Apple TV+’s Foundation has just passed the midway point of its first season. Last Friday’s episode “Upon Awakening” returned viewers to the shocking events of the opening night: Raych’s apparent murder of his father, Hari Seldon. While we don’t know everything, it seems that events were not as they appeared, as the hologram of the dying Hari hints at in the episode’s conclusion.
Raych actor Alfred Enoch told us that “It was a joy to play” the arc that saw his character go from his father’s ally to an apparent killer. With both Hari and Raych under constant threat from the empire and secretive plans afoot, much of the communication between the two is under the radar.
“One of the really fun things about playing Raych’s arc is how much he knows how integral he is to Hari’s plans,” Enoch said. “Because it’s always fun to play scenes where there’s something unspoken. That is satisfying to play scenes like that where Raych is effectively trying to stay on top; he knows he can’t just say what he wants to say. He can’t say a proper goodbye, but he has to find a way to do that. Those challenges, those obstacles are interesting.”
Enoch relishes these scenes, and how the journey that Hari and Raych have planned gets complicated along the way. He particularly enjoyed a scene from the second episode, “Preparing to Live,” where it appears the relationship between father and son may have fractured.
The one that’s sort of in the canteen… There’s a conversation there that is public, [and there] is another conversation going beneath that everybody is not privy to. And this is in Episode One when Raych is with Gaal; he’s sizing her up; he’s trying to understand, is this person on our side or not? Is this person a plant? It made it really fun to play
On the surface, Raych have seemed bitter, but there was a lot unsaid. Raych and Hari share a genuine father-son relationship, but despite their closeness their work takes precedence and sacrifices have to be made.
That’s the scale of the challenge, that’s the importance of it, that’s the importance of the stakes that even a relationship which is that fundamental to them in their lives is something that ultimately has to be sacrificed. Because nothing can get in the way of this endeavor, because the potential for a future relationship like that is going to be compromised. It’s a huge act of self-sacrifice all around what the characters are doing.
However, despite Hari Seldon’s devotion to creating the Foundation on Terminus and in turn averting some of the disasters that he’s predicted, Enoch doesn’t see Hari as cold and calculating. While Hari is undoubtedly devoted to science and mathematics, Enoch disagrees that his relationships suffer on account of his work. “I don’t see him, and maybe this is because of the nature of my character’s relationship, but I don’t see him as so dispassionate and so purely calculating. Because also then, the stakes aren’t as high. It’s less dramatic. He’s losing something as well.”
“The man and the myth of the man.”
The passage of time on the show allows viewers to see what becomes of Hari’s project after his death. As war is unleashed, Hari’s predictions are beginning to come true, and his memory has passed almost into myth. Several characters comment on how others are beginning to see Seldon as a religious-like figure, and we briefly see in the ship’s laundry how Hari was an inspiring figure to those who chose to follow him. Raych, however, knows the man behind the legend. Enoch says that any tension between the two is “the tension between the man and the myth of the man.”
Raych gets to engage with the private side of Hari, which… most people don’t get anywhere near… That myth is important for the plan, as gets outlined. How’s Raych supposed to accept that myth. It’s no good to him. He can’t live with [the mythical] Hari Seldon; he’s dealing with the man he’s known since he was little and who is his father. That’s one of the really interesting tensions in that relationship, between the public face of this great figure and the private man.
What the rest of the season has in store for the Hari, Raych, and Gaal storyline remains to be seen. Although we have already witnessed the deaths of Hari and Raych, there are undoubtedly many blank spaces in the narrative yet to be filled in, with “Upon Awakening” may have raised more questions than answers.
As with the books, Foundation will continue long after Hari, Raych are gone, with the show having been confirmed for a second season. However, Enoch doesn’t want to speculate on where it goes next.
As I sort of realized when I started reading episode two when I got the script, and I was like, ‘What? What’s happened?’ [I] realized it’s not for me to say what’s next for Foundation because I can’t call it episode to episode, let alone season to season!
Alfred Enoch recently completed a stint at the world-famous Globe Theatre in London, where he played Romeo alongside Rebekah Murrell as Juliet. Finishing the run this past Sunday, he is now taking a well-deserved rest, with the rest of Raych’s story playing out over coming weeks on Foundation.
Episode Six, “Death and the Maiden,” will air on Apple TV+ this coming Friday, October 22, with episodes running until the season finale on November 19.