The first season of the epic Apple TV + Space Opera Foundation ends this week with one last dramatic episode.
Terminus has a great, brilliant weapon to use against the Empire, which is renewed in its belief that all rebellion must be dealt with. Between the hammer and the anvil is a human coffin that springs from wisdom like Yoda. Read on to find out what I mean by that.
Foundation review: ‘The Jump’
Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris) has emerged from his coffin inside the Vault at Terminus and he has some knowledge to pass on to everyone. Salvor Hardin’s (Leah Harvey) boyfriend Hugo (Daniel MacPherson) had called in reinforcements from his home planet Thespin, the sworn enemies of the Anachreon.
So, with an audience of deadly enemies, Hari tells them the story of how their hatred began – and tells them it’s based on a lie. The first clone of Emperor Cleon arranged the act to prevent them from lining up and posing a threat to the empire. What if they band together and put aside their old grudges to face the most powerful regime in the galaxy?
Hari has been in the safe and summer the safe, all the time, after nanotechnology turns it into a machine so it can live as long as it needs to be able to see all of human history, even if it is technically dead. It’s a pretty silly concept, but Harris delivers the speech with such blissful, good-natured charisma that you ride with it. That’s what Harris does.
Send the clones
Meanwhile, Brother Day (Lee Pace) returned from his stay to be informed by Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) of the misfortune of Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton). Dawn’s complaint that he just wanted to feel like something other than a cog in the machine is the last thing he wants to hear after simply suppressing a potential hit on an alien planet.
If even the other clones don’t buy the cloning program anymore, how is Day supposed to maintain the galaxy’s belief in clones? Demerzel (Laura Birn) ends up breaking the bond in a very sinister and literal way when Dawn pleads her case in front of them. The effect he has on her is intense.
All of this leads to progress on both sides. It is clear that when, inevitably, the Empire and the inhabitants of Terminus finally meet in battle, they will be more formidable and fierce than ever. Chief among them with a renewed focus will be Salvor, whose mother finally shares that she was the product of IVF. His donor? None other than Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell), which is why they share a sort of foresight that allows them to sense future events.
So rather than stay put and help the inhabitants of Terminus, she goes to the stars to find Gaal. And where is Gaal? She is 134 years in the future back on Synnax. And she’s about to be visited by someone unexpected.
Goodbye, the Anachreons
Actor Lee Pace is treated to a slew of great scenes here, telling Azura he asked his guards to track down everyone who knew her enough to remember her (all 712 of them) . And with a wave of his hand, he’ll get them all killed to make sure no one remembers her. Scary stuff. Worse and stranger yet, he makes it clear that he’s doing it just because of how much he loves Brother Dawn, whom he could kill anyway.
The family dynamic here has dried up, while each artist has had the chance to dig into their characters. From the synchronized choreography of the breakfast table in the opening to this final breaking point has been quite a journey. It’s really something to see how Dusk went from proud and cold paterfamilias to a miserable and murderous badass, while Day was reduced from a smoothing god to a man whose sense of self was completely shattered. Pace, Mann and Bilton have done a fantastic job this season and I can’t wait to see what the changed dynamics look like when we return.
I had doubts about Foundation. But I was so impressed with this show that it’s hard to remember what it was like to have those reservations. I look forward to the next season and the real reunion with these actors playing these characters. It was moving.
To concern Foundation on Apple TV +
Season 1 of Foundation is available to stream on Apple TV +. Season 2 is in preparation.
To watch: Apple TV +
Scout Tafoya is a film and television critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The unloved for RogerEbert.com. He wrote for The Village Voice, Movie Commentary, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon magazine. He is the director of 25 feature films and the author of over 300 video essays, available at Patreon.com/honorszombie.