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Friday, July 21, 2023

Foundation 2.2: Major Players

Well, I thought Foundation 2.2 was much better than 2.1.  Here's why:

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

It introduced, at this very early stage of the story -- by the standards of the Asimov trilogy -- both the Second Foundation and the Mule. And just for good measure, Bel Riose.

The Second Foundation, as described by Hari in this episode, is much the same as it is in the novels.  It keeps track of how the Plan is faring, and makes amends, if possible.  The big question, at first in the novels, is where it's located.  In this episode of the TV series, the location is revealed, and it's not the same as in the novels.  We'll have to see how this works out.

The Mule in this episode is just as evil as the Mule in the novels, but very different.  There's nothing pathetic about him.  He's just a monster. reminiscent of Sauron.  I'd say that makes him less interesting and original than the Mule in Asimov's pages, but we'll have to see how this works out, too.

We don’t really know too much about Bel Riose at this point, except that Day doesn’t like him. That’s pretty much consistent with how the Emperor feels about the Empire’s last great general in Asimov’s novel. Of course, in the novels, the Bel Riose story happens before the Mule, and is indeed the last great triumph of the First Foundation in the Seldon Plan.   The Mule is actually future to Bel Riose in episode 2.2 as well -- Gaal's mind travels to the future and encounters the Mule -- but this makes him present in her mind, and therefore in our, the viewers' minds, at the same time that we learn about Bel Riose and the Second Foundation.

Meanwhile, we have some profound developments on Trantor with the Cleons in episode 2.2.  Brother Day wants to make babies the old-fashioned way -- well, not completely old-fashioned, they'll be created in test tubes not via sex, but at least they won't be clones.  I have feeling that, whatever Demerzel is telling Day about this now, she may not let that happen.  We also get a glimpse of the Emperor before the Cleon clones.  And in the painting, I'm not sure, but it looks like Demerzel was there.  She can live forever without cloning, because she's an android.  I'm also thinking that, for this reason alone, sooner or later, the Cleons may come to regard her as a danger, because she in fact has more ultimate power than they do.

And how do I feel about the introduction of the Second Foundation and the Mule so early?  It's ok.  As long as major characters have some resemblance to their origins in the novels, I don't mind if they're changed or appear at different times.  And in this second episode, even Hari seems more like himself.

See also Foundation 2.1: Once Again, A Tale of Two Stories

And 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 ... Foundation 1.5: What We Learned in that Final Scene ... Foundation 1.6: Folded Variations ... Foundation 1.7: Alternate History/Future ... Foundation 1.8: Divergences and Convergences ... Foundation 1.9: Vindication and Questions ... Foundation Season 1 Finale: Right Up There


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