Foundation Ending Explained: Psychohistory in Real Time

Already renewed for a second season, Apple TV+’s Foundation already has come to a close. In a season spanning over a hundred years, we get the first glimpse into the gradual fall of the Galatic Empire (in a future where Earth is merely folklore). While the series strays from the source material and takes liberties with its adaptation, it still looks at the predictive behavior of society, but through a more individual lens, and a mother-daughter and father-son relationship.

With multiple clones, societies, protagonists, Foundation can be a lot to keep up on, especially with the aforementioned divergences. So, let’s break down what went down on Foundation’s character-heavy Season 1 finale, “The Leap.”

The Vault Revealed

Picking up from the ninth episode, a holographic Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) digital copy appears from The Vault, imploring all three factions (Anacreon, Thespis, and Terminus) to come together to forge a new society to the citizens of Terminus and Mari Seldon (Sasha Behar).

Through a quick Q&A session, Digital Hari #2 inspires a way for The Outer Reach to stay hidden from the devolving Galactic Empire, but he also reveals the contraption known as The Vault is actually what started and his coffin. It’s also somehow Hari’s consciousness at the same time, but let’s just move on.

With the first crisis solved, Hari returns to The Vault and The Foundation is free to grow and combine the three worlds. Hugo (Daniel MacPherson) captains the Invictus and gives Salvor (Leah Harvey) an emotional goodbye as she prepares to leave Terminus after another vision led to the revelation of Salvor’s biological parents, Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobel) and Raych Foss (Alred Enoch). These visions are unrelated to Hari, yet there’s still no explanation for Salvor’s immunity to the Null Field. Better luck next season.

RELATED: ‘Foundation’ Cast and Characters Guide: Who Plays Who in the Apple TV+ Asimov Adaptation

Clones, Clones, Clones

The Anacreon-Thespis conflict is integral to the finale as the earlier season events set up Cleon XIII’s (Lee Pace) arc, shaping his early motivators as a child as he witnesses Empire’s ruthlessness. Like the other clones before him, the system of Empire instead drives him to become commensurate, however. By the end of the episode, he considers his actions once more, learning the truth about his genealogy.

This could be why he punishes Azura (Amy Tyger) by erasing her from memory. This makes his sympathy all the more obvious when he argues against killing him with Dusk (Terrance Mann). Foundation’s portrayal of psychohistory predicts the fall of The Genetic Dynasty, and this feels like it will play a big part in the future fall of the Empire.

This scene goes off the rails when Eto Demerzel (Laura Birn) breaks Dawn’s (Cassian Bilton) neck. Declaring her loyal to the Cleonic Empire above all else (including the individual Cleans that she loves). This could very possibly be the wrench in Hari Seldon’s plans.

Psychohistory can predict societal behavior, but what happens when a robot is thrown into the mix, especially in such a powerful position? Damage is still done, regardless. Day’s trip off Trantor opened his heart, and Dusk commands him to dispose of Dawn’s body as punishment. Demerzel also shows her anguish and loss by ripping her skin off in a blood-curdling scream.

The biggest blow comes as Day learns it was all pointless, and their Empire is still at risk. His DNA also is compromised, and there’s no telling how far back the alterations go. None of the Cleons may be the spitting image of the first.

138 Years Later

“The Leap” ends with a time jump that seems huge, but actually isn’t all that big for a show chronicling the rise of a new civilization. Gaal finally arrives on Synnax, heartbroken to see that the waters have all but taken over her home; only the top of a wooden shelter remains.

She notices a flashing light coming from below the surface, and thanks to her steadfast lungs, she’s able to swim to the source, taking an unrevealed person (who crashed into the ocean planet) from cryosleep back up to the surface.

Surprise! It’s Gaal, and she gets right to the point -- “Gaal, I am your daughter!” (Paraphrasing)

Season 2 looks to be taking Foundation to all new heights considering the dot connected this season, and major players, Gaal and Salvor, finally united. With big mysteries still unanswered such as The Second Foundation and the mother and daughter’s abilities, Season 1 not only gives the first stage of The Foundation closure but leaves plenty of possibilities for the fall and rise of humanity ahead.

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Amanda Reimer (6 Articles Published)

Amanda is a writer and stage manager currently residing in Los Angeles. When she isn't writing, she's probably binging a drama or sci-fi show or doting on her two cats, Drummer and Kiki.

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