Foundation keeps getting better and better, and Episode 7 was no exception. Gaal had a major revelation about herself, Salvor is stuck in a lose-lose situation, and two out three of the Emperors are stepping out into unknown territory. It was a great episode that opened up the door for many intriguing stories to come.
Below is a review for Season 1 Episode 7 of Foundation, along with explanations of some key plot points, so there will be SPOILERS in the article below. (This is written from the perspective of not knowing how the books’ storyline turns out.)
Salvor’s Storyline Was a Slower Burn After Last Week
I missed writing last week’s review, and I really wish I hadn’t. The death of Salvor’s dad was absolutely gut-wrenching and nearly left me in tears. This week’s episode, however, was a bit of a slower burn in terms of Salvor’s storyline. Even though a lot happened, I kept finding myself feeling distracted as she and Phara continued to spar.
First, we learned that Phara’s goal was finding the Invictus ship, the crown jewel of the Emperor’s fleet and perhaps the most powerful weapon in the Empire. A “planet killer,” Phara noted. The ship has been gone for 700 years with no distress signal and only sporadic sightings as she never appears in the same place twice. It’s jumping randomly, over and over, now that it has no crew.
The ship has jump technology, which the Empire considers a “state secret” that is well protected. Phara kidnapped the Commander so they could use his Imperial nanobots to access the ship. The Anacreons already lost two craft trying to board, so now they’re trying a different approach — a 10,000 meter jump from their ship to the Invictus. Hugo, Salvor’s boyfriend, misses the landing and flies off into space, seemingly dead. However, I’m going to guess that this was part of their plan for Hugo to look for help.
Salvor and the Anacreon group make their way through the Invictus, working through a number of traps and tricks awaiting them. Unfortunately, Phara’s end goal is to gain control of the ship so she can use it to destroy the planet Trantor and the entire empire. Obviously this isn’t a plan that Salvor is going to go along with.
Brother Day & Dawn Are Both Making Risky Decisions
As always, the Empire’s storyline is one of the most intriguing to me. (It ties closely with Gaal’s storyline.) In this episode, Brother Day continues his visit on (X) to try to sway the election. Last week, we ended with Demerzel bowing after one of the prophets gave a scathing speech eviscerating the Emperors’ way of life. Understandably, Day is livid with Demerzel. She insists that her coding would never allow her to betray the Empire, and she was only bowing because it was ultimately for his best. Of course, she is also a follower of Luminism, so she wasn’t technically upset about bowing either.
Zephyr Gilat is the Empire’s choice to be the next Proxima and leader of Luminism. But Zephyr Halima is fast becoming the frontrunner because of her charisma and her willingness to call out the Empire if she believes it violates her faith. Day visits Halima in an effort to make some form of amends with her, but she will have none of it. She believes his clone dynasty is an affront to her faith and she will not be swayed.
A key component of the Luminism faith is “walking the Spiral,” which is a dangerous activity that leaves many severely injured or even dead. Demerzel has participated in this ritual, she informs Halima. (The look that Day gives her when she admits this is priceless. The actor is absolute perfection in his role.) But after Halima basically threatens the Empire, Day feels that he has to up the game and prove her and Seldon wrong within the rules of the faith. He determines that he must prove that he is not soulless by successfully walking the Spiral.
Meanwhile, Brother Dawn is making his own risky decisions. He continues his relationship with Azura, but he must also keep her hidden. He reveals to her that the Empire has backup clones of all different ages, so any time an Emperor is injured or found faulty, he can be replaced with a clone of his own age. It makes Dawn’s situation much more dire since he differs from the other Emperors in so many ways. At some point, he won’t be able to hide it anymore, and then what will happen? She encourages him to run away and find true freedom. Will he take that risk?
Gaal’s Discovery Has Far-Reaching Implications
The last time we saw Gaal, her episode ended with the cliffhanger revelation that Hari was still alive. He explains to her what I had guessed — that Raych was supposed to live and be on the ship with him, and Gaal was supposed to guide the Foundation. But in order to save her life, Raych sacrificed himself and put her on the ship in his place.
Hari now lives as a digital version of himself, uploaded into the ship because he had a terminal disease. Now they’re returning to his home planet of Helicon, but for what reason I’m unclear. What does become clear is that Hari and Gaal come to the realization together that she has an ability to discern the future without math but simply be “feeling” the truth that is about to occur.
While this is the note that the episode ends on, I believe we are subtly left with a bigger revelation. Gaal’s ability is exactly the same as Salvor’s, except Salvor has more finely tuned her skills. I believe that Salvor must be Gaal’s child. How that unexpected development will affect Hari’s predictions remains to be seen.