Foundation: The Leap   Books Included 
November 19, 2021 8:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

An unexpected ally helps Salvor broker an alliance. A confrontation between the Brothers leads to unthinkable consequences.
posted by Gary (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, that was an unexpected conclusion for Dawn.
posted by pwnguin at 9:37 AM on November 19, 2021

They did a good job letting Day give a nice speech about saving Dawn while making it clear he's a self-interested prick who only cares about his legacy.
posted by Gary at 10:39 AM on November 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

1. Hari Seldon is unsufferable = perfect, this show gets it.

2. What's going on in that positronic brain... Apparently the show doesn't have explicit rights to the Laws of Robotics but at the same time Goyer seem to indicate they're on cordial enough relationship with the estate that there's some kind of carve outs. In any case how much of that loyalty to the empire will probably be another innovation by the adaption with regards to the programming? Idk.

3. I definitely didn't expect this turn from Salvor's plot. It's clear they're leaning into the second foundation + psychics earlier i.e. not as a mid-series reveal but while one hand giveth (Salvor isn't the chosen one) another taketh (she's got superpowers)

3b. Get yourself a port wife like Hugo.

4. Wait so the ship heading to Halicon is gone or nah? I saw Gaal taking the knife but not if the ship had exploded. Amusing myself with the idea of at least three versions of Hari just annoying ppl day and night.

5. Next season maintains the chronological position, y/n? It does give narrative space to tease and leisurely come back to what happened to resolve the discovery of the Cleons' genetic corruption. I'm still struck that the one plotline that's pretty much was invented whole cloth is the most solid.

Not sure what it says about the strengths of the original IP to fit how it continues to be adapted -- in a lot of ways the story team is self-regarding and meta in that the main concept they want to explore is the work of building legacies and the act of presenting history. Politics is going to be their natural mode of telling this story, and if anything, that's the one field Asimov doesn't really do well or rather the idealism(s) of his age can't survive the interrogation. This might explain why the science fictiony bits feel vague and doesn't seem to pass muster in the adaptation. Might explain the purists who've been upset at this show so far. But otoh they've been really great at examining the social relations (and implications) of those actual Asimovian plots when they can but it's a sensibility that doesn't sit well with the Great Man thesis of Asimov's thinking (even up to the end).

Might explain the bipolarity of the Terminus plot imo. Mhairi (Mary?) being upset at Hari's patronising presentation had to co-exist with the (more dynamically conceived in scene blocking) exposition that we're meant to accept at face value.

Otoh if Halicon is a bust and Gaal really does set up a Second Foundation it'd be interesting because the origin aren't those who are even more fanatically devoted to Seldon.
posted by cendawanita at 10:56 AM on November 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Prediction: a third foundation.

The 'three legged stool' Hari mentioned wasn't just about the union of the first Foundation, but a hint about his full Plan. Perhaps with three roughly equal empires, the wars shall cease because the winner would be unprepared to ward off the prepared non-participant, or perhaps the rise and fall of multiple empires can be synchronized such that large scale war is never the best option to participants.

It's hard to speculate about what a third foundation would seek as a goal, or how to achieve it though, until the second foundation is established. If physics research is the first foundation's toolset, and Mentalics the second, we don't really have much to assign them -- positronics perhaps?
posted by pwnguin at 1:28 PM on November 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Okay I think I am extremely into the idea that Demrezel’s character arc is going to be a major slow boil, but also I’m very into finding out what’s going on here. Honestly, I like the Trantor storylines the most so far, even if the Cleons are impossibly cruel at times. Fascinating characters!
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:28 PM on November 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

My understanding isn’t the estate with regards to the rights to the Robots stuff. The issue is that the rights to the Robot books were previously sold. Presumably those rights are now under Disney since the I, Robot was released by Fox, but it might be more complicated. It is probably a bit like the Sony / Spider-Man / Disney MCU stuff where some characters are shared, some exclusive to one or the other.
posted by interogative mood at 4:21 PM on November 19, 2021

Wow, that escape pod really has everything.

So The Vault was Kal-El's fortress of solitude all along! Goyer was the the writer of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, so that checks out.

From what we've seen, the empire doesn't actually seem to do anything for anyone, there's no benefit for to being a part of it. The salt planet doesn't have a desalination plant for water, the water planet is sinking, the empire is apparently capable of solving these problems easily but chooses not to because they're just the villains. The couple of planets they've shown us look, well, not especially civilized, so what exactly is in danger of being lost? I guess that's why they're pivoting to a rebellion narrative. Good guys vs bad guys, Star Wars, easier to understand, and sell.
posted by rodlymight at 7:07 PM on November 19, 2021 [5 favorites]

I don't buy for a second that Cleon II actually caused the problems between Thespis and Anacreon. Hari's story was a little too perfect to put the blame on their new common enemy. (It reminded me of an Avatar episode, and felt pretty tropey in general).

Book SpoilersI am looking forward to the time when Holigram Hari shows up and his predictions are totally wrong due to The Mule. I don't really like the sentient AI as a thing (especially since it only comes up with Hari which feels like bad world building), but it will be fun to watch him come out all self-congratulatory only to find everything has gone sideways.

posted by Gary at 12:47 AM on November 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

Over at Reddit, someone's claiming the original, now departed, co-showrunner Josh Friedmann was the one who came up with the bulk of the Imperial storyline. Which provides a nice explanation as to why there's such a massive quality difference between the Trantor and Terminus storylines.

Not a good omen for next year.

Gary: I agree with you. I said something similar in the last episode's thread. It's sad to me that the book spoiler you mentioned won't happen. Can't happen now that the hologram is an AI. Though I guess having an AI ghost could lead to a different handling of the situation which could also be interesting. But not sure the current writing team could pull it off.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:09 AM on November 20, 2021

It's sad to me that the book spoiler you mentioned won't happen.

back to book spoilers...I thought so too, until the Hologram asked where Gaal was. It's a different AI from the one on the ship and basically sleeps between crisis points. Without his psychohistory tools he should really be of no help. Though, this show may have him think on his feet and solve the new crisis straight away.

posted by Gary at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was somehow certain that episode 9 was the end of the season.

As someone called him in the last thread, I think that "Brother Dayyyyyaammm" still fits. For muscles, for cruelty, for smashing his 'orginal' self with a hammer, for his true commitment to revenge...

At least, after almost 200 years, Gaal has something good happen. She found her (crashlanded, nearly drowned, lost for a century, doesn't know her) daughter! (on an ocean planet with no way off).

If the next season was 90% Demerzel's backstory, I would be happy. I'm enjoying all of the plotlines, and many characters, but she is the standout. And the pieman, but he'd be there for 400 years of that story, so okay.
posted by Acari at 10:40 AM on November 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

Like most I think, I enjoyed the politics of Empire far more than the action around Terminus.

Brother Day had the most agency and character development over the series- so I'm bummed that the season ended with a jump of 100+ years so we won't see him further. But then where he ends the season is presumably the real ending point for the Empire.

Demerzel was the most interesting character - it was important that she appeared sparingly and with meaning. I hope her role can follow what I remember of the books.

Time to switch off Apple+, until the next season comes.
posted by jjderooy at 2:24 PM on November 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Warning: Spoiler, kind of, for the novel Snow Crash below.

Is Synnax the opposite end of the sociological galaxy from Terminus? Maybe. How are these slow ships coasting at FTL speeds, even the escape pods? Come on, throw us a bone. Right, sci-fi means there are no rules. Does a throwaway line in the last episode about the Galactic Council seem like a last minute set up to make up for losing our season one story that was actually interesting? Yes, and in a way so cheap I think that Apple should be charging by the hour at no-tell rates. Is that what genetic memory means? Sure, why not? Does this whole thing feel like Frank Miller's adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit? Yes, yes it does. There is a decent, possibly even good, science fiction TV series in this, if it wasn't also trying to be an adaptation of Foundation and being overseen by David Goyer.

There was a recent episode of On the Media that talked about all tech moguls who read science fiction as kids and are now trying to realize the tech but failed to notice the actual stories and settings. Snow Crash, the novel from which the term Metaverse is derived, takes place in a dystopian future and the Metaverse is revealed to be a form of corporate oppression and tool of control. In much the same way that Mr. Zuckerberg is oblivious to the context of Snow Crash, Mr. Goyer seems oblivious to scope and intent of the Foundation stories. This season finale just had me shaking my head and saying expletives throughout the hologram road-show. The tragic Empire bits were well acted but the twist was gratuitous and facile. And as has been pointed out earlier in this thread, just what is Empire doing that is actually of benefit. Show don't tell at least something in the ten hours this series has had might be in order.

There is so much I want to like more than I do with this series and it is just exasperating. For some reason I keep hoping that Goyer will grow as a storyteller.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 10:12 PM on November 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

There was a recent episode of On the Media that talked about all tech moguls who read science fiction as kids and are now trying to realize the tech but failed to notice the actual stories and settings.

As an aside, BBC Radio 4 had an excellent series on these lines (The Evening Rocket) but it's not available outside the UK unless you happened to catch it live. It's deeply weird that Musk's favorite author is Douglas Adams!

Anyway, I never read the books, but I found a lot of this show annoying. At some point I realized my suspension of disbelief had just totally gone and started noticing editing oddities- how far away are the Anacreons and... uh, the other ones, when they first confront each other? It seems to swap back and forth between shots. I don't mean to say that stuff was the problem, but once a show loses me I start nitpicking (Gaal's plastic boat at the end seemed like it was being held in place when she tossed her stuff on!).

Why can psychohistory predict, like, sociological events and also the path of an out-of-control starship? How did he know to even test the math on that ship, considering nobody seemed to know what had happened to it- without any data?

Brother Day was the most interesting character but I think that was 50% down to Lee Pace's acting.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:53 PM on November 23, 2021 [5 favorites]

Back in the day, I was bored by the books (although overflowing with brilliant ideas, Asimov was a mediocre fiction writer), but I absolutely loved this first season of the TV series!
posted by fairmettle at 12:48 AM on December 22, 2021

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