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'Tyrant' fan recap: Bassam vs. the desert

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Enter the Fates” | Aired June 23, 2015

The second season of Tyrant continues, with Bassam now battling the elements to get back to Abuddin and continue his plan to “save” his home. Now that Jamal has left Bassam to (in an ironic way) sink or swim in the desert, Bassam has to really fight to prove himself. Throughout the episode, though, we find that the desert kicks his butt.

Thankfully, after failing to catch a desert lizard creature to eat, getting ridiculously sunburned, and crying to Allah for mercy, he is found by some young people who aren’t sure if he’s friend or foe. Even more thankfully, they don’t kill him out of precaution. They bring him back to their home; of course, this means he’ll be back to save the country he left behind decades ago.

But Bassam’s issues aren’t the only things we were preoccupied with tonight. Leila and Jamal are still reeling from Bassam’s death. Or, at least, Leila is still reeling at the death, since she still thinks he was hanged. Jamal is reeling from leaving Bassam out to die in such an unforgiving climate. Did we need to see the sex scene, though? I know I’m a prude about some things, but did that death scene really illuminate any kind of character beats? Or was it another way to objectify Middle Eastern women (particularly since we mostly see Leila’s face, not both of their faces)? I leave that as an open-ended question, since having sex really had nothing to do with the conversation they had about Bassam’s death later on. It’s strange pillow talk, at any rate.

Also weighing on Jamal’s mind is Ahmed not holding up his end of the bargain as the head of energy development. Perhaps it’s because he’s still messed up from Uncle Bassam’s “hanging,” which led him to take drugs and lecture the Chinese official about the sun. Jamal calls Ahmad into his office and gives him proper father-to-son tough love. He might be a monster, but he really schooled Ahmed about his responsibilities as an Al-Fayeed. In one of the best scenes of the night, he wisely tells Ahmed that there’s much at stake for Abuddin—too much for him to be mucking up. Either he gets his act together or he just goes back to be his son. “I want both,” Ahmed says through tears. Jamal also tells Ahmed something that’s probably the most important thing he’s ever said; everyone hates an Al-Fayeed, so you have to be on your Ps and Qs. “They hate me too,” he tells his son in a loving embrace. Shared wounds.

The Abuddinian military is having a time trying to figure out who detonated the blast that killed its men. The main official looking into the case finally gets the lead he’s been looking for and begins the search for the bomber. As we know, the bomber is with Ihab and Samira. He’s only too willing to volunteer himself for the next mission, which is to kill Jamal at the ceremony celebrating Abuddin and China’s oil-drilling/refinery situation. There was yet another great scene between characters; this time, it involved Ihab, Samira, and Jamal’s would-be assassin. He talks about how alive he felt to press the button on the bomb, and how, even if he’s killed, he’ll be happy going down for the cause.

He might have been able to carry out the mission if the military didn’t find him first. They tracked him down to the shop he worked at, and the young woman who knew him ratted him out. Well, “ratted him out” is harsh. She was coerced by the military since the official threatened to kill her. “People who lie disappear” is an approximation of what he said, but it was said in such a paternal tone that the scene was a little chilling, if not downright sad.

Even though Would-Be Assassin gets brutally killed right in front of our eyes, he does manage to cause enough mayhem and damage to ruin the relationship between Abuddin and China, probably permanently. The Chinese diplomat’s wife was critically injured by gun shots, and the military presence that shot the would-be killer was intimidating, to say the least. On top of the military’s gun usage, Ahmed earned his Al-Fayeed name by filling Would-Be Assassin’s body with lead in front of the entire assembly. So: We have a shifty-looking leader, military with guns out, and Ahmed killing someone after they’re dead. The diplomat is right to question why his country should even consider Abuddin a safe place for investment. He should tell his government to pull out while it still can.

Another result of tonight’s episode is Sammy’s on-and-off relationship with Abdul, the guy from the Al-Fayeed bodyguard family. He calls Sammy with his condolences and says how he’s going to Ma’at for work (that’s also where the uprisings began in the first place). Why is he not still employed with the Al-Fayeeds? He didn’t lose his job, last I can remember. Anyway, Abdul tells Sammy that he misses him. Sammy really can’t believe his crush is actually calling him after all this time, so he can barely get the words out that he misses Abdul too before the call is lost. So we have more of Sammy’s love life to look forward to. Yay? If it’s written well, I’m all for it.

I have to really commend this season so far. We’re only two episodes in, but the quality hasn’t gone down between the first episode and this one. Almost everything about the script, even Sammy’s call from Abdul, is tight. I’m actually excited for next week.

What do you think is going to happen? How much more can Uncle Tariq foam at the mouth at the thought of gassing people? And what happened to Bassam’s inner-circle buddy, Yussef? I don’t think he was killed last season, was he? Correct me if I’m wrong!

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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