The opening scene of the episode “Barbarians at the Gate” (1×04) from Foundation (David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman, since 2021) is a perfect example of how an ingredient in science fiction technology can be harnessed for dramatic purpose, to make a sure impact on viewers.
And, with the narrative voice-over, almost in the tone of a fable, to which we have already become accustomed in the Apple TV + series, the classic string soundtrack composed by Bear McCreary (10 Cloverfield Street) and a curious cut that unites two similar ideas to throw us off track and then plunge us into satisfying wonder with a very timely twist, his cinematic eloquence intensifies.
On the other hand, the images with which the sequence continues, quite suggestive, in addition to its beauty, what confirm to us is that the Foundation has entered into the phase of flowing like an audiovisual river. Which is not at all easy to achieve and we must thank screenwriter Lauren Bello, who opens here after being an assistant to David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) in Da Vinci’s Demons (2013-2015), and veteran Alex Graves (The West Wing of the White House), who has made this chapter after “The Mathematician’s Ghost” (1×03), second of the three that, for now, we know he has directed.
Making ‘Foundation’ more complex
Another aspect to note is that the history of the decline of the Galactic Empire may end up revealing more interest than the plan of psychohistory itself. At least this Foundation season. And “Barbarians at the Gate” serves to further contextualize the multiple reasons for his downfall, intimately linked to the essence of his centennial government and, on the other hand, to its brutality; and to understand even certain coincidental gestures that had already caught our attention since “The Emperor’s Peace” (1×01). Both aspects raise conceptual complexity of this part of the Apple TV + fiction.
But the way the Terminus thread resumes manages to generate more curiosity than in the previous episode. Above all, thanks to the same enigma that constitutes the character of Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey), because of her unique personal characteristics, which grow during this chapter, rather than the specific plot that unfolds with the threat of Anacreon.
The dialogues of the various verbal confrontations are lucidly written And our avid moviegoers’ attention, especially if we love Isaac Asimov’s novels, goes up several notches as they happen. If a television series like Fundación does of this virtue a common element of its episodes, it can become fascinating in the same sense as previous ones; House (David Shore, 2004-2012) or House of Cards (Beau Willimon, 2013-2019), which, despite their remoteness due to the genres in which they fall within that of science fiction, make their dramatic proposals absorb us .
That the writer would like it very much Russian-American if we had not lost him in 1992. We must not forget that he was dedicated to unfolding the intelligent intrigue of the books of this fundamental saga through solid, long and insistent conversations; And we suppose that might just as well satisfy die-hard purists who find it hard to understand, for example, that the creative work of this Foundation belongs to David S. Goyer, Josh Friedman and their peers, not Isaac Asimov.
But the task had to be finished, so Lauren Bello and Álex Graves finished “Barbarians at the Gate” with a cliffhanger, and a whole week available for the public to ruminate with enthusiasm before it is resolved in the next episode of the Apple TV + series, entitled “Upon Awakening” (1×05). And not only that. Also with a short scene about a main character about whom we knew nothing, removing the voice-over, from the last of “Preparing to Live” (1×02): the good one of Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell). Well done.