TV Review: Foundation (2021) – S01E07 – Mysteries and Martyrs

TL;DR – The Anacreons venture into the Anthor Belt in search of Invictus, a mysterious Imperial star ship, capable of destroying planets.

Review (warning: spoilers)

Please go to my TV reviews page to read reviews of previous episodes.

The Anacreons are on a revenge mission. Their target, I assume, will be Trantor; the heart of the empire and seat of Emperor Cleon. Their plan put in motion in previous episodes begins to finally come together in this one.

Led by Phara Keaen (Kubbra Sait), they have secured Hugo’s (Daniel MacPherson) ship and brought (kidnapped) together members of the Foundation with specific skill sets. This includes Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) the Warden of Terminus. Salvor is actually not required for Phara’s mission but the Anacreon leader is forced to bring her on board as Hugo gives control of his ship’s computer entirely to Salvor (i.e. the ship will not respond to anyone except Salvor, so she ends up being the pilot with Hugo guiding her).

Together they head to the Anthor Belt where we are greeted by the spectacular scene of an Imperial star ship that has entered into myth. Known as Invictus, the ship disappeared 700 years ago and has jump technology (i.e. it can fold time and space and traverse enormous distances in short spans of time). No one knows why it disappeared or what happened to its crew, but Phara and her Anacreons have been able to locate it and they desperately want to take control.

Unfortunately, the star ship has defence protocols in place that prevent anyone other than Imperial military from boarding. Two previous attempts by the Anacreons led to two ships becoming Swiss cheese. Thus Phara turned to Terminus, destroyed the communications buoy that allowed the Foundation to communicate to Trantor, and knowing that the Empire would send an Imperial ship to investigate. When subsequent Imperial ship is shot down, Phara captures the Commander and demonstrates in this episode that all Imperial military have nanobots flowing through their blood that both heals them from minor injuries and are encoded to allow access to any Imperial ship including Invictus.

Still, they have to physically get to an entryway to allow the Commander to have his hand scanned by the star ship’s computer. If Hugo’s ship gets too close it will go the way of the previous Anacreon attempts and be turned to Swiss cheese.

To get around this, the crew put on spacesuits and jump from Hugo’s ship, through a field of floating asteroid rocks and spaceship debris, and then magnetically land on the Invictus. Turns out, the ship’s defence systems will not shoot at anything as small as a human. Still, their timing has to be perfect and if they don’t flip themselves at the right time they don’t latch onto the star ship and instead will float off into outer space to die alone.

Everyone makes it except for Hugo, and understandably, Salvor is devastated. At this point, I should say I refuse to believe that Hugo is dead. I have a theory that he did not engage his thrusters on purpose to slow his momentum and has actually boarded another part of the gigantic ship in hopes of rescuing the Foundation crew from the Anacreons.

If Hugo is actually dead, I will be seriously bummed.

Back to the story at hand, after they get inside the star ship (thanks to the Commander who then receives his reward of an Anacreon laser blast to the head) the group explores the inside trying to locate the control centre. When Foundation Director, Lewis Pirenne (Elliot Cowan), notices the ships lights progressively turn on and off at reduced intervals, they figure out that it’s a countdown to when the ship will next jump. Phara reveals that the Invictus has been jumping to random coordinates for centuries to prevent its technology falling into the wrong hands. So, getting inside was one thing, now they are rushing to take control before they blink away again to god knows where (could be the heart of a sun, into a black hole, or marooned somewhere on the edge of the galaxy with no food or water).

As we watch this part of the story progress, we also get to see what Brother Day (Lee Pace) is doing on Maiden and how he will sway three trillion Luminist followers back into the Empire’s fold and away from Zephyr Halima’s influence.

In the last episode, it looked like Zephyr Halima had convinced the masses that to follow Emperor Cleon clones (of which Brother Day is one of them) is to follow a false leader, a soulless leader. So, Brother Day looks to prove her wrong.

On Maiden, there is the Spiral. A desert passage that pilgrims dare to journey to reach the womb of the Mother, which is said to grant a vision to those who are able to reach it. It is a sacred journey that many fail to complete.

Brother Day declares he will undertake the journey to let the triple goddesses (the Luminist gods) decide his fate. This would appear to indicate that if he survives then he must have a soul and this would bring the Luminists back under Imperial control.

Back on Trantor, things are getting hot and heavy between Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) and Azura Odili (Amy Tyger). Azura attempts to convince Dawn to run away with her so he can live his own life rather than being trapped to serve the Cleon dynasty.

And the episode ends with Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) speaking with a digital consciousness of Hari Seldon aboard The Raven. Hari reveals that Gaal was never meant to be on the ship and instead it was meant to be Raych Foss (Alfred Enoch). Gaal finds out that Hari’s murder had to happen in order for the Foundation to succeed and he had Raych commit the deed. But Raych was meant to escape and would have escaped if not for Gaal bursting in on the scene.

The digital Hari questions Gaal as to what caused her to break her routine afternoon swim session and investigate Raych and go into Hari’s room. At the same time, The Raven enters a dangerous debris field. Gaal wants the digital Hari to change the course of the ship to prevent any breaches of the ship’s hull, but Hari is more focused on why Gaal broke her routine in the events leading up to his murder.

In a cool twist, Gaal grabs a screen and uses it as a shield against a piece of debris that penetrates the ship like a bullet. There is no way she should have been able to do that. No way her reflexes are quick enough to protect herself. The only way she could do this is if she could glimpse or feel the future.

And there lies the answer to what drove her to investigate Raych and Hari and break her normal swimming routine aboard the Deliverance. Seems like Gaal has a predilection for not just solving maths problems but could find a job also as a crystal ball.

A lot happening… everywhere.

9 out of 10

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