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Critics Review
Foundation Season 1 Episode 9 review: Tragic betrayals and an uninspired cliffhanger

The penultimate episode of the season has successfully connected all the dots of the show’s interconnected narratives but requires a stellar epic finale to deem the first a success

Ryan Gomez
Nov 15, 2021
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Brother Dawn’s reckoning is at hand as he plots an escape with the help of Azura. Whereas Salvor Hardin has returned to Terminus to finally solve the mysteries of the Vault.


As Foundation edges closer to the grand finale of its first season, it can only be described as a hit or miss so far - a season littered with a mix of excellent as well as mediocre episodes. It’s also concerning that there is a significant disparity in the quality within each episode. A disparity is so obvious that it is at times almost inconceivable that these parallel storylines are from the same show. The Trantor storyline is head and shoulders above the others and is undoubtedly Foundation’s greatest strength.


Cassian Bilton’s portrayal of Brother Dawn deserves immense praise for this episode in particular titled, The First Crisis. He has showcased his incredible range of acting prowess and has essentially filled the void left by Lee Pace, whose character was only briefly mentioned in this episode. However, with regards to Brother Dawn’s arc, Azura’s betrayal wasn’t unexpected by any stretch of the imagination. But Bilton’s performance highlighting his tragic arc forces the audience to feel empathetic towards his situation regardless. Despite being one of the most powerful men in the galaxy, Brother Dawn is ultimately helpless and alone in the vast universe of Foundation with over a trillion civilians.


It is going to be an interesting finale as to how the Empire’s arc will play out. The Terminus storyline on the other hand went around in circles and has arrived back to square one. Whatever narrative development the storyline has undergone appears to be redundant, unless there is a master plan for the finale involving the Invictus. Regardless of what happens, the Trantor storyline and the Invictus storyline looks set to be conjoined for the finale. It is more than likely that the finale will conclude with an open ending.


The episode on its own is well structured, but it fails to offer enough in terms of the overarching plot of season one. It’s still ambiguous what the ‘First Crisis’ Hari Seldon predicted really entails. It inadvertently undermines the finale, because it is still unclear what hurdle, obstacle, or challenge the primary characters are about to face. In other words, there is no antagonist to create a compelling narrative - literally or figuratively. The ‘First Crisis’ cannot be classed as such because it’s something the viewers have been repeatedly told is inevitable from the very first episode.


There is plenty of uncertainty regarding the finale and this episode does very little to give more insight. However, it does tie up several loose ends and is an engrossing watch on its own, largely thanks to the Trantor storyline.

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