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'Tyrant' recap: War and peace

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Hail Mary” | Aired July 22, 2014

My original subtitle for this recap was, “All will love me and despair,” with me leaving it up to you to figure out who was the “me” in question. Is it Jamal? Bassam? Sheik Rashid? Ihab? Who knows, but there are too many kings on the chessboard and not enough subjects to appease everyone.

Tyrant_104_2038We left off with Bassam telling Jamal that he had arranged a meeting between Jamal and Ihab. Ihab—whose mother was killed and father was exiled by Jamal and Bassam’s father, President Khaled Al-Fayeed—is gloating to his followers about how he’s going to meet with Jamal. Then something stupid happens: Bassam decides to pull the plug on the deal, making Ihab furious. Tucker gets wind of this idea and confronts Jamal about it (in a parking garage, of all places). Tucker, like me, is confused—didn’t Bassam want the meeting with Ihab so Jamal could appear gracious? What’s the point of standing Ihab up? Bassam reveals that the very smart reason for his switcheroo is to get at Ihab’s father and the Al-Fayeeds’ mortal enemy, Sheik Rashid. Huh?

Why didn’t he decide to go after Sheik Rashid in the first place? The sheik was one of the original players in the feud anyway; 20 years ago, the sheik and President Khaled were close to signing a peace agreement. But the sheik’s followers—as Bassam is quick to point out to Molly—bombed the palace, leading President Khaled to order the now-infamous chemical attack. Bassam thinks that in order to avoid the bloodshed of the protesters in the square and to make Jamal look like a true presidential hero, brokering an agreement with the sheik is essential. So Bassam decides to go around Jamal’s back and secure the meeting with the sheik.

tedBassam enlists Tucker in his scheme. At first, Tucker is more than reluctant to do this. There’s nothing at stake for him here. In fact, there’s nothing personally at stake for him in any of the Al-Fayeeds’ doings. All he’s there to do is make sure the American base stays open and to keep an open line of contact with Jamal. If Tucker is going to risk his neck getting Bassam a meeting with the sheik, Bassam is going to have to do something in return. That something? Spying on Jamal. Bassam gives a nonverbal agreement, probably thinking he can wiggle out of it later. All he wants is the meeting with the sheik.

Bassam does get his meeting, but the sheik doesn’t really seem like he wants to go back to Abbudin. He was exiled, after all, and Jamal is more his father than not. But Bassam comes at the problem by explaining the similarity he shares with the sheik. They are both outcasts, he says, and they can come together through their shared experiences of looking at things from the outside. The sheik still doesn’t seem too impressed, and tells Bassam that he’ll sleep on it. When the day comes, Bassam gets the bad news that the sheik decided not to come with him to the square.

Tyrant_104_2863Meanwhile, Tariq and Leila are both conspiring to get Jamal to throw his weight around and get the troops in the square. Jamal, who has been obsessed with watching the footage of Gaddafi’s death on loop, is still reticent about the whole thing. He doesn’t want to be taken down the way Gaddafi was, but he also doesn’t want his subjects (because, let’s face it, this is no real presidency) to think he’s weak and, as he would put it, less than a man. Jamal especially doesn’t want someone energetic and charismatic like Ihab throwing his weight around; however, Jamal is a staunch supporter of his brother and believed him when he said he was still working out some of the kinks of the meeting with Ihab. Tariq and Leila are able to gain some ground when they inform him that, in fact, Bassam has been nowhere near Ihab. Tariq and Leila are now able to nag Jamal enough to make him say that yes, the troops can go to the square. But they still have to wait for his command.

Bassam and Molly—who has been having her own adventure—meet up at this shindig in honor of Nusrat and Ahmed. “Why did I think I could come here and do something my father couldn’t?” asks Bassam, discouraged and somewhat disillusioned about everything. What Bassam says and what Molly said earlier in the episode—that running the country is Jamal’s job, not his—are foils of sorts for how Bassam describes Ihab: as a “narcissist with a messiah complex.”

Ihab may have some narcissism, but he certainly doesn’t have a messiah complex, seeing how he was willing to let his followers become martyrs in the square and not stand with them when the guns would start. However, he also has more of a reason to be angry and militant than Bassam does. Even if Ihab isn’t the perfect leader, his message is what his followers believe in. Also, his message makes sense: Give the people of Abbudin some peace and independence. Bassam is more of a narcissist with a messiah complex, between the two of them. He thinks he can come to a country he’s forgotten all about, to a family he hasn’t talked to in years, and to a regime he knows nothing about, and just decide to take over the running of the nation. He might be an Al-Fayeed by blood, but he’s just as removed from his family as an in-law like Molly is.

Tyrant_104_0561In any case, a deus ex machina moment occurs when magically, Sheik Rashid comes to the square to be among his followers! Everyone is shocked and mystified. Ihab is awed into silence as he hands his father the bullhorn. The sheik is once again in his element, leading his people and demanding a meeting with Jamal to try again at the peace agreement. Jamal isn’t pleased with the situation, and he’s certainly not pleased with Bassam going behind his back.

Other storylines happening in this episode involve Molly, Reema, Ahmed and Nusrat. First, Molly’s background as a physician comes into play when she catches her maid, Reema, stealing Vicodin from one of the bathrooms. Is Jamal still getting Vicodin prescriptions from his surgery? Would they be in a bathroom that is in Molly’s wing of the house? Anyway, Reema reveals that she’s stealing the pills for her brother, who broke his arm while fixing his roof. Molly offers to visit Reema’s brother to see how badly he’s been hurt. When she takes a look at the state of Reema’s brother, she states that the paramedics need to be called right away because he could be, to paraphrase her, bleeding on the inside. Perhaps she was saying it this way to make sure Reema understood her, but since she’s a doctor, I’d expect her to use the more professional and less clunky terminology: “internal bleeding.”

Reema is completely against the paramedics coming; her brother was on the news, unfairly labeled as the main person behind the riot encasing the presidential motorcade in the last episode. Indeed, when the paramedics are called and they find out his name, they are ready to turn him in. But thankfully, Molly bites the bullet and finally deploys the Al-Fayeed name for herself, stopping the ignorant paramedics in their tracks. Haven’t they seen the news? Didn’t they watch the funeral? Did they not see Molly listed as Bassam’s wife? How could they not know that she was an Al-Fayeed? In any event, Reema’s brother is taken care of and, at Molly’s request, no arrest is made. Also, did we know Molly was a doctor from the pilot?

Tyrant_104_0042Last, Nusrat’s family tries to save her from her marriage after she finally tells them what Jamal did to her. Her poor father does his best to get an annulment and cover up the real reason for it, but he gets nowhere. Jamal reminds him that even though Nusrat’s family is powerful, they gain even more power and influence by being connected to the Al-Fayeed family. He then drives the point home by brutally using Nusrat’s father as target practice. We should thank our lucky stars he didn’t kill him (only because he needs him), but the point is made clear to Nusrat that she’d better act like everything’s OK; hence the party for her and her husband, with Leila telling her with a veiled threat, “Everything here is all for you.”

Usually, I have nitpicks at the end of the Tyrant recaps. You guys know what my general complaints are by now. If you still didn’t read my pilot recap: Nothing has changed since then. I am annoyed with this show.

Are you annoyed with Tyrant too? What do you think about the race for power that’s (hopefully) being set up? How about Leila’s Lady Macbeth shtick? Talk about this and everything else Tyrant in the comments section below!

Tyrant airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on FX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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