Foundation Season 1 Episode 8: The Missing Piece Review

Brother Day goes beyond any other Cleon to find new truths.

What They Say:
Brother Day embarks on a journey no other Cleon has ever attempted. Salvor prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice to return home.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After an episode that felt like it had too much going on, Foundation slows things down here before the final two episodes and delves into things just a bit more but at a slower pace. That’s not exactly a bad thing considering what’s going on here, but it’s the kind of material that’s not going to be hugely engaging to a lot of viewers. Yet it manages to capture exactly what I was looking for in sinking our teeth into things just a bit more. We continue to follow a couple of different tracks here with what’s going on across the known galaxy, but the majority of this one feels like its focus is on Brother Day.

The smaller areas are interesting. The time spent with Gaal isn’t as long as I’d prefer but she’s dealing with the elusive Hari Seldon who isn’t committing to certain things as much as she’d like in confirming what she’s saying. But we do get some progress here, which in my mind kind of undermines the future but therein lies the difference in novels and visual storytelling through TV. The push toward Helicon is taking a potentially new shape because of her abilities that they talk about here where she’s not exactly prescient but may be tapping into something more. Helicon will have a lot of potential to explore and examine that, but the truth is said plainly here that coming to Star’s End, to Helicon, is all about establishing the more secretive Second Foundation in order to protect the first. Now, book readers are going to blink a few times at some of this, but I’m still willing to give it space to play a little fast and loose with the intentions as spoken by Seldon and what the reality becomes.

In regards to Salvor, she’s mostly just continuing to try and find an out here while dealing with Phara and the few of those left with her. The group has been whittled down since getting on board the Invictus but Phara has enough of a threat looming over Salvor in regards to everyone on Terminus, including Salvor’s mother, that she continues to go along with the demands. She has found a way to try and deal with things here as they get ready for the jump that’s about to happen, but Phara has spent far too long making sure her plan will work because it’s a plan from god. The flashback at the start showing her experience at the start of the Empire’s attack decades ago is brutal, and it a reminder of just how powerful her sense of revenge is and that, truly, it doesn’t have to make sense. It just needs to be sated, even though it rarely ever can.

The bulk of the episode focuses on Brother Day as he begins his travel on the Spiral. Demerzel does try to warn him off this for a few different reasons and she talks about her own time on the path, which you do wonder if she was able to legitimately take because nothing inorganic is supposed to go with you. That has Day removing not just his wristband shield protection but also his nanobots. Considering what Demerzel is, well, questions are raised. But when you consider that she reveals to the Zephyr that she did this eleven thousand years ago, it’s easy to assume that the rules were different. For Day, he’s intent on this in order to have the vision and to prove he has a soul, and the journey is interesting as he does learn a bit more about his Empire and its people through one older man he travels with. But the reality is, the vision that he has is fascinating to see play out in one of the most exquisitely shot sequences that Pace has likely been involved with before. Having that unfold after seeing the Zephyr’s fate only reinforces that Brother Day truly is just another Cleon.

In Summary:
The episode is a bit more languid in some ways in getting to things but the key moments are here. Gaal is closer to really making a choice about where she’ll stand now that she knows more. Salvor is on a brand new journey to be sure as the Invictus makes its random jump. And Brother Day has learned a critical truth about himself and his line that shakes him to his core. Plus, though him, we get a little more time with a couple of Spacers and that just makes me supremely pleased. In the end, I can see people viewing this more as a forgettable episode but it has some really strong material when it comes to Brother Day. They go all out in how the Spiral punishes those on the path and just that alone made for compelling viewing for me.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Apple TV+