A review of “Raised by Wolves” (Created by Aaron Guzikowski, 7 episodes, HBO Max)

Dancing with Androids

Thirty-eight years after Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” and one year after the film’s depiction of a future now past, comes the answer to the story’s source material.

The answer comes as a clear-eyed portrayal of the year 2145, independent of Scott’s vision of 2019 or mankind’s picture of the start of 2020. The answer comes in an episode of “Raised by Wolves,” a new series created by Aaron Guzikowski (“The Red Road,” “Contraband”) and executive produced by Scott for HBO Max. 

The series is a mélange of Mother’s (Amanda Collin) milk, of the white blood that courses beneath the artificial skin of the show’s synthetic matriarch, of the same blood that spills from her android companion, Father (Abubakar Salim), and the red sea of human blood that runs from the cities to the desert.

The series is a tale of interplanetary war between faith and reason, with Mother and Father as biblical analogs with digital brains; as guardians of godlessness, in a universe of immutable laws, where the strong shall inherit the world. That men and machines go awry is no surprise, as neither is holy altogether nor whole through biology alone. The two are one in Mother, as her eye is the lamp of her body—her eyes are lights of darkness—regardless of her former service in God’s army.

Scott uses eyes as models of design and symbols of death. He uses the camera as a lens and mirror, turning a question about an android’s mother into a flash of gunfire. He turns a scene in “Blade Runner” into an act of patricide, where the father of artificial life loses his eyes at the hands of his dying simulacrum of a son.

The eyes have a second season to explore the arrogance of certainty and the absolutism of belief. No doubt the eyes will question what they see, even if the apostate and the apostle continue to act like infidels. 

The eyes contain layers of complexity, which is why light is not proof of enlightenment. Not when light pollutes the night with neon or perverts the minds of the knights of religion. Not when light blinds us with lies about light itself. Not when the way is wrong, the truth false, the life nonexistent.

Between the force of Mother and the forces of Sol, between the mystery of the nocturnal and the mysticism of the diurnal, between a murderess in a silver bodysuit and crusaders in white, between the light of the heavens and the fire of the Sun, between the ascension of a body with no spirit and the march of so many bodies into battle, a predator stalks its prey.

A monster howls from the shadows. An alien haunts the land. 

Watch it. 

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Endai Huedl/Getty Images

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