"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, July 28, 2023

Foundation 2.3: Bel Riose and Hari

Bel Riose and Hari Seldon don't meet in Foundation 2.3, but they are accorded the most compelling treatment in the latest episode up on Apple TV+, so I thought I'd focus on them in this review.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Let's start with Bel Riose.  In Asimov's trilogy, he was a Belisarius of his future time, that is, the last great Roman general, who in our reality under Justinian's rule reconquered a lot of Roman territory lost to the Vandals and other barbarians.  He hasn't yet done the equivalent of that in the TV series, but in episode 2.3 we get a powerful backstory, including an agreement to help Empire in return for being reunited with his husband, the love of Bel Riose's life.  In addition to that, the character benefits from being played by Ben Daniels, a perfect actor for this role.

Meanwhile, here's the story with Hari:  Instead of appearing after his death in pre-recorded holograms -- a pretty bold move when Asimov was writing this in the 1940s -- he instead appears in digital form after he orchestrates his own murder and Gaal locks his mind and his essence in the Prime Radiant, which contains in both Asimov's novels and its adaptation on television all of Hari's equations.  I was beginning to think, before tonight's episode, that maybe substituting the digitality of the radiant for the holographic recording was a good move, after all, since the digitally living Hari provided more possibilities for the character than the pre-recorded holographs.

But now at the end of episode 2.3, we get Hari literally turned back into a living presumably flesh-and-blood being by some apparently hocus pocus..  Certainly a surprise.  And this feels like an improvement over imprisonment in the radiant, which has more possibilities (maybe he'll replace Ebling Mis?) but we'll just have to see.

And I'll conclude with with one more character who shows up from the novels as a very different person.  Hober Mallow.  I didn't put his name in the title of this review because I by and large didn't like him in this episode.  Foundation doesn't need a Han Solo character.  But, again, we'll just have to wait and see, and one out of three for a great development (Bel Riose) and one out of three as a very likely good development (Hari), makes two, and two out of three ain't bad,

See also Foundation 2.1: Once Again, A Tale of Two Stories ... 2.2: Major Players

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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