"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Friday, October 8, 2021

Foundation 1.4: Slow Hand, Long Half-Life, Flipped Coin

Well, once again, I thought the narrative on Terminus in Foundation 1.4 ended much too soon, almost in mid-action.  I suppose I should get used to it.  And once again, my favorite part of the episode were the scenes with the clonal Cleons.  I suppose I should get used to that, too.  Yet episode 1.4 was because of those clones my favorite so far.

Send in the clones: I liked that we learned that "the aura repels kinetic energy" -- that is, the aura around the clones, which allows Brother Dawn to jump off a ledge to an outdoor pavilion and survive with just a pain in the shoulder.   And lovers of any of the clones need to move slowly, so they can touch the Brother.  Bring on The Pointer Sisters and their "Slow Hand".

Also, the continuing dynamic among the Brothers is very instructive.  New Day finds fault with Old Day/Current Dusk's assessment of Seldon.   The clones are learning.   But, so far the learning is way too slow to get ahead of the curve, aka, what Seldon saw in the future via psychohistory.

Speaking of which, we see Hari again, in a hologram, no less.  But he's not in the Vault on Terminus. He's in the heart of the Empire, on Trantor, a recording including part of what we saw in an earlier episode and, I don't know.  Why, after seeing  Hari murdered at the end of 1.2, have we still not seen any holographic sign of Hari on Terminus?   No impressive explanation of what would happen in his future, in our present viewing of that story, just a recording of what already saw part of before.  I have no problem at all with the changes in Asimov's story that just didn't exist in his stories and novels.  Like the three-fold clones.  I think they're brilliant.  But I don't get why we've seen nothing of Hari since he was killed, other than what he said back on trial on Trantor. 

I suppose this interlude in tonight's episode may be signaling another fundamental shift between page and screen in the Foundations, in which Hari makes all of his impressive predictions of the future back in his trial, in the equivalent of holographic Court TV on Trantor, just for the clones.  And I suppose that could work.   We do get an excellent line about Hari after his testimony from current Brother Day:  "Martyrs tend to have a long half-life."

And so the best scene on Terminus was not the Vault, but the coin, which Salvor flipped.  As an occasional coin collector, I'd like to get one of those coins, a spaceship on one side, a cat on the other.  It's a nice little gem of a detail, in which the Foundation series seems to excel.  But, as for the story, let's just say that it's not yet exceling, at least not in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that Apple TV+ publicly announced today that the Foundation series had been renewed for another season.   Good news indeed.   But I hope it doesn't take that long to get the story moving on Terminus.  As Hari told us, the Empire won't last forever.

See also Foundation 1.1-2: Mathematician, Man of the People, and Cleon's Clones ... Foundation 1.3: Clonal Science Fiction, Hari Seldon as V. I. Lenin

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