Friday, October 8, 2021

REVIEW: 'Foundation' - Salvor Faces Off with an Invading Army Interested in Terminus for Some Reason in 'Barbarians at the Gate'

AppleTV+'s Foundation - Episode 1.04 "Barbarians at the Gate"

Salvor faces off with an enemy of the Empire. Brothers Day and Dusk are at odds, while Brother Dawn wrestles with his truth.

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.

"Barbarians at the Gate" was written by Lauren Bello and directed by Alex Graves

Something special resides on Terminus. The Vault would certainly qualify as such. However, the Foundation didn't know it existed until they were on the ground. So much in this world is unknown. Hari Seldon's theories profess the importance and unpredictability of an individual life. The fate of one person can't be known with certainty. Only patterns at large can be deduced and studied. People are aware of that basic understanding of the theory. And yet, they continually feel as if the actions they do may disrupt what the overall mission is suppose to be. They live in fear of what Hari declared all those years ago. They lead with that as well. The people on Terminus know that they will be challenged. They have been told that they can handle the first obstacles in their path. It's not their destiny to fall that quickly. And yet, they base that entirely on the hope that Hari gave them. He hasn't been a part of their lives in years. Newcomers are asked to carry the mission forward. That only comes with new questioning. Salvor is special. She has received that designation because she can walk straight up to the Vault with no side effects. In fact, she says that the artifact is continually calling out to her. She has been drawn to it from a young age. And now, she may even be receiving visions from it. That conveniently allows the show to return to Hari's library on Trantor again. But it's a mystery she doesn't understand. It brings her closer to the threats that are coming to invade her community. The mystery wants to protect her. She asserts her skills as an interrogator. She knows how to handle herself in the field and get the information she requires to understand how anyone operates. That doesn't immediately mean she knows everything. Terminus is being invaded by an Anacreon army. It doesn't make any sense. The leaders call out to the Empire believing that they will send support. This invasion is a violation of the status quo that has ruled in this system. Of course, they believe in a world where society is inevitably going to break down. And so, it's strange how they rely so heavily on the structures that currently rule in this world. That too showcases the limitations of their understanding of the scope of this threat. They have each given their lives to this cause. They are trying to make a better world for the people who come after all of this is gone. That brings them purpose. They don't handle challenges to that belief system all that well though. Salvor exists in that vain. She has the support of her community. She is charged with protecting them. And yet, she doesn't have the resources to prevent this coming invasion. Instead, all she can offer is trying to understand Phara and what she truly wants. Even then, she can only go so far before she is pushed out of the room. This community has essentially become complacent. They act that way because this is exactly what Hari wanted. He mapped all of this out. It's necessary for others in the universe to worry about what is or isn't a part of his prophecy. But again, things change and evolve over time. Hari knew that life can be fluid. The timeline of this disaster could be made shorter or longer. That was determined by how people reacted now. On Trantor, it seems like everyone is destined to make the same mistakes. Brother Day derides his predecessor for being impulsive in his actions. Of course, he follows the same pursuits. The Empire is increasingly becoming desperate to keep their hold on power. They believe it's their destiny. They are in service to this dream that Cleon the First created. As such, they can't veer from that path. Now, any of these three individuals pushing the boundaries could be seen as the typical character arc or disruptive to what has always been. The audience doesn't quite yet have a full understanding of the totality of this being. The characters do need to exist as individuals. Those differences make them exciting and enriching to see develop. It's difficult here because the purpose is to remove that idea entirely. And so, that duality exists over the audience not being able to accurately read into things. That's awkward. It doesn't doom the proceedings. The current Brother Day wants to buck the procedures that have long ruled this line of succession. That could spark something new. But again, all of this is still relatively new to the audience. That doesn't make this the big dramatic moment that it's meant to be for the characters. It's just something that happens to further complicate the ongoing story. That's beneficial. It's not the most consequential element of the story which is what it wants to be perceived as though. Again, it's complicated while also being formulaic in what it amounts to as well.