Mysteries & Martyrs
Episode 7 of Foundation begins at the Anthor belt as Salvor and Hugo look over a ruined settlement. This used to be a mining colony but now there’s nothing left. In fact, the only gravestone comes in the form of our ruined starship, the “world killer” called Invictus.
We heard about this last episode (none of this is in the books by the way) and Phara, blinded by power, wants it for herself. Given they have an Imperial on their side, the Anacreons intend to use him to trick the ship’s computers and board. Salvor has her reservations, and with a 10,000 ft. jump to conduct, the pressure is on. Their destination is the inner ring, and it’s one hell of a gamble.
Savor makes it and touches down, as do the rest of the crew not long after. Hugo though, loses his footing and finds himself tumbling into the void of space. Phara is nonchalant over this though, telling Salvor they have no time to dwell on this right now.
As they approach the front gate, the defence system activates and begins firing on the motley crew. Thankfully they make it inside… just in time for Phara to shoot the Imperial soldier between the eyes. Phara immediately puts Salvor in handcuffs, taking absolutely no risks.
Unfortunately there are risks associated here. With the lights pulsating at a very methodical pace – and counting down – Phara and the others realize that the ship is going to jump again. So it seems this ship has been jumping sporadically from place to place – and that explains what happened to the crew originally. They were marooned in the middle of nowhere and turned on each other.
Meanwhile on Maiden, Brother Day is angry with Demerzel. Given she knelt before Halima, he interprets this as a direct violation of his protocols. Only, this android bites back, claiming that her programming would have stopped her if it wasn’t possible. While they bicker, Day learns that Halima has now become the front-runner in this political game.
So naturally Day meets Halima while she’s out tending to the people. The sun is harsh, and many have died in trying to reach the Mother’s womb, typified by something called the spiral. Day shrugs this off though and gets straight down to business, trying to strike a deal with Halima and those on Maiden.
Halima is having none of it and sees through his facade, pointing out how he’s losing followers – and she’s gaining them. She also throws shade at the star bridge incident too and that the Genetic Dynasty are just an echo; in essence, Day is in over his head here.
Day interprets this as a threat and decides to prove both Halima and Seldon wrong with his next move. He’s going to appeal to the triple goddesses to prove his worth, and that includes walking the Great Spiral to let their deities decide who is right and who is wrong out of himself and Halima.
Returning to Brother Dawn, the younger brother continues to grow closer to the palace gardener, Azura, who convinces him to up and leave the dynasty and forge a new life for himself. There’s a good deal of talking about nanobots and making sure he’s not tracked, but Dawn is snapped out of these thoughts by Brother Dusk, who’s continuing to grow suspicious of his younger clone. “Nothing outside the palace walls matters,” Dusk eventually says.
Back on the Invictus, Salvor convinces Phara to release her cuffs and she immediately starts to fight back against the Anacreons. Things inevitably go wrong, especially when Salvor’s subordinates are taken out, so she’s tasked with rerouting the ship. Destination: Trantor. Phara is essentially going to become a martyr; a sacrificial lamb that smashes into Trantor, wiping out the empire while sacrificing themselves in the process.
In the wake of all this drama, we cut across to “chosen one” Gaal as she continues to talk to Hari Seldon. The fragments of his memory collide together to produce this echo of his life. When he finds out Raych is dead, he glitches out again.
Apparently Hari’s death galvanized Foundation and this happened to be the catalyst to help turn things around. With no Hari there to call an “old crackpot” when things went awry, Hari was apparently orchestrating the narrative to his liking. So what changed the plan? Raych. It turns out Hari used Raych to kill him in order to leave Gaal. Gaal was never supposed to leave Terminus and head off; she was supposed to lead them.
As the pair talk, Gaal realizes that Hari brought her to him because she can predict the future! Oh my! She’s the chosen one! I wonder if she’s also a skywalker too?
The Episode Review
Foundation rolls round with another episode this week, with its split narrative across four different areas. While the political situation on Maiden is quite intriguing, the scenes we’re given this week add up to “Brother Day is going to go for a walk.”
The other big problem with this show comes from its plotting. We’ve known Gaal is some sort of “chosen one” from the first episode and it’s so clichéd and drawn out that this big reveal at the end is likely to be met with knowing nods and indifferent shrugs.
Beyond those two plot points, there’s not a lot else going on here. The whole Invictus plot isn’t even in the books and feels very similar to Star Wars in its depiction of a planet killing device ala. the Death Star.
The biggest problem here comes from the dialogue, which unnaturally exudes exposition – like Hugo talking about the mining colony. It doesn’t actually add anything to the show and it comes back to that age old adage of “show don’t tell.” Wouldn’t a lovely tracking shot across the surface of this planet, backdropped by the small ship while showing the skeletal remains of mining equipment have sufficed to confirm where Hugo came from? Perhaps with a “I used to work there,” uttered glumly?
The worst example of this comes from the conversation between Brother Dawn and Azura though. From nanobots and the clone’s own purpose, this entire scene repeats what we’ve already known – that Dawn is different. And by the end of the episode, he still hasn’t made a choice over whether to go or stay!
However, as these episodes tick by and the number of great TV shows rises, Foundation’s prospects of keeping people around rather than seeing them go is likely to grow thinner.
Let’s hope the later episodes pick up the pace a bit.