Television

Foundation – Episode 4 – Barbarians at the Gate

The Emperors face quite the dilemma. In addition to events going south on Terminus, now the people are asserting that *gasp* the emperors might not be god. That sort of unbelief was not all that uncommon in the early years of the historical Roman Empire, though the disrespect it entailed meant nobody would say it to the emperor’s face. Well, in the future (as now), there are cameras everywhere, so the Emperors start to worry.

Specifically, Brother Day goes off on Brother Dusk for brushing off the Foundation way back when Brother Dusk was Brother Day. It’s a fascinating argument. On the one hand, it’s like watching a guy do a complete 180 on his position from a few episodes ago, except Lee Pace actually has a different character to play. On the other side of the argument, Terrence Mann’s Brother Dusk really hasn’t changed at all, but’s taking a position than his predecessor. Most captivating of all is the feeling that this argument has little to do with the Foundation, per se, but rather that this contest of ego has happened time and time again. Just look at Demerzal’s face. Either way, Brother Dusk sends in the secret police to go “check on” the Foundation out on Terminus. Brother Dawn, a teenager, largely avoids this conflict and focuses on his crush on a gardener at his palace.

The three emperors, Dawn, Day, and Dusk. Photo courtesy of AppleTV.

Flipping over to the Terminus side of the plot, Salvor Hardin has had a run-in with a bow-wielding space barbarian, Phara, and her crew. Forcing Salvor to drive her to the force field generator, Salvor instead heads for the Vault and drives close enough that it knocks out Phara, whom she then drives to jail. As the barbarians surround the town’s force field, more Foundation residents find guns and stand guard while the mayor of Terminus – the devil’s advocate guy from episode 3 – attempts to interrogate with interruption by Salvor who insists she would do a better job of it. I wonder if they’ll tell us in flashback what this guy did to make Salvor despise him? As the barbarians swarm, and the secret police close in, Gail’s escape pod, floating out there in space, thankfully encounters another ship.

Salvor’s attitude toward the Foundation, while not only feeling unearned, feels like a repeat of Captain Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek reboot. A book series based on logic puzzles really seems like an odd fit for an action hero who bucks the establishment, but it worked out pretty for Star Trek, so maybe it’ll be okay here. We’ll have to find out in episode five.

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