Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Foundation Season 2 Episode 7.
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Throughout the first two seasons of the epic science fiction show Foundation, we have been introduced to a number of different races of people within the expansive galaxy that Isaac Asimov created in his trilogy of novels. In Episode 7 entitled, “A Necessary Death” we meet the Spacers, whom Hari has sent the Han Solo equivalent of the Foundation universe, Hober Mallow (Dimitri Leonidas), to go and recruit to become a part of the rebellion or “Second Foundation” against Brother Day (Lee Pace) and Empire. This is not the first time we have seen the Spacers, but it is the first time that their backstory and culture are explored in any kind of meaningful way as Hober explains the situation to the leader of the Spacers “hive” mind named She-Is-Center (Brucella Newman-Persuad) and makes her an offer to that he hopes will be sufficient to win her and the hive onto the side of the revolutionaries from the outer reaches of the galaxy.
What Do the Spacers Do?
We meet the Spacers for the first time in the very first episode of Season 1 as Gail Dornick (Lou Llobell) is boarding a jump ship to leave her home world of Synnax to make her way to the eye of the Empire, Trantor, where she will study alongside Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) after solving the previously thought to be unsolvable Abraxas Conjecture. When Gail is aboard the jump ship, she is tended to by the Spacers who make sure that she is prepared and secured into her pod before the jump ship heads for Trantor. And that is the Spacers primary role within Asimov’s world in Foundation. They are the pilots, operators, and foremost navigators of the galaxy’s handful of jump ships that have the ability to fold both time and space and move from one end of the galaxy to the other much more quickly than regular ships.
What Are the Spacers Exactly?
The Spacers are a genetically engineered race of humanoids that were created to be a “perfect” form or ideal being. They were created around the year 11,650 IE (Imperial Era), and they have been tinkered and toyed with by engineers to become more and more “perfect” in a physical and emotional sense. You’ve probably noticed that each Spacer we have encountered on the show so far, including She-Is-Center and her daughter She-Bends-Light (Judith Shekoni), is what would be considered a physically attractive being with perfectly symmetrical features that are both pleasing to the eye, but they also have the ideally measured temperament that can come across as unusually reserved or passive, but it is more of them analyzing every situation around them at all times. So when Hober tries to make them an offer, he is dealing with the most rational people.
Hober Mallow Makes the Spacers an Offer
Since their inception, the Spacers have had a deal in place with the Empire that ensures their station as the operators of the jump ships. In exchange for 10% of their superior, genetically enhanced offspring every year for navigation, the Empire gives them the micro-nutrient that they need to survive due to the many modifications that Empire’s engineers have made on them over the years called opelisk. So when Hober approaches them with an offer, he has to make it sweet enough to pry them away from the clutches of their arrangement with Empire.
Hober offers a supply of opelisk in exchange for their assistance whereby they can avoid tithing one of every ten of their offspring to the Empire to assure their safety. He claims that The Foundation makes it and can make more of it. He claims that he has arrived in a jump ship without the aid of the Spacers and that the technology is no longer solely in the hands of Empire. He tells She-Is-Center (the Home Swarm) that soon, the Spacers will become obsolete and no longer needed for navigation at which time they will be subject to the cruel whims of Empire and Brothers Dawn, Day, and Dusk who will withhold the opelisk. Hober offers them opelisk and their freedom for their service alongside the rebel alliance that is forming.
She-Is-Center Considers Hober’s Offer
The Spacers share a hive mind and after She-Is-Center refuses Hober’s offer citing that if the Empire finds out they have been talking about a betrayal, that Empire will just demand 20% of their offspring. She then telepathically communicates with She-Bends-Light who is navigating General Bel Riose’s (Ben Daniels) ship. Bel Riose is in service of the Empire and is combing the galaxy looking for Hober and all the Foundation’s leadership, so it can be thwarted. She-Bends-Light informs General Bel Riose that she is bringing the swarm to them via their mother jump ship.
When She-Is-Center arrives, she informs Bel Riose that Hober has attempted to barter their betrayal, but she has refused and that she came in person to both turn over Hober Mallow and see her daughter, She-Bends-Light. After a skirmish with Bel Riose, Hober barely escapes with his life and is able to board his jump ship and leap from the scene. It is clear that whoever is allies with the Spacers will have an inordinate advantage over their enemy as they will be able to navigate every corner of the galaxy swiftly led by the most knowledgeable race of travelers.