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'Tyrant' fan recap: Bombs and explosions

Season 2 | Episode 10 | “Zanjir” | Aired Aug 18, 2015

I know Tyrant involves a culture based in Islam, but I was raised in a Christian household, and I had to get my Latrice Royale–inspired “Jesus is a biscuit” praise on after this latest episode, “Zanjir.” What a time it was! Everything I’ve wanted from the show since the beginning has come to fruition! Who would have guessed it would all unravel from Amira’s death? In fact, who would have guessed Amira would die, period?

Yes, Amira is dead, killed by accident by her own son, Jamal. In Jamal’s crazed haste to get rid of anyone who so much as sneezes in his direction, has concocted what really was an asinine plan to get rid of Rami, who did nothing but try to support him and be a good general. Rami, with the help of the snivelly Mahmoud, has members of the military set up to bomb Rami’s motorcade as he goes to check on the troops. But instead, Rami is not in the motorcade—he’s at the palace, wanting Jamal to sign off on something! So who’s in the motorcade? Amira! She’s left the palace to meet Molly, who wants to speak in private, and not just about her outdated visa. Presumably, she wants to tell Amira about Bassam. But even though Jamal tries to get Amira to turn the car around so she won’t get hurt, it’s too late; he hears the car blow up after saying his last words to his mother.

Jamal tries to cover up lies with more lies—originally, he was going to say the Caliphate bombed Rami, not him, but now he and Mahmoud have made it seem like Rami was working with the Caliphate to kill Amira. Of course, Rami wildly denounces this as he is carted off in front of an already distraught Leila and Ahmed. How could he kill the only person he ever cared about apart from his mother? Leila, even in grief, keeps her wits about her, and her intelligence tells her something is not right. She immediately knows that Jamal is behind it. What’s great is that Rami also knows that Jamal is behind it. That comes into play later.

I expected this to be the height of the fireworks, but there would be even more explosive moments from Nusrat and Ahmed. Ahmed had been nursing a grudge through the whole episode after witnessing Rami chat up his wife, saying he’d look her up in London once he finished with his military work. Finally, Ahmed confronts Nusrat about her accepting Rami’s flirtations, saying that she must have wanted out of the relationship to pursue him. That’s when Nusrat lets him have it. She tells him everything. I’m hoping “everything” also means telling him about what Jamal did to her on their wedding night. I think so, because when Ahmed came to speak to his mother, he was fuming. He realized that Nusrat was right, his parents are monsters, and Ahmed’s rejection of Leila affected her so deeply that she went to Rami’s prison cell to plot a coup with him. She’s finally tired of playing the games. When Ahmed challenged her on not being able to change her life because she’s an Al-Fayeed, a fire seemed to be lit within her; if she’s going to win back her son, she’s got to take out her husband, a father who kills sons and anyone else he thinks is against him for some reason. Rami doesn’t seem to think that she’ll do it, but she pledges to him that Jamal will die.

However, she can’t deliver, at least on the first try, when she finds Jamal literally banging his head until it bleeds over causing the death of his mother. He’s back to praying to Allah for the hope of being able to see his mother again. He knows that he’s to blame; it seems like his lies have finally caught up with him after getting a stern talking-to by the leader of the African guns for hire, Solomon. Solomon tells Jamal that he’s not going to work for Jamal no matter how much money he’s promised. He tells Jamal that he knows Jamal put an innocent man in jail, and that working for a man who could turn on him on a dime is not of any interest. That simple acknowledgement of Rami’s wrongful imprisonment seemed to finally do Jamal in. Now, he’s admitting his guilt to himself and to God, saying that it should be him in the body bag. This would have been the opportune time for Leila to kill him, but she can’t; despite him being a monster, she has come to love him.

There are other things that happened in this episode—Molly coming back to the palace and figuring out that Bassam is in danger out in the desert; Bassam gaining some type of better connection with Sammy; Sammy asking Daliyah about how she feels about Bassam; Daliyah kissing Bassam before he left to lead his fighters to what would eventually become a suicide mission; etc. But did any of this really matter during this episode?

Well, Molly getting in contact with Sammy to try to tell Bassam that the military wasn’t going to be there to back up the resistance against the Caliphate is important. But honestly, none of the B-story matched what the A-story was bringing. All of the drama was with the palace and its inhabitants. Sibylla Deen, Ashraf Barhom, Moran Atias, Keon Alexander, and Cameron Gharaee all gave amazing performances in this episode, and need all the props the fans (and writers like me) can give them. This, above all episodes, showed that they really are the ones carrying this show. Yeah, Bassam is coming back Hamlet–style to take over Abuddin, but if this show didn’t even involve Bassam and was just focused on the insanity happening inside the palace walls, it’d be a heck of a show, as demonstrated by this episode.

This was also one of the strongest episodes of both seasons of the show thus far, along with the episode that introduced Rami. The writing staff should be commended, because this level of off-the-wall drama is what I’ve been hoping for since the beginning. I hope the writing keeps up this pace all the way through the finale.

I’m wiped out, so I’ll end my recap here. What did you think about this episode? Did Amira’s death take you by surprise? What do you think will happen next week? Give 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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