Bassam wanders through the desert as things keep moving into motion.
Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 2: Enter the Fates: GRADE: B+
I acknowledged that Tyrant is through and through a soap opera last week and watching the show with that mindset does make it more enjoyable to tune in from week to week. I’m not a soap opera fan by any definition, but I have seen more than my fair share of them and can appreciate that form of storytelling from character drama that hooks you right into a story that might have a great theme to it and to the levels of sheer ridiculousness with some of the plot twists that seem to be thrown in out of no where and the more than they need to be dramatic moments, that are sometimes highlighted by the blaring musical score. Tyrant operates more on the character drama more than it doesn’t and that’s a big part as to why I’m still here writing about. I mention this as it played through my head when viewing the episode.
This week’s episode features a nice tightly plotted script that moves and flows smoothly aside from a couple of bumps with Bassam at the center of it all. Adam Rayner spends the whole episode walking along the desert in hopes of reaching Abbudin once more or really any point of civilization. Rayner doesn’t say much for the episode, mostly just letting his facial expressions do the work mostly until after experiencing a sandstorm where he cries out to Allah for mercy. Rayner really works this well and plays desperation nicely when he tries going after a lizard to eat and with a flashback to his youth. Thankfully this won’t be going on for much longer as he’s found by some people out in the desert who aren’t too what to think of him but bring back home anyway. Thus the Bassam joining the revolution story can kick off in full next week.
Bassam’s “hanging” effects things back in Abbudin and in the U.S., but first Abbudin where Jamal and Leila discuss it in the strangest topic to have for pillow talk, after and completely unnecessary sex scene. Leila sees it in her head which could hint that she might still not be over her longtime feelings for Bassam and for Jamal it hurts as he’s betrayed his brother, but knows that for Jamal himself was the right thing to do as he values family. Its screwing them both mentally at a time where they need to be as sharp as tack with the deal with the Chinese going on. More so Jamal as he has a heart to heart/tough love talk with Ahmed since he’s not holding up his end as the new head of energy development. Bassam’s hanging sticks with Ahmed as well since its lead him to taking some drugs and also affected how he views his job. Jamal sternly reminds Ahmed that too much is at stake for Abbudin to have him screw it all up. Ahmed wants to contribute and still be a worthwhile sone to Jamal. The scene plays out in a weird bonding moment for the two that has some sincere and honest emotions between the two characters thanks to the actors that understand the need to play this as straight forward as it needs to be. It really works.
Unfortunately that’s all the good that Jamal gets to have as a botched assassination attempted from Ihab at the press conference to formally announce the unity between Abbudin and China. Another great scene from earlier helps set this up nicely where Ihab and Samria recruit the same man that detonated the bomb last week to shoot Jamal at the conference. The detonator talks about how pressing that button made him feel alive, like he was honestly doing something to make a worthwhile difference in Abbudin to make it a better place and that even if he gets killed, he’s happy to die for a worthy cause. Its not much, but it does help to further let us in on how the state of Abbudin more so affects the citizens living in it, be it either side. It shows a glimmer of hope to me that the setting for our show gets further fleshed out this season. The failed assassination attempt itself is a perfectly edited and tightly paced scene that plays out nicely, but not for Jamal as the Chinese diplomat’s wife is critically injured by gun shots which starts to unravel Jamal’s plan as the diplomat starts to wonder this deal should even take and begins considering to pull out. That’s a twist to me as I didn’t expect for deal to start to go south until Bassam had come back to Abbudin with the revolution in tow and start making Jamal’s life a living hell. Having the deal be in jeopardy right away and through Ihab not only speeds things up a bit, but it does give Ihab a significant win that while he has failed to take down Jamal down right away, he still was able to deal a deafening blow that will more than certainly work in his favor towards rising to power himsellf. I should note the failed assassination also works to further Ahmed’s character and devotion to his father that after the assassin is gunned down with the military and the whole assembly looking on, he grabs a gun and puts more lead into his dead body. In that moment, Ahmed has himself truly become an Al-Fayeed and does his father proud.
Back home in America, Bassam’s family starts dealing with their father’s “death”. Molly seems to slowly be unraveling as she grieves for her husband. Trouble trying to get his “body” home and dealing with Sammy who thinks his father was kind of stupid for trying to do what he did and thus brings me to my least favorite thing. Once again, the children. They were uninteresting characters completely through the first season and at times a hinderance on the main story. Granted they are somewhat more worthwhile and useful characters than Aunt (MacGuffin) Jenna, but aren’t that all interesting. Emma mostly serves as the character that seeks to bring peace an help out in a peaceful way to Abbudin while she was there, be a mouthpiece character of an outsider brought in to speak up of how fucked Abbudin is and Sammy is just gay and had a one night stand with the Al-Fayeed family bodyguard, Abdul. Who speaking of, calls up Sammy and acknowledges him for the first time since their one-night stand and sends his condolences to him and that he misses Sammy. Will before Sammy can say the same the call is disconnected and so is my interest. This is clearly meant as out way to get the family connected to what’s in Abbudin and I’m not a fan since again, the children aren’t that compelling enough and this seems like the least likely idea to have for that in all honestly. Also Emma is just there because Emma needs to at lease be acknowledged as a character.
Back to Molly though as her scene in a confessional booth is truly heartbreaking as Jennifer Finnigan really sinks her teeth into it. What we’ve seen from Bassam and Molly’s relationship is one made of true and pure love and its hurting her deep not just there but to also speak out about what’s going on in Abbudin as well, which I would prefer to Emma as she seems like she’d come off as gratingly annoying doing so. Towards the end we get a sudden introduction into a new character Jimmy Timmons played by Jake Weber who helps out Molly at church when the money basket comes around. He was seen in the season preview as the lawyer that lays out Bassam’s will and well here also seems like a potential love interest for Molly, which I’m not too sure should spring up right now since she’s still grieving. He could not be, but it kinda feels like that and I hope there’s more to it beyond that.
Tyrant keeps up momentum for now with its second season with the story moving steadily into place both for better and worse and hopefully can keep it up. Hopefully Sammy’s storyline won’t be a bother to cover this season. Hopefully.