“Foundation” episode 6 recap: “Death and the Maiden”

Lee Pace shirtless. That’s it. This is the exam.


I’m kidding of course. If it was the exam, I would be out of work very quickly. But I think the opening with a shower scene of Emperor Cleon tells us something important about Foundation: He understands that the Emperors are the most vibrant and attractive aspect in history so far. Their sex appeal might not be the only reason, but it is part of it. Why not point it out?

Just like the emperors themselves, FoundationThe sixth episode of (“Death and the Maiden”) is divided into three sections. In the Brother Day storyline that opens the episode, Principal Cleon leaves the confines of the imperial capital Trantor to visit the headquarters of Luminism, the most popular religion in the galaxy. His goal is to elevate one of the religious leaders, Zephyr Gilat (Julia Farino), to the supreme position of Proxima, by offering to irrigate the desert moon on which the faith is based in return for his continued support.

But despite the advice of her robotic assistant Demerzel – who, surprisingly, herself believes in luminism – Day is constantly baffled by the “heretic” Zephyr Halima (T’Nia Miller). It was she who greeted him when he arrived, not the adoring masses as he had expected. And it is she who requisitions the funeral service of the previous Proxima from the hands of Zephyr Gilat.


Addressing the crowds of believers and priestesses, Halima essentially recites a long piece of diss against Cleon. The gist is this: the Luminists revere three goddesses who were only one entity: the Maid, the Mother and the Old. (Seems familiar, Game Of Thrones fans?) Millennia ago, the Mother offered her devotees the gift of reincarnation, a constant process of endless death and rebirth, for the potential growth of a soul’s knowledge is endless. What a blessing, she says, that the late Proxima is not trapped in a body stagnant for eternity!

All this is greeted with enthusiastic applause and respectful greetings, much to the chagrin of Cléon and Demerzel. The message to Cléon is clear: since he cloned himself for 400 years, his soul has been stuck in place, rotting. It is a direct challenge to his divine right to rule. As for Demerzel, an indeed immortal robot, she seems genuinely hurt by Halima’s words. What place can an eternal automaton have in this woman’s cosmology?

In short, the crisis of confidence that Brother Day was set to defuse has now worsened, since the likely new leader of Luminism – unless he steps in to stop him directly, risking the wrath of three. trillions of believers – called him to his face. How can he recover without bloodshed?

The irony here is that if Zephyr Halima had learned about Brother Day’s younger clone, Brother Dawn, she might have found out that Emperors were less stagnant than she thought. In a series of scenes, we learn that Dawn is decidedly different from her predecessors. Taken to a nature reserve for his first hunting experience by Brother Dusk, he immediately breaks Dusk’s all-time record for most casualties, a fact he conceals to avoid trouble. (The sinister Imperial Spy Master, Obrecht, discovers additional animal carcasses later in the episode.)

After the hunt, Dusk brings him to the Gossamer Court, essentially a brothel designed for the Cleons; any sex worker they select will have their memory erased after they meet. But Dawn prefers to talk, not kiss, a fact Dusk learns from the woman Dawn had chosen before her memory was erased.

Perhaps more importantly, Dawn remains in love with Azura, an Imperial gardener. He invites her into his quarters to enjoy the view from the ledge in front of his window. He reveals that he is color blind, which no Cleon before him has ever been. He even throws away the bracelet that generates his personal force field, effectively giving Azura the chance to kill him if she wishes. Instead, they kiss. Considering that at no point have we seen the older Cleons seriously romantically involved with anyone, this is probably a big no-no – one that I doubt he can keep a secret. long time.


The third storyline in the series is based on Terminus, which, along with Gaal Dornick stuff, remains the weak point of the series. I don’t think it’s the fault of Lou Llobell, who plays Gaal, or Leah Harvey, who runs the Terminus material as Salvor Hardin; both characters are just a little flat as written, with Gaal reacting to everything with stunned shock or a cool command, and Salvor a pretty generic badass.

Indeed, this episode gives Salvor the requisite tragedy that every tough guy in film and television must have: the death of his father Abbas (a more or less lost Clarke Peters) during a raid on the Anacrean invaders. went wrong. It was Salvor’s job to blow up their spaceships and beach them on Terminus, but she passed out amid his maneuvers, having an inexplicable sight of Hari Seldon ordering her adopted son Raych to kill him and take the cryopod ultimately used by Gaal to escape.

Either way, the episode follows Salvor from captivity to freedom to captivity once again, as she and her boyfriend Hugo and several key Foundation figures are forced to team up with the latter. surviving spaceship from the planet by the Anacrean warlord, Phara. Apparently, she’s looking for something called the Invictus, a legendary “ghost ship” with planet-destroying abilities. If the Avenging Anacreans seize this vehicle, they can drag the entire galaxy into conflict, instead of attacking the fringes of the Empire.

It’s an interesting concept, but again, few of the characters involved in this story really come off the screen, certainly not like Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Demerzel do. Hopefully, if we spend enough time with them together, rival warriors Salvor and Phara might begin to reveal more compelling and recognizable human traits. For Salvor in particular, this is vital: any character identified as a chosen type – her boyfriend Hugo believes Hari Seldon chose her and her extraordinary powers to unlock the vault, defeat the Anacreans and save the world. Foundation of its so-called first crisis. – requires a lot of work to avoid slipping into the tropes of the hero rote journey that we’ve seen a million times before.

At its best – the intrigues of Cleon, the magnificent shots of spaceships in flight and in combat, the scenography of vast temples and palaces –Foundation shows us beautiful things that we have never seen before. I want to see the show do the same with their big ladies, that’s all.


Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) written on television for Rolling stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anywhere who will have it, really. He and his family live on Long Island.

To concern Foundation Episode 6 on Apple TV +

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