Foundation Season 2’s Finale Twist Means Season 3 Will Be A Whole New Show — Again
The Apple epic might seem complicated. But the Season 2 finale suddenly made things simple.
The future isn’t what it used to be — especially when you’re trying to predict it! In the Season 2 finale of Foundation, another leap into the distant future has utterly rewritten the premise of the show. While both versions of Hari Seldon may have preserved the Foundation for another century or so, it’s unclear if psychohistory is working anymore. And, because Gaal’s visions of the future have proven to be specifically inaccurate, the coming battle against a new villain in Season 3 might not shake out how we thought.
Here’s how the various twists in Foundation Season 2 essentially reboot the entire series all over again, for Season 3. Spoilers ahead for Foundation Season 2, Episode 10, “Creation Myths.”
Foundation Season 2: The Terminus Twist
Although the Foundation’s primary planet, Terminus, was utterly destroyed by Brother Day in Episode 9, the ending of Episode 10 reveals that the virtual copy of Hari Seldon saved all the people on Terminus inside of the vault. This makes the vault kind of like the Foundation’s version of the TARDIS, which means that all the people who might have been wiped out can survive into Season 3, and not have aged a day. Digital AI Copy Hari says, “The vault can do a great many things ... it’s larger than it looks... This was always the plan, Terminus would be sacrificed so that the Foundation could survive.”
Seldon hiding a huge population inside the vault isn’t time travel per se, but more like time stasis. Once again, Foundation has figured out how to move characters into a future-tense world without an actual time machine. This means that the charming clerics, Brother Constant (Isabella Laughland) and Poly (Kulvinder Ghir) will probably appear in Season 3 (hooray!) along with Bel Riose’s (Ben Daniels) husband, Glawen Curr (Dino Fetscher). To date, this is the largest number of characters that the Foundation has preserved for a time jump at the same time.
In the Asimov novels, various versions of the Foundation (including the Second Foundation) were either secret or thought to be destroyed. This plot point honors that basic idea, although the idea that the vault can literally preserve that many people is utterly unique to the TV series.
The future of the Cleon dynasty
As star-crossed lovers Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton) and Queen Sareth (Ella-Rae Smith) run away, his older clone counterparts, Brother Day (Lee Pace) and Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) meet more permanent fates. Because of the violent ends of Day and Dusk, this might make you think that Season 3 could feature an older version of Dawn, perhaps living in secret with Sareth. But, that’s likely not going to happen either! Because the final moments of the episode take 152 years into the future, it seems unlikely that Dawn and Sareth are still alive. And, because Demerzel activates new versions of all three — Dawn, Day, and Dusk with modified memories — the implication seems to be that some version of the Cleon clones will still be ruling Empire in Season 3.
That said, Season 2 revealed the ultimate paradox relative to the Cleon dynasty: Demerzel is programmed to protect the Cleons at all costs, and preserve the cloning process. However, she also hates that she’s programmed to do this. As of the end of Season 2, she seems totally unable to subvert that paradox. That said because Demerzel’s backstory borrows from stories in other Isaac Asimov books — specifically the robot books that begin with I, Robot — there are instances in those stories of robots fighting against their programming through various technicalities, or leaps in logic. Could Demerzel talk herself out of her programming in Season 3? Right now, that’s one of the biggest questions.
Hari and Gaal versus the Mule
In the books Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation, Seldon’s future projections are disrupted by the machinations of the Mule, a mutant telepath who couldn’t have been predicted by the mega-math of psychohistory. In Foundation Season 2, we only see the Mule a few times in future flash-forwards, which we’re meant to think is literally Gaal’s mind time-traveling into her own body at some point in the future.
Initially, Gaal believed that Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) would survive to this future point, only to be destroyed by the Mule. But, in the finale, we get a big twist: Salvor is slain in the present, rather than the future. This indicates that Gaal (Lou Llobell) and Hari (Jared Harris) can still impact the future, but it also proves that the overall Seldon Plan and Gaal’s ability to see the future are very much in flux. In the end, just like in Season 1, Gaal goes into a cryopod to sleep for over a century, but this time, Hari gets in a pod, too. After freeing a group of telepaths (also called “mentalics”), Hari and Gaal are essentially hoping that those folks set up the “Second Foundation” without them, and when they wake up, they’ll have an army of good telepaths to fight the bad telepath — the Mule.
We then flash forward to 152 later, and the Mule (Mikael Persbrandt) senses that Gaal is now in his time period, and vows to find her and destroy her “even if I have to burn everything to do it.” The Mule also refers to his “throne,” which could indicate that at this time he’s ruling Empire, or, perhaps, ruling one twisted version of the Foundation.
Will Hari meet his other self in the Vault? Is psychohistory broken? And can anybody survive the Mule? These are the big questions for Season 3, and thanks to the Season 2 finale, Foundation is, in many ways, a clean slate, even more than it was after Season 1. For a show with such a unique ability to create very dense lore, this most recent time jump is also impressively nimble. Now that we’ve arrived in a new future, anything can happen.