Foundation season 2 ending explained: is [SPOILER] dead and more big questions answered

Demerzel and an injured Brother Day stand in the ruins of a destroyed building in Foundation season 2
Foundation season 2 delivers big pay-offs and sets up bolder storylines for season 3. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Foundation season 2 has drawn to a close – and what an epic end to the hit Apple TV Plus sci-fi show's latest installment.

The second season's final episode, titled 'Creation Myths', pulled the rug from under us in multiple ways. And that's after its explosive ninth episode, which contained an intense space battle Star Wars would be proud of, had already blown us away visually and emotionally.

Foundation season 2's ending was packed with countless deaths, revelations galore, and plenty of storylines set up for Foundation season 3, which has reportedly been greenlit but nobody can talk about yet. In short: 'Creation Myths' delivered a pulsating and highly satisfying end to Foundation's latest 10-episode run.

While we wait to hear if one of the best Apple TV Plus shows will return for a potential third season, there's plenty to discuss about its most recent entry. Below, we aim to answer all your biggest questions about the Foundation season 2 finale. Our educated guesses are based on what occurred in previous episodes and our knowledge of Isaac Asimov's seminal book series, which Apple's Foundation series is based on.

Major spoilers for Foundation season 2, including its final episode, follow. If you're not caught up, bookmark this page for later and then turn back.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: is Salvor dead?

Salvor Hardin looks shocked as she walks through a cave in Foundation season 2

Salvor gave her life so that Gaal could carry on with her mission. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Yes. Salvor sacrificed herself to save Gaal's life. In a franchise where people have come back from the dead – we're looking at you specifically, Hari – some viewers may argue that Salvor could return. However, considering she was given a funeral pyre-based send-off in 'Creation Myths', she won't be back.

Salvor was shot by Josiah, one of the Mentalic race's youngest disciples. Josiah was possessed by the last remnant of Tellem Bond's spirit, which hid in him after Hari killed Tellem in episode 9. Through Josiah, Tellem was aiming at Gaal, but Salvor threw herself in front of the bullet.

Initially, it seemed Salvor stopped Josiah from firing his gun. We don't actually see Salvor get hit – instead, we see Salvor throw a knife at Josiah, which hits him in the chest and kills him. It's only after Josiah's death that we learn Salvor was shot and, moments later, dies in Gaal's arms.

Salvor's death isn't in vain, though. Her sacrifice proves that Hari and Gaal's psychohistory-based timeline, which was knocked off course by Gaal in season 1, can be course-corrected. In Gaal's episode 2 vision, it was suggested that Salvor would die at the hands of The Mule, an extremely powerful Mentalic (more on him later), 150 years into the future. However, Salvor's present-day death reveals that the future can be changed, suggesting that Hari and Gaal's plan to restrict humanity's looming dark age to 1,000 years can still be successful.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: how did Brother Day die?

Brother Day stands in front of his subjects on a platform in Foundation season 2

Season 2's incarnation of Brother Day has gone for a spacewalk... (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

He suffocated in space. That happened after Day switched places with General Bel Riose following their final, brutal confrontation on the Shining Destiny warship.

The pair comes to blows after Riose refuses to a) obey Day's orders and b) save Hober Mallow from being beaten to a pulp by the Galactic Empire's Emperor.

However, after Riose is also thoroughly beaten by Day, he's pushed into an airlock and jettisoned into space by Day. That's what we're led to believe, anyway. Suddenly, we see the pair switch places, with Day careening off into the cold, empty void and Riose taking Day's place back on the Shining Destiny.

As Riose explains to a confused Brother Constant, he used Mallow's castling device – one half of which he slipped into Day's robes, the other Riose kept in one of his space suit's pockets – to trade places with Day.

Remember, in episode 3, Mallow demonstrated how the castling device worked. Essentially a teleportation device, it allows two people of relatively equal mass and size to swap places. The castling device moves individuals based on their bioelectrical field, too. That means clothes or other belongings remain in the space they currently occupy, with only a person's atoms being switched from one place to another. That's why we see Riose wearing Day's robes once he's used the castling device.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: are Hober Mallow and Bel Riose dead, too?

General Bel Riose looks aghast as Terminus is destroyed in Foundation season 2

General Bel Riose is another who sacrificed himself for the greater good. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Yes. Like Salvor, Riose and Mallow also sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The pair go down with the Shining Destiny, which is destroyed by another of the Galactic Empire's warships when the two vessels crash into each other.

Again, a previous season 2 episode explains why the ships collide. In episode 7, Mallow made a deal with the Spacers to revolt against the Empire in exchange for their race's freedom. The Spacers had been blackmailed into helping the Empire hundreds of years prior. Thanks to a plan concocted by Hari, though, Mallow convinces the Spacers to thwart the Empire instead.

Hober Mallow looks confused as he spots something off camera in Foundation season 2

Hober Mallow stepped up to the plate in the Foundation season 2 finale. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

To do so, the Spacers embed a device in Mallow's arm that, when activated, causes the Empire's entire space fleet to start crashing into one another, destroying them in the process. The device causes vessels to hyperjump into the slip space of another ship. Two ships can't occupy the same position as space 'folds' around them to allow them to jump to a new location, hence the collision.

Mallow's device also disables life pods on board the Shining Destiny, meaning Riose, Mallow, and its crew can't escape their inevitable demise. In short, Riose and Mallow go out in a blaze of glory, taking down the Empire's whole space fleet as they perish.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: how did the Vault survive? And who else is alive?

Brother Constant stares at someone over her shoulder in Foundation season 2

Brother Constant was the sole survivor of the destruction of the Galactic Empire's starship. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

There is one person who survived the Shining Destiny's destruction: Brother Constant, who departs in the ship's external cleaning module. This vessel remained fully operational as it's a non-life pod, so it wasn't disabled by Mallow's device. And, as a person who can bring hope to the galaxy, Mallow and Riose insist she disembark to continue the good fight.

While she's the sole survivor from the Empire's fleet, she isn't the only one who lives to fight another day. Thanks to the Vault, Terminus' entire population – who we thought had died when the planet was destroyed by the Invictus in episode 9 – actually survived. The Vault, which is a 4D structure existing in a 3D space, carried everyone to safety, although it's unclear how it did so and how it survived Terminus' destruction. Poly Versiof, Constant's dad, and Riose's boyfriend Glawyn Curr are among those it saved, anyway.

Brother Day and Queen Sareth stand side by side in Foundation season 2

Queen Sareth and season 2's iteration of Brother Day have gone on the run – but they'll be back. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

On the Empire's side, there were mixed fortunes for this season's other Cleon clones.

Brother Dusk and Queen Sarth's chief advisor Enjoiner Rue were killed by Demerzel, the last of the robots, after they learned too much about her past. Millennia ago, Cleon I installed Demerzel as the Empire's shadow ruler and, as part of her Empire-based directives, puppeteer of the clones that followed in Cleon I's footsteps. While that's enough reason for Demerzel to bump off Dusk and Rue, the duo also found out Demerzel was behind the Blind Angels' unsuccessful attack on Brother Day in season 2's opening episode. In short, they stood no chance of making it out alive.

On the flip side, Brother Dawn managed to escape with Queen Sareth. Demerzel indicted Sareth in Day's murder attempt, but Dawn foiled Demerzel's plan to have Sareth executed. That's because Dusk left a green chroma-based mark on Demerzel's neck before he died. Earlier in the season, we learned that green chroma is the sign of a betrayer. Its presence on Demerzel's neck alerts Dawn to this, resulting in him rescuing Sareth and the pair fleeing Trantor.

Interestingly, as they leave the Empire's main base of operations, they tell Demerzel – via comm-link – that Sareth is pregnant with Dawn's child. Looking ahead to future seasons, this could have huge ramifications if Dawn and Sareth's child, who is technically now heir to the Empire's throne, returns to Trantor (or their next of kin, if season 3 expectedly jumps way into the future) and ignites a civil war for the royal seat. However, Dawn makes clear that his and Sareth's child doesn't have to be the Empire's new leader to make a difference in the universe. So, their firstborn may not return to Trantor after all, and this could be the last time we see Sareth and this iteration of Dawn in the entire series.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: what is Demerzel's plan for the Galactic Empire?

Demerzel stands stoically on a balcony in Foundation season 2

"Well, time to decant another batch of Cleon's clones..." (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

The sheer number of crises Demerzel has to deal with in 'Creation Myths' would be enough to cause anyone to have an emotional breakdown. Rather than break under the pressure, though, her resolve has never been stronger.

So, what's her plan of action? First, decant new incarnations of Dawn, Day, and Dusk. This new batch of Cleon clones will maintain the Empire's status quo and rule in their departed brethren's stead.

More importantly, though, Demerzel has a new ace up her sleeve: a copy of Hari's Prime Radiant. In episode 9, the Vault-based version of Hari tried to show Demerzel how the Prime Radiant worked, but he was stopped by Day. However, it seems Demerzel swiped this Prime Radiant without anyone knowing, and brought it to Trantor to study its math and inner workings. If she learns how it operates and the Foundation's wider plan, this could threaten to the Foundation's hopes of bringing down the Empire and ushering in a new age for humanity. Expect this plot thread to be picked up in season 3.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: why are Gaal and Hari entering cryosleep?

Salvor, Hari, and Gaal stare out of a spaceship's cockpit into space in Foundation season 2

Hari and Gaal [pictured standing] will have to continue their quest without Salvor. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

To prepare for the forthcoming battle with The Mule. As we mentioned earlier, The Mule is a powerful Mentalic who, in Asimov's novels, uses his abilities to start conquering colonies in the galaxy's outer reaches. Based on The Mule's looming threat that's teased throughout season 2, this storyline should form part of a possible third season, albeit with some slight deviations from the source material. For instance, The Mule won't visit Terminus in Apple's adaptation as the planet no longer exists.

To combat The Mule and his likely involvement in the third Seldon Crisis, Gaal and Hari enter cryosleep to meet him head-on 150 years in the future. In the meantime, the rest of the Mentalics – who have chosen to follow Gaal in the wake of Tellem's death – will learn about psychohistory and hone their own telepathic abilities for the battle to come.

Foundation season 2 ending explained: who is the individual seen in episode 10's final scene?

The Mule walks towards an off-screen Gaal in a destroyed building in Foundation season 2

The Mule, seen here in episode 2, could be season 3's primary villain. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Speaking of The Mule, that's him in the final scene of Foundation season 2's finale. Just as he was in Gaal's flash-forward sequence in episode 2, he's played by Michael Persbrandt in this season's closing scene. Persbrandt was one of multiple new actors announced as season 2 cast additions in October 2021. Back then, Persbrandt was teased to be playing someone known as the Warlord of Kaglan – one of The Mule's pseudonyms in Asimov's books. However, only diehard Foundation fans knew the significance of this alias, meaning the vast majority of viewers didn't know what to expect from his character.

Anyway, as if it needed mentioning again, The Mule reaffirms his commitment to find and kill Gaal before she does likewise to him. If Apple renews Foundation for a third season, expect him to play a major role in its overarching plot.

For more Foundation-based coverage, read our review of Foundation season 2's premiere or check out our exclusive Foundation season 2cast feature.

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