Jamal has a bastard child and a secret twin brother! Okay only a bastard child, but the other reveal wouldn’t feel out of place here.
Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 4: A House Built on Sand: GRADE: A-
As said before Tyrant is pretty much a soap opera and A House Built on Sand brought out a long time stable of a soap opera and really any sudden twist, a bastard child. Jamal had a romance a long time ago with a Rashid and was so in love they were set to runaway together to have a good life before Jamal’s father stopped him at the train station and beat out of him the man he is today. Or is a different Jamal starting to show? This episode really became more of a Jamal focused episode that makes a 180 on the character. Where Jamal was a despicable dictator for most of season one, season two has show a real human side to what makes Jamal tick. He values family and cares for those around him even when he uses them to his advantage and personal gain. Jamal sees himself slowly turning into his father and wants his own mark to be left as ruler of Abbudin, especially after the recent gas attack.
The episode introduces and completes a whole character arc for Jamal within the complete runtime. Ashraf Barhom deserves incredible credit for he’s turned this character around. He takes the writing for Jamal and increases it tenfold into something that has me excited to see week to week. Jamal is his most human in this episode. Of course there is the disbelief that his mother, yeah she’s suddenly back again, kept this secret son of his from him for years and would really want nothing to do with it, but the sonogram of his grandson really sparks something in him and how quickly he’s taken with Rami Said (Keon Alexander) feels genuine. It also reflects how he sees Ahmed. Rami is an decorated and accomplished soldier whereas Ahmed can’t seem to read reports for the oil deal on time or get anything done right away. While Rami turns out an offer from Jamal in the Abbudin army, I think this isn’t the last we’ve seen or heard of Rami for the season. Jamal knows Rami is better off without Abbudin.
Leila’s response to Rami isn’t surprising that she’s shocked but also not supportive, even leading Jamal to realize that Rami doesn’t belong here. A great moment between her and Jamal comes when she asks if Jamal ever loved Rami’s mother and Jamal recounts the excitement and heartache that came from their affair. Again nicely played, well done, and natural for the progression of this show.
Elsewhere in Abbudin it appears Ihab and Samira are ready to throw in the towel which follows up on the guilt and consequences of the resistance Ihab was face with because of last week and just as they are taken it appears they were betrayed and sold out, but not necessarily. Instead they were taken by an old classmate of Ihab’s, Abu Omar (Darius Homayoun) who wants Ihab’s help is overthrowing Jamal at Abbudin. Now we get another conflict her with Ihab who has been a bit one note this season until last week. Seeing him actually really look at what his leadership has done was eye opening not just for him, but for the viewers to see him wise up and maybe see his constantly violent ways might not be the way to go in getting change for Abbudin.
For a new character, we get to understand Abu pretty quickly and how much more radical he seems to be in the cause than Ihab, which also gives Ihab more reason to abandon and leave, that and I think he’s showing slow signs of being affected by the gas attack from last week. He’s a smooth operator than seems he’s able to get what he wants, as evident by persuading Ihab to join, although reluctantly as it appears by the expression he gives at the end of the episode. It’ll be interesting to see how much more Ihab can take before he starts to fully break.
Elsewhere Bassam seems to be settling into life in Beduoin very well. More often than not it is brought up how Bassam just seems ti be perfectly fine living here and not carrying to let his family know he’s alive. Sure I understand its to keep them and himself safe, but deep down he has to know its not at all healthy for him to keep this up. The look he has on his face when watching videos of his family on a cell phone more than anything shows that. He knows he can’t stay forever, but he’s finding himself stuck there a little longer than expected. Daliyah is set to go to a program in Germany to bring solar power and electricity to the village, but Ghani is upset by this. What goes from there is a great mini arc for Bassam to talk about how much this will help the village, and yeah its gonna go a long way for them. Ghani is like any of us at his age, not wanting change that much, to keep everything as it is so life can just go on. Bassam’s fatherly instincts comes out when he goes searching for him and convinces him to come home. He’s making up for some lost time with Sammy and Emma, but also make himself a better person beyond slowly edging his way back into being a practicing Muslim. Bassam convinces an unsure Daliyah that he’ll look after Ghani for six months while she’s gone. Yeah anyone getting pissed at Bassam for extending his stay, I could see that right in that moment, but storywise it works as he wants to fix himself before going home and since the end of this storyline mixes with Ihab’s as the person he’s sent out to ambush is the people from the solar program with Daliyah.
Speaking of converging, it seems Molly and company are heading to Abuddin. Not exactly rich yet, Sammy, still an entitled douche, will have to go back to Abbudin and appear in court since the Al-Fayeed house is contesting the will. Of course he’s a bit whiny and he and Molly butt heads over this. Sammy is slightly more tolerable here, but really the more interesting parts of the story back in the states in Molly and her return to faith as well as holding the family together. He conflict with Sammy feels natural, but wasn’t that good since again all the writing around Sammy just isn’t that good. Talking with Jimmy of course, they gonna be fucking, mark my words, convinces her to go back with Sammy and Emma, who is just there again, since Sammy will be 18 soon and can go on his own. Molly’s motherly instinct of course takes over as she calls Exle to arrange travel back to Abbudin. I wish there was a better way to get them back there than Sammy, but this seems to work and I’m kinda looking forward to the tension that can be written up by their return. Just don’t bring Molly’s sister back for the love of all good storytelling!
Storylines seems to be moving along smoothly and slowing converging on each other with the addition of new characters to ratchet up tension in what is certainly the best episode Tyrant has produced so far this season. Tyrant’s been fairly and nicely consistent so far but this week offers up a tighter script and an improvement over what’s been shown so far. Hopefully it can keep it up.