makes an offhand comment to Marcus about how his damaged mind makes him vulnerable to the Entity’s signal, which I suppose makes sense — if I was going to try and force people to do my bidding, I’d target those who’re traumatized and manipulable too. Father isn’t thrilled about Marcus’s presence and even less keen on the idea of Mother using Grandmother’s veil to kill No. 7, but since Grandmother has assured Mother that it won’t cloud her mission objectives or confuse her loyalties to Father and their human children, Mother assures Father that everything will be fine. Call me cynical, but I don’t think it will be.
Elsewhere, Hunter takes Tempest’s baby to a kind of AI midwife, which scans the infant and determines it has developed webbed hands as a result of consuming the mer-monster’s milk. He gives the AI permission to administer anesthesia and perform corrective surgery while Tempest cries, and I have to wonder if this is how the mer-monster population grows. Do they steal human children and feed them up into aquatic abominations? Well, this becomes important later.
The veil works for the intended purpose, at least. Mother interrupts the serpent while it’s chasing Campion, lures it up into space, and in a beautifully-shot sequence, it lovingly reaches out to her with tentacles and tendrils, and she screams in its face so hard that it plummets down through the atmosphere and lands, charred and half-dead, on the beach right by Campion. Seeing Mother wearing Grandmother’s veil confuses Campion, as well it might, but when she confesses that it stops her from feeling things, he sees the opportunity for a frank conversation about how he loved Vrille. Mother, as if to verify that the veil is working, casually plunges her hand into the serpent’s eye socket and extracts its brain, and tells Campion that it’s silly to love machines.
The problems come after. Mother decides not to take off the veil since the emotional toll would be too much so soon after No. 7’s death, so instead she exiles herself aboard the Tarantula and leaves Father in charge of the kids, advising that he gets childrearing help from Grandmother, who is suddenly awash with new experiences and anxieties in the absence of her veil (she’s Selina Jones underneath it). She also advises he watches and shows the kids the contents of the mysterious metal card that Marcus was carrying, the one emblazoned with symbols and such. As it turns out, this is a kind of public safety message that depicts how Sue became the Tree of Life, which is a gruesome transformation and, as Father puts it, just one symptom of a much larger, more insidious problem.
Aboard the Tarantula, we see someone as-yet-unidentified steal the ancient Mithraic Punisher helmet. Marcus is the obvious suspect, but it doesn’t seem like him when he’s confronted. Instead, he’s spending time with Paul, who through Sue’s research has deduced that the Entity can’t transmit its signal through the electromagnetic field, and so used the Tree of Life as a means of circumventing that restriction and weaponizing the serpent. This implies that the Entity is somewhere underground. However, it still seems to have some influence above-ground, as we see the serpent’s corpse transform into what looks like another tree, and it also becomes apparent that Mother’s killing of the serpent seems to have damaged the EMF, drastically reducing the temperature of the Tropical Zone — it starts snowing — and allowing the Entity’s signal to move freely.
Raised by Wolves Season 2 ending
Inspired by what Paul said, Marcus tries to descend into one of the Zone’s pits, but as he steps into the elevator that conveniently rises to greet him, he’s shot by a gunman who turns out to be Lucius. Spurred on by the Entity, presumably, Lucius nails Marcus upside-down to the tree that sprung from the corpse of the serpent. He also stole the Punisher helmet, which he shoves on Marcus’s head so that he can “die in shame and darkness”.
Anyway, about the connection between humans and the mer-monsters. As has become clear, the origins of the creatures are the previous human inhabitants of Kepler-22b. Tempest’s baby’s webbed hands were a bit of a clue, though. As the climate of the Tropical Zone shifts, Grandmother recommends the chemical sea, which will never freeze, as a constant food source. As the kids are stripping it of its plant-life, though, Campion begins to develop scales on his hand which he mistakes for a callous. Grandmother happily talks with Father about how ignorance is crucial to the development of humankind (speaking in reference to the kids not being aware of the origins of the monsters), while Mother watches on via the Tarantula. But Mother puts two and two together. She recognizes that Grandmother is leading the kids to the water, facilitating their devolution. Mother tries to rip the veil off, but it begins to stretch and encapsulate her in a tight, suffocating prison. The next we see of her, she’s Grandmother’s captive. When the humans have devolved, the Entity will return to its slumber. Only then will Grandmother awaken mother, who she plunges into a prison-like simulation from which there doesn’t seem to be any means of escape.
Even in sleep, Mother lives on in the colony as Lamia, the serpent-killer, the God, in the crudely-carved wooden medallions of the colonists. Grandmother peruses one as she distributes her “holo games” for the children, which are obviously part of her plan to devolve everyone. She’s dismissive of the idol, claiming how in times of strife even atheists will find something to pray to, though those prayers will go unanswered. Elsewhere, Lucius watches Marcus die, and removes the helmet from his corpse, assuring it he’ll be king now. When he turns around, though, Marcus is floating upside-down in the air above the tree, blood dripping from his palms.
You can stream Raised by Wolves season 2, episode 8, “Happiness”, exclusively on HBO Max. Do you have any thoughts on the Raised by Wolves Season 2 ending? Let us know in the comments.