Raised By Wolves recap: Episode 8, ‘Mass’

Abubakar Salim in Raised By Wolves Episode 8 - Photograph by Coco Van Oppens/HBO
Abubakar Salim in Raised By Wolves Episode 8 - Photograph by Coco Van Oppens/HBO /

In Raised By Wolves episode 8, Mother discovers a chilling truth that could change everything about the show moving forward.

Raised By Wolves episode 8 begins with a nightmare sequence that would rival the face-peeling scene from Poltergeist. Marcus sees himself peeling away his new face to reveal his skeletal remains — something about Sol seeing the real “Caleb” beneath.

Marcus is doing much better since his injury, although it still pains him enough that he has to use a walking stick to get around. He takes Paul aside and starts prattling about wanting him to be a “survivor” and not coddling him the way his mother does.

Meanwhile, Campion is still stuck inside the silo, although he is frantically trying to dig his way out while ignoring his siblings’ ghosts. He tells himself Father’s old knock-knock jokes to distract himself from their incessant whispers.

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Speaking of Father, Hunter tries to fix his ticking finger problem. He realizes the android might be communicating in old-school Morse code (hey, I was right!).  The deciphered message reads, “Sol is the light.” Hunter is disappointed, having hoped a bit of the real Father might have been fighting to get out.

Sue and Paul are ready to leave Marcus behind, and who can blame him? He’s acting increasingly erratic. But Paul isn’t willing to leave Campion behind. Sue agrees to take him with them, so long as they keep their plans a secret from Marcus.

Elsewhere, Mother journeys to the Heaven ark’s wreckage to find tools needed to fix her wounds. Inside, she meets with a medical android named Karl. Mother siphons blood from him to refuel. Aside from the lost blood, she’s become bothered by discomfort in her abdomen caused by a strange spherical object.

Using her eye (they function like mini-cameras, it’s both creepy and cool), Mother looks inside her stomach and gets a better look at the object. Karl suspects it is a silicon tumor that needs to be removed. But when Mother tries to grasp it, the item reacts — as if it’s alive (is Mother pregnant?).

If she can’t remove it, Karl says she’ll need to get more fuel blood, but it will accelerate the tumor’s growth and, therefore, her eventual breakdown.

Raised By Wolves episode 8
Felix Jamieson, Niamh Algar in Raised By Wolves Episode 8 – Photograph by Coco Van Oppens/HBO /

Raised By Wolves episode 8 recap: Paul and Sue defy Marcus.

Back at the settlement, tensions grow between Marcus, Sue, and Paul. While Sue assures Paul, they need not treat atheists as enemies the way the Mithraic tend to do, Marcus, who is becoming increasingly devout, tells Paul to stay away from Campion. He says Campion will taint his purity and connection to Sol.

Paul, who has been bringing Campion fungus to eat, disobeys his father’s order and brings him more food. Unfortunately, Marcus catches Paul doing so and detects his son is hiding something else from him. He becomes more insistent and downright terrifying as he interrogates his son about what he and his mom might be concealing.

Terrified, Paul calls out for Sue, who rushes over and shoves Marcus away from Paul. She tries to take him away to leave the settlement, but Marcus forcibly separates them and locks Sue inside the other silo. He calls upon his constituents to help pray that Sue will return to Sol’s light. A wary Holly and Vita watch. Vita says that Tempest was right to run away.

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Later, Marcus prays at the makeshift church as Campion finally succeeds in digging his way out of the silo with Paul’s help. Using electronic earpieces, Paul advised Campion to remove the creature’s claws to use as digging tools. It works, and he’s able to escape much faster. He then lights a tapestry at the church on fire. Flames engulf the church as Marcus looks on, taking it as a sign from Sol.

Of course, Marcus didn’t see Campion set the fire and assumes it is the sign he wanted from Sol. I read it as a dig at the religion, the way these signs can be misread and misinterpreted due to manmade interference.

Campion bolts into the forest. Father spots him and chases after him. With Campion free, Paul releases his mother from the silo, and they escape. Holly and Vita tag along.

At the ark, Karl gives Mother some interesting background on the necromancers as she uses more fuel blood from the other droids found in the wreckage. According to Karl, the necromancers are composed of dark photons. The Mithraic supposedly crafted them from instructions discovered within their scriptures, without fully understanding their creations. It’s why necromancers are often “full of surprises.”

Raised By Wolves episode 8
Amanda Collin in Raised By Wolves Episode 8 – Photograph by Coco Van Oppens/HBO /

Raised By Wolves episode 8 recap: Mother learns the truth about her mission.

The droid blood is failing to give Mother the strength she needs to return to the children. She finds one of those skeletal creatures roaming the ark and kills it, using its blood to fill her instead of the robo-fuel. Karl wonders if she believes the thing inside of her has carbon-based components — as that’s the only reason a terrestrial creature’s blood would have any effect. But that’s crazy, right? It shouldn’t be possible or an android to host something carbon-based.

Mother realizes she’s acting irrationally. She sits up, intending to remove the donor blood bag, but suddenly succumbs to a chain of random, jerky movements before powering down.

Campion watches from behind a tree as Father closes in on him. Ironically, Father has now become the very thing he must survive. He even uses the rock-throwing technique the android once taught him and strikes Father in the forehead. Yet Father appears to be long gone. He tries to kill Campion with an ax, and the boy barely escapes in time.

Sue, Holly, Paul, and Vita catch up with Campion after trying to use the lander to flee and failing. As a group, they head deeper into the woods. I wonder if they’ll soon cross paths with Mother?

The final moments of Raised By Wolves episode 8 deliver the crowning moment, perhaps of the entire season so far. Mother finds another simulation pod near the ark and enters to speak with her creator again. He tells her the thing she’s carrying inside her is the real future of humanity, that all of the children preceding it were merely a rehearsal for this, her true mission. He confirms what I suspected; she is indeed carrying some sort of child.

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Odds & Ends from Raised By Wolves episode 8

  • This episode was much better than the last few and felt like a return to form. I definitely agree with The AV Club‘s comments on it.
  • A brief flashback in the episode shows Sue and Marcus preparing to board the ark for the first time. Sue is still struggling to remember their new identities as Sue and Marcus and not Mary and Caleb. She panics that she can’t go through with it. Marcus comforts her and tells her that nothing else matters, just the two of them. It shows how far they’ve come since then that now Sue is willing to leave him behind for the sake of herself and Paul.
  • Tempest and Mother briefly reunite in the ark after Tempest follows Mother’s blood trail there. But it goes from heartwarming to sad quickly as Mother screams at Tempest to get away from her when she experiences more discomfort in her stomach. It’s clear she fears that whatever is inside of her could harm the children.

All nine episodes of Raised By Wolves season 1 are now streaming on HBO Max. The season finale will be available next Thursday.