The third episode is unable to resolve the cliffhanger from the previous episode and continues to keep the viewers guessing
The first half of the episode focuses on the Empire, clones of Cleon I, while the second half focuses on Salvor Hardin and the Foundation settling in on the planet Terminus for their exile
The episode opened with plenty of promise by delving into the backstory about the rulers of the Trantor collectively called Empire - the three clones of Cleon I. It dives deeper into the lore about these aristocrats and resolves several unanswered questions about their history. Considering the fact that there has been a departure from Issac Asimov’s books in how the story has been rewritten for television, even the most ardent fans of the novels would find several aspects of the television series a mystery. There is more intrigue and mystery thrown around Demerzel and her motivations. It is also hinted she might ultimately have more power than the rulers of the Trantor after having served them for nearly 400 years from the time of the first Cleon himself.
There is plenty of exposition and jargon thrown about in this episode without providing ideal context. The addition of new characters in this episode undermines the character development provided for several others from the first two episodes, most of whom seem unlikely to make an appearance in the upcoming episodes. This is especially the case for Hari Seldon’s followers who arrived at Terminus. Some of the new characters introduced seemed almost alien and it remains to be seen how they will feature in the overall narrative for the remainder of the season. Despite being present from the very first episode, Salvor Hardin’s arc remains yet another mystery. The fact that she is the only person who can approach the mysterious vault is the only real character development provided for her character. She is very obviously being positioned as a messianic figure, but so was Gaal Dornick and there is no mention of her whereabouts in this episode.
From a technical perspective, the episode is faultless, with excellent cinematography, sound design, and editing. However, unlike the first two episodes, there is an eerie sense of emptiness similar to how the video game No Man’s Sky resembled on launch day. The ending of the episode does gather pace and promises an exciting episode four, but considering how episode 2’s cliffhanger is yet to be resolved it's advisable not to get one’s hopes up. While the episode does not damage the overall quality of the season to a great extent, another one in the same vein could prove detrimental to the success of the series, considering that there has been criticism on how much has been altered from the source material.
The episode fails to maintain the standards set by those preceding it, but it offers just enough to keep the audience intrigued on what to expect in the upcoming episode. An action-packed fourth episode is a possibility considering how the third concluded.