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

'Tyrant' season premiere fan recap: Welcome back to Abuddin

Season 2 | Episode 1 | “Mark of Cain” | Aired June 16, 2015

We are back in the fictional country of Abuddin*, everyone! The second season of Tyrant has started with “Mark of Cain,” an interesting title for this episode.

If you read my recaps of the first season, you’ve gone through my roller coaster of emotions, starting with outrage, then resigned hatred, then intrigue, and finally, hope that Bassam would rot in his prison cell. Not because I like Abbudin being subjugated—if I’m for anyone apart from Leila and Nusrat, I’m for Ihab Rashid, since he actually wants to rid the country of the Al-Fayeeds. I just like seeing Bassam finally get his back after being a narcissistic jerk for most of the first season.

To be honest, I actually liked this episode a lot. The writing is a lot tighter than last season, the characters seem to have better-defined roles and limitations, and best of all, Bassam’s kids weren’t in most of the eipsode! There is the threat of Bassam’s oldest, Sammy, coming back into the fray due to his huge inheritance, but we’ll deal with that later.

Everyone’s goals, dreams, and fears seem to revolve around Abuddin’s new relationship with China and the power it renders. The two nations are in bed together on a new oil refinery, which will give Abuddin a new source for jobs and a new type of political prestige. This new partnership is also how we’re reminded of where every character is emotionally, and what their goals and motivations are. To quickly go through the Al-Fayeed family:

• Jamal is still a horrible person, but he’s trying to put on a good face as a benevolent leader. As he said, he still hears his brother’s voice in his head, telling him what would be the right thing to do. However, his motivation is to prove himself as a leader and not as a lapdog to Bassam.

• Leila is the true strategic mastermind in the Al-Fayeed family, apart from Bassam. She works heavily behind the scenes to make sure Jamal’s leadership is respected and feared. Her motivation is for Jamal to keep his power, because that means she also gets to keep power. She’s similar to Nusrat; both have lost a lot. In order to feel like it was worth it, they work to have payback through political and financial gain.

• Nusrat, the wife of Bassam’s nephew Nusrat, has been brutally sexually assaulted by Jamal, has lost her father at Jamal’s hands, and is now basically a prisoner. But, as she told Jamal, she’ll keep everything quiet in order to secure the eventual ascension of her child—Jamal’s grandchild—and gain power through him. She wants to kill Jamal’s power through her offspring.

• Ahmed is now disillusioned by the Al-Fayeed legacy and wants nothing more than to leave. Jamal names Ahmed the minister of energy development, but Ahmed would rather leave for London to create a boutique hotel. Per the agreement between Nusrat and Jamal, Nusrat talks Ahmad into staying, saying she’s lost everything in her life and leaving would make her sacrifices worthless.

• Bassam is the “hero” of the story, but he’s got some narcissistic tendencies. Instead of acting like a normal person who hated their family and leaving at the first chance, he dragged his family to Ahmed and Nusrat’s wedding, then decided to have a coup for literally no reason. Now he’s a political prisoner facing the gallows, with his brother poised to let him die. His motivation is still to save Abuddin or whatever, but his real motivation is to come to peace with himself. By “saving” Abuddin and turning it into a democracy, he’ll feel right with himself. This is not the way to go about self-healing.

The deal with China also affects the secondary characters—the resistance movement. Since Sheik Rashid’s death and Bassam’s imprisonment, the resistance has been even more emboldened to take down Jamal and the Al-Fayeed family. The new deal only gives them even more of a reason to fight and upset the status quo. Journalist Fauzi has decided to go to Amsterdam to have asylum and to speak his mind about Abuddin without fear of death. But his daughter, Samira, is hardcore. She’s down for the cause, especially since she’s in love with Ihab, the resistance leader. Even getting smoked out by the Abuddin military isn’t stopping her from defeating Jamal and bringing peace to Abuddin.

Meanwhile, Bassam’s wife, Molly, is wracking her brains trying to get Bassam out of jail. But the writing is on the wall: Bassam will die. The only question is when. Due to his love for his brother, Jamal is constantly waffling on the issue, even though the state dinner with Chinese diplomats is only days away and something must be done. Jamal thinks he can’t possibly kill Bassam during or after the dinner, since that would make the appearance of a kindly Abuddin look false. Leila, ever the practical one, says to do it before the dinner.

So they kill Bassam—and quietly, too, since Bassam and Jamal’s mother Amira somehow didn’t even know about the execution until minutes before the state dinner was to start. Amira has always been a nothing character, but this episode only revealed how little Alice Krige has to work with. However, Bassam’s death scene and the reactions afterwards (including Amira’s) were the most gripping parts of the episode by far.

So Bassam is dead, China is the new partner, and Abuddin is set to flourish, right? Wrong! Bassam is still alive, switched out at the last minute for another prisoner of the state by Jamal, but left to die in the middle of the desert. Jamal may have spared him, but Jamal still wants Bassam to work for his life. Now Bassam has to figure out a way back to finish what he started. Can he do it? We’ll see next week!

*The country of Abuddin has been spelled “Abbudin” in press info and “Abuddin” in the show. I’m sticking with “Abuddin” since that’s how it’s spelled in the show’s subtitles.

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

You May Like