In Review: Foundation (S1 – EP4) Barbarians at the Gate

The Barbarians of the episode title refer to the Anacreon's who have sent an army to Terminus.

Synopsis: In Barbarians at the Gate. Salvor faces off with an enemy of the Empire. Brothers Day and Dusk are at odds, while Brother Dawn wrestles with his truth.


The Story

The Barbarians of the episode title refer to the Anacreon’s who have sent an army to Terminus. Salvor is able to capture their leader Phara quite easily by making her believe that she’ll co-operate. After interrogation Phara. Salvor figures out that she is what is left of Anacreon’s royal family. As we all know most of the planet’s population was killed when Trantor retaliated against Anacreon and Thespis for the alleged star bridge attack. By this point, we learn that Phara and her soldiers were sent to Terminus to steal a navigation module. Indeed, the Anacreon’s are pretty desperate. By the close of the episode, we are left with a bit of a standoff. As Phara’s second in command prepares to bombard the Terminus colony.

Meanwhile, back on Tranter things are not good. It’s been 35 years since the planet’s leadership chose to exile Harri Seldon and his followers to Terminus. And Trantor’s three rulers are divided. While Brother Dawn figures out his truth. Brother Day and Brother Dusk are arguing over the past decision that they made in regards to Harri Seldon and his people. There’s a chilling scene in which Brother Day calls in Trantor’s leading mathematicians to ask if they have made any progress in disproving Seldon’s Psycho History. Their answer is basically a big fat no. Which only serves to irritate Brother Day to the point of yelling at the supposed maths geniuses. One of which appears to collapse.


The Acting

Lee Pace puts in a storming performance as Brother Day. He pretty much begins to show us his more tyrannical side. The scene between him and the maths geniuses was harrowing to watch. I couldn’t help but feel rather sorry for the poor guy who collapsed. We also get a fantastic scene between Brother Day and Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) in which Brother Day questions him over the decision that he made 35 years prior.

We also get a strong performance from Leah Harvey as Salvor who gets a fair bit to do here but is still at odds with the leadership on Terminus who believe her to be someone that Seldon didn’t account for in his theories. Salvor very much believes that the colonists should be arming themselves in order to be more prepared for conflict. Whereas Terminus’s leadership believes that the Empire back on Trantor will come in and help them. Kubbra Sait also proves to be solid in her role of Phara who undergoes a pretty intense interrogation.



Barbarians at the Gate delivers quite a lot in terms of character moments and plot development. But I think at this point in the show viewers are likely wanting to have a little less conversation and a tad more action. We get some nice brief action beats at the start of the episode and we also get definite warning signs that things are likely to kick off. But we are four weeks into the series now and all we have had is four weeks’ worth of expositional storytelling. Hopefully. Things will pick up next week and we’ll see just how much Apple has spent on their FX budget.

Still. We get left with two rather nice cliffhangers. Which will keep us all guessing until next week.

Foundation (S1 - EP4) Barbarians at the Gate
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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