Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 9: Inside Men and Outside Women: GRADE: C+
After the series highlight last week, its incredibly disappointing to see what a letdown this weeks episode is.
Bassam and Sammy was great last week, not so much now. Sammy goes back to being a bit whiny, good point in bringing up how suddenly Bassam seems to be big on faith, but its not that well written. Its interesting to see how Sammy goes into bringing himself into life with the Red Hand, but that kinda plays into a problem for this episode as far as focus and lightly treading water. We are neck deep in the story now and this episode seemed to spin its wheels. You gotta keep movement going and I understand that for the storytelling, but this deep in and with all the great story elements we have, its disappointing.
Especially in how Bassam calling Molly, wasted drama. The best moment being the first with Molly’s shocked response and look as the camera locks in on that then zooms out. Jennifer Finnigan plays it perfectly. I think Finnigan honestly has been hot and cold to me, but she’s had her great moments and this might be her best. It didn’t last too long. Honestly it was one sided in how really Molly just continuously railed against Bassam and while it was well played on her part to get to play with this material and have righteous anger, I really wanted to hear more from Bassam. No lying, he personally was in the wrong, but he had his own reasons that he felt justified and I would have loved a more back and forth between the two of them. I feel there was some missed opportunities there that could have been mined for great dramatic TV.
Now back to Sammy, while his character isn’t as great as he was last week, is integration into life among the Red Hand offers up some great possibilities, especially in the best part of the episode which is the Caliphate raid on the Red Hand’s headquarters. Sammy getting right in the shit is hopefully just what the character needs to kickstart him into amazing development. I see this paying off big. Now for the sequence itself, its a greatly done, tightly shot and paced chaotic attack. It also wraps up the arc for Munir and Kasim who both go away now since Munir was tortured to give up the location then killed and Kasim, in admittedly a great moment of silent guilt played across his face after he allows Daliyah to flee, kills himself. Bringing back to Molly, also seemed rushed to have her be so cool with Sammy now wanting to stay around and be in the fight.
Oh and for Molly, Jimmy is going back to the states. So long talented, but thanklessly wasted Jake Weber.
Now back at Abbudin and the palace, wheels are being spun as well. The slow unraveling of Jamal back into his former crazed self continues and it feels old hat now. Ashraf Barhom is now balancing the line between crazed and finely tuned. For as much as Barhom has become the real star of this season, it was better for that because of reformed Jamal. Jamal improved over the course of season one, but this year is how he’s risen above the entire cast and his acting has been the real good thing about this storyline. I’m curious to see him slip back, but I don’t want that to encapsulate his whole character. The other thing its got going is the reactions people are having around him, but again this week its just stuck in motion. He still doesn’t trust anyone around him, just the man he doesn’t know that is his brother and God.
His talk to Bassam over the phone goes all over the place. It heightens things between the two of them without Jamal knowing, but then kinda lays things on thick with Jamal eyeing Nusrat and Rami outside his window and drawing a heart around him. That’s the problem, I’m not sure how the show wants to fully play Jamal’s descent, are they wanting a subtle or a more obvious, noticeable approach to the story? They need to figure this out and keep a consistent tone if they want to keep it compelling, not just the story, but also Jamal himself, and I’d love for Jamal to stay compelling. Right now since he’s one of my favorite characters currently on TV.
Rami Said loves Nusrat confirmed! Go nuts Tumblr! They share a conversation in the garden about Leila’s proposition to Nusrat and this only serves to the purpose to further bring them together for an adultery storyline and I’m just not feeling that. Depending how they play it, I guess it can be good, but with everything else going on in the show, this doesn’t feel like its going to add much to the proceedings and really is tacked on for the sake of drama. Speaking of Rami, Jamal wants him dead now for his secret meeting with Bassam. Also more obviously, Colonel Mahmoud (Peter Polycarpou) is the snake in Jamal’s boot. It was noticeable last week, but it wasn’t too effecting on the story, but now its kinda just there. Would be more compelling to have played this up as a mystery game and add more to Jamal’s unraveling, have someone inside the palace look for who might be the one for Jamal, but with all that’s going on having it be just known is fine, its just not too terribly great here.
Tyrant just really didn’t amount to too much this week until it reached its climax which makes the remaining episodes of the season promising with the oncoming storm of war, but with this installment, Tyrant feels like its just coasting by on autopilot and that’s just not too terribly entertaining.