‘Raised by Wolves’, an HBO Max prestige original created by Aaron Guzikowski, exists in a realm of dualities – here, man contends with machine; atheists face-off with the devout; the natural clashes with the supernatural. Episode 7 follows this trend to a T. Episode 7 of ‘Raised by Wolves’ is aptly entitled ‘Faces.’ The episode depicts the duality of, both, man and machine by showcasing the dual ‘faces’, or psyches, that can exist within each being.
Raised by Wolves Episode 7 Recap
Campion and Marcus, the heirs apparent to their respective factions of atheists and the religious, form the focal points of ‘Faces.’ Considering Campion to be impure without the ritual of baptism, the Mithraic capture and imprison him within the silo, cautioning the rest of the children against speaking to him. Even boarded up within the silo, Campion cannot escape Tally’s ghostly voice. Tally’s voice whispers instructions with sinister connotations to Campion – kill yourself, it says, so that you rejoin your siblings in death. Campion, however, heeds another voice – that of Tempest’s. Tempest, skilled in theological pretense herself, instructs Campion to go along with the ritual of baptism without actually forsaking his beliefs. Campion agrees.
At the time of the ritual, however, he spies his siblings’ gravestones, which have been used to construct a makeshift church. The symbolism, here, is strong. Guzikowski could be alluding to the practice of colonization, often built on the backs and at the cost of the indigenous people of the land. A petrified Campion attempts to sprint away from the ritual – only to be stopped in his tracks by, lo and behold, Father himself. To his horror, Campion discovers that the service model that was Father has been reprogrammed to obey every whim and fancy of the Mithraic.
Meanwhile, Mother, too, has been rendered helpless by the Mithraic. The Mithraic fashion an entrapment that seems a little too on the nose – Mother is made to stand in a Christ-like pose, as if being crucified for her misdeeds. When Marcus pays her a visit, the two engage in the battle royale of wits. Marcus mocks and belittles Mother’s inability to feel and think for herself, but she is undeterred.
Mother, on the other hand, seems to have sensed Marcus’ vulnerabilities and goes straight for the jugular: his assumed identity. She reveals that she has, in fact, learned of Marcus’ past as an atheist and attempts to cajole him into believing that they fight for the same cause. When that fails, she preys on his parenting – contrasting her inherent ability to care for others with his alien, newfound role as a parent to Paul. This riles Marcus up and, despite the voices in his head cautioning him against it, he arrives at a difficult decision – to toss Mother down one of the bottomless pits. He enlists the reprogrammed Father’s help and together, they drop Mother to her death.
Raised by Wolves Episode 7 Ending Explained
Mother seems doomed to the bottom of the pit. But in a moment of pure, practically ‘un-programmed’, love, she admits to Father her affection and gratitude for him. Just as we give up hope, a light bulb seems to go off within Father and he grasps the rope long enough for Mother to make her way out of the pit.
Meanwhile, Marcus encounters, in a hallucination, a pre-surgical version of himself, who’s out for blood. The two Marcuses go for each other’s throats and, make no mistake, blood is drawn. Marcus loses the fight to his former self and returns, almost miraculously, bruised, and battered to Sue and the settlement. A taken aback Sue tends to his wounds while making yet another case for their family of three to make their escape to the tropical zone. Marcus rebuffs her, claiming that he, not Paul or Campion, is the ‘orphan boy’ the Pentagonal Prophecy proclaims, which makes his presence in the settlement pertinent.
In the vein of Nina Sayers’ (‘Black Swan’) hypnotic melee with herself, Marcus engages in an astonishing brawl with a pre-surgical version of himself. Guzikowski has likely tapped into Roman mythology for yet another bizarre, almost metaphorical, sequence of events. In Roman mythology, the God Janus is depicted as having two distinct faces, one that faces the past and another that looks toward the present – hence, perhaps, the title of the episode, ‘Faces.’ À la Janus, Marcus, too, sees two avatars of himself, each representing the past and present, respectively. His conflicting selves are at cross purposes with each other, with his past self subscribing to an atheistic school of thought and his present self falling deeper and deeper into the throes of religion. They wrestle with one another, each trying to thwart the other – his past self emerges victorious.
Janus, incidentally, is oft regarded as the god of beginnings and transitions. If creator Guzikowski doubles down on motifs in ‘Raised by Wolves’, Marcus’ prophecy may not be far from the truth – he may indeed be the ‘orphan boy’ prophesied to break ground for ‘Rome’ and usher in a new era and civilization on Kepler 22-b.
Not unlike Marcus, Father, too, grapples with a past and present form of himself – one that is selflessly dedicated to Mother, Campion, and the rest of the children and another that is programmed solely to serve his Mithraic brethren. His ‘trigger finger’ is an outward manifestation of the internal strife Father is enduring. When Mother compels him to look ‘past’ his reprogramming, Father has a breakthrough, of sorts. The trigger finger, the only sign of the Campion-created Father, clamps down on Mother’s fatal descent into the pit, allowing her to hoist herself back up.
This episode of ‘Raised by Wolves’ is rife with almost-supernatural occurrences. Campion hears the voice of Tally goading him to end his life; a voice halts Marcus in his tracks as he prepares to throw Mother down the deep shaft; Paul’s mouse appears, almost as if resurrected, in the miniature model of the city Paul creates from scratch. Just as the characters of ‘Raised by Wolves’ question their beliefs (or lack thereof), ‘Faces’ has us question our own convictions – about the planet, the characters, and religion itself. Could the Mithraic be in the right? Does ‘Sol’, or some version of him, truly exist? Is the hand of ‘Sol’ guiding the characters in ‘Raised by Wolves’ along a predetermined path? For answers, all we can do is wait and watch.
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