Foundation S2E2 Recap and Analysis: Knowledge of the Future, Applied Judiciously

“A Glimpse of Darkness”

Foundation S2E2 - Salvor, Hari and Gaal on the bridge of the Beggar looking at a projection in front of them but off screen
Courtesy of Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Foundation S2E2, “A Glimpse of Darkness” (written by Jane Espenson & David S. Goyer and directed by David S. Goyer).

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Welcome, dear reader, as we continue to review the second season of the Apple TV+ series Foundation with Season 2 Episode 2: “A Glimpse of Darkness.” Now, when I’m reviewing a show, I generally like to stay positive and be generous. Heck, I even managed to find the occasional nice thing to say about the latest The Stand mini-series, and that was terrible. I’m totally understanding of, and sometimes even enjoy, when an adaptation makes changes to the source material to make it work on the small screen.

That said, Isaac Asimov might literally be turning in his grave over this one.

We’ve been told repeatedly that psychohistory cannot account for the actions of a single individual. Yet, here we are, once again, putting the future of galactic civilization on the shoulders of yet another “Chosen One” savior. With his name etched onto the Vault, no less. Sigh. I mean, honestly, they’re letting this Foundation stuff ruin their amazing sci-fi drama about a galactic empire in decline, and their pretty good sci-fi drama about a student-teacher conflict that spans multiple centuries.

Foundation S2E2 - Gaal gives Salvor a big bear hug in an airlock chamber
Bonded at last


Synnax continues to deliver “Race Against the Clock” moments, as Gaal and Salvor struggle first with Hari, then with a jammed stabilizer, to get off world ahead of the hurricane. Still, somehow, this last one was kind of fun, and I liked the big bear hug at the end. One more near-death experience and now mother and daughter are finally bonded. I’ll allow it.

Once free, a calmer, more agreeable Hari rejoins them as they discuss the fate of the two Foundations. Hari clarifies that the Second Foundation was not just supposed to keep the Plan on course, but also the First Foundation. Left unchecked, as they have been for the last 173 years, they could become Empire all over again. More on that in a bit.

On that note, Gaal reveals that she has felt another presentiment, a vision of a future full of despair, death and destruction. Gaal accepts that she caused this when she stumbled in on Hari and Raych, throwing the equations off course. The critical turning point on the Prime Radiant’s projection is 150 years from now. Hari suggests she try to project her consciousness to that time to get more information.

Foundation S2E2 - The Mule holds Gaal by the throat up to his face
Who’s watching me?

The Glimpse

Gaal uses an old Seer technique of basically drowning herself (again) to activate her visions. This time she doesn’t just catch a glimpse of The Mule, she has full on face-to-face encounter with him. He mocks her, defeated and all alone without her mentalic wariors. As he reaches inside her mind for the location of the Second Foundation, he recognizes the younger Gaal’s presence, deducing that she is from the Age of Empire, “before Hober Mallow pierced its side.” Interesting.

She learns that most of the galaxy had already fallen to The Mule. His only fear was the Second Foundation, because they alone could stop him. Gaal was able to pick up their location from her older self, the planet Ignis. Turns out that it is a habitable planet and it’s nearby. Added bonus, someone there is calling out to Salvor and Gaal. They’ve found a new path. The Second Foundation is still possible.

Foundation S2E2 - Side view of Demerzel gazing forward with a slight look of longing on her face
He loves me not


Demerzel finds Day contemplating the great empresses of the past on the mural walls. She has come to deliver some news, Dawn and Dusk passed their memory audit. They didn’t hire assassins to take out their brother. Or at least they don’t remember having done so. She also has a candidate for investigating the Foundation’s progress in the Outer Reach, General Bel Riose. Day has a fit, as the man is currently a prisoner for disobeying his direct orders, but eventually he calms down and agrees.

Everything falling apart is only making Brother Day more determined to solidify the marriage. At dinner practice with their movement coach, he just wants his brothers to follow his lead as prime. Dusk not so subtly reminds him that he is the one of them whose DNA was off the most, preventing them from presenting as one man. To Day, this is all just another incentive for the marriage. They don’t ever have to do this again.

Foundation S2E2 - Brother Day stands before a Cleon baby floating in a vat
Brother Day contemplates one of his exponents

Assassination by Procreation

At dinner, Queen Sareth is full of curiosity. She sure knows a lot of “rumors” about the inner workings of the Genetic Dynasty and yesterday’s assassination attempt. Could she even have insider information on the latter? Hmm.

She’s also keenly interested in Demerzel, perhaps seeing her as the natural female rival for Brother Day’s attentions. Demerzel was giving off a little bit of a “scorned lover” vibe earlier when Day kissed her and then immediately pivoted to saying how determined he was to carry through on the marriage. For his part, Day telling Sareth to “please, call me Day” is surely a call back to Episode 1 when he wanted Demerzel to call him Cleon in their moment of intimacy.

We learn that Queen Sareth was third in line for the throne when an accident killed the rest of her family, leaving her the sole survivor, completely unprepared for the job. As a result, the marriage to Empire does have certain advantages for her. Last episode, Dusk relayed a rumor that the Queen engineered the accident that put the crown on her head. Now, she seems to be implying that it could have been Empire that arranged to put her in this position. Who’s killing who here?

Foundation S2E2 - High Priest Verisof descends from above in full robe and backlit from above
The Galactic Spirit descends


Meanwhile on the planet Siwenna, Novice Cleric Brother Constant and High Priest Poly Verisof have come to recruit another Outer Reach cast off to the Church of the Galactic Spirit. In a flashy well-oiled show, they promise to free the people from fruitless labor and petty tyranny. This doesn’t go over very well with the local petty tyrants, of course, but they are no match for the Foundation’s technology.

Just as they’ve won over the crowd, a call comes in for the missionaries to return immediately to Terminus. The Vault is about to open. As they ready to depart, Poly expresses his doubts about whether Hari Seldon is still invested in the Foundation. After all, he didn’t return a year, a decade, or even a century later. His return now only portents the inevitable war with Empire that Hari warned them of last time.

Foundation S2E2 - Councilor Sutt stands in the briefing room with a disgusted look on his face
Are we the baddies?

First Foundation

Back on Terminus, we find out that the Foundation has indeed wandered off the Path laid out for them by psychohistory. Hari’s off-the-cuff remark, along with the lack of a Second Foundation to guide them, has sent the First Foundation veering off on a course solely focused on preparing for the coming war with Empire. The planets that the Church has been recruiting are being used as arms depots and military bases. The new technologies they are developing are focused on deadly weaponry. And the citizens are being taxed to pay for all of it. Poly laments that they might as well be on Trantor.

Warden Fount and Councilor Sutt have only brought Poly back because he is popular with the masses. The Warden intends to speak privately—and exclusively—with Hari, in order to avoid any “surprises.” On the hillside, he is so wrapped up in his likely well-rehearsed lines for the crowd, that he forgets to even introduce Poly and allow him his homily.

The Warden is lifted up into the air in front of the Vault, with two others standing helplessly to either side
He’s not going to just get dumped into a fountain

The Vault

While his performance goes over well with the crowd, it apparently does not please the Vault. The Warden is lifted into the air, somehow forced to shout “find Hober Mallow!” and is disintegrated—rather painfully, by the looks of it. In case anyone didn’t hear him or had questions about how to spell it, the name “Hober Mallow” also etches itself onto the Vault in a menacing scrawl.

When First Foundation Hari appeared to outbrief them after the First Crisis, he had no idea who Warden Salvor Harden was. She wasn’t important. Hari wasn’t sentient all that time, monitoring the Foundation’s progress from inside the Vault. That kind of isolation could undo even the strongest mind. The Vault had only been activated a few weeks prior by the invasion from Anacreon, as would seem has happened again this time (though what event triggered the activation, I’m not sure yet).

The parallels between the show put on by the Vault and the one Poly gave them on Siwenna are obvious, with levitations and pyrotechnics. At least Poly has the integrity to feel guilt and dislike the whole “magician” routine. What will Hari have to say for himself when he finally emerges?

A Siwenna native holds a hand to the side of his temple as if activating a device
One of the locals appears to activate a recording device

Quick Takes

A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode:

  • As with last episode, it’s not like we’re worried Salvor is going to fall off the Beggar and drown in the ocean below. My real worry was for the skin of her knuckles as she punched that vent. Ouch.
  • Gaal just casually drops that Salvor is also Raych’s daughter via the seed bank, and everyone fails to make the connection that that makes her Hari’s granddaughter. We’ll see if they revisit this in the future.
  • “Void-F***ed Entropy” would make a killer punk band name. Just sayin’.
  • When Day storms off from the movement coach session, Dusk and Dawn sit back and fold their arms in perfect unison. Nice touch.
  • Dusk says that Day’s genetic match to the Principium was off by three centimorgans. Turns out that a centimorgan is a real term in genetic science, though they might be bending its usage just a bit here. Still, nice to see those science advisors finally doing their job for the show.
  • One of the villagers on Siwenna appears to activate something in his eye before the pre-show confrontation with Brother Constant. Was that a recording device perhaps?
  • Brother Constant has a second aura to offer someone during the show, but drops it when the crowd attacks her. We see someone pick it up off the ground. Was it that same villager?
  • Dominion rules with a light hand, asking why unrest exists and addressing the underlying causes. Very different from Empire’s deterrence via swift justice. How will they merge their different approaches?
  • I loved how Sareth asserts her independence by reciting the poem that had been banned by Empire. She’s really fun.
  • Brother Constant calls it a “spirit shield,” but the villagers know it is a “field.” They’re haven’t quite completely devolved into superstitious rubes.
  • The implication seems to be that Poly drinks because he hates having to put on the “magician” act and recruiting through tricks and trinkets. Though a second contender would be how the Foundation is just turning into another Empire.
  • Salvor turned down any idea of turning her role as Warden into a political position, but it seems that Warden Fount has embraced the idea wholeheartedly.
  • Gaal whines that Hari never tells you everything, but she admitted to having done exactly the same with her vision of the future.
  • How does the Vault have mentalic type abilities to push a name into someone’s mind and force them to shout it? I somehow doubt we’ll ever get an explanation of that little mystery.

Best lines of the episode:

  • “Who are you?”
  • “Give it a minute and you’ll be perky enough to wipe your ass and greet the day with a smile. Oh, and I found a death threat.”
  • “What a low bar we’ve set these days.”
  • “How long did you expect my outburst to last?” “A minute and a quarter. You came in well under.” “Hmm.”
  • “She has separate arrangements.”
  • “He was heavier than I thought.”
  • “I want to know!”
  • “That’s flash power, Brother.”
  • “I reach inside your mind. What’s that I see? A younger self. Peeking out at me?”
  • “I believe in the prophet.” “Yeah? Which way you spelling it?”
Brother Constant stands on the Vault hillside, crowd behind her, visibly shaken look on her face
Who the heck is Hober Mallow?


What does it say that they dedicated an entire episode title to these flash forwards of Gaal’s? Other than being another artificial way to create tension around characters with 3-foot-thick plot armor, this “glimpse” seems to be telling us to just hang on until The Mule is really introduced in Season 3 or 4, because it’s going to be so cool. Pew-pew!

You can pretty much guarantee though that any remaining hard-core novel fans just peaced out at this point. Their panning of this episode on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes is going to be epic. Even I am feeling a little dread anticipating what they are going to do with this Hober Mallow storyline this season. It’s mind-boggling why they can’t get their hands around Asimov’s source material and turn it into something on par with the Empire and Second Foundation stories.

That’s all for this week. Please let us know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episode, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below. Remember that TV Obsessive will provide continuing coverage of Foundation throughout Season 2 and beyond.

All images courtesy of AppleTV+

Written by Brien Allen

Brien Allen is the last of the original crazy people who responded to this nutjob on Facebook wanting to start an online blog prior to Twin Peaks S3. Some of his other favorite shows have been Vr.5, Buffy, Lost, Stargate: Universe, The OA, and Counterpart. He's an OG BBSer, Trekkie, Blue Blaze Irregular, and former semi-professional improviser. He is also a staunch defender of putting two spaces after a period, but has been told to shut up and color.

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