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Foundation finds old flames, new complications and uncertain allies in a very engaging episode this week. Hari, Salvor and Gaal find themselves in the company of a goddess. Dusk, Dawn and Day start suspecting each other. And Sareth gets closer to the truths she came to Trantor to divine.
Unsurprisingly strong performances elevate “The Sighted and the Seen,” this week’s episode of Apple TV+’s epic science fiction series based on the work of Isaac Asimov.
Foundation recap: ‘The Sighted and the Seen’
Season 2, episode 5: Genius mathematician Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris) is having a flashback. He’s consoling his confidante Raych Foss (Alfred Enoch) after instructing Raych to kill him. Ever the psychohistorian, Hari worked out that in order to be of any use for future generations, he must die to travel through space and time not as a human but as a floating consciousness. (The kill-me-now concept is rather like the one in 1981 movie Dragonslayer, actually.)
Raych died in the many years since he killed Hari for the good of the Second Foundation. And now he’s returned to haunt Hari (who’s just been gifted a shiny new corporeal form, thanks to an old magician). All these years of intergalactic chess with people’s lives, and the ensuing guilt, is starting to catch up with Hari, now that he’s human and not a projection and can think and feel again.
As for feeling, Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) crashes the ship she, Hari and Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) are riding to a new planet, and it hurts quite a bit when they land. (Harris’ performance of his new sensations is marvelous.)
Suspicions on Trantor
On Trantor, Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion (Ella-Rae Smith) and Enjoiner Rue (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) are still putting together clues that Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann), Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) and Brother Day (Lee Pace) had Sareth’s family killed.
She’s getting closer to all three Empiric brothers. That includes finally sleeping with Day, which throws him, because he’s gotten used to sleeping with royal android Demerzel (Laura Birn). Naturally, it’s a resounding failure.
Sareth’s actions arouse suspicion. She covers her tracks well enough, but Day rightly suspects there’s more to her intentions than meets the eye. Dusk, meanwhile, is shacking up with Rue, reliving their first meeting some 30 years ago. She plants seeds of suspicion that Day is making moves without Dusk and Dawn’s approval. Time to do a little research…
Hari Seldon has a plan, but he’s not the only one
Salvor finds Hugo (Daniel MacPherson), her old boyfriend from Terminus, on the surface of the planet. He’s been searching for her ever since he left Terminus. It’s actually Hugo’s ship they’re currently using. But when she brings him back, the computer doesn’t recognize that Hugo is Hugo, and Hari demands proof.
As Salvor and Gaal try to find some, Hugo morphs into someone else named Loron (Michael Akinsulire). His fleet of marauders raid the ship a few seconds later and take all three captive.
They’re in the company of cloned goddess Tellem Bond (Amelia Minto), who is actually a hologram — and a test to see if Hari is as smart as he seems. He passes. Turns out the real Tellem (Rachel House) has called them here. She’s the one who impersonated Raych on the ship earlier, too.
Hari has a plan for the Foundation, and he needs Tellem and her people, who she calls Mentalics. But Hari doesn’t know that Tellem has her own motivation. She wants to stop the Second Foundation, no matter the cost.
Sci-fi visuals elevate Foundation
Alex Graves returns to the director’s chair for this week’s episode of Foundation. That’s good, because he emphasizes the tactility of Tellem’s planet. He could have done a slightly more demonstrative job with the inner sanctum, but I guess we’re supposed to feel at a remove from it, so I can forgive it.
Graves realizes all the sci-fi environments on the show (Trantor’s gardens and offices especially) with a visual clarity that not every TV director manages.
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.