"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, August 18, 2023

Foundation 2.6: Hari and Evita

Well, I thought Foundation 2.6 was one of the best episodes so far.  Here's why:

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

1. Young Hari -- both as a boy and a young man -- was pure gold.  It was a neat, powerful story all on its own.  Hari and Yanna were a great, pivotal couple.  And the way he killed Yanna's killer Tadj was perfect -- standing in just the right place in the middle of a stampede, so he was safe (just as he had taught himself how to do as a boy) and she was trampled was an epitome of what he is trying to do as the older Hari we have come to know deals with the stampede of ongoing and upcoming events, and the current renditions of Empire.

2. Speaking of which, I enjoyed Sareth sounding like Evita as she stood next to Empire who had just proclaimed her to be his and the populace's Queen. Indeed, her proclaiming to the people that she was them, and they were standing up there via her at the center of the universe, could have been taken right out of that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical.  The only difference was that Juan Perón really valued Evita beside him, unlike Day who didn't seem too thrilled with what Sareth was saying.

So those were two outstanding segments and themselves worth the price of admission.  The rest, I didn't like quite as much.

3. As I always say about what I see on any fictional television screen, if you don't see a character's head blown off or to smithereens, there's a fair chance the character might live.  Further, in science fiction, there are all kinds of ways a seemingly killed character can survive.  In the case of Hari, there is already a digital Hari who would survive the flesh-and-blood Hari's death.  And, yeah, I see the poetry in his dying, just as he's thinking about and we're learning about what  happened to Yanna.  But I didn't like seeing him drown, anyway, and I hope we see him in the flesh again.  I've gotten to like Hari alive, even though he's not flesh and blood in the original Asimov stories at this point, and even though his digital self would be a passable approximation of the recurring Seldon hologram in the novels.

4. I also don't especially like Tellem, even though she does have a great name that makes me think of that Exciters song every time I hear it.  And I suppose the Second Foundation she may actually be beginning to think she could help create could be a believable victor, eventually, over The Mule.  

But, well, we'll have to wait and see.  I'll add here that there was a character in a fedora hat in 2.6 who showed up twice without saying a word -- a sure sign that this character is someone important.  Just four more episodes to go this season.

Note added: Joel mentions the Spacers scene in his comment.  I wanted to add here that, although the Spacers come from Asimov's novels that take place in a time well before the Foundation stories -- they were the first humans to colonize worlds in other solar systems -- the idea of Spacers who have unique abilities to power spaceships comes from Dune. At least, that's the first place I encountered such human-derived beings who could "fold" space.

See also Foundation 2.1: Once Again, A Tale of Two Stories ... 2.2: Major Players ... 2.3: Bel Riose and Hari ... 2.5: The Original Cleon and the Robot

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



Joel said...

Excellent review. I agree with most of it, but I'd add a couple of things. The scene with Hari and Salvor fishing was delightful, in that we learned more about both of their characters and felt them bonding like they hadn't to that point. I also kind of hope physical Hari survives somehow if only to enjoy the fruits of that bond, but I suspect we're down to one Hari again.

I also loved Gaal's birthday surprise for Salvor and the hug. These two really need to have a deep connection and the stage is set for something really special here. I'm finding myself more interested in the non-Empire side of things the more I come to know these characters and their relationships. Those who continue to insist that the only things interesting are on Trantor are likely to miss out on the growing soul of the show in my opinion.

I don't think Tellem Bond is going to be forming the Second Foundation. She hinted that she has a terminal illness, and probably just wants to be left alone in her little fiefdom on Ignis in the time remaining. Gaal may form the Second Foundation from some portion or all of her followers. I see Gaal as the first true First Speaker.

The other great piece of this was Hober's encounter with the spacers which I thought was just mindblowingly cool sci fi. I can't wait to see where this subplot is going.

Lastly, as absurdly impossible as Helicon, its moon, and the moonshrikes all are, I thought it was beautifully imaginative, and agree that the whole flashback sequence was pure gold.

Paul Levinson said...

And I agree with most of your excellent comment -- especially that Gaal would make a great premier First Speaker. I liked Hober and the Spacers, but I think the Spacers could use a lot more history and development than they've been receiving in the series.

Joel said...

I hope we do get more of the Spacers back story. We only know that they were enslaved by Empire 600yrs previously and that they depend on opalesk which the Empire controls. Interesting that the Foundation whisper ships don't need spacers or opalesk, so maybe the Spacers will somehow ally with Foundation through Mallow to throw off their servitude to Empire?

Paul Levinson said...

Good thinking -- and that's exactly what happened in the latest episode (2.8)!