Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap — It’s a Hardin life

One of the best TV series around continues as we delve into Salvor's discomfort with Gaal and Sareth's bold plan in our Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap.

Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap - Salvor Hardin

Our Verdict

They're not all bangers on this show, but there's always enough going on in the background to keep us happy. And we're setting the stage for a terrific finale.

Salvor Hardin has been very much a supporting player throughout Foundation season 2, so it’s about time that she got a chance to shine. Thankfully, it looks like one of the best sci-fi series around has finally realized how cool she is. This week’s addition to the Foundation season 2 release schedule doesn’t always fly, but it does give Salvor room to be brilliant.

The chess pieces are moving and the board is set for the home stretch of this second season on Apple TV Plus. Last week, Foundation season 2 episode 6 culminated in the death of Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) — yup, the dude died again — as Tellem Bond (Rachel House) and the Mentalics continued to enact their plan.

Foundation remains one of the best Apple TV shows and one of the best TV series we’re watching right now. So, with spoilers ahead, let’s have a chat about this rather uneven episode and everything that happens in it.

Salvor struggles

On Ignis, Gaal (Lou Llobell) is enjoying exploring her Mentalic powers, but Salvor (Leah Harvey) is becoming increasingly uneasy due to her clouded visions. Gaal speaks to the assembled Mentalics at a feast, suggesting they need to reach out into the galaxy more in order to bring even more of the Sighted to their cause before The Mule and his war arrive.

Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap - Gaal

Later in the day, and despite Gaal’s warnings, Salvor investigates a fishing boat that Loron (Michael Akinsulire) had tried to keep from her earlier in the day. Under the cover of night, Salvor accesses the boat’s travel history and takes it to its previous destination – the coastal area where Seldon drowned last week.

Tellem arrives, informs Salvor that “sometimes a little death is necessary”, and twists her fingers in a very Cleon-like way to make Salvor crumple. Her limp body floats next to Seldon’s as the episode ends. This show really has a gift for cliffhangers, and this one’s a doozy.

The relationship between Gaal and Salvor has become increasingly fractious, with Salvor determined that Gaal shouldn’t believe her own hype. It seems as if Gaal is being seduced by the adoration of the Mentalics, but Salvor can see that there’s something more insidious going on – and now she knows for sure. We know that this can’t be the end of Salvor – she’s in Gaal’s vision of the future war – so we can’t wait to see what happens next.

YouTube Thumbnail

A wedding Day or a wedding Dawn

The tension between Queen Sareth (Ella-Rae Smith) and Demerzel (Laura Birn) continues to grow. At a bizarre fertility appointment in which Imperial medics want to harvest Sareth’s eggs for fertilization, Sareth reveals she knows Demerzel is a robot and Demerzel effectively confirms that the Empire ordered the death of Sareth’s family.

This scene, however, is intriguing in that it includes some discussion of how Demerzel believes she is no longer bound by the Laws of Robotics and now only lives by one rule: “I serve Empire.” She makes it very clear that serving Empire is very different to serving Brother Day (Lee Pace) or Sareth, which suggests she might take extreme action if she disapproves of this union. She’s not afraid to kill a Cleon; we know that.

Sareth and Day later have a tense discussion in which she emotionally recounts the story of her family and their individual personalities, tacitly revealing to him that she knows what happened to them. It’s fair to say they part on rather cold terms.

She goes off to meet secretly with Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) and tells him she believes him to have “kind” eyes, suggesting her children could share those eyes. Sareth says she’ll go ahead with the marriage to Day, but that she wants Dawn to step up and father her children, assuring he can’t be forced out by Day. They kiss in order to seal what Sareth then refers to as “a bloodless fucking coup”.

As you know, we’re the core members of the Queen Sareth fan club and we really enjoyed seeing her take control against the Cleons. If she’s gonna bring down the Genetic Dynasty in a different way than what Day expects, we’re totally on board.

Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap - Brother Day and Queen Sareth

A new kind of diplomacy

Look, we’ve given up trying to work out what Seldon is up to. Brother Constant (Isabella Laughland) and Poly Verisof (Kulvinder Ghir) have been imprisoned by the Cleons, while Hober Mallow’s (Dimitri Leonidas) attempt to win the Spacers over to the Foundation’s cause goes exactly as well as you’d expect – i.e. they immediately turn down the deal and shop Hober to Bel Riose (Ben Daniels).

Hober eventually escapes his captivity with the help of his pet Bishop’s Claw, showing Bel Riose that his “whisper-ship” is capable of performing jumps even within a tiny hangar. He reports back to Brother Day that the Foundation has technology beyond even that of the Empire. Bel’s husband Glawen Curr (Dino Fetscher) is intrigued by the possibilities of Foundation overthrowing the Empire, but Bel has been forced into submission by the Empire’s threats.

Constant and Poly face trial in front of the Cleons, with Poly asking for sovereignty for the Foundation in exchange for not waging war against the Empire. Day is arrogant, right up until Constant appears to transform into a version of Seldon. Oh, you just can’t keep this guy dead.

Foundation season 2 episode 7 recap - Hober Mallow

Seldon warns Brother Day that “the Foundation is not toothless” and that he knows with mathematical certainty that Foundation would win a war. Day refuses to allow this to rattle him, telling Seldon about the end of the Genetic Dynasty and ordering Bel Riose to surround Terminus, taking an inventory of any useful Foundation tech. Constant and Poly are locked up again.

These segments are more than a little sluggish, with too many characters involved and Seldon’s over-arching plan left even more oblique and unknowable than usual. It really drags the episode down.

Verdict

There were elements of this week’s episode of Foundation that we absolutely loved — Sareth playing her hand with Dawn, Salvor and Gaal’s complex relationship — but also many that slowed the thing to a crawl.

But everything is set fair with three episodes to go and we have the small matter of the Second Crisis to resolve. We also might well see The Mule again and we know that the Empire now has reason to fear the Foundation. This could get explosive.

For more heady sci-fi from Apple, check out our guide to the Invasion season 2 release date and the For All Mankind season 4 release date. We’ve also explored why For All Mankind is the natural successor to Star Trek, which we know is a bold take. If you’re after more crowd-pleasing space action, have a read of our Ahsoka episode 1 and 2 recap and find out how Ahsoka Tano survived Order 66.

Elsewhere, look ahead to some of the best movies still to come in 2023 for sci-fi fans, including the Dune 2 release date. We’ve also got a huge guide to all of the other new movies on the way.