Foundation 2×07 “A Necessary Death” would not be possible without talented writers and actors, so maybe it’s time the studios actually gave both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA a fair deal. Just saying.
Anyway, back to business….
This is the type of episode that manages to do a lot for the plot, while still managing to slow down in all the right places to make the emotional beats work. In fact, there’s a lot—a lot, a lot—happening here, yet instead of feeling like we’re being rushed or dumped on as we watched, it just…takes us along for the ride. We also have plenty of room to really think about what’s happening—which is both appreciated and kind of confusing, considering just one episode ago, all we could focus on was some hella tragic flashback hair. That’s kind of the genius of this series in general, though, because it just keeps being surprisingly grounded and compelling, even as it gives us utter absurdities like naked Lee Pace fight scenes.
This time out, we’re reminded that basically everyone is in danger—and moreso than ever before, with each passing second. Hober Mallow crosses paths with Bel Riose and Glawen, as his mission from Hari goes more than just a little bit sideways. Queen Sareth and
naked Lee Pace Day’s marriage is clearly not going to work out, especially not if Demerzel can help it. Poly Verisof and Brother Constant have a showdown with the three faces of Empire, which plays out in ways that are both completely expected and 100% shocking. And then, there’s the increasingly-WTF situation with the Mentalics. Which, reminds us: We really shouldn’t trust anyone who isn’t named Salvor Hardin.
In short, “A Necessary Death” is everything we love in an episode. Great images, some beautiful dialogue, excellent performance quality. It’s smart, yet not self-important; there are places to laugh, even in the most dramatic of circumstances. We could keep going forever—and it’s difficult to decide exactly what part of the episode interests us the most. All we really know for sure is the women, for better or worse (Tellem is the worst), are the strongest characters here. As it should be.
Thoughts on Foundation 2×07
- “What are those robes?” They’re garments that actually cover the body. You should try that more often. (Don’t).
- Sareth and Rue, watching that speech back and laughing at Empire’s reactions while they have a few drinks, reminds me of actors on YouTube reacting to episodes of shows they used to be on. Fun times.
- Love what Demerzel says without actually saying it in her discussion with Sareth. “I will serve Empire” basically translates to “you think I’d ever protect you? Bitch, please.”
- The whole medical examination thing is just…difficult to watch, though. They put this woman on display for this doctor, who doesn’t even see her as human with the way he’s treating her, and all those people are just…there. Gawking. Medical violation, claiming ownership of a Sareth’s reproductive system…not a fan. Sci-fi really loves these sorts of things. Probably because the real world is so horrible with how it treats people who are, or could become, pregnant.
- But with that being said, the back-and-forth between Sareth and Demerzel is, again, fantastic. Absolutely love the way Laura Birn and Ella-Rae Smith play off each other here. Sareth has no fucks to give, even in such a vulnerable position, and Demerzel’s expression shows it’s earning a sort of grudging respect. (Right in time to eviscerate the poor girl with that little tidbit about her family history, of course.)
- And the dialogue!
- “The moment you accepted Empire’s proposal, you became imperial property.” This is trash. But this is how a queen reclaims the upper hand: “And you would know all about being imperial property, wouldn’t you.”
- See also: “You and Day wish to continue playing sanctum and scepter, I’m happy to carry his children and let you do the drudge work.” I—. Is that what we’re calling it now?????
- “I hope whatever you must do to Day to reverse the imperial sterility is as painful as this.” “Yes. Well. Empire’s reversal is a simple procedure.” And something about it only taking a few seconds—and probably without an audience. Typical. All these technological advances, and healthcare for men still manages to spare them whilst being unnecessarily painful and invasive for women. Got it.
- “Burnt alive by the very air around them.” It’s giving climate crisis.
- Gaal, for the love of God, listen to Salvor. Salvor, keep trusting your gut.
- “Eating always makes me feel happier.” Oh, hey. Same.
- “Suffering is the price of admission. Oh, humanity pretends otherwise. But their ability to ignore the suffering of others leaves room for excess, indulgence, conquest…” This describes humanity’s current failures and crises far too well. I hate that it’s coming from this evil woman, who is clearly screwing with Gaal’s head. But she’s not wrong.
- “All you need to do is help us kick Empire in the nuts.” I continue to love Hober.
- Space husbands are back!!!!
- Love Gaal’s whole speech, and Lou Llobell gives it just the right amount of a feel of “Gaal really believes in this…but something’s still off.” Not going to quote the whole thing, but I’ll highlight this part: “I was never like my people. I was lonely, and even when I was very young, I thought in numbers. It was dangerous to think that way in my world, but I didn’t stop. Numbers warmed me in the cold. They lit my way in the dark.”
- Pay your writers already!
- …but also. Gaal. Listen to Salvor.
- “The weak…are objects. Ah, fuck. The rapists are kings. The poor…the poor are slaves. Life is nothing but emptiness…pain.” Yet another phenomenal scene with Ben Daniels and Dino Fetscher.
- “Your fears are rational.” Validation! Important!
- “Does that change anything?” “No. But at least now we’re scared together.” “Oh, great. That’s—that’s exactly what I wanted.” Sometimes, just knowing you’ve got someone in it with you is so incredibly valuable. I love them!
- “I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but my own public charm is the result of cultivation.” I thought it was because he showed so much skin?
- That bitter AF “I am grateful, Empire.” Have I mentioned that Queen Sareth is really queen? There’s also the bit during that whole garden talk where everything is just this slow, tense motion. Watch their posture and the hands. Just insane performance quality from both actors here.
- “This is suicide.” “No. It’s a bloodless fucking coup.” That kinda unhinged smile from Cassian Bilton’s Dawn and the intensity from Smith…It’s like we know how this will likely end. Dawn even mentions the version of himself that tried to rebel in Season 1. But, well. We still want to root for them, don’t we?
- Sassy Lee Pace being sassy with Poly. Mmmhm.
- …Hari Seldon was in…Constant’s head? And now, we have two dead Haris, I guess? Ok then.
- “Thanks for the ashtray.” This smug fuck.
- “…who keeps an elder in the dark and uses the body of a girl. You love him, you’ll forgive him, but still. The violation.” He’s right. But is he not the man whose imperial doctor and clown car of spectators just violated his future wife on his behalf? Hm.
- “Finally opening my goddamn eyes.” Salvor! Hardin!
- “I grew up hearing i was special. And it messed with my head, thinking that way.” …said every former “gifted” student who burned out, thus ruining their life. (Hi.)
- “I don’t think I’m special.” “Are you sure? Because they’re all looking at you like you’re their fucking savior. And that’s fine. As long as you don’t start believing it.” Listen! To! Salvor!
- Leah Harvey selling Salvor’s reaction to finding Hari! And just beautiful work throughout, showing that constant sense of discomfort and gut feeling that something more had to be happening.
- …I know this bitch just didn’t. But on the plus side, if Gaal’s vision of the future is for real for real, we know Salvor survives somehow.
- Which she’d better.
- Moral of the story: Trust your gut when something seems off. In Salvor we trust. And also: Women!
Thoughts on Foundation 2×07? Leave us a comment!
New episodes of Foundation stream Fridays on Apple TV+.