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'Tyrant' fan recap: Don't nobody bring me no bad news

Season 2| Episode 7 | “The Awful Grace of God” | Aired July 28, 2015

If you know your ’70s musicals, then you know that the title of this Tyrant recap also belongs to the song sung by evil witch Evillene from The Wiz. Does the song’s jangly Baptist Church sound mesh with the heaviness of this episode? Nope. But the lyrics and Evillene’s forceful sentiment sure ring true—so much so that I’m going to use partial lyrics to outline what happened this go-around in Abuddin.

“When you’re talkin’ to me, don’t be cryin’ blues

There were lots of cryin’ blues during this episode. First, there was Jamal anxious to get a military victory under his belt. Just when he thinks he’s about to get one, thanks to Rami’s quick assemblage of a multinational Franken-army, poor, beleaguered Nusrat collapses! She said she wasn’t feeling up to being at the military presentation beforehand, but she went to support Ahmed, like he wanted.

Nusrat’s pregnancy problems bring about the second round of bad news, in which the doctor states that Nusrat’s problem is rare; it only happens once in a blue moon, and it chose to happen now. At first, it’s thought that the baby could be saved (at least for a short period of time, if not permanently) by removing it from Nusrat prematurely. But during the surgery, the baby doesn’t make it, leaving poor Ahmed, who has been crying his eyes out since arriving at the hospital, in emotional shambles. Even worse, Nusrat is speaking in some scary tones, saying the baby was the only thing keeping her alive.

Understandably, Ahmed thinks Nusrat is talking out of her head from illness, the surgery, and the loss of the baby. But we audience members know that Nusrat had her hopes and dreams of retaliation and power resting on that baby. Now she’s got to find another way to seek meaning in her life.

With both the lack of a victory on the frontlines and the loss of his grandson, Jamal believes without a doubt that God is punishing him for “killing” Bassam. In so many words, Leila basically tells him, “Don’t be cryin’ no blues.” She tells him that the baby’s death is not his fault, that he had to make hard choices as president. But her husband’s fragile emotional state has her concerned, and highlights just how hardcore Leila is—especially when she steps to Rami to make something happen.

“If we’re gonna be buddies, you better bone up on the rules

Leila shuts down Rami’s counterpoints at every turn, basically demanding him that he make a victory out of nothing for the sake of “the country,” aka Jamal. Leila is the one who makes things happen, since Jamal had asked Rami earlier to make something go down, and Rami was successful in countering his father with logical fact, saying it’s best for Jamal not to make military decisions under duress.

Rami does get Jamal his victory—an airstrike that took out much of Bassam and the resistance’s headquarters in Ma’an, nearly killing Bassam and Daliyah in the process. But while Leila feels everything has been restored to order, Jamal still looks like he thinks God will strike him down with lightning at any second.

“If you’re gonna bring me something, bring me something I can use”

Sammy has hit a roadblock when it comes to getting his beloved Abdul back. He did brave going back to the Al-Fayeed palace to get Jamal to loosen up the purse strings on that inheritance money, which seemed like its own rite of passage when it came to Sammy garnering Jamal’s respect. Although I have to say that the record screeches to a halt when Sammy brings up some memories of “crazy uncle Jamal” teaching him fishing and going to Disneyland with him. Stop the presses on this.

Hey, writers, I think that’s a pretty big plot hole. If Jamal went to Disneyland with them:

A) The world would know a member of the Abudinnian royal family was at Disneyland. It would have been in the papers and on the news. He couldn’t just come to Bassam’s house like a regular tourist and have Walley World shenanigans without someone knowing who he is. That’s like saying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can come to a commoner cousin’s house unnoticed and go with said cousin to the London Eye, a place surrounded by tourists and locals, unnoticed.

B) If Jamal had Walley World American fun with his American family, the press would have known about Bassam living as Barry, and his family would have been under the microscope (and paparazzi lens) already, not just now in 2015. Maybe they already knew Bassam was living as Barry, but he just wasn’t interesting to keep up with. I’ll give you that, since that’s actually not unheard of—some big-name Hollywood stars manage to stay out of the tabloids, for instance. But still, if you have someone like Jamal, who hasn’t renounced his Al-Fayeed title, vacationing with you, where was the press on this big story?

C) If the conceit of the show was that Bassam hadn’t been back to Abuddin in 20-odd years, hasn’t taken his family back, and has never had any of his family over in that same amount of time, when did the trip to Disneyland and these fishing excursions happen? How would these trips be able to match up with what the pilot episode stressed? From what I figured, Bassam wanted to keep his life in America as separate from his Abudinnian past as possible, hence becoming the whitewashed “Barry.” The family’s trip to Ahmed’s wedding was the first time they’d been in Abuddin, I thought.

In any case, when he finally got the money he needed to go to Ma’an and free Abdul, Yasser, the guy who told Sammy about Abdul’s condition, tells him it doesn’t matter and that it’s all over. “They’re dead,” he says flatly.

Of course, Sammy can’t believe it, which leads Yasser to some epic, grief-stricken reading. “You lost a friend?” he says condescendingly. “An exotic crush?” He goes on to proclaim how everyone has lost family and friends, and how he himself lost the love of his life. He may have been speaking through grief, but I dare say he’s not completely wrong about Sammy’s infatuation with Abdul.

However, during the vigil, it’s revealed that the reason for Abdul trying to find work in Ma’an was so he could pay for a move to America, to be where “his heart” was. Now, call me a cynic, but I don’t know how you can fall in love in the course of the few weeks Sammy and Abdul spent together. If anything, they were crushing on each other, leading up to possibly being boyfriends, if not just friends with benefits.

In short, I didn’t see the grand love the writing is trying to convince me of. In the end, though, Sammy is given a proposition by one of the grieving men who lost a cousin in the attack: Give his inheritance to finance the anti-Caliphate freedom fighters. Sammy is also shown the gruesome video of the men’s deaths to make him really wake up to what’s at stake.

“I’ll make you an offer, child, that you cannot refuse

Just as with Sammy’s recollection of “crazy Uncle Jamal,” I felt a needle scratch when Bassam just brings up random memories he had of Samira as a child. But those were less egregious, mostly because they were paired with Samira’s own reflections of her life. However, these reflections come while Samira is holding Daliyah and Bassam—who was trying to free Daliyah thanks to Munir’s Caliphate intelligence—captive. Bassam tries to get Samira to let them go many times, but Samira threatens to shoot Daliyah and does shoot a guard who comes in, further deepening her descent into madness. She should have gone with Fauzi to Europe, since to get free, Bassam has to kill her. It’s no easy thing for him to shake off, either. I hope they have an episode in which Bassam has to face Fauzi.

Minor things to note:

  • The love stories happening are … troubling. Molly with Simmons? It’s only been a few weeks since she’s mourned Bassam, right?
  • Also, Bassam and Daliyah? I knew this was going to happen, but it only really clicked once I remembered kindly Ahmos is dead. But Bassam, you’ve still got a wife. Or does he think his marriage is annulled because he’s “dead”? Katrina and Ichabod’s marriage didn’t die, and both of them were, for all intents and purposes, dead. If they were still married, you’re still married, buddy.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off below (but don’t bring me no bad news)!

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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