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'Tyrant' fan recap: Jamal goes 'Hamlet'

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Fathers and Sons” | Aired Aug 4, 2015

Jamal really went on a rant in this episode of Tyrant didn’t he? He’s really becoming King Claudius with his epic level of guilt, isn’t he? Like Claudius, he has killed his brother (as far as he knows). Also like Claudius, he’s facing epic guilt because of it. It had been building steadily over the course of the season, but now it’s overflowed with the death of Jamal’s grandson. Jamal’s mosque scene was completely from the Claudius playbook, asking a god who might not want to hear from a murderous sinner for mercy and peace. Jamal might as well have quoted Claudius’ speech during his fruitless search for mental peace: “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go.”

Leila, on the other hand, is pure Lady Macbeth. I’ve called her Lady Macbeth in season one, and now she’s back in complete Lady M. form. She chastises Jamal for praying when there are more practical ways of dealing with his grief, such as working with Rami to get the country back together. She yells at him that it’s not God punishing him, that it’s time for him to act like the leader he’s supposed to be.

This leads Jamal to subtly pressure Rami to find the Caliphate, even though Rami says he needs more intelligence from his men on the outside. However, a mysterious call from Khalil changed all that. (I’ve been spelling it Halil, but I think is the official way to spell Bassam’s pseudonym is actually “Khalil”—at least, according to how Rami said it.)

Rami doesn’t tell Jamal about this bit of intelligence, though, choosing to act on his own to see just how this “Khalil” character shakes out. Of course, this ends up biting him in the butt. Even though Bassam and his resistance do get Rami’s men to quit pummeling them with rockets, and Bassam does show that he’s serious about destroying the Caliphate by blowing them up with an assist from Munir’s intelligence, Bassam can’t get a chance to rendezvous with Rami himself. Instead, Rami is held up by Jamal, who is chewing him out for not telling him about Khalil. Jamal has been wracked with grief and guilt for the whole episode, convinced God has it out for him. An imam (Jamal’s personal imam?) tells him that God isn’t punishing him for killing his brother; rather, everything that’s happening is God’s will, and Jamal should look “within” to find the problem. Jamal takes that cryptic statement to mean that someone within the family is acting against him.

I’m not completely sure how he got that from “look within,” since I’d think he’d have to look within himself, since he’s the root of most of his problems (his father being the other cause for some of his deep-rooted issues), but whatever. Let’s look within the family and blame the wrong person! Jamal believes that Rami could be the reason everything has fallen apart because he held information about Khalil from him. Bro, it was just that one thing, and just a few scenes ago, you said he was the best thing that’s happened to you in a while. You don’t even know him that well to immediately get angry with him, Jamal. Give the dude (a dude you barely know, by the way) a break!

Of course, a good reason not to trust Rami is because Jamal barely knows him. He could have left his distrust at that, but Jamal has to become even more dramatic about it by bringing in ethnic ties, saying that perhaps Rami has too much Said (read: Ma’an) in him to be trusted in an Al-Fayeed (read: Abuddin) sphere. Xenophobia at work!

Seeing Rami get shafted leads his Number One to tell him that he’d do well to just get out while he can. He’s seen this happen before, he says, which makes me want to see the kind of despot families he’s worked for as the center of a Tyrant spinoff. Get a jet, he tells Rami, and get out while he still has a viable (and illustrious) career. Rami doesn’t take that advice, and instead seems to look for a way to get back at his father, who’s so quick to misjudge him and besmirch his honor.

Meanwhile, while that father and son have their problems, Sammy finds out that Khalil, that fabled leader of the resistance he’s heard so much about, is actually his father! Sammy is upset, and rightly so. You’d think that the least Bassam could do would be to figure out a way to call home or write or something, to let them know not to come back to Abuddin, and that he’s trying to save people and stuff. Sammy says this when expressing how he should be relieved to find his father alive, not angry about it. Bassam tries to give some “hero complex” answer, but Sammy replies back, “You’re not my father. My father’s dead.” Ouch. Also, what’s with the references to a time we can’t see? Sammy says how Bassam would always brush him off, making Sammy think that Bassam hated him. We, the audience, have never seen Sammy get brushed off by Bassam. The only abuse we’ve seen wasn’t even psychological, per se; it was when Bassam stone-cold slapped his son for saying something mouthy. No amount of mouth deserves a slap across the face from a parent! The show could have referenced this instead of moments in Sammy’s childhood we never had an inkling about. But whatevs. Sammy hates Bassam, and that’s all we need to know.

The women aren’t faring any better. Leila and Nusrat have a pseudo-parallel with the “father-son” theme of the night, with Leila telling a still-recovering Nusrat that she thinks of her as a daughter. But because she’s also the First Lady, she has to worry about her son first (as well as her own future power), and states that Nusrat has to tell Ahmed that annulling the marriage is the best thing to do. Leila tells her that Ahmed can’t be married to a woman who can’t deliver a son, and it’d be best for everyone if Nusrat built a life elsewhere (with the full backing and support of the dynasty). At least they’d support her financially, which is more than I was expecting from Leila. I also wasn’t expecting Leila to sympathize with Nusrat—I figured she should, since she acknowledged how much Nusrat has lost, which parallels what Leila has also lost. It was nice seeing Leila be kind for a millisecond.

Molly, on the other hand, is still dealing with Mr. McFeely, aka Creeper, aka Simmons, who seemed like he was fibbing about them not doing anything the night before. It got even creepier when Molly says she can’t remember what happened last night. Simmons assures her that all they did was make out, and how could he have done anything untoward when he’s still in the same clothes the next day? We’re supposed to believe all of this is true, but I wish Simmons didn’t seem so doggone creepy when assuring her (and us) that he’s a virtuous dude.

Along with Creeper, Molly is also dealing with Sammy just bolting off to find Khalil. This development leaves her character in limbo, since she’s just stuck with Simmons in a hotel room. It seems like Molly gets some real dramatic work to do in next week’s episode, though.

Speaking of next week’s episode, this scene didn’t happen in this episode, even though it’s listed as being filmed for it:

Pictured: (l-r) Keon Alexander as Rami, Sibylla Deen as Nusrat. CR: Kata Vermes/FX

I guess that happens next week. It’s clear that part of someone’s master plan is to woo the other person. It’s just a matter of figuring out who the mastermind is.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Give me your opinions 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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