Foundation Season 2 Episode 1 Recap: In Seldon’s Shadow

Apple TV+’s sci-fi series ‘Foundation‘ returns with a second season that increases the scope of the story while bringing it closer to the conflict that was promised at the beginning of the first season by Hari Seldon’s prediction. More than a century after the events of the Season 1 finale, it opens up in a world where the characters are forced to make difficult choices and face the upcoming crisis, for which they are not the least bit prepared. This episode, titled ‘In Seldon’s Shadow’ also introduces some new characters that are going to play a very important role in the story. Here’s a look at the events of the first episode and what it means for this season. SPOILERS AHEAD

Foundation Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

Salvor Hardin left Terminus 138 years ago and is now on Synnax with Gaal Dornick. Nothing is left on the planet as everything has been engulfed by the water, whose level was rising when Gaal left it. She’d predicted the fall of her home and has now returned to see that she was right. Salvor tells Gaal that she is her daughter. Gaal is shocked at this revelation and finds it difficult to accept that she has a daughter.

Salvor tries to find similarities between them- like both can sense danger and stay awake through the folding of space, among other things. However, Gaal still needs time to establish the bond that Salvor is so desperately trying for. The one thing they agree on is that they need to get out of Synnax, especially after they discover that the second crisis is about to touch down on the Galactic Empire. If this crisis is not averted, it will lead to more problems and the darkness that the galaxy might never come out of.

Meanwhile, Hari Seldon, or one of his versions, is trapped inside the Prime Radiant. He is confused by his situation and sees his dead wife, Yanna. At Trantor, the tension simmers between the three Cleons as Cleon VII, i.e., the current Brother Day, decides to get married and have children. His prospective bride is Queen Sareth, who is more formidable than he’d imagined. Day also survives a deadly assassination, making him wonder if Dawn and Dusk are plotting against him because he’s trying to do things differently.

Foundation Season 2 Episode 1 Ending

Taking us back to the Galactic Empire, the first episode of Season 2 re-familiarises us with the world that has changed a lot since we last saw it. As planned by Hari Seldon, the Foundation grows at Terminus, away from the prying eyes of the Empire. The coalition between the Thespians and the Anacreons proves fruitful. Already ignored by the Empire, they don’t have to do much to stay away from the limelight. Unbeknownst to them, the Empire has finally caught up with them. However, instead of immediately attacking them, Day decides to keep an eye on them and figure out more details about his new enemy.

The Foundation has now grown into a full-blown civilization. Though it is still not strong enough to challenge the authority of the Cleons, it is strong enough to hold its ground. Since Seldon’s last disappearance, the Vault has been lying dormant, but new activity is detected in it, which hints towards the possibility of a new crisis. The last time it opened was when the Anacreons landed on Terminus. It has to be something severe to have activated it again.

At Synnax, Gaal and Salvor have come to a similar conclusion. After her initial inhibition to go over Hari’s plan in the Prime Radiant, Gaal decides to check in and discovers that things have been spiraling out of control in recent years. A second crisis is predicted, which is not surprising. However, it turns out that if this crisis is not averted, it will snowball into more such events, which will not only through the galaxy into a time of darkness but might prolong it to the extent that the galaxy might never come out of this impending darkness.

Knowing they are needed at Terminus, Gaal and Salvor decide to leave Synnax. However, the escape won’t be so easy. Salvor’s spaceship has been in the water for over a hundred years. Restarting it would require her to hold her breath longer than she can afford. However, there is no other option because a hurricane is brewing in the distance, and they have to leave before it hits them.

After a little complication, Gaal and Salvor restart the spaceship and get it to the surface. However, getting out of the planet is another thing entirely. Salvor reveals that something is wrong somewhere on the ship, and it will take them hours to figure that out on their own. She asks Gaal to let Hari out of the Prime Radiant. Because he is technically artificial intelligence, it will take only seconds for him to figure out what’s wrong with the spaceship, making their task much easier. Gaal, however, is not ready to do that.

While all this happens, Hari Seldon tries to figure out what’s happening to him. At first, it looks like he might be losing his mind, but slowly, he starts to get a sense of his reality. He knows he died on the way to Terminus. He knows Raych died, and Gaal took his place on the escape pod. However, he doesn’t know where he is. When Yanna appears to him, Hari realizes he is not hallucinating his wife. It is not his wife but an entity trying to converse with him using a familiar face.

Hari deduces that the artificial intelligence talking to him is none other than the Prime Radiant. He is trapped inside his own creation, and it’s the doing of Gaal Dornick. Now that Hari knows what his prison is, he can find a way out of it. Because he is not exactly human, he doesn’t have to break through a physical prison like normal people. It is more of a psychological game. Using a trick from his childhood to reduce the dimensions of a thing, he finds a way out of the Prime Radiant before Gaal can decide what to do with him.

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