Foundation season 2 episode 4 recap – It’s Queen Sareth’s world now

The best Foundation characters get the chance to take center stage this week in our Foundation season 2 episode 4 recap. This season is hitting its stride.

Foundation season 2 episode 4 recap

Our Verdict

Foundation delivers the most entertaining episode of the second season so far, helped by Queen Sareth’s plan finally taking shape and the emergence of a genuinely charming love story.

It’s fair to say that some characters on Foundation are more obviously charismatic than others. We firmly believe this is one of the best TV series around right now, but we’re also acutely aware that, occasionally, it’s all a bit humorless. Whole episodes will go by without a character even smiling.

Queen Sareth is the chaotic antidote to that. With an acidic tongue, more ulterior motives than a lion at a gazelle convention, and Ella-Rae Smith’s terrific performance, she has quickly become the highlight of the best sci-fi series on Apple TV Plus. This week only cemented her status.

But as much as we would love this to become the Sareth show, there were other things going on in the galaxy this week. Hari Seldon is talking in riddles again, while there’s something very sweet indeed brewing in the Outer Reach. Suddenly, this show about a humanity-destroying war has found some lightness. We’re all for it.

Treat ‘em Queen, keep ‘em keen

But first, we need to talk about Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion. We’ll give her the full title; she deserves it. She’s decided to lull Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) into revealing the truths she wants to know about the deaths of her family.

Dawn and Sareth walk to a secluded spot in the gardens, where he asks her about the assassination attempt on Brother Day (Lee Pace). She denies it and he, in turn, denies being involved in the mysterious accident that befell Sareth’s family.

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Tearfully, Sareth talks about being the weakest member of her royal line before suggesting to Dawn that maybe the Cleons should have chosen him to marry her instead. He’s certainly smitten with her, which is only going to exacerbate the tension between the clones.

Later, we see Sareth and her right-hand woman Rue (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) meeting with Imperial staffer Claviger Markley (Afolabi Alli). They’re paying him for information and reassure him that they have the technology to reverse the Empire’s memory wipes and trick memory audits.

He pledges to find out whether Day was involved in the death of Sareth’s family and will also show her the visual record of how Day survived his assassination attempt in Foundation season 2 episode 1, which we can now assume Sareth ordered.

Smith gets a chance to play so many different shades of Queen Sareth in this episode, and she shines in every scene. She’s a smart and savvy political operator who has fooled her way into the Cleons’ inner circle. Only bad things can come of this for the Genetic Dynasty.

Brother Dawn and Queen Sareth in Foundation season 2 episode 4

Whispers about whispers

Bel Riose (Ben Daniels) and his husband Glawen Curr (Dino Fetscher) are off to Siwenna in order to meet an informant and assess the threat posed by the Foundation and its religious teachings, as per the mission they were given in Foundation season 2 episode 3.

The duo has a confrontation with a group of locals, which culminates in Bel fighting them all and getting slashed across the face. Curr is shocked at his husband’s newfound bloodlust and fears his time as a prisoner for the Empire has changed him for the worse.

They meet with informant Ducem Barr (Jesper Christensen), who shows them a video of Brother Constant and Poly preaching. He also tells them that the clarics have “whisper ships”, which use a version of banned Imperial jump technology.

Their meeting is cut short as the local mob arrives at the door, upset that Barr is speaking to the Empire. Barr tells Bel that he has already poisoned himself rather than suffer torture, but asks Bel to hasten his death by shooting him before the duo escape back to their ship.

Glawen Curr and Bel Riose in Foundation season 2 episode 4

Love in the time of Foundation

Brother Constant (Isabella Laughland) clearly fancies Hober Mallow (Dimitri Leonidas). We don’t blame her, to be honest, as he’s roguish and funny. Their ship arrives on Terminus and Mallow is less than pleased to be taken to the Vault when he sees the charred remains of the Warden from Foundation season 2 episode 2. Things go from bad to worse for him when he’s sucked into the Vault.

Constant, Poly (Kulvinder Ghir), and Director Sermak (Oliver Chris) follow him in, only to find that two days have passed within the Vault in the few seconds since they saw him enter. They follow faint music and end up in what seems to be a library, where Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) emerges.

Hober excitedly munches some of the food that has been left out, before Constant notes that this food was born within the Vault and so is technically made of Seldon’s body. This is a weird show. Poly then realizes they’re inside a 4D object in 3D space, a Tesseract – simmer down, MCU fans. This, we can’t state clearly enough, is a weird show.

Hober Mallow and Brother Constant in Foundation season 2 episode 4

Seldon reveals that he wanted all of them to enter the Vault, not just Hober, and needs their help to prevent a war – the Second Crisis. Seldon wants the clarics to head to Trantor and begin peace talks between the Empire and the Foundation, while he gives Hober a secret and less cordial mission. “The person who extends an open hand in friendship had better have a blade and a fist behind his back,” as Seldon puts it.

The group returns to Terminus, where Hober reveals that he’s not going to Trantor and will be leaving the clarics behind. Constant is upset to be parted from Hober and reveals her feelings for him, which he reciprocates. She kisses him on the cheek as he boards the ship to travel to the coordinates Seldon has already programmed, then the episode ends as Constant mournfully watches him zoom off.

Verdict

This was a fun, pacy episode of Foundation which moved several of the most important storylines forward. We also got plenty of both Queen Sareth and Hober Mallow, who are by far the most entertaining characters from this season so far. The Seldon segment was a hefty exposition dump, but Jared Harris delivers those monologues better than anybody else, so we’ll let them off.

You can keep up with this sprawling Asimov adaptation with our guide to the Foundation season 2 release schedule. Alternatively, find out more about the best Apple TV shows as we look ahead to the For All Mankind season 4 release date and the Invasion season 2 release date.

We’ve also explained why we think For All Mankind is the natural successor to Star Trek. When it comes to new movies on Apple, meanwhile, this Chris Evans movie set an impressive record. It won’t trouble our list of the best movies of all time, that’s for sure.