Warning: The following article contains information that may be considered a spoiler for Foundation, Season 2.
The Big Picture
- In the pilot episode of the first season of Foundation, a tiny golden device known as the Prime Radiant is introduced.
- This is a databank containing Hari Seldon’s work on psychohistory and the impending collapse of the Galactic Empire.
- The prime radiant is used by Gaal, Salvor, and Hari to decipher changing data and overcome obstacles throughout Season 2.
Foundation on Apple TV+ follows Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell), who has carried around a tiny golden device for the majority of the first season and several episodes into the second. The “prime radiant” may look like a D&D multi-sided die, but its real name is far more impressive. What it is can be difficult to pin down. It may not be the primary focus of the early episodes of the current season, but it appears to be of paramount importance to her, Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris), and Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey). How does Prime Radiant fit into the show’s timeline, both past and future?
When Are We Introduced to the Prime Radiant?
In the premiere episode of the first season, Hari warns a young Gaal, who has just arrived in Trantor from her home planet of Synnax, that they will be arrested the following day due to Hari’s predictions about the fall of the Empire. This is the first appearance of the prime radiant. He indicates the prime radiant on the desk in front of them. Gaal sees a vision of the destruction of the Empire in the prime radiant and realizes that she was brought to Trantor because she is the only one who can refute Hari’s mathematically deduced calculations. Now we can see how important the prime radiant will be to the entire show.
What is The Prime Radiant?
All of Hari Seldon’s work on psychohistory and how it relates to the fall of the Galactic Empire can be found in the Prime Radiant, a device used for archival purposes. Using the research of the ancient mathematician Kalle, Hari and his life partner Yanna developed it. Inside, you’ll find Seldon and Yanna’s speculations on how Kalle conceived of folding space and making a four-dimensional object out of a three-dimensional one. It contains the many mathematical and scientific theories and deductions that Gaal and Salvor will need to follow Hari’s predictions. This includes his investigation into the possibility of changing Hari’s predicted end-of-the-world scenario through the creation of an alternative pattern. To activate the Prime Radiant, one must use a specific sequence of hand movements, which are known only to a select few (including, of course, Hari and Gaal).
How Does Salvor Hardin Use the Prime Radiant?
Mari Hardin, Salvor’s mother and the woman who carried Gaal’s embryo to term and gave birth to her, takes the Prime Radiant from Hari’s chambers after Hari’s physical body is killed on Terminus near the end of Season 1. The mysterious vault on Terminus, which has been there since before the foundation colonists arrived, is opened by Salvor later in the first season. Dr. Hari Seldon’s holographic consciousness emerges from it and gives an update on the Foundation’s origins and the necessity of forming a second Foundation to fight the Empire. Here we see again how the information contained in the prime radiant will serve as a foundation for the colonists as they move forward.
The Importance of the Prime Radiant So Far in Season 2
The second episode of season 2 delves deeply into the origins of the prime radiant and the mysteries it conceals about the cosmos as we know it. As Hari waits to be freed by Gaal, who has taken control of the prime radiant, we witness his sanity deteriorating while he is imprisoned inside the device. However, she cannot understand it without Hari’s assistance because of the complexity of Seldon’s research.
Since the information contained in the prime radiant evolves and changes as events unfold in the timeline, Hari, Gaal, and Salvor must begin deciphering it as soon as his consciousness rematerializes into holographic form. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that whatever secrets the Prime Radiant may hold will be crucial to unlocking as Season 2 progresses.