Who knows what the future holds for the Second Foundation? But I’ve greatly enjoyed this season. The hours I’ve spent getting sucked into this excellent sci-fi show were well worth the investment.
Foundation season 2 finale recap: ‘Creation Myths’
Season 2, episode 10: Gaal Dornick (played by Lou Llobell) has a flashback to the day Tellem Bond (Rachel House) tried to drown Hari Seldon (Jared Harris). Gaal communed mentally with Hari and used her Mentalic voice to convince the nearest guard to let him go before he could drown. Then she mentally replaced the guard’s body with Hari’s so everyone would assume the mathematician had died. (Note to villains: Stop leaving before you kill the hero.)
Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) was then called out to the site of the drowning. Everyone followed her, and saw what they thought was Hari’s body, completing the illusion. Their escape attempt is one of those things that sci-fi writers love but that so rarely work on screen. So kudos to director Alex Graves for getting it to be even kind of exciting.
The Mentalics gather in front of Hari, Salvor and Gaal and kneel before them. They are without a queen for the first time in years. And while the Mentalics seem happy, there’s one problem. Tellem jumped into one of their bodies before she died — and she has one last ace up her sleeve.
Demerzel and the future of Empire
Meanwhile, Demerzel (Laura Birn) returns to Terminus to talk to Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) and Enjoiner Rue (Sandra Yi Sencindiver), who have discovered her secrets. Demerzel’s been pulling Empire’s strings behind the scenes for centuries.
It turns out that her guiding Day toward marrying Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion (Ella-Rae Smith) was an attempt to ferret out a conspiracy to kill Day. Now she has proof and can have Sareth killed for treason. She cries as she explains it — she has no choice but to preserve Empire. It’s in her coding.
And now that Dusk and Rue know it, they’ve gotta go.
The future can be changed
Elsewhere, Brother Day gloats over his destruction of the planet Terminus and his kneecapping of Seldon’s Second Foundation. He asks Brother Constant (Isabella Laughland) to name every other planet that came under the auspices of the Foundation. And just as he preps to go destroy them all, Bel Riose (Ben Daniels) refuses to grant the order.
Turns out that was a ruse, too. The Spacers planned a risky suicide maneuver, which will make the entire fleet self-destruct, one ship at a time, destroying or at least hampering the Empire’s ability to wage interstellar war.
Hober taunts Day just enough that they start beating the hell out of each other, but Bel Riose has the last laugh. He joins the fray, and he and Day make hamburger out of each other. Just as Day is about to force Bel out of the airlock, Bel uses Hober’s trick bracelet, and trades places with Day. Bel watches triumphantly as Day freezes to death.
Prepare to die!
Then Bel warns everyone aboard that they have only minutes before the Spacers’ maneuver destroys the ship. They should all prepare to die, but he has a lifeboat no one knows about — a cleaning vessel with enough oxygen for one person for one day. Hober gives up his seat to Constant (very moving). Then he and Bel Riose share one last toast before the end.
The final moments of the Foundation season two finale feel remarkable due to their momentum and emotional content. This show has earned these beautiful final moments, a feat I could never have predicted from the pilot. Hober and Bel Riose’s final moments have that kind of brusque, cowboy-ish mythmaking people have been coming to sci-fi movies for since the very start of the form in America. And they just nail the tone of romantic fatalism and world-weary sacrifice.
It’s a great turn from the writers, performed by a phenomenal cast, and it makes a truly satisfying season finale.
Watch Foundation on Apple TV+
You can now stream the first two seasons of Foundation 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.