The First Crisis
Episode 9 of Foundation begins in the past, with Salvor and her father on Foundation discussing the origin of humanity. Rumours are that we originated on Earth but that’s a myth, at least in these parts. “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” He says.
Now, in the books my understanding is that Salvor actually says these words so changing that so her father reads instead, is a pretty ironic way of showing how much Salvor’s ignored her father’s wishes by using violence every opportunity she can. And this is our protagonist.
Anyway, Invictus finally stops jumping and Salvor scrambles back to her feet. They’ve made it to Terminus, thanks to Lewis sacrificing himself and plugging into the machine, saving them all and wishing them home.
With Phara knocked out, Salvor quickly communicates with Terminus, trying her best to get in touch with those on the surface. She’s stuck on this ship alone unless she can figure something out, and she has no idea how soon it’ll jump too. Time is very much of the essence.
Meanwhile, Brother Dusk takes Dawn to his moving tapestry, showing a different point for their dynasty and illustrious history. Given we know Dawn doesn’t care, he does his best to stay polite as Dusk shows where he is on this tapestry. “I’ll give you a moment to appreciate the subtleties” He says through gritted teeth.
Given Dawn is actually colour blind, he dons the pods given to him by Azura and sees the tapestry for what it is. In doing so, he hurries back to his chambers and begins packing up his things. Brother Dusk has requested his presence but Dawn refuses, skipping away and taking the hidden pathway through the irrigation system, thanks to Azura’s teachings. He plunges down and ends up sucked underwater.
When he awakens, Dawn finds himself in the ruinous underbelly of Trantor, where he sees the true face of the city; the rotten core below. However, not everything is rotten. The place is chaotic, crowded and beautiful to behold. It’s our first example of Foundation actually showing us an area and in a way it would have been nice to see this area as Dawn does, with some slick footage through the city. Alas, that’s not the case and we’re given narration instead.
Anyway, Dawn eventually reconvenes with Azura, who invites him into her house… and immediately starts to shoot him. It’s now immediately apparent that all of this was a ruse, and after Dawn is knocked out, he’s tied up for his troubles. Those around him prepare to initiate the transfer.
Nanobots are being transferred into a new version of Cleon The First, one that Azura helped smuggle out a while back. All of this was a trap, orchestrated by Azura and the others, and a way of replacing this defective Dawn with their own perfect copy to infiltrate the dynasty.
With things looking bleak, Brother Dusk and his men suddenly show up and stop this whole operation. Everyone is killed – including the clone of Brother Dawn. The cynic in me wants to ask how the clone died if he has nanobots to recover but I’ll leave that to those far smarter than I to answer! Anyway, Dusk shrouds Azura, placing a cover over her head and marching her away. For Dawn, he’s left to the mercy of Brother Day to decide his fate.
Meanwhile, Salvor dons her spacesuit and does another crazy jump, this time to head aboard a nearby ship. As she reaches the bridge, the scanners fail to indicate anyone on the surface of the planet. As something approaches, she immediately decides to grab the guns and fire at them. Hey, remember that earlier quote from her father about not using violence?
This debris actually happens to be Hugo, who manages to fly right where Salvor happens to be. Well, isn’t that lucky? The pair reconvene and inevitably kiss, where Hugo suggests they should run together. Salvor refuses to do that though, deciding she needs to head down to the planet’s surface and fix whatever may have befallen Terminus. And just like that, their reunion is done.
Salvor heads down to Terminus where she finds everyone passed out on the floor with bloodied noses. The field around The Vault has increased and her mother happens to hold the Abraxus cube.
Salvor holds it and somehow manages to access Gaal’s memories and use it against The Vault. The black shell dissipates and in its place, a brilliant white light stars pulsating and birds fly out. It also has the adverse effect of stopping the field too. When Salvor’s mum regains consciousness, she points to the light and realizes that this is actually a doorway. But to where?
As the Anacreons show, along with the Foundation folk, Thespian soldiers touch down. Unfortunately, they’re also followed shortly by a very-much-alive Phara. Controlling a gunship with a remote-controlled device, she starts firing at The Vault. Only, Salvor hits her in the neck with an arrow from her bow.
With Phara dead and all three races together, out of The Vault steps Hari Seldon, who greets them and admits that it’s encouraging to find all three races together. He contemplates just what they’re going to do next and remains hopeful that they’ll pull this off and save the galaxy.
The Episode Review
So Brother Dawn is duped into heading down to the lower rungs of Trantor, where we finally get to see more of how this world works. Unfortunately, Foundation has a tendency to throw in unnecessary narration over the top of this. “The streets are chaotic and busy,” Azura tells us… as we literally see that the streets are chaotic and busy. It’s these sort of moments that make Foundation so much more clunky and ill-conceived than it should be.
Now, it also doesn’t help that the show tries to pedal this idea of science and not using violence but yet Salvor’s cry for working together at the end falls on deaf ears. She’s been using weapons right the way through this show and even the promotional material for this show depicts her carrying a rifle! To then suddenly throw in that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” tells us – the audience – that she’s incompetent. At least, that’s my interpretation of it anyway.
The problems with Foundation start at a grassroots level though, and the scripts need to be tighter for season 2 if this show has any hopes of reaching its predicted 80 episode run-time without losing a lot of viewers. The story is pretty lethargic at times and although the pacing is better in this chapter, the characters inhabiting this world are not.
With the finale up next, hopefully we get some answers over exactly how Hari Seldon has managed to jump back in to Foundation and exactly what the fate of our world will be. It looks to be a pretty exciting episode though in truth!