EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


Tyrant-State-of-Emergency-2

'Tyrant' recap: Haunting childhoods, past and present

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “State of Emergency” | Aired July 1, 2014

Is it bad to say that “State of Emergency” was a better episode than the pilot simply because Jamal was incapacitated? It would seem that this episode was much more palatable simply since Jamal, the Big Bad of the series, was mostly not involved in the action.

At the end of the pilot, Jamal, who is speeding down the road with a woman in his car, has a terrible accident. Said woman—who is forced to give Jamal oral sex—tried to kill him by biting off his penis and attempting to stab him with poison. She doesn’t get to do the stabbing, but she does bite hard enough to cause Jamal to drive off a cliff. He should be dead, since his head hit rock right in the temple. But somehow, he’s still alive. This is the biggest element of the show that really drives home the point that this isn’t so much a hard-hitting drama as it is a soap opera with gruesome scenes in it.

Tyrant-State-of-Emergency-1“State of Emergency” picks up where we left off, with Jamal in intensive care with his wife, Leila, and their son—Barry’s newly married nephew—waiting on him to come out of surgery. Somehow, Barry’s nephew turned out to be a really nice guy (so far). He seems to care about his wife, Nusrat, and the only argument they’ve had so far—whether they should leave or stay at the hospital—didn’t end in misogynistic misery. Of course, Leila seems to have had a hand in her son turning out to be an understanding individual. “You’re a good son,” she says, also telling him that he’s a good husband. Nusrat also tells him he’s a good husband when he calls her while she’s en route to the palace, but then the car is suddenly under siege! Some kid militants have captured the SUV and now hold Nusrat as their hostage in an attempt to use her as leverage. The ringleader of the group has a brother who was captured by the Al-Fayeed regime and is currently in prison. It would seem that the brother is one of those “insurgents” the Al-Fayeeds keep talking about. By “insurgents,” I mean freedom fighters.

As Barry’s nephew travels with the general, Uncle Tariq Al-Fayeed, to find out more about the situation, Barry is put in a weird situation by Tucker and Tucker’s wife, Molly, and his mother, Amira. According to Tucker, Molly and Amira, Barry could help Tariq with this delicate hostage situation. When Barry rails against helping the family, his mother rounds on him, saying that all he does is run away from his family and his problems. “It must be nice to absolve yourself of all responsibility … [somewhere] where the pain of your family doesn’t follow you.” She also states that she could use her own escape. “Don’t you think I could’ve used a ‘Pasadena’ once in a while?” she asks bitterly. But of course, she’s much more noble than to give in to her pain, since she has stayed with the family for all of these years.

Barry’s penchant for running away keeps following him throughout the episode. As we saw earlier in the episode, Barry’s escape to America also robbed him of having a fully realized love with Leila. The two were once teenage sweethearts, but when Barry left for America, somehow Leila ended up as Jamal’s wife. Later in the episode, we see that the tension between the two will become a huge problem. Just seeing Leila find comfort in Barry’s arms while they’re at the hospital shows that there will be trouble down the line.

Meanwhile, Nusrat is attempting to talk her way out of her imprisonment. She manages to convince two of the kid “terrorists” that it’d be better if they let her go. The two boys who agree to this wanted out of the plan a long time ago; when they were initially trying to capture Nusrat, they realized they wouldn’t be able to capture her without the incoming soldiers seeing them. Now that the soldiers are camped outside of their makeshift hiding place—a convenience store—they really want to give up and see if they can somehow still escape with their lives. Of course, the ringleader isn’t hearing any of this.

Enter Barry, who tried to reason with Tariq to not kill the boys. Tariq, who already has resentment against Barry for emotionally disowning the family, doesn’t want to hear any suggestions he’s got. But Barry realizes that there’s another reason he doesn’t want to hear any suggestions; Tariq wants to use the death of Nusrat as an excuse for cracking down on the opposition. Tariq answers that he’s not even going to dignify Barry’s assumption with a response, but we can see the assumption is true.

Tyrant-State-of-Emergency-3Another thing that’s true about this show is its continued use of the “America is civilized!” trope. Barry tries to reason with Tariq about the kids, saying that they are just children with their lives ahead of them. Tariq, instead, comes back with a “These Americans!” line, stating that childhood over here isn’t how it is in Abbudin. But Barry, in his infinite American wisdom, knows the value of children and tries to save them. Now going by his birth name, Bassam, he goes into the lion’s den himself, reasoning with the kids to let Nusrat go and that they won’t be harmed. He even gives them his word as an Al-Fayeed.

However, he seemed to forget that he’s not the only Al-Fayeed there. Once Nusrat is safe, Tariq’s men kill the boys right in front of Barry. Barry is constantly haunted by the kids he couldn’t save, and the memory reminds him of his own childhood. Or rather, it reminds him of the childhood he lost once he killed the “terrorist” Jamal couldn’t.

It’s while lying awake at night that he finally tells his wife why he ran away. Except he doesn’t say the real reason. He gives some kind of answer that still boils down to what we already know: He’s running away from his family because of what they do. Well, he’s running away from the little he knows about what they’ve done, because it’s clear he doesn’t know as much about his own family as he thinks. But the real reason he’s running away, the reason he will never tell his wife until the very last minute, is because he knows he can become his father. He already mercilessly killed a man as a child. He knows exactly what he’s capable of. He knows he could be worse than Jamal.

He also knows he’s much smarter and much more fit to rule than Jamal, when he tells Jamal to “forget the speech” and just tell the truth at their father’s funeral. Jamal takes his lead and forgoes the script, giving a much better eulogy than the one that was written for him. With Barry’s help, Jamal presents an image of presidential stature to the public. At the end of the episode, Barry calls Jamal to tell him that he’s staying. He’s going to help build up the dynasty. Or he’ll help tear it down with his “American” ideas about childhood. Because only Americans value childhood.

Anyway, enough of the soapbox. That’s what the last recap was for. There are a few more elements to discuss.

First is the subplot between Abdul and Sammy. Again, I feel this subplot will be handled hideously. It also didn’t get addressed well in this episode. I thought we were supposed to see Abdul and Sammy hang out, like they said they would. That would have been a great character moment. Oh well.

Second is something the child ringleader says. “Why should we listen to you when no one listens to us?” he asks Barry before the standoff ends. This should be the theme to the show. There are a ton of people in Abbudin who would echo what this boy asked. Their struggles are infinitely more interesting than anything the Al-Fayeed family can give us.

Speaking of the problems of the common man, here’s the third element that needs to be addressed: Journalist Fauzi’s daughter, Samira, is in cahoots with the main “insurgent,” Ihab. Samira seems to share her father’s freedom-fighting roots, but having a relationship with Ihab will certainly get her—and her father—in trouble. Since her father’s been in trouble before, it could get him killed.

Tyrant-State-of-Emergency-4Fourth, there were more scenes of women not in compromising positions. We have the woman doctor—the head doctor, no less—and Samira, who is seen driving a car. Does this make up for the pilot’s awfulness toward women? Not at all, since in the same episode, we see poor Nusrat’s clothes somehow reveal her cleavage, cleavage that’s later clumsily used as some of her negotiating power. But at least we have some other views of women in the Middle East.

Finally, how hilarious was that Bond-villain threat Leila made to the doctor? How does she know the doctor has a seven-year-old son with a beautiful smile?

What did you think of the episode? Discuss it in the comments section!

Tyrant airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on FX.

Advertisement

Here, EW superfans lead the conversation around TV shows. And there are so many shows to talk about! Our community contributors post and share throughout the week on latest episodes.

Want to join? Click on the links below.

Join Now FAQ

Latest Videos

Latest News

Most Commented

PopWatch | Entertainment Weekly's EW.com

Blog

PopWatch

Snapchat's getting its own web series, and it's called 'Literally Can't Even'

Comments +

Sending self-destructing pictures and videos is nice and all, but Snapchat wants to do more. The popular social network is broadening its horizons and getting into the entertainment game—by making an original web series named after a rather tired Internet meme. 

Read Full Story

'Disney Infinity 2.0' Toy Box comes to iPhones, iPads

Comments +

Disney Interactive has released the Disney Infinity: Toy Box 2.0 for free on iPhones and iPads, meaning it’s now possible for you to have Aladdin and Baymax race each other in Guardians of the Galaxy-themed cars when you’re on the go. 

Read Full Story

How 'Parenthood' thrived, despite a spoiler-addicted society

Comments +

In the age of live-tweeting, the most talked-about shows on television tend to be those that give viewers (and Twitter users) plenty of big, bold moments that inspire strong, immediate reactions. Which, in turn, means that the most talked-about shows inevitably end up being labeled TV’s most successful shows. Think about it: There’s Game of Thrones, with its Red Wedding, Purple Wedding, and continuous stream of unexpected deaths. We have Shonda Rhimes, who’s arguably the queen of the WTF moment with ScandalGrey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away With Murder. And then there’s the ever-more-popular True Detective format, which is built entirely around solving a mystery—preferably one with a surprising result. Essentially, TV’s best dramas must, on some level, be edge-of-your-seat thrillers.

That is, unless they’ve got the Bravermans.

Read Full Story

Conan O'Brien, Marshawn Lynch, and Rob Gronkowski lose their minds over 'Mortal Kombat'

Comments +

For a special Super Bowl edition of Conan O’Brien’s very funny Clueless Gamer segments, the late-night host convinced Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots to face each other for a few matches of the yet-to-be-released Mortal Kombat X

Read Full Story

'Transistor,' 'Rogue Legacy' among free games for PlayStation Plus in February

Comments +

Sony is refreshing the free games available as part of PlayStation Plus next week, and the new selection will include one of 2014’s most memorable games and a brand new title.

Read Full Story

PopWatch Confessional: The thing you used to love (that now makes you cringe)

Comments +

Ahh, youth, when naivete and limitless free time conspire to form overwhelming cultural obsessions—the sort that burn bright and hot, consuming vast amounts of energy until you get a little older and realize, “Wait. What the hell was I thinking?” (This is the moment where I pause, look to the heavens, and thank whatever’s up there that I never ended up getting a Rent-inspired tattoo when I was 18.)

Which brings me to this week’s PopWatch confessional: What’s the movie/TV show/musical act/AIDS-themed rock operetta (ahem) that you were once obsessed with—to a degree that makes your present-day self want to laugh and cry simultaneously? The EW staff’s answers may surprise you. (Yeah, they probably won’t.)

Read Full Story

Chris Hardwick looks back at five years of Nerdist podcast

Comments +

Five years in, Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast is only continuing to grow.

What started as three friends gathering around some microphones on Super Bowl Sunday in 2010 has turned into over 600 episodes of the flagship Nerdist podcasts, a website, and a host of other podcasts on the Nerdist Network. 

The show celebrates its fifth anniversary with episode 631, a special live show recorded at the NerdMelt Showroom. Hardwick spoke to EW about the live show, what Nerdist has meant for him over the last five years, and where he hopes to take it in the years to come.

Read Full Story

Warner Bros. to launch new Batman, Justice League animated movies based on toys

Comments +

Chances are you’ve already gotten a sneak peek at DC’s next big animated project if you’ve spent any time buying superhero toys.

Read Full Story

'Life Is Strange' Episode 1 review: 'Chrysalis'

Comments +
Life Is Strange

High school can be a daily exercise in embarrassing encounters. Stumbling through an awkward exchange with your current crush, taking a volleyball straight to the face during gym, having a teacher ask you a question while you’re daydreaming—wouldn’t it be great to rewind time and prevent these horrific moments from ever happening?

Life Is Strange allows its main character, Max Caulfield, to do just that. The episodic series from Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix capitalizes on the collective trials of navigating teenage life. The first episode, “Chrysalis,” is not without its issues —some hokey dialogue and stilted line reading can make the centerpiece of the game, the characters, a bit unbelievable. But it also sets the stage for a relatable tale with a nice sci-fi spin and enough hanging plot threads to encourage sticking around for future episodes.

Read Full Story

The Super Bowl ads of 2015: Watch them here

Comments +
Mindy Kaling 02

Come Sunday evening, the commercials with the biggest stars, cutest animals, and best jokes might be more important than who actually wins Super Bowl XLIX. (Budweiser’s lost puppy commercial vs. Patriots/Seahawks? Our money is on the puppy.)

Read Full Story
Page:

More from Our Partners

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

TV Recaps | Entertainment Weekly's EW.com

TV Recaps

More from Our Partners

Powered by WordPress.com VIP
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,177 other followers