Foundation season 1, episode 5 recap – “Upon Awakening”

October 15, 2021
Daniel Hart 1
Apple TV+, Weekly TV


Foundation ups the intensity as we learn the whereabouts of Gaal while Terminus is under severe pressure.

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Foundation ups the intensity as we learn the whereabouts of Gaal while Terminus is under severe pressure.

This recap of Apple TV+’s Foundation season 1, episode 5, “Upon Awakening,” contains no spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

This is by far my favorite episode of Foundation so far. So much so that I messaged as many people as possible to tell them that this series is a gamechanger for Apple TV+. If delivered correctly, this could be a noteworthy series on television. I hope it continues to pull off the story because so far, it is rich and important. Again, I’m new to the source material, so please alert me in the comments section if this recap has any errors.

Foundation season 1, episode 5 recap

Episode 5 opens with a flashback; Gaal wakes up from a nightmare —  a massive wave was hurtling towards her. Her mother wakes her as her community on Synnax (a planet mostly underwater) is embracing a new child that has been born. After the ceremony, she finds an acquaintance in the community looking through forbidden scriptures with calculations — she warns him not to look at them as they are allowed and are banned by The Sleeper. The man warns Gaal that the chaos theory is coming and that all things have a cycle. For his treacherous behavior, the man is thrown into the sea with rocks attached to him. Later on, a curious Gaal heads into the ocean and grabs the book tied to the man. This character had a knack for maths from the beginning.

And so, Gaal pursues the knowledge found in the scriptures and is desperate to enter a maths competition despite her mother’s warnings. She does not give up; her fear of the sea levels rising is her motivation. After entering the competition, she receives a hologram message from Hari Seldon, who congratulates her for figuring out the complex equations. He tells her he has studied her solution and wants to offer support; he invites her to Trantor as a guest. Gaal tells her parents that she’s been invited to Trantor, and she is who the Seers are looking for. Her parents are bitterly disappointed — but the story presents a point of no return for the character.

In the present day, Gaal leaves her cryogenic chamber on a ship. She suddenly remembers Hari getting killed as she levels with her surrounding. At first, she panics, realizing she’s trapped in a room on a ship, but then her dagger flies towards the room door, and it unlocks. She attempts to talk to the AI, but she’s locked out from most controls and information. She asks if she can send a message to Lewis but then learns she’s in the year 12102 — her cryo session was 34 years. It feels clear that her experiences are not coincidental.

The Anacreons are preparing their assault on the outpost back on Terminus while Salvor and Hugo wait with bated breath. Salvor radios the others, telling them to hold their ground as it is intimidation; she knows the energy shield surrounding them will hold. Suddenly, the Empire shows up with a ship, and Terminus ponders if they are being saved. The commander of the Empire ship wants to speak to Director Lewis, but the comms quickly flits to Salvor, who tells the commander that the Anacreons were hoping for an Imperial response. The Anareons soon jam the comms network.

Back to Gaal, who continues to battle with the ship’s AI; she realizes she’s allowed to research with the systems, so she searches for Hari Seldon’s death — it’s confirmed that Hari’s niece Raych killed Hari. It has been determined that Gaal is the accomplice, which rocks her to her core as she was not involved at her. She watches footage of the interrogation of Raych; he told the authorities that Gaal had nothing to do with the murder. To make matters more emotional, Gaal watches the footage for Raych’s execution. He left her a subtle message, asking her to continue to solve the puzzle.

The ending of “Upon Awakening.”

After a moment of emotional clarity, Gaal gets used to the limited use she can get out of the ship’s AI and maps out the galaxy using her impressive mathematical skills. Eventually, she figures out where she is located. However, the AI is restricting Gaal from seeing her destination. Gaal decides to head to the outside of the ship to look for herself and uses the AI in her helmet — she learns she’s heading towards a dark star. She tells the AI that she knows they are heading to Helicon, Hari’s homeworld, so she knows she will be arrested if they believe she is an accomplice to his murder. She then sees a pool of blood nearby, which suddenly disappears. And then, she sees Hari on the floor, who appears to be flitting in and out of existence and heavily wounded. Is Hari alive, or is it a hologram?

As for the ending of episode 5 on Terminus, the Anacreon prisoner, the Huntress, lets off a device to bring down the energy shield. Salvor is panicking as they are a small outpost, and they are overrun instantly. Salvor’s mother is captured by the Huntress, so Salvor attempts to help. Salvor does not fear the threats against her mother’s life and refuses to give the Foundation away; she manages to save her mother. Salvor fights the Anacreon, but then she’s surrounded by more Anacreons. The Huntress tells Salvor to watch her world burn as hers did. The Empire’s ship turns up, and they ask the Anacreons to surrender immediately, but the cannon gun attacks them, and the ship crashes and burns. Salvor is in complete shock with the turn of events.

What did you think of Foundation season 1, episode 5, “Upon Awakening”? Comment below. 

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1 thought on “Foundation season 1, episode 5 recap – “Upon Awakening”

  • December 1, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    One mistake in case you want to correct it:

    Hari’s “niece” Raych killed Hari = this is not correct. Raych is a guy. I know the name might sound female, but he is definitely male 🙂

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