Plus, Bel Riose is back in action and finds himself a different creature than when last he stormed the battlefield. And Brother Day’s marriage is about to get complicated by his bride’s secret, all on a very l0vely episode of the series, entitled “Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly.”
Foundation recap: ‘Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly’
Season 2, episode 4: Cleric (played by Kulvinder Ghir) and Brother Constant (Isabella Laughland) are just getting out of hibernation from their long trip to Terminus with their new prisoner, Hober Mallow (Dimitri Leonidas), who’s finally aware resistance is basically futile. They hunted him down because the Vault on Terminus — which supposedly contained a dormant Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) — mentioned Hober by name a few days ago. That was after the Vault incinerated
They bring Hober up to the gates of the Vault and, just as he’s about to protest, the thing sucks him inside. Constant goes in after him with a very reluctant Sermak (Constant’s father) and Cleric in tow. They find themselves in an endless space designed by Hari Seldon, who’s waiting for them deep inside.
“The Vault manipulates molecules … a four-dimensional object in three-dimensional space,” Hari says to explain how there’s matter in particular shapes inside the Vault. He has a confusing message: He wants them to prevent a war. That’s quite different from what Hari said the last time he appeared to them, when he predicted the second crisis.
Dirty missions and subterfuge
It’s confusing, but no one feels sufficiently authoritative to question Hari. Hober gets different instructions, though. He has to go do something a little underhanded in secret — something violent, which isn’t the kind of thing you send a monk to do.
Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion (Ella-Rae Smith), the future wife of the Empire’s Brother Day (Lee Pace), is trying to insinuate herself with the rest of the Empirical family. She takes Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) on a walk to feel him out. She wants to know if Day had her family killed.
Dawn wouldn’t say if he knew, but he also submits that it’s possible. She starts to sense that it would be not impossible to turn Day, Dawn and Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) against each other if she finds Dawn more malleable than Day. Meanwhile, Enjoiner Rue (Sandra Yi Sencindiver), Sareth’s second-in-command, works on Dusk’s resolve. Everyone’s a little shaky about their allegiances, it turns out.
All kinds of killers
Meanwhile, Bel Riose (Ben Daniels) and his husband Glawen Curr (Dino Fetscher) get to one of their destinations, a planet of scavengers in the Outer Reach. There they happen across a band of marauders, and Bel ensures that they wind up killing all of them, which scares his husband badly.
Glawen hasn’t seen Bel in the many long years he was on a prison farm. So he’s worried the Empire is turning Bel into a merciless killing machine. They finally meet their intended contact, Ducem Barr (Jesper Christensen!), and he’s got footage of Constant and Cleric’s last visit, in which they discuss the Vault and Hari Seldon. He kills himself when the locals show up to arrest Bel and Glawen, who escape by the skin of their teeth.
A quick breath
There’s no Gaal or Salvor this week on Foundation, but the lack of our usual center is more than compensated for by the Hober and Constant romance. This stuff is good, and director Mark Tonderai handles their farewell especially well.
This is a welcome and very human addition to a show that’s largely about big dramatic space stuff. This week’s episode, unsurprisingly, consisted mostly of place-setting and other necessary business. So allowing the show to breathe a little is wise, especially with a performer like Laughland at the center, who’s been consistently impressive and intuitive all season.
It’s heartening that on Foundation, the bits between major plot developments and set pieces feel just as exciting as the big stuff.
Watch Foundation on Apple TV+
New episodes of Foundation season two arrive Fridays on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.