Raised by Wolves Season 2 Episode 4 continued exploring the mysteries of the planet, with some surprising reveals that I hadn’t expected to get quite this soon. “Control” advanced the plot surprisingly far, taking a few turns that were completely outside of what I had expected. Some key players have been removed from the table, and the power dynamics between other characters have changed drastically.
This is a Raised by Wolves Season 2 Episode 4 review. As such, there will be spoilers up through the latest episode.
Paul Is a Sacrificial Lamb
The episode began with some sort-of-father-son bonding between Marcus and Paul, before things quickly went wrong. As many of us had suspected, the Trust giving the mouse to Paul was a trap all along. I thought mouse was going to get sick and force Paul to return to the Trust and admit what he did. But instead, it was a lot darker than I had anticipated. His mouse was seeded with some kind of bioweapon. Paul nearly died and ended up encased in some really hideous cocoon, while one of the Mithraic followers in the cave with him died from exposure to the toxin.
At this point, it’s not clear if Paul didn’t die by accident or by design. What is clear is that the Trust AI had been experimenting with bioweapons, perhaps built from samples of the baby snake. The AI’s directive is to value survival of the collective over the individual, and it deemed Paul an acceptable loss. (Apparently it created a bioweapon without an antidote, which seems exceptionally risk to me.)
Did you also notice that Paul’s eyes began to look like snake eyes right before the toxin/shell/whatever-it-is overtook him? Is it possible he’s turning into some kind of snake creature himself now?
A New Creature Has Entered the Planet’s Lore
When Vrille followers her mom’s order and chases down Campion to stop him from getting Mother, things take a dark turn fast. A strange sea creature emerges from the acid water and tries to drag Vrille in with it. Campion kills an organic life to save an inorganic.
Let’s take a moment to study this acid creature. Could it be another devolved human, since we know that some version of humanity lived on this planet at some point in the past? It’s clearly the creature that killed the other humans in the previous episode by dragging them into the acid sea. I thought the snake baby had protective armor it was hiding, but it turns out the little biotech snek was innocent all along.
Please don’t let Paul be turning into this creature. 😐
Vrille is injured so badly that it’s not clear she could even stop Campion if she tried. But the Instigator (that’s all I know him as), uses this as an excuse to get the tables turned on Vrille. He convinces Decima that Vrille chose to disobey her and can no longer be controlled. Loyal to Marcus and Sol, Decima kills Vrille in the most graphic, painstaking way possible. And as Vrille dies, we learn that Decima already killed her own “organic” daughter too. Decima’s a loose cannon. I’m predicting now that she will turn against Marcus at some point.
The Mother vs. Marcus Battle Was Over Too Fast
I expected an epic showdown between Marcus and Mother, but their battle was actually over really fast. I think Father’s pit fight last week might have been longer! I had assumed that the extra power Marcus got from the necromancer eyes would put him on equal footing against her. That definitely wasn’t the case.
Marcus wanted to keep Paul, believing Sol would heal him. Mother thought that his faith in a deity was silly and primitive, and she believed there was a better chance of getting an antidote from the source that created it. Marcus believed she was being naive to think that The Trust would cure someone it willingly sacrificed. It was an interesting situation, seeing as they both had a point and there really wasn’t a clear right or wrong answer. As it turned out, Marcus was right. The Trust AI was not willing to try to cure Paul, and it never created an antidote in the first place. Plus, I’m still thinking Sol is an AI itself, so it might have actually been able to create an antidote if it showed up to help.
But in the end, Mother not only won the battle, but she was able to get back her Necromancer eyes. That was a huge shift in their power dynamic. I thought we’d get to see more of Marcus evolving with the eyes inside him, and I’m a bit disappointed to see that storyline over. I also liked how Mother was evolving without the eyes, and I’m disappointed to see that over too. But it doesn’t mean the rest of the story won’t be interesting.
Marcus Has Lost a Big Source of His Power
Marcus must now return to his flock without his power source. His girlfriend Decima sacrificed her child in order to follow him, whom she believes is a prophet of Sol. But she quickly picks up on the fact that he’s missing a big source of his power and now seems more normal. It’s interesting that what she interprets as Sol inside of him is the necromancer’s eyes. The original android tech did come from an alien source — likely from this very planet — so her intuition might be foreshadowing that Sol itself is an AI similar to but more powerful than the Trust.
The Trust Is Gone Far Too Soon
In a fit of calm rage, Mother re-engages the flying power we haven’t seen since last season and brings Paul back to The Trust. She has to kill some humans along the way. At first the Trust tells them to fight her, and then ultimately tells them to let her inside. They have an intense conversation, where it maintains that it can’t violate its programming of valuing the community over the individual, while she can’t violate her own caregiving protocol. So even though they were programmed by the same person, they’re at odds. I believe he had the same intention for them… Mother was supposed to care for the humanity that she brought with her, at all costs. And The Trust is caring for humanity in general. But the slightest difference in programming leads to a significant divergence in outcomes.
I can’t help but wonder if The Trust had this in mind all along. If it sought to enrage her (and kill some humans along the way) by telling them to fight her at first. If it poisoned Campion knowing she would be angry and knowing she wouldn’t change her mind. Did The Trust ultimately decide that humanity had a better shot at survival under her leadership than its own? Or did it miscalculate, considering a situation where she did not have her eyes, and was unprepared for the consequences that would come from her power? It’s hard to tell.
Father Has a New Child
Meanwhile, Father (my favorite character in the series) has a fascinating story of his own. His caregiving program is leading him in a very different direction. He’s rebuilt a million-year-old android that is native to the planet (or so we think.) It runs on the same fuel that he and Mother run on, further indicating that their original blueprints must have originated here (or, at the very least, originated at the hands of the same “mind” that created the androids on Kepler.) Powered on, the new android shines like a brilliant sun. In fact, Campion mistook it for being Sol itself. Is this android the source of the Sol mythology? Or is it another necromancer model, only built slightly differently than Mother?
At one point, as Father stares at its magnificence, his eyes seem to slightly change. He could just be overwhelmed by the sight of the android. But there might also be some type of information exchange or coding infiltration going on at that moment.
As the episode ends, the power dynamics have shifted greatly. Marcus no longer has Mother’s necromancer eyes inside of him. He’s lost a big source of his power. (But if you recall from last season, that wasn’t the only source of his power. Sol was already communicating to him long before he got the eyes.) Meanwhile, Mother has regained her eyes — she’s weaponized again — and she’s already taken down The Trust. She’s now the one in charge of the Atheist collective and is claiming she wants everyone to have freedom and eventually govern themselves. But one thing we’ve learned is that Mother really isn’t capable of overcoming her own programming. At some point, if any of her new flock threaten her children (including her snake baby I’m sure), her caregiving program may kick in and she may go scorched earth on everyone all over again.
More likely than that, however, is what will likely be a showdown between the Million-Year-Old Android and Mother. And at this point, it’s not completely clear which one Father is going to side with when he has to make a choice.