Foundation season 2 review: Sci-fi series avoids a second crisis with captivating follow-up

The show returns to Apple TV+ on 14 July

Lee Pace and Terrance Mann in Foundation (Apple TV+)
Lee Pace and Terrance Mann in Foundation (Apple TV+)
  • 📺 Where to watch Foundation: Premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday, 14 July

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 4/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: The Expanse, Silo, Westworld

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Cassian Bilton, Terrance Mann, Ella-Rae Smith

  • How long is it? 10 episodes, approximately one hour each

  • 📖 What’s it about? 138 years after the events of season one, Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin set off in search of the Second Foundation as the first face their next crisis, and Empire scrambles to keep power.

Apple TV+ is proving to be quite adept at making awe-inspiring sci-fi shows, and one of its best is set to return to the streamer: Foundation.

Based on Isaac Asimov's epic novels, the series follows an array of characters spread across the galaxy in a world where Empire rules with a heavy hand and the mathematics of Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts a dark future.

Read more: Foundation recap: Everything that happened in first season of Apple TV+ sci-fi show

Season 2 returns to the story 138 years after the main events of season one, but shortly after its final cliffhanger, and sees Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) and Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) set off in search of the Second Foundation colony, whilst the original Foundation prepares for its next crisis: war with Empire.

Leah Harvey, Jared Harris and Lou Llobell in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)
Leah Harvey, Jared Harris and Lou Llobell in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)

The Cleon Dynasty are taking measures to ensure it keeps its grip on power, with Brother Day (Lee Pace) planning to end the clone succession and usher in a new age where he sires an heir with Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion (Ella Rae-Smith), though his bride-to-be has her own plot to destroy them from within.

Season two is complicated and beautifully brought to life by David S. Goyer. It opens with Harris giving a stark, unrestrained monologue that sets the bar for the whole season and the cast more than bring their A-game as they take their characters in different directions.

Harvey's Salvor continues to be a highlight of the series, and Llobell and Harris make wonderful scene partners. Pace, meanwhile, is captivating and terrifying in equal measure as this season's iteration of Brother Day whose paranoia over being assassinated makes him unpredictable and sinister.

Ella Rae-Smith in Foundation (Apple TV+)
Ella Rae-Smith in Foundation (Apple TV+)

Season 2 also sees intriguing new characters emerge like Poly Verisof (Kulvinder Ghir), who was a child during the events of season one but has lost his child-like wonder and is now riddled with inner demons.

Ghir lends the character a subtle vulnerability that adds emotional weight to the overall story, and his struggle hits hard as the actor delivers moving monologues.

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His emotional performance is balanced well by Isabella laughland's portrayal of Brother Constant, a fellow claric who isn't afraid to speak her mind and whose faith in Hari Seldon is unshakeable.

Their story finds its stride when they meet sharp-witted conman Hober Mallow (Dimitri Leonidas), a charming rogue who creates a lot of the comic relief in the series.

Kulvinder Ghir and Isabella Laughland in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)
Kulvinder Ghir and Isabella Laughland in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)

Once again, the visual effects in Foundation are awe-inspiring, and the sheer beauty of each set piece and costume highlights the incredible amount of thought and effort that has gone into every detail of the show.

Read more: Platonic delivers comedy gold on Apple TV+

The Cloud Dominion people's costumes are especially stunning for the way in which it makes the actors appear as if they are floating on a cloud.

But the narrative of the second season is not as seamless as the first, because even though it is dealing with a similar amount of threads it doesn't feel as coherent.

Laura Birn in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)
Laura Birn in Foundation S2. (Apple TV+)

Some storylines are weaker than others, the storyline around the Mentallics for example is difficult to get invested in, while some of the new characters do not have quite the same charm as their established counterparts.

In season two the puzzle pieces are slow to come together, but when they do Foundation does incredible things that will shock and amaze viewers.

It is particularly wonderful to see supporting characters like Demerzel (Laura Birn) get the time to shine, and her storyline (which we would be remiss to reveal too much of) takes the series into exhilarating new directions that will have a huge repercussion on the story should the show get a third season.

Foundation season 2 premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday, 14 July with three episodes, and new episodes weekly thereafter.

Watch the trailer for Foundation season 2