A Look at the Marcus Drusus/Caleb

Marcus Drusus is the protagonist of Raised by Wolves, the most original series of the moment, and Travis Fimmel‘s character, one that always leaves us guessing, which is a lot in a series in which to guess is to breathe. Also, at this point, we should expect that any character that Travis Fimmel brings to life will be interesting. As an interpreter, he looks for flawed personalities, people with layers and dimensions that keep us from judging them binary easily. Ragnar Lothbrok was a flawed hero in Vikings, but Marcus Drusus, from Raised by Wolves, takes Travis to another level. And with the season finale so, well, confusing? it’s worth turning your eyes to the only man whose intelligence and instinct for survival put him in the spotlight in a plot as crazy as that of the series. The character’s evolution pointed to a fascinating side and we ended up, literally, suspended over his destiny.

The real Marcus and what we know

We never met the ‘real’ Marcus Drusus from Raised By Wolves. He was murdered by the atheist Caleb, a man capable of anything to survive and escape Earth in its last moments as a habitable planet. From what we can tell, he was prominent among the Mithraic, a captain who fought in the Religious War and who had a son, Paul, but had little to do with him. In other words, we would not miss this man devoted to Sol.

Caleb, an orphan recruited by the atheists as a child, is a man programmed to survive first, question later. A natural strategist, suspicious and skilled soldier, he is undoubtedly the smartest man in Kepler 22-b. His sincerity is his charm, even when he is under the influence of Sol, he is maintained and that is why he is a born leader. He speaks the truth, what he thinks and feels, always succinct and precise. When they called him a “terrorist” it was the most ironic and fitting of references to who he really is.

Caleb/Marcus hates – hated and now he’s hated even more – religion because it cost him his childhood, his parents’ lives, his planet, his wife. Mithraic are the enemies, the madmen. This is not to say you don’t have to be careful when dealing with them. However, unlike his atheist friends, Caleb/Marcus has an equal volume of resentment and distrust of android technology. He is the only one to have this aversion so deep and still unexplained, but that makes him even more “dangerous”, and unique. He respects and understands the abilities of androids in the same way that he respects the lethal potential of Sun-worshipping theocrats: this eternal mistrust puts him always – or almost – ahead of everyone else.

What the names hide and suggest

Nothing in Raised by Wolves is by chance and the names have meaning.

Marcus Drusus was an important political reformer in ancient Rome, who lived before Christ and promoted changes in Roman laws, such as colonial and agrarian reform bills, as well as trying to resolve tensions between the senatorial order (the political class) and the equestrian order, or knights (the commercial class).

After suggesting citizenship and emancipation of Rome’s allies, he ended up murdered, at home, and the consequence was the triggering of a civil war that only came to an end when Lucius Cornelius Sulla (notice, LUCIUS) managed to unify the Roman empire, years later. This is a very general summary, it has a lot more historical details, but what matters are the names. Marcus was killed, Lucius emerged victorious on his behalf afterward.

On the other hand, Caleb, in Hebrew, is translated as “faithful, zealous, implacable, daring, courageous”, but, as it has the nature of a compound word, which was common in ancient Hebrew, it also means “heart”, that is, its most likely translation is “wholeheartedly” or “uniqueness”. According to the writings, he was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to Canaan with the objective of exploring the Negev and surroundings for 40 days and making a complete assessment of the place, population, and its potential. It was Caleb who, according to the writings, would have calmed the people about Moses and asked for trust in God.

By combining the skills of a reformer and a man of faith, Raised by Wolves could have potentially created the perfect hero, but what we see is a complicated antagonist precisely because he is so unique. And having a fearless actor like Travis Fimmel to bring him to life made all the difference.

Interrupted arc?

In season one, Marcus (let’s make it easy and forget about “Caleb” for now) was our anti-hero. He killed an “innocent” to take his place but adopted his son Paul with more affection and consideration than the boy had ever known. The plan was to get to Kepler 22-b, and as soon as possible escape with Sue, his wife (actually “Mary”), and Paul, of course, to the tropical area and live without religion, quiet and in peace. Too simple for Raised by Wolves.

Still disguised, he makes an area cover and bumps into Lamia and Campion, discovers that she is a Necromancer, but things go bad and the android kills almost everyone in the ark, also kidnaping some children, among them, precisely Paul. For Marcus and Sue in theory now would be even easier to get rid of the problem, but they were already attached to the boy and ended up fatally deviating from the planning. Marcus is “infected” with Sol’s voice, becomes a kind of The Shining, is unmasked by Lucius, and is left to die.

In the second season we see him with powers borrowed from the eyes of the necromancer, still devoted to Sol, but already creating a new, more democratic religion. Unfortunately, the atheists are no better than the Mithraic. When they use Paul as bait, it unites Sue and Marcus again in order to save their son (with Lamia’s support). What a turn! Cool! But not.

Sue becomes a tree, Marcus disillusioned and without the influence of the voice returns to what he was before: an atheist. But now with a twist, he is Lamia’s partner declares war on Sol. Wow!!! What a turn! Cool! But not.

I warned you that when Father and Mother promised Lucius he could kill Marcus that it would have consequences. But not even we could imagine that it was precisely Sol who would take advantage of the unique opportunity. I don’t know if I celebrate this turning point yet.

I’ve been traumatized since Game of Thrones, which stripped Jon Snow of heroism to subvert expectations when they so radically invert a character’s arc. Marcus had already passed through Sol’s influence, knew he was susceptible (everyone warned him, including Grandmother), and didn’t deny it – because he was always honest in all his dishonesty. But the potential of his union with Lamia against Sol and Grandmother was very interesting and now we are – again – up in the air and upside down (pun intended).

We’ll find out in 2023 or 2024 when they make a third season official… and we’ll have Travis Fimmelthe Shining, the sequel. Will it be?

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