‘Foundation’ Season 2 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Hari And Gaal Change The Future?

There is a certain saying in theological studies that talks about accepting the situations one cannot change, having the courage to change what can be changed, and having the wisdom to know the difference between both situations. The precepts of Foundation are by no means grounded in theology, yet Isaac Asimov’s masterwork heavily hinges on these principles, as shown throughout the first season of Apple TV+’s adaptation of the novel series and also in the recently concluded second season as well.


The first season of Foundation primarily dealt with the conflict between brilliant mathematician Hari Seldon and the genetic Cleon dynasty, the rulers of the Galactic Empire, stemming from the fact that Hari’s calculations based on psychohistory predicted the downfall of the Empire. As a deterrent, after being banished to planet Terminus, Hari created the Foundation, which is an institute to preserve the essentials of human civilization and can be used to create a new empire after the inevitable downfall of the first one. To set his prolonged, intricate plan in motion, Hari orchestrated his own death at the hands of his adopted son Raych, but Hari’s protégé, Gaal Dornick, whose presence on Terminus was essential for the fruition of Hari’s plan, got separated and eventually came across her own daughter, Salvor Hardin, a former warden of Terminus. The second season explores three of the major narrative links, hints at the possibility of a future threat, and shares some major revelations that shake up the existing status quo in a major way.

Spoilers Ahead


The End Of Genetic Dynasties?

In the finale of the previous season, it was revealed that the clones of Cleon stored in Principium were tinkered with by the rebels to introduce defects, which meant they were no longer perfect copies of Cleon I as was originally intended. The second season begins a decade after the events of the first one, and Cleon the seventeenth has ascended the throne as Brother Day. The Empire has learned Hari’s ulterior motive for creating the Foundation at Terminus—creating a replacement for Trantor, the center and capital of the Galactic Empire. Unlike his predecessors, Cleon XVII has reflected upon Hari’s past advice about genetic dynasties becoming the reason for the Empire’s eventual downfall and has decided to prevent it by marrying Queen Sareth I of Cloud Dominion and having progeny with her.

As the season begins, an assassination attempt is made on Day’s life, which initially marks both his brothers, Dawn and Dusk, as suspects. Eventually, viewers learn that Queen Sareth I, whose entire family was murdered in a freak Zeppelin accident, considers Day to be responsible and is trying to find evidence in that regard. In her investigation inside the quarters of the Imperial Palace, Rue Corintha, her enjoiner, assists her and eventually gets entangled with Dusk as the duo reminisces about their escapades decades ago. Eventually, Sareth falls for Dawn as well, but she decides to carry on the charade of royal communion anyway. The decision to end the genetic dynasty empowered Day immensely while undermining the positions of Dawn and Dusk, and the rift created between the trio apparently suits the purpose of Sareth to flush out the culprit of the Zeppelin massacre. Eventually, Sareth learns that Demerzel was responsible for the massacre, which leaves her helpless and heartbroken.


Gaal And Mentalics: How Was The Second Foundation Conceptualized?

On the other hand, at Gaal Dornick’s home on the deserted water planet Synnax, she meets with her daughter Salvor Hardin, who, guided by visions much like her mother, has arrived at the planet while searching for her. Due to cryosleep shenanigans, both mother and daughter are of almost the same age, and both are trying to figure out the next course of action. Almost at the same time, the sentient AI of Hari Seldon, whom Gaal had trapped inside the Prime Radian, escapes and, after a brief altercation, reveals his plan to form a second foundation.

As a failsafe for the first one, which Hari feared might head down the same route as the Empire, a second foundation was conceptualized. To avert future crises, Gaal projects her consciousness 150 years into the future, where she sees Salvor slain and the Foundation devastated by the assaults of a certain individual named the Mule, who possesses psychic powers much like her but on a much larger scale. The vision terrifies Gaal, but at the same time, it lets her know about the possible location of the second Foundation—a planet named Ignis.


As Hari, Gaal, and Salvor head towards Ignis, Hari decides to take a detour and make a stop at Oona’s world, where his digital form is given a human body by the consciousness of legendary mathematician Kalle. Upon reaching the planet Ignis, Gaal and co. are greeted by a community of mentalics, specially gifted individuals with psychic powers like Gaal herself, and their leader, Tellem Bond.

New Players In The Arena: The Foundation Faces Crisis

To investigate the situation at Terminus, Demerzel advises Day to seek the help of the former Imperial General Bel Riose. Due to past instances of insubordination, Riose was exiled and disgraced, but the real reason was his excellency as a general and popularity among the masses, which filled Day with envy. At present, Riose gets reinstituted, finally reunites with his beloved husband and fleet member, Glawen Curr, and sets off on a course towards the outer reach to learn about the Foundation situation.


Meanwhile, at Terminus, two members of the Church of the Galactic Spirit (a quasi-religion propagated under Hari Seldon’s name and fame as ‘Prophet’), Brother Constant and Brother Poly, are tasked by Hari’s Vault consciousness to recruit a master trader/conman named Hober Mallow. After doing so, Constant and Poly are further instructed by Hari to go to Trantor to initiate peace negotiations on behalf of Terminus, while Hober Mallow is sent elsewhere for his covert, more significant role in the grand scheme of things. Directed by Hari’s planned navigation, Hober comes across Home-Swarm, the giant starship where Spacers (bioengineered fleet assistants enslaved by the Empire) reside, and offers them freedom. Instead, the Spacers capture him and hand him over to Bel Rios, but Hober eventually manages to escape. Riose informs Day about the advanced technology the Foundation has developed in the meantime, much to the latter’s worry and anger.

At Trantor, Poly and Constant get caught on the accusation of blasphemy for their association with Hari and the Foundation and are ordered by Day to be publicly executed. Just in time, Hober arrives, rescues Constant, and flees. The absolute mockery of the Imperial defense system infuriates Day, who preps his entire fleet to venture to Terminus for an assault.


Crisis All Around: Did The Foundation Come To An Abrupt End?

At Ignis, Tellem Bond initially appears as a friendly presence towards Gaal, as she requests that she take over as leader of the Mentalics in her absence. Soon enough, Hari’s skepticism about Tellem proves to be justified, as she has Hari killed by drowning, misguided Salvor and Gaal by using her superior psychical imagery projection powers, and tries to force her consciousness into Gaal’s mind to take over her body. Using the Prime Radian, Salvor manages to communicate with Vault Hari and fight Tellem’s forces. It is at this point that Salvor informs Vault Hari about Hober Mallow for the first time, whom Hari will later employ for his Foundation mission, which signifies the interconnection between past and present. Using the appearance of Hugo Crast, Salvor’s deceased lover, one of Tellem’s associates, tries to trick her, but Salvor manages to kill him. It is also revealed that human-bodied Hari also faked his death using Gaal’s help and arrived just in time to rescue the duo from Tellem and brutally dispatch her once and for all.

At the Imperial Palace, Dawn and Sareth decide to have a child of their own by reversing Dawn’s sterility, while Dusk and Rue discover Demerzel, the android assistant of the Empire, to be the true controller of the entirety of things. Demerzel takes her leave from Day’s side and arrives at Trantor, and after an honest confession about her conflicted state of mind due to her relationship with Cleon the First, who gave her freedom but also imprisoned her by programming her into serving the Empire, she kills both Dusk and Rue. At Terminus, Constant and Hober are captured by Rios once again, and Day initially posits himself as a negotiator by offering Brother Poly’s freedom in exchange for a peaceful surrender from the denizens of Terminus. However, the appearance of allied forces on Terminus leads him to consider extreme measures as he orders the giant warship, Invictus, to crash into the planet. A devastated Rios obeys the order despite his husband Glawen being on the planet at the same time, and the ensuing crash results in the complete destruction of the planet.


Did Gaal And Hari Change The Course Of The Future?

Much to Day’s surprise, Hober reveals that the entire shtick was a ploy by Hari Seldon, who used Hober to drag Day’s entire fleet to the Terminus. As for the denizens of Terminus and the Foundation, the Vault version of Hari Seldon gave them refuge inside the Vault; the only loss their side suffered was the destruction of Terminus. Hober’s alliance with Spacers was a success as well, which resulted in their betrayal and eventual destruction of the Empire’s entire fleet, ensuring the defeat of the Galactic Empire once and for all. An enraged Day attacks Hober, later engages in a bloody brawl with Rios as well, and ultimately gets thrown out into space as Riose body-swaps with him using Hober’s gadget. Constant is sent in an escape pod and ends up being taken inside the gigantic formation of the Vault, where she meets her family and fellow Termini. While enjoying their last moments while sipping on exotic wine, Hober and Rios get annihilated as the warship explodes during the fleet destruction.

At Trantor, Demerzel accuses Sareth of conspiring about Day’s murder and takes her into custody, but Dawn comes to her rescue and flees with her—not before bidding his caregiver, Demerzel, farewell and letting her know about Sareth being pregnant with his child. Demerzel activates three clones, Dawn, Day, and Dusk, at the same time and shows them her recent acquisition, a Prime Radian, hinting Hari’s methodology will be followed by the Empire from now on. At Ignis, even when situations seem under control, the last vestiges of Tellem’s consciousness take possession of a kid named Josiah and try to kill Gaal, but while saving her, Salvor sacrifices her life and kills Josiah, thereby ending Tellem in the process as well. Gaal is devastated by the death of her daughter but finds solace in the fact that her demise might have had an impact on the larger narrative. Hari comforts her and shares his past tragedy with her, and it seems the duo will have a better, more functional relationship from now on. Gaal and Hari decide to enter cryosleep in Ignis while the Mentalics prepare the second Foundation and get ready to stop Mule in the distant future.


However, how much of the future has been changed remains shrouded in mystery, as viewers are taken to the distant future of 150 years forward, where Mule schemes to destroy Gaal and everything that stands in his way. By peeking into Gaal’s visions of the future, Mule has learned about his presence in the past and also about her precognitive abilities, and he will stop at nothing to search for her and the location of the second Foundation. Season three will have several equations that even Hari and his psychohistory will have a tough time solving: a legitimate, natural-born heir to the Galactic throne; the ascension of Mule; the two Foundations; Gaal and Hari at the center of the entire cataclysm.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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