Episode by episode, ‘Raised by Wolves’ has built a thing of beauty: a mysterious, haunting expanse of a planet, vividly sketched out characters, and deep-seated allegories to tales of yore. Creator Aaron Guzikowski and intermittent director Ridley Scott have conjured up a series with abundant scope for world-building. Guzikowski has clearly derived ample influence from veteran director Scott, who has spawned science-fiction classics like ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’. The finale of the ten-episode season surpasses, in style, concept, and ambition, the rest of the nine episodes put together.
The finale, as expected, is an action-packed, tear-jerking rollercoaster. We begin with a woozy Marcus attempting to assimilate Mother’s dark photon-charged eye. As we had theorized in our recap of the penultimate episode, Marcus’ newfound source of power is, bit by bit, heightening his senses and enhancing his physical abilities. Akin to Marcus, a heavily-pregnant Mother is experiencing a rush of energy and power as she nears her time of delivery.
Meanwhile, strange and eerie episodes foreshadow the birth of Mother’s child. The planet’s native creatures scurry away in terror; Paul is steered by the voice of Sol (or so he believes) to a patch of uncanny engravings on the walls of a gloomy cave; Mother finds the head of an android encased inside a helmet; a humanoid creature attempts to kill Mother, but is instantly thwarted.
The episode ultimately culminates in Mother’s shocking delivery. It isn’t so much a delivery, as it is a revamping of the iconic ‘chestburster’ scene from ‘Alien’. Instead of a hybrid human-android bundle of joy, what emerges is a thing of horror. An eel with lamprey teeth distorts Mother’s body and flies out of her mouth. Mother is horrified at her creation.
Raised by Wolves Ending, Explained
If the first nine episodes of ‘Raised by Wolves’ were a blur of rapidly succeeding events, its ending is paced at the speed of light. Multiple offshoots of its plot are chased all at once, each feeding off of and into each other. Mother is forced to reckon with the consequences of her decisions and find a way of remedying them. The serpent poses a threat unlike no other to her (other) children. She enlists Father’s help and, together, the two pilot the lander into the vast nothingness of the pit. But as they fly away from Kepler 22-b’s surface and further into the pit, they see the incendiary core of the planet. But instead of perishing in the heat it exudes, they zip right through it and emerge onto the other end of the planet.
To their horror, they realize that not only did the serpent survive too, but it has also grown exponentially in size. Before they afford it the chance to sink its teeth into them, Father and Mother abandon the lander mid-air. The lander crashes into the barren ground and skids to a halt. The crash seems to have had minimal impact on the serpent, who masterfully cracks the lander’s glass and flies off into the sun.
Meanwhile, Campion watches on in horror as his surrogate parents descend to what he assumes to be their imminent deaths. A silent terror consumes him, Sue, and the rest of the children as they attempt to make sense of what just took place. Sue and the kids sneak meaningful glances at Campion as he seems to come to a realization.
Blissfully unaware of what just transpired and the reptile threat at large, Marcus roams the expanse of the desolate planet, only to discover that it’s not quite so desolate after all. A group of armed men clad in black size up Marcus as he brazenly walks towards them. They spy his Mithraic insignia and immediately draw their weapons. Without batting an eyelid, Marcus takes out the entire group save for one terrified soldier. As he commands the soldier to pray to Sol, a monstrous spaceship appears in the sky and casts its shadow over them. Now that we’ve got the nitty-gritty out of the way, let’s try our hand at deciphering this whirlwind of a finale.
What, precisely, is the nature of Mother’s reptilian spawn?
‘Raised by Wolves’ is laden with biblical allegories. Mother and Father play the android equivalents of the Judeo-Christian Adam and Eve, the first man and woman to behold the garden of Eden. Kepler 22-b serves as their Eden, albeit a bleak and barren one. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden after giving in to temptation from a serpent, a reptilian manifestation of the Devil. A là Eve, Mother, against her better judgment, gives in to her deepest, darkest desires and is impregnated with the reptile.
The giant reptiles were presumably ancient beasts that once laid claim to Kepler 22-b but then went extinct – similar to dinosaurs that once roved the earth. When Mother and Father first descend on the planet, they are greeted by the enormous skeletal remains of serpents. They believe them to be long extinct, without realizing that Mother will soon spawn an evolved species of the reptile herself. The serpent that Mother gives birth to seems an intelligent – and perhaps even sentient – being.
How was Mother impregnated?
It is clear that Mother’s ‘immaculate conception’ in the hibernation pod led to her pregnancy. It is also clear that it is not her creator, Campion Sturges, that Mother mates with inside the pod, but something far more entirely. It is presumably the entity that has been feeding her and the others visions and voices throughout the series.
How exactly does her ‘immaculate conception’ occur? Well, Mother is not unlike an elaborate 3-D printer, like Guzikowski likes to analogize. Once fed the diagrams of a particular object and provided the necessary tools to build that object, she has the ability to construct it from scratch. Mother’s communing with a simulation of her creator is merely a diversion. While Mother is busy mating with her creator, the entity downloads information on how to create a new being onto her drive. When Mother runs the program, lo and behold, she’s pregnant, or, in the process of ‘ 3-D printing’. The only compound Mother lacks to ‘create’ is plasma. Eventually, Sue and the humanoid creatures supply Mother with plasma, enabling the serpent to grow at an exponential rate. And thus, the giant serpent is brought to life.
The serpent has special abilities of its own. As Sue discovers, the reptile has off-the-charts cell growth and is growing faster than one can perceive. It also inherits certain traits from Mother – the ability to fly, for instance – and is now more powerful and dangerous a being than it ever was before.
Where do Mother and Father end up?
Mother realizes that the serpent must be destroyed, for the very future of human life on the planet is at stake. When the serpent grows and consumes all of Mother’s android blood, it would crave human blood and hunt down the children. She and Father undertake a kamikaze mission – they plan to descend into one of the endless pits and crash through the core of the planet, destroying the serpent and themselves in the process. Almost miraculously, they instead pass right through the heated core and seem to come out at the far end of the planet – the coveted tropical region. The pits, then, could be a means of getting from one point of the planet to another.
How do the androids and the serpent sustain the impact of flying through Kepler 22-b’s very own core? This is debatable; one possible explanation is that the heat source at the core numbs as the spaceship flies through it, similar to how the furnace numbed when Marcus shoved Hunter’s hand into it. How exactly this transpires is mystifying. The other explanation is a much more wild and improbable one, but an explanation all the same. The pits could essentially lead to wormholes (tunnels that act as connecting points in time and space). Then, what Mother and Father whiz through is no core of Kepler 22-b, but the core of a wormhole. Wormholes, of course, are only theoretical concepts in our time, but in the ‘Raised by Wolves’ universe, the possibilities are endless.
Who is the Mithraic prophet?
After Mother and Father disappear down the pit – we’ll stick to calling it a pit until we know more about the wormhole theory – the children and Sue find themselves without their leaders. A power vacuum emerges. Notably, all the members of the group look to Campion when they realize this. When Campion re-emerges from his grief, he seems a changed person. All evidence points to Campion assuming the role of leader and becoming the Mithraic prophet to break ground on civilization on Kepler 22-b. His fine-tuned ability to deeply empathize with others would prove a valuable asset to the group and make him a just leader.
But the role is not without other contenders. Sue, being the eldest of the lot, would naturally feel inclined to take over from Mother and Father. But since she doesn’t believe in the Mithraic scriptures, she will likely want no part to play in its prophecies. Then there’s the crazed, hyper-charged version of Marcus who crowns himself ‘king of the world’. Paul, too, could return to stake claim to the role of Mithraic prophet.
Why does the humanoid creature attempt to kill Mother?
The concluding episode of season 1 of ‘Raised by Wolves’ finally unmasks the hooded figure who flits from place to place, tracking and tracing the movements of the androids and the children. The figure turns out to be a grotesquely disfigured humanoid, bearing an eerie resemblance to the creatures that prowl the land. Unfortunately, no sooner are we introduced to the humanoid than his character arc ends with one brutal blow from Mother. While Mother hovers at the edge of the pit, the humanoid creeps up behind her and prepares to push her to her death. But Mother’s heightened senses make her keenly aware of her surroundings and of the predatory presence behind her. She lunges at the humanoid before it can strike her dead.
When she and Father later examine the humanoid intently, they make a startling discovery: the humanoid is essentially a devolved version of the human species. The androids then come to the shocking realization that the creatures that they hunt for nourishment are further devolved versions of humans. They are struck by the ethical conundrum this poses – the children have been cannibalizing the creatures. But more so, the discovery yields a series of questions. What brought about their ‘devolution’? What caused the cloaked humanoid to resist further devolution and not meet the fate of his ancestors and peers?
One plausible explanation could be the serpents themselves. If the serpents succeeded in implanting visions within ’22-b’s native humans, they, too, would have been driven to insanity and, worse, irrationality, as did Marcus, Paul, and Mother. For the native humans, devolving in intellect could have successfully kept the visions and voices at bay.
Who – or what – is behind the voices and visions?
It is not too far-fetched to believe that the serpents, if sentient, were the entities that found a way to implant visions within the various inhabitants of ’22-b. In fact, Mother and Father’s journey to ’22-b seems to have long since been foreshadowed. Paul fatefully finds vivid – not to mention, ancient – etchings splattered on the walls of a cave. These etchings, although seemingly several thousand years old, depict (or should we say predict) the inception of Mother and Father’s mission to the planet.
In the drawings, two intricately drawn figures pilot a spacecraft with a number of embryos onboard. This makes it all but apparent that the ancient inhabitants of ’22-b, including the reptiles, were anticipating Mother and Father’s journey to the planet, and perhaps even the Mithraic’s. The Mithraic, in fact, were all but handed the proverbial keys to the kingdom in the form of scriptures. The scriptures guided their hand in creating Necromancers and finding the promised land.
This makes one aspect clear as day: right from the Mithraic piecing together the first Necromancer to Mother and Father landing on ’22-b, everything was meticulously planned and carried out by an unknown entity. The voices and visions, then, could also have been a planned method of preying on each of the inhabitants’ vulnerabilities, spurring each of them towards one singular goal: to revive the extinct and forgotten serpent species. How precisely the ‘implanting’ was accomplished is still a giant question mark.
Who are the men in black?
At the very end, Marcus finally encounters other human life – not the children nor the Mithraic. The atheists. This is evidenced by their attire and the petrified look on a soldier’s face when Marcus implores him to pray. The spaceship that crawls overhead is also likely commandeered by the atheists. But, how in Sol’s name, did the atheists find themselves a spaceship? It is, by now, heavily referenced that only the Mithraic had the means to space exploration. It seems possible, then, that a certain cohort of atheists stole a Mithraic spaceship and guided it toward Kepler 22-b.
What’s in store for season 2?
If season two is anything alike to the first season, we’re in for an endless barrage of chills, thrills, and confoundment. Questions for season 2 are aplenty. Will Campion be crowned ‘the chosen one’? Will the Mithraic and atheistic factions begin warring again? What will Mother and Father discover in the tropical zone? And most importantly, how much of a threat will the serpent pose? But given that Guzikowski has five more seasons sketched out ahead of him, come season 2, answers will likely still be few and far between. Guzikowski wants us to invest in the show, truly, madly, and deeply. He can rest assured that we will.
Read More: When Will Raised by Wolves Season 2 Release?