The show appears to have finally settled down on a timeline to focus its narrative and continue with its story
The fourth episode focuses on the trouble brewing in the outer reaches of the galaxy in the planet Terminus where Hari Seldon’s followers were condemned to exile. The Empire, who have been cut off from Terminus, are worried that Seldon’s predictions about the Empire’s fall, from decades earlier, is about to take shape.
The episode titled Barbarians at the Gate is a significant step-up from its predecessor, but there appears to be a void in the narrative that has created disruption in its pacing. The two episodes excelled because it was able to establish its characters and was able to visually translate the world-building, largely thanks to its high production value. The two episodes that followed have simply been unable to match the finesse and quality. While this can often be the case in most TV shows where it suffers from a dip in standards during mid-season, Apple TV cannot afford to do that if it has bigger plans with the IP.
The episode, however, did give a more definitive outlook on the Empire and subtly navigates through the idea that despite the three rulers being clones at different stages in their life cycles, appear to have distinct personalities. The new Brother Dawn in particular appears to have second thoughts about his being and begins to question whatever he has been taught about Trantor and the vast galactic empire.
In Terminus, Salvo Hardin is faced with an unprecedented predicament, armed insurgents from the planet Anacreon. While plenty of action was promised for this episode when the previous one ended, it appears that the audience will have to wait for the action sequences. Yet another episode goes by without the narrative getting to the whole point of what kind of a story the creators are trying to translate to the screen. The four episodes released so far seem to indicate that it is going to be very different from Issac Asimov’s original novels.
The narrative of this episode required Leah Harvey’s portrayal of Salvo Hardin to carry it for the Terminus storyline, but unfortunately, it falls short — largely due to an uneven screenplay. The standout performance was Sacred Games’ star Kubbra Sait’s portrayal as the Grand Huntress of Anacreon, leading what is left of her people after the Empire wiped out half the Anacreon population in a fit of rage. Sait’s performance redeemed an otherwise underwhelming episode. A resolution for the forgotten story of Gael Dornick is teased at the end, which has also given the episode a much-needed respite.
The episode has its bright moments where it shines, but the inconsistency in the narrative is shackling the potential of the overall season. It is still too early to provide a definitive answer as to whether the show might wither away into obscurity despite its stellar pilot episode, but there is enough evidence to suggest that the story has plenty to offer with the production value to match it.