Raised By Wolves Season 2 TV Review

PLOT: Android partners Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim), along with their brood of six human children, join a newly formed atheistic colony in Kepler 22 b’s mysterious tropical zone. But navigating this strange new society is only the start of their troubles as Mother’s “natural child” threatens to drive what little remains of the human race to extinction. 

REVIEW: Raised By Wolves premiered on HBO Max with a lot of expectations. Being Ridley Scott’s first foray into marquee television, this science fiction series was far more meditative and philosophical than expected with the central conflict being that of religion versus atheism. The second season of Raised By Wolves picks up where the season finale left off and quickly shows that this sophomore run is going to be faster and more intense while introducing a new cast of supporting characters and a different side to the planet. In short, Raised By Wolves season two is better than the first season despite some pacing issues in the opening episodes.

Over the three episodes made available for this review, Raised By Wolves season two takes less than thirty minutes to introduce two all-new elements in addition to further exploring the tropical side of the planet. These new factions include a prison colony where Marcus (Travis Fimmel) comes into contact with a mother and daughter wearing explosive vests. The other group, an atheist collective, is where Mother (Amanda Collin), Father (Abubakar Salim), Sue (Niamh Algar), and the children are protected. This commune of humans is run by a mysterious Trust which immediately is presented as a new antagonist this season. Both of these groups offer another layer that deepens the conflict between the Mithraic and the Atheists, making it less and less black and white.

The reveal from the season one finale that Mother’s child was a snake-like creature is not ignored with the alien serving as a significant element this season. This also gives Amanda Collin more opportunities to showcase her talents as an actress. Collin had a breakout performance in season one and continues to deepen her role here. Mother, also called Lamia, may just be one of the most well-realized characters on television today, artificial or otherwise. Travis Fimmel is also solid as Marcus continues his journey to find Sue and exact his revenge. New cast members including James Harkness, Kim Engelbrecht, and Morgan Santo also shine early in the season.

The opening act of this season has so much going on that it is almost disorienting. The direction on the first two episodes from veteran television director Ernest Dickerson and on the third from Sunu Gonera (Snowfall) continues the washed-out visuals and technological designs introduced by Ridley Scott in the first episodes of season one. The natural threats of the planet are on full display, including acid water in a cool sequence in the premiere episode. The production values are better this season with new foods, plants, and other biomes getting a lot of screen time. So much time is invested in making this show look tangible and realistic that I often overlook how much CGI is actually needed to make this series a reality. The physical location shoots really help sell this series rather than make it look like green screen.

Season two tries to raise the stakes from the first season in terms of action and drama but it never waters down the core narrative. When I reviewed the first season, I wondered if this series would find a wide audience due to the very specific and contentious nature of the plot. Creator Aaron Guzikowski does not try to make this story more palatable for general audiences and maintains the tale he set out to tell. I liked the almost insurmountable powers that Mother was capable of this season, but that has been taken away this time around, leading to the android characters taking a slightly less prominent role. The children are all given a lot more material in season two which builds conflicts with their android parents as well as amongst themselves. Raised By Wolves season two does a great job of turning the kids from plot devices into interesting characters to watch on screen.

It is hard to judge whether the second season of Raised By Wolves will be as good as the first, but with all of the world-building out of the way, these first three chapters are able to spend more time developing characters and exploring the planet rather than explaining who the factions are and why we should love or hate them. There is minimal recap which means if you don’t remember what happened in season one, you may need a refresher before diving into this two-episode premiere. Raised By Wolves season two starts out with a whole lot of stuff going on, but it already feels like a far more balanced season than the first.

Raised by Wolves returns on February 3rd on HBO Max.

Source: JoBlo.com

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.