Review Foundation Episode 5

Here’s an exclusive dramatisation of fans of Chapter 3 of the original novel:

Nope, maybe a little Chapter 3 next season, as a treat. Spoilers follow…

I jest of course. I’m still really enjoying this show and once you lean back and accept that the Asimovian marmite has been spread very, very thin upon the mini-series toast, this weird space opera is immense fun.

Once again the show zips back to the past to delay any further advancement of the Salvor Hardin/Chapter 2 plot. However, instead of the Emperors-Three, we delve into Gaal Dornick’s past. The anti-science religion of her homeworld bugged me less this time.

Her planet’s sea levels are rising and the older generation has purged their society of science and technology. The church maintains a slim technological connection with the Empire but has essentially turned inward. The implication is that this is a world with a very slim chance of future survival. Gaal attempts to follow the orthodoxy but through trauma, finds her route into mathematics.

It’s not stated but I assume she is only not murdered by her own people because of fear of the Empire after she surreptitiously wins the mathematics competition. That takes us plot-wise to the start of the series. Meanwhile, future Gaal finds herself rescued by a fancy (if uncooperative) spaceship. Can she work out what is going on? More immediately can she work out where she is?

It’s all a bit astrogation babble but if Foundation cares little for sticking to the Asimovian plot and is overtly anti-Campbellian in its choices of gender & ethnicity, the smart, clear-headed science whiz working out solutions to her problems while stuck in space feels very much in the spirit of Asimov and Campbell or at least the likeable aspects of both. I’m reminded of the plethora of new work over the past few years taking the Lovecraft playground and dealing with the shittier aspects. Apple’s Foundation is less of a subversion of Asimov’s early work than, say The Ballad of Black Tom was of Lovecraft but it is still an interesting way of engaging with the material.

Back on Terminus, the departure from Asimov’s plan is driven less by a re-examination of 1940’s social attitudes in science fiction and more the need for big action sequences in a prestige drama. Foundation’s first crisis isn’t going to be solved by some long conversations. Instead, we get a big and one-sided battle, as the Anacreon’s military gambit comes into play. The late-arriving Imperial intervention turns out to be what they were after all along.

…and…well, that plotline isn’t resolved yet either 🙂

Meanwhile, back to Gaal Dornick and the mysterious ship and…wait…who’s that on the ship? Hari Seldon has more shenanigans planned it seems.

4 thoughts on “Review Foundation Episode 5

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