"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 15, 2021

Foundation 1.5: What We Learn in that Final Scene

I knew it!  How many times have you read here in my reviews of television series and movies, how many times have you heard me say this on panels at science fiction and other popular culture conventions , that if you don't see a character's head literally blown to pieces, well, he or she may still be alive.  I said this about Tony Almeida on 24 and I was right.  I'm still saying this about Tony Soprano -- that he wasn't killed, indeed, wasn't even shot -- and I still think I'm right.

[Big spoilers ahead ... ]

And I thought it after the end of episode 1.2 of Foundation.  But I was too upset to say it.  I didn't want to cheapen that likely loss of such magnitude by making my off-made point. And the murder did "amply demonstrate the unpredictability of individual behavior" -- that is, Raych's -- that is one of the cornerstones of psychohistory, so I said that, and let it go at that.

But now, after just watching episode 1.5, I can say that, unlike in the past two episodes (1.3 and 1.4), my favorite part was not the triple Cleon clones.  And not because the clones weren't in episode 1.5 at all.  It's because my favorite part of 1.5 was at the very end, where it looks like Hari maybe wasn't killed, and survived Raych's stabbing.

Now, typically for this riveting, tempting series, we can't be sure of that, either.  Only that apparently Hari was alive after Raych and Gaal left the room where he had been stabbed.  It's not 100% clear to me what Gaal saw in that last scene.  As far as I can tell, not Hari beamed through time to where Gaal was, so maybe she can save him -- we've seen no other evidence of Star Trek-like beaming in the Foundation series, right?  So what Gaal and we saw at the end of 1.5 was presumably a holographic recording of Hari alive after the stabbing.   

Where is he now, i.e., at the time that Gaal is seeing this?  Well, she realizes she's on her way to Helicon, Hari's home planet.  She's very worried that she'll be apprehended and killed there, because the people on Helicon know that she murdered Hari.  But if Hari wasn't murdered,* Gaal will be ok there.  In fact, I'm looking forward to Hari greeting her in the flesh in the next episode.

Which I look forward to watching, and reviewing here.   The rest of the galaxy, certainly Cleon's Clones, think Raych murdered Hari.   It's good to know that likely we know better.

*Note added 16 October 2016:   I'd say Hari wasn't dead when Gaal and Raych left him -- even though the computer's voice on the ship announced his death (maybe Raych programmed it); Raych deliberately stabbed Hari in a way that didn't kill him


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


James F. McGrath said...

My guess is that Hari may have recorded a message to exonerate Gaal. I suspect that everything is actually unfolding according to the plan, that Raych's action was calculated as the only way to keep the plan proceeding, perhaps because there was a plot to kill both Hari and Gaal and this meant the latter will survive.

I also suspect that the vault was on Terminus as a result of Hari's advance planning, and the reason it responds to Salvor is that the latter is Gaal's and Raych's daughter, one of the embryos preserved for safety until they reached Terminus.

Paul Levinson said...

I agree completely with all of your guesses, James. And I like your thinking that Salvor is Gaal & Raych's daughter (hadn't occurred to me). The big question about Hari, for me, is whether he survived the stabbing and is currently alive on Helicon.