Barbarians At The Gate
Episode 4 of Foundation Season 1 begins with Demerzel continuing to oversee the dynasty, calling Brother Day to an urgent matter away from his personal distractions.
An Ambassador has arrived, with big news that Proxima has passed and in her place, a woman called Zephyr Gilat will be ruling. The Dynasty decide to embrace her with open arms. Only, there’s another candidate that could potentially threaten her power.
However, this is made all the more tense by word reaching them that communications in Terminus have disappeared.
The Brothers realize what this could mean and question whether an uprising could be at hand.
Meanwhile, we return to Salvor held up in the ship, with her captors claiming they’re scrappers. Salvor realizes that they’re improvising and tries to work out what their play is.
As their leader (whom we later find out is called Pharra), looks out upon a tower nearby, she tells Salvor to take them there, claiming they’re after a navigation module.
Salvor reluctantly leads the soldiers to the fence, where she confirms that it only registers DNA of those from inside Foundation, meaning only one can be brought through with her.
Clutching onto Salvor’s back, Pharra soon leaves her bow and arrow and brandishes a handgun instead.
As they drive a speeder together, Salvor continues to see visions of that strange figure from before. Salvor senses an opportunity and leads Pharra to The Vault, knowing that the null-field will knock her out.
Well, it works beautifully and they head back to base where Salvor interrogates her. She begins to break down her story, pointing out Pharra’s scars and specific etching on her bow, coming to a shocking realization. It turns out Pharra is actually the grand huntress of Anacreon.
One of the diplomats, Lewis, decides Salvor needs to step back. Well, with Lewis referring to Pharra and her people as barbarians, Pharra more than holds her own with him, throwing back her own quips and pointing out that they too have been exiled from the empire.
However, outside the city numerous Anacreons stand ominously at attention, guns in hand.
With Foundation completely surrounded, Salvor heads out with her troops and decides to head north. En-route, she experiences another vision, this time with her transported back inside the Royal Library. It’s a brief respite in truth, one that brings up more questions than answers. However, she’s hurriedly transported back to Foundation in the blink of an eye.
The rumblings on Terminus ripple across to the Dynasty who realize that the communication issues could well be a catalyst for something bigger.
Brother Day is determined to find out if Hari Seldon’s predictions are actually true, speaking to statisticians but getting nowhere. His frustration eventually bubbles over, meeting Demerzel and deciding they need to disband their protocols and take action. And that action? Saving their legacy by forcing Brother Dusk to stay on Trentor. There are also hints that he’s going to bomb the tribes but that’s not confirmed so take this with a pinch of salt. For now, Dusk decides to send a team over to figure out what’s going on on Foundation, determined to reinforce the message that the empire will not be left in the dark.
Back on Foundation, Salvor finds a whole host of Anacreon soldiers together and promising to raze their city to the ground. With cannons moving into position, Salvor contemplates whether The Vault could well be something put into place by Hari Seldon; a warning to stay away.
As the episode closes out, Gaal, still floating out in her capsule, seems to be picked up by a ship.
The Episode Review
With everything settling down a bit this week, Foundation starts to build on its foundations planted last episode, with Salvor the focal point as she questions Pharra.
The idea of these Anacreons and their purpose on Terminus is an interesting one, and still something that’s left unknown at this point in time.
I’m sure we’ll find out more across the episodes and thankfully we do get a glimpse of Gaal at the end too, who was missing from last week’s chapter.
However, it does feel like Foundation have wasted the talents of Jared Harris a bit with this one.
Having said that, this is a real slow-burn and with so many episodes still planned by Apple, it remains to be seen whether that slow burn actually has some good pay-off later on down the line.
For now, this is a much better episode than last week’s sporadic time-jumper.