We’re 5 episodes deep into Foundation, and from Salvor Hardin to Gaal Dornick, our heroes face what may very well be an insurmountable job. No, it’s not the assault by Anacrean forces that Salvor tries and fails to fend off. Neither is it Gaal’s want to determine the place the ship on which she has been stranded goes when the ship itself gained’t inform her. The large problem is that this: Can the remainder of the Basis forged maintain issues down with out the presence of Lee Tempo’s lovely, lovely Emperor Cleon? I’d say that after this ep (“Upon Awakening”), the reply is a certified sure. (Lee Tempo hive, be happy to roast me if you hyperlink to this overview.)
We’ll begin with Gaal’s storyline, since that’s the place the episode itself begins. And I imply begins begins—it opens with a flashback that rewinds us all the best way to Gaal’s youth, when she was coaching as an acolyte in her homeworld’s main faith. We watch as she and different acolytes apprehend a former college teacher, rooting across the ruined facility’s library for forbidden books. We watch as she participates in his ritual execution by drowning—appropriately, on condition that drowning is a destiny that can befall numerous individuals on this world on account of anthropogenic local weather change. (Sigh.)
And we watch her dive underwater to retrieve one of many books that have been sunk to the underside of the ocean together with the trainer. That is how she wound up fixing the “Abraxas Conjecture” and got here to the eye of Hari Seldon, who extends an invite to Trantor. You understand how that turned out.
Years sooner or later—34 years and 223 days after she was positioned in cryosleep by her lover Raych Foss following his homicide of Hari Seldon, to be actual—Gaal awakens in an empty ship. The knife Raych used to kill Hari, which wound up within the escape pod with Gaal, serves as a key, and certainly the entire ship is programmed to obey Raych’s instructions. Not being Raych, this locations Gaal in a bind. However with some deft calculations and a dangerous spacewalk, she’s capable of manually piece collectively the ship’s forbidden vacation spot: Helicon, Hari’s homeworld. On condition that Gaal has gone down in historical past as an confederate to Hari’s homicide, that is…lower than best.
However then one thing very unusual occurs. Gaal discovers swimming pools of blood on the ground that someway disappear after just a few seconds. However they lead her to…Hari Seldon? We did be taught throughout Gaal’s interrogation of the ship’s pc that Hari obtained a burial in area with a casket of his personal design, a line of dialogue that principally reads as HARI IS UP TO SOMETHING in large block letters, so his arrival on the identical ship as Gaal is sensible.
The one factor is that I don’t keep in mind Hari Seldon glitching like a defective hologram prior to now. Do you?
Whereas Gaal makes an attempt to make sense of all of it, Salvor is desperately making an attempt to guard the Basis itself. However as a result of the colony’s chief, Lewis Pirenne, refuses to take heed to her, her efforts are in useless. Lewis acquiesces to the demand of an incoming Imperial rescue ship and brings the captured Anacrean huntress, Phara, to the colony’s generator tower (or one thing to that impact—that is sci-fi on TV, you may get a bit handwavey about such particulars if you would like). As soon as there, she rips her eyeball out (!) to disclose an electromagnetic grenade of some sort, which she makes use of to close down the tower.
It’s a disastrous transfer for the Basis. Their perimeter vitality defend switches off, permitting the Anacreans to stage a full invasion. In the meantime, an enormous gun that they’d cloaked from the incoming Imperial leap ship opens fireplace, blowing the ship out of the sky. After a tussle with Salvor (filmed, quite annoyingly, in near-darkness), Phara reveals the strategy to this insanity: The surviving Anacreans blame Hari Seldon’s predictions for inflaming the Empire, goading Cleon into the saturation nuclear bombing of their homeworld. They needed to wait over three many years to drag it off, however that is their revenge.
In impact, this episode considerations itself with a pair of mysteries—the character of Gaal’s predicament and the reality about Phara’s plan. Admittedly, I discovered the latter a extra gripping narrative; there’s one thing darkly thrilling about watching your heroes dash after enemies who’re perpetually two or three steps forward of them. Gaal, in contrast, principally barks instructions at a CGI pc readout, making her private thriller considerably much less participating—although there’s a wide ranging slo-mo shot of her within the bathe because the ship flips round en path to its last vacation spot. The ship itself is a stunning factor to have a look at, too, all cavernous pyramidal hallways and stark bar-shaped lights. (Should you’ve ever performed No Man’s Sky, it’ll remind you fairly a little bit of that recreation’s area stations.)
What I’m getting at is that if the visuals are sturdy sufficient, a present can get away with rather a lot. My curiosity within the Gaal storyline waxed in that slo-mo shot, whereas my curiosity within the Salvor storyline waned with that dully staged combat scene; the pc conversations and the spaceship crash flipped that dynamic. It’s not fairly the cycle of destruction and rebirth that the rogue professor within the flashback speaks of, nevertheless it’s comparable: It’s Basis discovering a steadiness. Even with out Cleon, I believe there’s ample purpose to imagine it should maintain its course.
https://decider.com/2021/10/18/foundation-episode-5-recap-upon-awakening/ | ‘Basis’ Episode 5 Recap: “Upon Awakening”