EPISODE NOTES 210 – “Creation Myths”
With our final episode we bring back Gaal’s voice-over, which was absent for quite a few episodes. This voice-over is meant to harken back to Gaal’s voice-over in 110 and provide a deeper, more philosophical wrap-around to the whole epic. The title, as well, is meant to have multiple meanings. So the question the viewer should be asking is; what myths are being created here?
If you haven’t watched episode 210, you might want to stop reading this as we will be discussing major spoilers.
Me on “Terminus”, close to the wrap of Season 2.
Okay. Still here?
The episode begins with the reveal of how Hari survived – which is quite a bit more involved than some viewers had surmised. Essentially, it meant Gaal having to play her cards close to her chest from the end of 206 onward. So if people were wondering how/why Gaal was being so naïve – she wasn’t. She was acutely aware of the dire circumstances they were in and trying her best to manage it (in conjunction with Hari once he’d been rescued).
The montage sequence of Hari escaping, shuttling back and forth between Hari and Gaal’s shared experiences took a tremendous amount of effort to film – dozens of tiny pieces shot weeks apart, all layered together.
One of the interesting implications of Gaal having mind-melded with Hari is that she has now “lived” some of his memories. In a very real way, Gaal experience the flashback story between Hari, Yanna, and Doctor Tadj – and this connection they now have will bear more fruit in future seasons.
We return to Trantor and Demerzel’s prison and learn who hired the Blind Angels. Hopefully, Demerzel’s explanation makes sense in retrospect. She was trying to walk the tightrope between her programming and her conflicting impulses.
And to be clear; in my head cannon, Demerzel absolutely killed Dusk17 and Rue. And it gutted her to have to do so.
From Trantor, we move back to orbit around Terminus and reveal the true nature of Hober’s arrangement with the Spacers. His mission did not fail. We merely withheld information from the audience. We knew we were building to a cathartic break for Bel. Poor Ben Daniels actually broke a rib while filming this fight – but he championed on.
Hopefully, part of the fun of this final episode is seeing various plot elements finally pay off. So here, we have the little mark on Hober’s wrist, the castling bracelet return, the green “mark of betrayal”, Constant’s true name (or lack thereof). Even the Locris wine. Part of the delight in constructing a season is planting these little moments. You hope some of the audience will be expecting them to circle back around, but that some of them will have forgotten them.
We debated Constant revealing her true name and ultimately decided it would be more satisfying for the audience (and Hober) to never find out.
That said, I love the conclusion of Bel and Hober’s story. It is heartbreaking – and surprisingly downbeat for Hober, who was introduced as such a rascal. But I love his conversion from someone who doesn’t give a shit to someone who dies an honorable death. From the very beginning of the season, we knew Hober and Bel would die together and we knew they would drink the Locris wine while doing so. There’s a tiny moment, right near the end, where you see Hober start to get afraid – looking out the window at the wave of destruction coming towards him. And Bel, seeing this, distracts Hober by talking about Beki and getting him to drink a toast. I love what Ben Daniels did there – and this final moment the two actors shared. It broke my heart to film this – but I felt it was right for the show.
Which brings me to the deaths that happen this episode. There are a lot of them – Hober, Bel, Day, Dusk, Rue, and finally Salvor. It’s a complete bloodbath.
And yet, I hope, the season doesn’t necessarily end on a totally downbeat note. We wanted to balance those sacrifices with some victories – Dawn and Sareth getting away, Constant realizing that everyone on Terminus (including Glawen) was saved.
There’s poetry in the idea that Glawen lived, but Bel went down with his ship. I think it’s an unexpected inversion.
In terms of Dawn and Sareth’s escape, we felt that would also be a nice inversion of Dawn’s story in Season 1. And, assuming our show goes on long enough, we should expect their child (or at least a descendent of that child) to return to the story one day. And for the record, I do think Demerzel is genuinely happy that Dawn escaped. Her programming would have forced her to hunt him down (and may still do). But I think she’s relieved Dawn is beyond Trantor’s clutches.
This is Laura Birn/Demerzel with the Galactic Council, who will be playing a larger role in S3.
Salvor’s death was the hardest one for me to swallow. By the end of Season 2, I had become incredibly fond of the character. And I absolutely adore Leah Harvey as an actor and a person. That said, we felt it was important to show the audience that even regulars could well and truly die. And especially Salvor, who seemingly had plot armor because of Gaal’s futuristic vision. We also felt this would be double-unexpected after revealing she was alive in 208.
The great gift Salvor’s sacrifice leaves Gaal (and the audience with) is that our characters do not live in a deterministic universe. The future the prime radiant and Gaal see is a probable one – the most probable, in fact. But not immutable.
After Salvor’s heartbreaking death, we wanted to balance that out with Constant’s salvation and the reveal that Dr. Seldon had saved everyone on Terminus. Here’s our producing director, Alex Graves, chatting with Izzy.
As a bonus, we also revealed that Glawen lived as well. What one hand taketh, the other giveth. (Or vice versa.) The question for the audience, I suppose – is does this make you feel any different about Dr. Seldon now? He’s still a manipulative bastard – and yet? Let the debate begin.
Back on Trantor, Demerzel decants three new clones. The first time she’s ever done this. It is also implied that she is editing their memories on the fly. She has the Prime Radiant now. She looks pleased. So the question the audience should be asking here is – why, in Seldon’s name, would the Doctor give Demerzel the Radiant? Surely not on a whim, right? We will be exploring this a great deal in Season 3.
Here’s a hairless, prosthetic bust of Terrence Mann, to be used in the clone tank scenes. It’s an odd experience walking into a room and seeing a life-like depiction of yourself (as Lee, Terry, and Cassian will attest to).
On Ignis, Gaal asks Hari to sleep his way into the future alongside her. And he accepts.
In terms of Gaal and Hari, their story arc this season was one of rupture and repair. By the end of the season, the become of family, of sorts. Gaal has seen into Hari’s mind and Hari has seen a glimpse into hers. When you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you build empathy for them. As an aside, I love Hari having a panic attack while the cryo-liquid is rising. And I love Gaal coaching him to count primes. The student has become the teacher and we have come full circle.
About 2 days before the wrap of Season 2 my Irish AD team departed back to the Emerald Isle. They were with me for the better part of 3 years and it was a bitter-sweet moment. Here is me with Orla King, Rob Kiernan and Dave Ivory.
And then, as a final moment, we pull back from Ignis and plunge through to the other side of the looking glass and get a true glimpse of the Mule.
In Gaal’s visions he was portrayed as something larger than life; a monster. I thought it would be interesting to show him in a different light here – vulnerable. As afraid of Gaal as she is of him. We’re really excited to finally be getting to the Mule’s story. Be prepared for a true roller-coaster ride from here on out.
This was a goodbye to Leah Harvey, whom I’ve had the honor of working with for the last 4 years. A fantastic actress, fantastic person, and just a really fabulous friend. I dug out this video from Season 1 where we were rehearsing Leah’s very first fight scene with Phara. It didn’t go as planned, but – the amount of incredible stunts Leah pulled off in the ensuing four years was truly mind-boggling.
Finally, I’m going to include the script pages for a scene we were forced to cut for budgetary reasons. This one was truly painful as I felt it really brought closure to Poly’s story arc. But the fact of the matter is, it would have taken about 3 days to film and it would have involved us finding an entirely new location for the Vault/planet. Believe it or not, cutting this scene saved about $1.6 million dollars. The audience doesn’t know what the audience doesn’t know. That said, now that you know how Poly’s arc should have ended, you can lament our budget battles alongside me.
That’s it for our Season 2 episode notes. I hope to have some official news about Season 3 as soon as these interminable strikes resolve. In the meantime, tell your friends and family to spread the word on Foundation. The bigger our audience, the longer runway we will have to complete this epic!