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24 Sep 2021

‘Foundation’: A review of Episode One

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September 24, 2021 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Apple TV+ has been producing incredible original content since making its streaming service available in 2019. Known for having original content that spans across genres (including multiple Emmy award winning series “Ted Lasso”), Apple TV+ will soon introduce the new sci-fi series titled “Foundation.”  

David S. Goyer serves as the writer, executive producer and showrunner for the series, which is based off of Issac Asimov’s best-selling novels. Over the course of four years, Goyer adapted the series in a way that stays true to the original text written for a post-World War II audience, adding a modern twist. The brilliant cast includes: Jared Harris (Hari Seldon), Lou Llobell (Gaal), Leah Harvey (Salvor Hardin), Lee Pace (Brother Day), Alfred Enoch (Raych Seldon), Laura Birn (Demerzel) Cassian Bilton (Brother Dawn) and Terrance Mann (Brother Dusk). 

“Foundation” is heavily character driven and relies on the work of the cast to tell the story, which weaves various plotlines and timeframes together in real time.  

The first episode begins with the narrator Gaal (Llobell) explaining her love for the galactic empire. 

“When I was a child, I told my mother I wanted to learn every planet in the galactic empire,” Gaal says.

 She goes on to explain the concept of the vault — a huge structure floating in the sky intended to keep people away. Soon, audiences see in real time what can happen when the curiosity of children goes wrong.

 On their quest for what they refer to as the “ghost,”they dare one another to see who can get the closest. No one is successful in their attempt. Two children try, the second passes out and his friends leave him to find help. He’s greeted by a member from the ship Salvor (Harvey) who gives him food, while informing him that no one has ever gotten through. 

The storyline switches to 35 years earlier in Trantor with the return of the narrator. At this point, we are told that the heroes and villains are both fighting for the salvation of mankind. It is also revealed that Hari Seldon, a mathematician and professor of probability theory in the area of psycho history is responsible for predicting the fate of the universe. 

Gaal is sent away to Trantor from her home in Synnax after winning a math competition to work with Hari Seldon. She leaves on a spaceship that lands on the sea and experiences her first trip on an imperial jump ship. 

Additional characters, Dawn, Day and Dusk are introduced to the audience.  They are the genetic clones of Cleon the First who serve as a ruling dynasty. Shortly thereafter, a meeting of enemies is called to broker peace. Gaal eventually meets Raych, who is tasked with showing her around and introducing her to Hari.

 A chemistry between Gaal and Raych is obvious almost immediately. Gaal reveals a nervous tick that makes her count primes prior to meeting Harry. Gaal’s excitement to meet Hari quickly vanishes once she realizes what’s at stake. 

The destiny of mankind is based on numbers and Hari’s predictions. The future he predicts says that Trantor will be destroyed and the empire will fall — and that prediction threatens the entire galaxy’s existence. The empire’s fury regarding that prediction results in Gaal and Hari being detained, arrested and charged with high treason conspiracy to destabilize the Imperial. 

Set in front of a panel that will decide their fate, Hari and Gaal are tasked with proving if the prediction is true. 

“The empire will fall, order will vanish, interstellar wars will be endless, 10,000 worlds reduced to radioactive cinders, nothing we do can prevent this” Hari says, also revealing that this devastation will last for 30,000 years. 

The impact of Hari’s prediction is felt immediately as suicide bombers set off bombs killing thousands. Gaal pleads their case stating that a death sentence for Hari will also kill hope. Day poses a question, “if the fall can be accelerated can it also be slowed?” The Empire determines to not sentence Gaal and Hari to death, but instead they are exiled 50 light years away and sent to Terminus. 

The episode ends with two powerful sentiments — , “it takes more power to build than to burn” which Gaal says to Hari. The episode also reveals that the fate of the galaxy rests on what Salvador finds inside the vault.

The first episode of “Foundation” starts strong, but there is a lot of information for viewers to retain paired with a stream of moving parts. This is absolutely a series that has to be watched with one’s full attention and focus. There are a number of storylines that weave in and out of each other and many questions left unanswered at this point in the story. 

As the season continues, my hope for the audiences is that their questions are answered as they take part in this adventure. The first two episodes of “Foundation” premiere globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, September 24. One new episode will premiere every Friday through November 19.

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