Foundation S2E4 Recap and Analysis: Back with a Vengeance

“Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly”

Foundation S2E4 - Four people backlit in an enormous dark space with stairs running every which way
Courtesy of Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Foundation S2E4, “Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly” (written by Leigh Dana Jackson & David S. Goyer and directed by Mark Tonderai).

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 4: “Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly.” This week it’s the Second Foundation crew who take a sideline, and Queen Sareth is back with a vengeance. Or rather, back for vengeance, as they reveal the answer to what we thought was going to be the big mystery of this season. She is the one behind the assassination attempt in Episode 1. Shoot first and ask questions later. So much for Dominion’s “lighter hand.”

General Riose is back—in service to the Empire. He is also having issues finding the bloodless path and being the one who asks why. We’ll see if he can regain his moral compass, or if he’s been permanently changed by his six years of forced labor. First Foundation Hari, Dr. Seldon as he wants to be called, is also back and likewise has a moral compass that is slightly askew. We find out that his incineration of Warden Jaegger was just him trying to play the part of an intermittently wrathful god. Divine judgement indeed.

Foundation S2E4 - Dawn and Sareth in the slightly foggy gardens, with her chaperone off in the distance behind them
Well suited for each other?


Brother Day is also sidelined in this episode, while Queen Sareth and Rue split up to woo the younger and older Cleons respectively. Brother Dawn takes Sareth on a walk through the palace gardens to a secluded grove where they can each ask the questions they’ve been wanting to ask. This whole scene gives us echoes of Season 1, where once again he’s an open book and the duplicitous woman he is with is playing him like a lute.

Brother Dusk takes Rue on a nature walk as well, of sorts, through the Gossamer Court. Turns out they do have a past with each other, or at least he has a past with her. She wouldn’t remember. So, there’s nothing creepy at all when Grandfather Cleon wants to take her back to his place to watch their old sex tapes together.

Of course, we find out later that Rue probably does have her memories intact. She didn’t rise to prominence because she returned home rich from her little fling with number 16. Dominion was able to restore her memories of their lively conversations. It’s not just her courtesan tricks that make her a valuable Enjoiner to the Queen for this dalliance with Empire.

Foundation S2E4 - The informant looks pleadingly to Bel Riose just slightly off screen
A particle beam to the head, please


In this episode, all of Glawen’s fears seem realized. Being under Empire’s heel has indeed taken its toll on Bel. He literally misses the mark for their landing on Siwenna. He jumps into a fight without signaling Glay. He lets one of the locals get away. Bel wants to brush it off as him just having picked up a few new tricks, but Glay sees an atrocity in their future, one the General won’t recognize until he’s already complicit in it.

They meet their informant, who turns out to be the villager who was indeed recording the show put on by Brother Constant and Poly Verisof. Here is a different echo of Bel Riose. A man of honor and duty in a world where both are waning. A man who stayed at his post when the Empire withdrew, faithfully sending his dispatches for 40 years. Now, when the Empire finally responds, they fumble their side of the interaction so badly that he is forced to choose death over suffering torture at the hands of the mob outside.

Foundation S2E4 - Hober Mallow holds up a bottle of wine to show to someone off screen
A man of tremendous hope


Poly and Constant arrive with Hober in tow, and together with Director Sermak, they’re off to see the wonderful wizard of the Vault. Much to the Director’s dismay, Hari has brought them all there to avoid the coming war with Empire, not to win it. Dr. Seldon seems to be acting as his own Second Foundation here, tweaking the events of the upcoming crisis to ensure things tip in the right direction.

Poly and Constant are to go back to Trantor as agents of peace, opening diplomatic relations with the Galactic Empire. A suicide mission if I’ve ever heard one, but Poly seems genuinely excited about the prospect of doing something real for Foundation. Hober is given a secret mission, one counterposed to the mission of the drunk and the monk. A blade behind the Foundation’s back, as they extend an open hand in friendship.

Is Hober uniquely qualified for this mission because of his “influence” with whomever he is being sent to meet, or because of he is a man of dishonest means? Constant has been playing up his hopeful side, but Hari seems to be putting him in the pessimist role. Is he a Plan B should the peace mission fail, or is the intent to backstab Empire after the situation forces them to back down from committing an atrocity?

Foundation S2E4 - Dr. Seldon stands in the mock library inside the Prime Radiant
Doctor who?

Quick Takes

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

  • Has the name Constant been a nod to Lost all along? Is she going to become Hober’s “constant?”
  • The book that the patrician gives to Glawen is the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture from Earth. A planet that is considered as mythical as the story itself within the world of Foundation [source: Reddit r/FoundationTV].
  • Will Rue slip up and somehow let on to Brother Dusk that she has her memories restored? He is much smarter now than when they last talked, after all.
  • Nice callback with the ralfbarn (Thespin food bar). The only way something with “ralf” in its name could sound appealing is if you’d been starving for two days.
  • So given that it was Dr. Seldon who fried Warden Jaegger, we can presume that the Robotic Laws do not apply to whatever he is. Small wonder evolutionary AI was banned.
  • If the reluctant guard, Markley, is able to produce the tapes of the assassination attempt, Queen Sareth will finally learn all about Demerzel’s “other arrangements.” It should be interesting to see how that plays out.
  • Is Markley for real, or is he a plant from Brother Day?

Foundation S2E4 - Dusk and Rue walk past a mural wall featuring a diagram of the Sol system

  • The mural that Brother Dusk and Rue meet at features the dot pattern again that appears to be a road map of the Sol system.
  • If the Foundation’s whisper-ships use organic computing, could the bishop’s claw Beki be their pilot? Why else leave her with Hober on the Spirit Rising? Why have her on the ship at all, for that matter. Not exactly a conventional pet. Could they have been genetically engineered for this role like the dragons of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series?
  • Seldon tells Poly that no being can presume upon his mercy, just as he is sending them off on a suicide mission. Not good.
  • Seldon is definitely threatening Director Sermak with incineration as he keeps complimenting his fine suit.
  • Who could the “passing ghost” that Hari mentioned possibly be? It would almost have to be through the Prime Radiant, as anyone physically visiting the Vault would surely have been noticed. Which would imply Kalle again, though that seems too easy of an answer. There’s also the little problem of how she would know of Hober Mallow.
  • Other candidates could include Second Foundation Hari, if Kalle kept his digital aspect behind and somehow sent him over to assist his First Foundation counterpart. I hope not though, as I definitely want to see that meeting on screen. Demerzel is always a possibility too, with her “decentralized consciousness.” The problem is the same with any of these answers, how would someone on the other side of the universe know of Hober Mallow? Practically no one on Terminus even knew of him.
  • Could Poly have snuck a look at the coordinates Hari programmed into the Spirit when he went in to collect their belongings?
Foundation S2E4 - Beki the bishop's claw stands at the loading door of the Spirit looking menacing
Nice kitty

Best lines of the episode:

  • “Did I puke on myself?” “You did.”
  • “Is Cavalcade even a name?” “No, no. I panicked.”
  • “Providing a child for the cause. Who’d have guessed?”
  • “You’re going to be an interesting addition to our strange little family.”
  • “By the time you recognize an atrocity, you may have already been complicit in one.”
  • “Yeah. Well, I wouldn’t go that way. I took a dump over there.” “Right. Well, let’s go this way.”
  • “History has been crowded since both Empire’s yoke and the release of it have left a mark.”
  • “Here’s to those who fight and ask why.”
  • “This is graduation day.”
  • “Director Sermak, again, fine suit.”
  • “You can never just play along, can you?”
  • “I’m just a woman of small opportunities and particular likes.”
Foundation S2E4 - Hober and Constant face to face sharing a laugh
Their consummation would have been a pretty different experience


A good episode overall, with a lot of balls set in motion. The General now knows just how much of a threat the Foundation has become. Queen Sareth is about to get some very interesting information from her man on the inside. Poly, Constant and Hober have all been sent out on their various missions. And we should pick back up with the Second Foundation crew finally arriving at Ignis to see who or what was calling to them.

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 Apple TV+

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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