Does Salvor Hardin Die In ‘Foundation’ Season 2? What Happens To Leah Harvey’s Character?

Amidst a number of character deaths that took place in the second season of Apple TV+’s cosmic epic saga Foundation, the one that turned out to be the most unexpected was the death of Salvor Hardin. As a character, she was integral to the series, especially in the first season, where, as the warden of the planet Terminus, she helped avert the first crisis. By the end of the previous season, guided by the visions of her mother Gaal Dornick’s childhood, she had started on her journey towards Gaal’s home, the water planet Synnax. It was hinted that, like her mother, Salvor has been gifted with unique abilities of visions and psychic connections as well, which eventually come into play in the recently concluded second season with the introduction of mentalics and premonitions regarding The Mule.


According to Hari Seldon’s psychohistory-oriented calculations, the worth of individuals is lessened when millennia-spanning cosmic intricacies are taken into consideration, but Salvor’s presence and death prove exceptions can indeed happen. We will take a brief look at Salvor’s importance as a character in the second season and how her death can both validate or refute Seldon’s predictions.

Spoilers Ahead


A Terrible Premonition: What Was Gaal’s Fear Regarding Salvor?

As Foundation Season 2 begins, even before mother and daughter duo Gaal and Salvor could shake off the initial shock and surprise (stemming from both being of nearly the same age due to cryosleep shenanigans) of their first meeting, the digital consciousness of Hari Seldon escapes from Prime Radian and starts berating his protégé (Gaal) for entrapping him inside it. He further adds that the accidental change in the planned roadmap charted by his calculation, which resulted from Gaal not being present at the Terminus, has created a crisis-filled timeline. Gaal states that she has been having terrible premonitions of such a messed-up future, and to learn more about the correlation, she dives deeper into her vision. Gaal sees a battle-ravaged, devastated future, courtesy of a fiend named The Mule who will bring the end to Foundation, and sees her future self battling with him. The Mule captures her future self, and using his extremely strong psychic abilities, he can sense that the scenario is being observed by Gaal’s past version. He tries to force her into revealing the location of the second Foundation, and in the vision, Gaal finds Salvor lying lifeless amidst the carnage of The Mule.

Gaal becomes afraid of losing her daughter and gradually starts to lose herself in desperation to change the course of her life. At this point in time, Salvor started to fear that Gaal’s anxiety would turn her cold and calculative like Hari, and she would lose touch with her humanity. After all, viewers have seen how Raych’s death subjected Hari to severe PTSD and guilt after he gained his physical self; therefore, it’s not hard to imagine what Gaal must be going through after repeated bouts of the same dreadful vision. Added to that, Salvor’s role in Gaal’s life, even for that brief period of time, was seminal. Gaal’s mentor, Hari, wants her to fill in his shoes as the overseer of the implementation of psychohistory, as a brilliant mind like hers will be needed to ensure humanity’s survival, but emotional intelligence is something Hari severely lacks. In her mind, Gaal somewhat detests Hari, but as Salvor later points out, she gradually gravitates towards similar tendencies like her mentor nonetheless. Salvor stands as the anchor that doesn’t let Gaal’s mind go adrift in the vastness of cosmic design; she is the hope Gaal needs to remain her true, optimistic self.


What Does Salvor’s Death Signify for the Future?

Another important factor is how Salvor incorporated Hari’s grand plan. Not only does she possess the ability of precognition and limited psychic powers like a mentalic (genetically acquired from her psychically strong mother), but Salvor is also an outlier. She remains unaffected by the psychohistory predictions but can influence the outcomes of pivotal events in such a significant manner that it can alter the predetermined course of history altogether. Initially, even Hari’s digital consciousness fears that Salvor’s existence might threaten the cosmic balance itself, but her influence in stopping the first crisis of the Foundation makes him think otherwise.

In order to avert the death of her daughter, Gaal steps up her effort to learn about ways to stop The Mule and comes across the Mentalics on the planet Ignis. In her desperation, Gaal was even willing to make a deal with the devil, as she was befooled by the nefarious leader of the Mentalics, Tellem Bond, and got herself captured. Using the Prime Radian to communicate with Vault Hari, Salvor managed to rescue her mother in the nick of time. At the same point in time, she utilized her outlier factor to cause a huge change in history as well, when she informed Vault Hari about Hober Mallow. Ultimately, Hari’s acquaintance with the master trader will result in the destruction of the Imperial fleet, the destruction of Terminus, and the ultimate safekeeping of the Foundation.


After liberating the Mentalics of Ignis from Tellem’s clutches, Gaal and co. breathed a sigh of relief, considering that they are now assisted by the army of psychics that they need to face The Mule. However, the fading remnant of Tellem’s consciousness tried to take revenge from Gaal by possessing and puppeteering a Mentalic kid named Josiah, and to save her mother, Salvor sacrificed her own life. After losing Raych, the presence of Salvor could provide Gaal with some semblance of family, and now losing her as well almost breaks her down. Salvor’s death at the same time disproves Gaal’s vision due to the sequential change in events but also validates it through the inevitability of the event. It is no wonder that The Mule, the character himself in Asimov lore, is the biggest anomaly, and his introduction to the series has been in conjunction with Salvor Hardin, who was stated as an outlier from the get-go.

With Salvor gone, Hari remains the only other person Gaal can share her mind with, and it remains to be seen whether that turns out to be detrimental to the grand plan itself, as we assume Salvor’s fear about Gaal losing herself might come to pass soon enough. As the second season ends, Gaal is seen as desperate to learn from Hari whether Salvor’s death left an impact in averting the crises humanity will face eventually, because she doesn’t want to face the cruel reality where Salvor’s sacrifice might not be of much significance in grand design. Hari, contrary to his usual detached self, is shown to be re-growing an emotional understanding as he comforts and inspires Gaal to continue her efforts to give Salvor’s sacrifice meaning. We can surely hope that the newfound positivity of Hari, thanks to Salvor, will show both him and Gaal a way to approach upcoming situations by not being slaves to the predetermined schemes of psychohistory but by championing the ideals of free will.


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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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