Sunday, October 3, 2021

REVIEW: 'Foundation' - The Vault Remains Mysterious as Salvor Struggles to Protect Terminus in 'The Mathematician's Ghost'

AppleTV+'s Foundation - Episode 1.03 "The Mathematician's Ghost"

Brother Dusk reflects on his legacy as he prepares for ascension. The Foundation arrives on Terminus and finds a mysterious object.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s Foundation.

"The Mathematician's Ghost" was written by Olivia Purnell and directed by Alex Graves

Great men don't get to see the legacy of their actions. That's the overall mentality and treatment towards Cleon the First and Hari Seldon. People throughout this universe praise these figures. They have built their lives around what they established. They honor them with statues and monuments. And yet, it's up to the generational commitment to see their wishes come to fruition. Cleon the First sees the construction begin of the Starbridge. He remarks on the awe-inspiring nature of the innovation. He is reflective of the life he has lived and the hope that it can live on to further greatness. He doesn't have the same tradition and ceremony that has dominated life for his clone descendants. However, they each have Eto by their side. She is an android who remembers everything. She has fond memories with each leader of the Empire. She is devoted to the cause. It's meaningful to her. She won't allow anything to disrupt the ceremony of what this society requires. Brother Dusk transfers to Brother Darkness. He walks to his death joining the other shrines that memorialize the generations of this leadership. In doing so, he fears that something isn't right. He continues to worry about the ominous warning Hari delivered. He fears that more chaos and destruction lurks in the world. He believes that the newborn baby in the line of succession needs his guidance in order to thrive. That's not the way any of this works though. It's all destined to happen this specific way. Brother Darkness' time has come to an end. His reign has been marked. He has made his contributions to this society. Eto can detail the ways in which the clones are different. In fact, they want to be individuals in a way. However, they also rely on the support that can only come from each other. It's a symbiotic relationship. One that feeds into each other in a way that reinforces the same behavior over and over again. The actions in the future won't be any different than the past. That's what Hari was essentially warning about. That's the message ominously delivered in the voiceover that lingers over this hour. Every place in this world is haunted. People live in the shadows of those who lived before them and the decisions made that led to this specific moment. The journey to Terminus was previously seen as the story of Hari, Gaal and Raych. But now, Salvor picks up the mantle. She has a different perspective altogether. It's one that invites more mystery to the proceedings. Clarity can be found in Hari's teachings. He could predict the future by analyzing the past. Forgetting one's history will only invite further doom. The same mistakes will occur again. The colony on Terminus has thrived in the thirty years since they left for this voyage. And yet, people are expected to believe based on stories they heard about Hari. His research still exists. No one can understand it. They can't finish his work. They blindly follow what they believe is a complete story. They have been misled. But again, it's up to them to find meaning in all of this. They wish to be of service to the next world. The leaders are preparing the next generation to think about all the circumstances that could change the world as they know it. They want to give every possible gift possible while acknowledging choices have to be made. All of this can be predicted. It takes years of careful planning. Salvor's journey is unique though. Sure, it's repetitive in an eerie way as well. She is frequently haunted by a sense of unease. She doesn't believe her community is protected in exile. In fact, they choose to keep away from the one mystery that seems poised to disrupt this mission. Salvor can't ignore the Vault in the same way. She has never felt the dire effects it has emitted. She can walk straight up to it. She hears it calling out for her. That makes her unique. She is special in some way. That isn't spelled out entirely yet. Nor is it something she can concern herself with immediately. Instead, this world is being invaded by outsiders. They can't abide by the hope that the Empire will protect them as an exiled state either. They are on their own. It was easy for them to thrive when that went unchallenged. But now, outsiders are here. They may have nefarious intentions. That's a tease for the future though. All the pieces are here to outline a dramatic story filled with generational trauma. The narrative simply refuses to stay in one place for too long to build any sense of momentum. That too has become frustrating and may leave the audience incapable of connecting with the various characters. Their journeys are essentially muffled at this point.