Foundation season 1, episode 3 recap – “The Mathematician’s Ghost”

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 1, 2021
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Apple TV+ series Foundation season 1, episode 3 - The Mathematicians Ghost


A marked improvement from the opening two chapters, episode 3 shows audiences what Foundation will be about.

This recap of Apple TV+’s Foundation season 1, episode 3, “The Mathematician’s Ghost,” contains no spoilers.

In the opening two chapters, I was frustrated. But this is better. Way better. It’s character-focused, plot-driven, and the story is taking its time. That’s what you need for a rich sci-fi story like this — patience.

Foundation season 1, episode 3 recap

Episode 3 begins 400 years earlier. Dermerzel is told to “see it through” from Brother Dusk. They talk about death and the Star Bridge. Brother Dusk is sad that he couldn’t see it through.

It then flits forward to 19 years after the Star Bridge bombing. Brother Dusk asks Dermerzel if she still thinks of him. His sister tells him that every one of them is different. Brother Dusk and Brother Dawn debate on whether Cleon is still a strong empire. There’s plenty of emotion of what could have been or could be with the old Star Bridge.

The dying Brother Dusk wants to see his youngest self before being born, but Dermerzel says he shouldn’t look and that he should rest. He admits it feels strange watching himself being born. Dermerzel assures him that he is enough. Before Brother Dusk dies, Brother Dawn turns into Brother Day, and Day into Dusk. A new Brother Dawn is born. As the oldest iteration prepares to die, he thinks something is wrong, but Dermerzel tells him she doesn’t forget anything or anyone, and the empire is always on her mind. The oldest Brother walks into a shimmering light, and he turns to dust.

There’s then a narration about the Vault, left by aliens, an ancient artifact that doesn’t allow anyone to approach it on Terminus. And what was once mysterious became mundane for the settlers, who did not know what to do with it. However, a young Salvor is fascinated by it.

In the present day, adult Salvor is still fascinated by it. Abbas believes his daughter is procrastinating, but Salvor thinks something is wrong. She’s noticed the north field is expanding, so she tells her mother that they may need to clear off the town. Salvor felt that the Vault was calling to her when she was young, and she couldn’t understand why it was hurting everyone except her — she thinks it is waking up.

In the middle of the night, after intimacy with her partner Hugo, Salvor senses something — she decides to go for a walk and notices a trespasser, so she runs after them. After failing to track the trespasser down, she looks through a telescope the next day — she sees an Anacreon ship and asks her partner to double-check she is not going crazy. There are also gunships. Terminus needs to prepare for whatever this means. Salvor feels they are here for the Vault and tells everyone to forget the plan as Hari is not here. Terminus then learns that they cannot contact the Empire – they have 40 hours to prepare.

With things getting desperate, Salvor’s mother shows her daughter Hari’s mathematical equation that is built into a revolving sphere that is meant to explain everything that’s happening. She asks Salvor if she can make anything of it. Salvor touches it but gains nothing.

The ending

As we reach near the end of episode 3, Salvor tells Hugo to leave as the Anacreons will be here in under two days, but Hugo wants her to come with him as it is not her fight. Salvor looks at the Vault to see if she can get answers. In the middle of the night, Salvor feels something again and sees the same trespasser. She finds a creature hurt, and then she’s surrounded by Anacreons with arrows.

What did you think of Foundation season 1, episode 3, “The Mathematician’s Ghost”? Comment below. 

Apple TV+, Weekly TV
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