Foundation S2E7 Recap and Analysis: The Baddies Are on a Roll

“A Necessary Death”

Foundation S2E7 - Sareth lies on an examination table, legs spread with a doctor between her legs, a gallery of onlookers standing behind her
Courtesy of Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for Foundation S2E7, “A Necessary Death” (written by Eric Carrasco & David Kob 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 7: “A Necessary Death.” This was easily my favorite episode of the season, probably of the series thus far too. There was a lot of punch in every scene this episode. Not a cringe moment in any of them. Just good, straight forward plot movement, combined with some really great character match ups.

The cliffhanger ending from last episode is resolved, and it turns out it wasn’t a cliffhanger at all. Hari is just…dead. With that nagging problem behind her, Tellem Bond continues to step up her villain game against Gaal and Salvor. Empire goes all in on that game as well, putting both Queen Sareth and the Foundation in their place. The baddies are on a roll.

<em>A precision take down</em>
A moment alone with the Queen

Sareth and Demerzel

Demerzel comes to fetch Queen Sareth to have a final inspection of the royal ovaries. Sareth, feeling cocky from the upstaging of her husband-to-be, reveals her knowledge of Demerzel’s mechanical nature. An incredibly stupid move.

Here we get a massive reveal, especially for the book fans. Demerzel tells Sareth of the three robotic laws and how they prevented her from harming humans. But now, she is bound by only one law, to serve Empire. Sareth is smart enough—smarter than Day by far—to ask if that means she’ll serve her personally as the Empress. Demerzel replies that she will serve Empire.

As Sareth gets poked and prodded by the physician of the court, she continues to relentlessly poke at Demerzel. She further reveals that she knows about Day and her playing “sanctum and scepter.” Finally, the procedure prematurely called to a halt, Demerzel asks for a moment alone, where she reveals her cards. She makes it crystal clear who killed Sareth’s family and what fate awaits Sareth herself if she tries to act on her revenge fantasies. Sareth is destroyed.

Foundation S2E7 - Salvor, Gaal, Loron and Tellem are talking to each in the midst of a celebration behind them
Suffering is the price of admission

Salvor Hardin

Salvor is waking up to the fact that there’s something wrong with things on Ignis. For all their talk of openness, the Sighted are unreadable to her. She can’t even call her coin around Loron, as he’s desperately trying to suppress thoughts of a certain boat on the beach that just happens to have its nav data erased.

Yet, her and Gaal are wide open to the screams of the ghost mollusks. Their abilities are broadening as they live amongst her own. All of the senses, including general empathy. The abilities of the Sighted are stronger when they are together in harmony.

Both times Salvor brings up her concerns to Gaal, Gaal tries to shut her down. The second time Gaal tells her, “This is not the time to pull threads.” No coincidence that later Tellem says to her, “Well, this is an unfortunate thread you’ve pulled.” The only question is whether Gaal plucked that thought from Tellem, or Tellem plucked that thought from Gaal?

Foundation S2E7 - Beki stands in the airlock, roaring with large fangs showing
Nice kitty

Hober Mallow

This is the first episode in which I didn’t find Hober Mallow to be completely irritating. He brings the Home-Swarm a gift, and it’s much better than an atomic ashtray. It’s opalesk, with a promise to share the secret of synthesizing it. Foundation is offering to free the Spacers from their servitude, if they’ll just help them kick Empire in the nuts.

She-Is-Center finds the offer tempting, but feels the risk is too great. The Home-Swarm travels directly to General Riose to deliver the broker of their betrayal and his whisper-ship. Hober tries to put up a fight, but he’s outmatched by Riose and Glawen. So, he unleashes Beki on them.

Back at the controls, he disengages from the dock and fires up the jump drive. Much to the surprise of the Empire representatives, he jumps from within the confines of the hanger and doesn’t take out half the swarm with him.

Foundation S2E7 - Bel Riose and Glawen face each other in their quarters, clearly arguing
Scared together

Bel Roise

The General reports all of this to Day and Demerzel, but they cut him off before giving the expected orders to deploy the fleet to Terminus. Glawen wants Bel to mutiny once again and take down Empire. He’s willing to throw in his lot with the Foundation in hopes they could take over the Imperium.

Riose won’t do it, however. For one thing, if they failed, he knows this time Empire really will kill his husband and stick him in a naked cell watching an endless holo of it. If they succeed, there would still be large regions of space that will fall into lawlessness. Rapists will be kings and the poor will be slaves. Glawen acknowledges his fears are rational and is reassured that Riose is coming back to his old self.

Foundation S2E7 - Sareth and Dawn face each other in the tunnels beneath Terminus
Planning a coup

Sareth and Empire

Day invites Sareth out to the garden, sitting in the same spot where a previous Day talked to Azura and had her entire family killed (in S1E10). Once again, he is totally out to lunch, thinking he’s pouring on the charm and being quite witty. Slowly but surely, he begins to realize they are having a much different conversation than he thought. He has also had Sareth’s family killed, and she knows it. Now he knows that she knows.

With all that confirmed, Sareth has a secret meeting with Dawn. She can’t back out of the marriage, but she also can’t have that monster’s baby. Dawn is not yet that monster. He still has kind eyes. Eyes that the one true heir could have instead of his brother’s, thereby ensuring his legacy. It’s not suicide, it’s a bloodless f—ing coup.

Foundation S2E7 - Dr. Seldon stands in the throne room looking up and off screen
A surprise visitor

Dr. Seldon and Brother Day

One of the goals showrunner David S. Goyer put to his writers was to figure out a way to get their two big stars, Jared Harris (Hari Seldon) and Lee Pace (Brother Day), to be on screen together. We got this season’s matchup in this episode.

A little bit of Dr. Seldon tagged along for the ride with Brother Constant. Sneaky little bastard, indeed. Empire is surprised but not surprised, since they detected dual brain scans at the port of entry. Poly is extremely surprised, but then again he was still reeling from the reveal that Hober Mallow was sent to attempt to seduce the Spacers into treason.

We find out that this Brother Day studied Hari Seldon. In fact, he’s a bit of a disciple himself. The entire reason he’s ending the Genetic Dynasty is because he is actually trying to heed the warnings given to his predecessors in this very room over a century earlier. That was unexpected, and now it’s Dr. Seldon’s turn to express surprise, just before he is vaporized. Perhaps his predictions really are out of date.

Foundation S2E7 - The Home-Swarm ship comes out of a bubble of space in front of the Empire jump ship
The Home-Swarm comes to deliver an offering

Quick Takes

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

  • Now we know why Constant claimed to have dreamt about Trantor as a child. That was her covering up for something Dr. Seldon said through her.
  • The Robotic Laws at last! So maybe now we can conclude that the “large task” Cleon I put to his systems programmers (in S1E3) was to reprogram Demerzel to have just the one law. Because obviously she can harm humans now. She can even kill the bodily manifestations of Empire in service to Empire as a concept.
  • She also seems to genuinely believe she is the last of her kind, which none of us believe for a second, right? If there are other robots, such as Kalle, presumably they still follow the original three laws. Setting up a potential robot versus robot conflict for future seasons.
  • I would wager that when Salvor stumbles upon Gaal reciting primes all alone, that Gaal is practicing hiding her thoughts from Tellem, as she admonishes Salvor to bury her negative thoughts about Tellem as well. She’s quick, after all.
  • Demerzel is probably pissed at Sareth because she brought in all of these people to embarrass her and now she’s got to mind wipe all of them. What a pain in the butt.
  • OK, now, I was willing to believe they killed off Hari, or at least a version of Hari, last week, but this week I’m not buying that Salvor is dead. Tellem told Hari about their “philosophy of death” and claimed that she would never kill one of her own. Of course, as she pointed out earlier, Salvor is not quite one of the Sighted yet. So, we’ll see what happens.
  • They lingered on Hober’s wrist after She-Is-Center released his handcuffs, and there did appear to be something still embedded in his wrist. Always a sign that there’s something there that will come back and be used later, but what was it? The castling device?
  • Speaking of Hober Mallow, now where would he be going next? He had better be going to Trantor to make a dramatic jail break of Poly and Constant. This guy is starting to rub off on me.
  • Another disposable Hari Seldon copy. This makes me even more convinced that the humanized Hari was just a clone sent to lure Tellem Bond into revealing her hand to Gaal.
She-Is-Center looks at a vial of opalesk in her hands
She-Is-Center contemplates treason

Best lines of the episode:

  • “And this must be the diplomatic lounge.”
  • “Just as General Riose arrives in the Outer Reach, the Outer Reach reaches out.”
  • “No admonishments, just advice.” “You make them feel so similar.”
  • “Thank you all for your interest.”
  • “Alright Dr. Oran. I think you’ve rummaged around enough for today.”
  • “Killed with the sort of precision I bring to my work.”
  • “I’m just trying to wrap my head around the fact that everything I eat, from now on, is going to be yelling at me the whole way down.”
  • “Opalesk.” “Yeah. You can keep that. Breathe it, eat it, whatever you want.”
  • “There is one thing you should know about whisper-ships. They come with a very robust security system.”
  • “But at least now we’re scared together.”
  • “I am grateful, Empire.” “Good.”
  • “It’s Cleonic tradition. Why use one word when ten will do?”
  • “Don’t you want to cast a shadow?”
  • “Look at that. Genuine, gaping dull-eyed surprise.”
  • “We sue for peace not because we fear we will lose, but because we know with mathematical certainty, if there is war, we shall win.
Day sits alone in the garden, hands folded in front of his chin, contemplating
Cultivating some of that public charm


A lot of wins for Empire in this episode. Queen Sareth gets put in her place. Things continue to get worse for Poly and Constant. Hober’s offer to the Spacers is turned down and he’s turned over. Even Dr. Seldon gets a bit of a smack down by a rightfully gloating Brother Day. And of course, two down and one to go with our Second Foundation crew—not that I believe for a second that Salvor is dead.

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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