TL;DR – The show is starting to find its place.
Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.
Foundation Review –
After Foundation’s bombastic explosion onto the scene in its first episode, The Emperor’s Peace, I had become concerned with where the show was heading. It felt like it was grasping around in the dark, possibly crushed under the weight of adapting the source material with all its quirks, while trying to bring it into the 21st century. While it still feels like it is struggling to find its place, we have now seen the bedrock it is building upon, and I am intrigued.
So to set the scene, the Anacreon’s attack on Terminus has caught everyone, including the Empire, with their pants down. Well, everyone but Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) who spotted Phara’s (Kubbra Sait) play but not before she could enact it. Meanwhile, back on Trantor, Brother Day’s (Lee Pace) frustration with the state of things boiled over, and he breaks with thousands of years of tradition and boots Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) off a trip to the centre of the Luminism religion in the Moon Maiden in the Surah System. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
This week’s episode (or indeed the whole season) could have been titled ‘pride cometh before the fall’. For a while, I wondered if all that Foundation would be is a vehicle to allow Lee Pace to pontificate into the void for several weeks. Look, if that were all Foundation ended up being, then it would still at least be interesting. But we get something a bit more than that. As the narration from Gaal (Lou Llobell) states at the start, Brother Day is the first of the Cleon’s to grow up in a world full of doubt. So we get to see someone with absolute power start to lose their place one indiscretion at a time. We also got to spend some time exploring some of the themes of religion this week. In the past, the show’s exploration of faith has been very much a blunt instrument. But this week, we got to see a more nuanced exploration of what faith means for people through Demerzel (Laura Birn). We also get to know the power of oration and timing with Zephyr Halima (T’Nia Miller).
On Terminus, there is the big reveal that the Anacreon’s attacked the settlement because they were after key crew, for they had found an old imperial frigate that they needed to restart. We also discover that Hari Seldon’s (Jared Harris) murder was very much staged. But in all of the bluster and explosions and that fun moment when two kids took down a guard, what cut through this week was the vulnerability of Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton). He has grown up being told he was the perfect copy of Cleon, but he has been hiding a secret, Brother Dawn is colour blind. Someone who is hiding a part of who they are to fit in will always hit close to home for people. We get this told through a quiet love story between him and Azura (Amy Tyger), which, given this series, is not going to end well. But here it was at least charming, well as charming as it can be when one of the people can click their fingers, and the other one will be executed on the spot.
In the end, do we recommend Death and the Maiden? It is still not reaching the heights of that first episode. However, each week brings us both outstanding visuals and a story exploring exciting facets of life.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Foundation
Directed by – Jennifer Phang
Written by – Marcus Gardley
Created by – David S. Goyer & Josh Friedman
Based on – Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Production/Distribution Companies – Skydance TV & Apple+
Starring – Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Terrence Mann & Cassian Bilton with Amy Tyger, Pravessh Rana, Alfred Enoch, Elliot Cowan, Daniel MacPherson, Sasha Behar, Kubba Sait, Jairaj Varsani, Chloe Lea, Clarke Peters, Nikol Kollars, Nikhil Parmar, Christian Contrearas, T’nia Miller, Julia Farino, Darragh O’Toole, Fergus Mulligan, Matt Gavan, Martin McDougall, Geoffrey Cantor, Stuart McQuarrie, Rory Nolan, Zoha Rahman, Sofia Privitera, Dinesh Bhavnani