"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, September 15, 2023

Foundation Season 2 Finale: Pros and Cons

Well, you probably won't be surprised that I have mixed feelings about the Foundation Season 2 finale, just up on Apple TV+ tonight.   And, if you've been reading my reviews of this second season, you probably won't be surprised that, although there were things I really didn't like in this episode, the things I did like were in the majority, if not in number then in intensity.

[And you definitely shouldn't be surprised that there will be spoilers ahead in this review ... ]

Here's what I liked:

1. Everything on Trantor, and concerning the Cleonic clonal triumvirate, Dawn, Day, and Dusk on and off that planet.

1a -- I especially liked the life-and-death battle between Day and Riose, and the way it was resolved. I liked this even though it had cloudy connection to the story of Bel Riose that Asimov told in Foundation and Empire, the second novel in the original trilogy.

1b -- I also liked everything Demerzel said and did on Trantor, which was every scene she was in.  What we saw not only clarified and strengthened her character, but it set up a provocative foundation, if I can use that word without it being capitalized, for what we will likely see in Season 3.  Demerzel is both very much in control but keenly vulnerable.  That's a provocative combination for such an intelligent, sophisticated android.

Here's what I didn't much like:

2.  Almost everything other than what I said in #s1, 1a, and 1b.

2a -- Although The Mule isn't much like what he was like in Asimov's trilogy (where he appeared in Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation), that's not what really bothered me about our knowledge of him that's been doled out in this second season.  What bothers me is the way we become aware of him, in a series of nightmare flashes that Gaal endures.  What this does is rob the television series of one of the prime thrills in the trilogy, the way the Mule continually surprises us.  Instead, we a get a vision that Gaal is urging the living Hari to prepare for.

2b -- I don't see the purpose in killing Salvor.  And, frankly, that whole extended scene felt like it was included because the producers thought it was necessary to at least have a very major good-guy hero character die, especially since Hari himself, as I predicted when it seemed he had drowned, actually survived.


So, these are big negatives, but the superb story of the Empire clones and Demerzel is more than enough to make me eager to see the next season of Foundation.

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 ... 2.6: Hari and Evita ... 2.7: Is Demerzel Telling the Truth? ... 2.8: Major Revelations ... 2.9: Exceptional Alterations

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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