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'Tyrant' fan recap: The calm before the (desert) storm

Season 2 | Episode 11 | “Desert Storm” | Aired Aug 25, 2015

Last week, I wrote a Tyrant article outlining why some of the main characters would want to kill Jamal, because let’s face it—he has to die. I wrote that I wasn’t sure if Leila was going to be able to pull the trigger, and that Ahmed has enough righteous anger in him to be able to kill his father. Thanks to tonight’s episode, “Desert Storm,” it looks like I was right and wrong. Ahmed is on the path toward committing patricide, but Leila’s right there with him. Also, they might not even use a gun, but do something even worse to Jamal—assassinate him and his career.

Tonight really is the calm before the storm; the finale is going to be amazing, I can tell. But it was fun seeing the pieces fall into place during this one. Let’s start with the palace drama, aka the much more exciting story. Jamal is still hell-bent on blaming Rami for his own crimes. I guess it’s an attempt to repeat it so often that it becomes true. But Jamal’s rewriting of history shows itself in a very scary way when Molly comes in to meet him after speaking with Leila. Jamal grabs her face, saying how she has to be tricking him with her “Bassam is alive” nonsense. It seems like he’s about to break her neck right there. Thankfully Leila was watching and stepped in.

Of course, we know that Molly saying Bassam is alive isn’t nonsense. After Leila asks how this happened, she seems to be simultaneously relieved, shocked, and sagging under the weight of her own problems. Leila is close to giving up, since the one person whose opinion she cares about the most, her son, has turned his back on her. On top of her own issues, the Caliphate is getting ready to annihilate the Al-Fayeeds. But Molly is there to rouse her spirits, saying that there is still a way for them to help Bassam and start the process of taking out Jamal. Molly uses her inheritance to buy back Solomon and his men, and Leila puts her stone face back on to deal with Mahmoud. Seeing her catch him in the lie surrounding Amira’s death is classic Leila. It’s so great to see her in fighting form, which is exactly why I wrote my article about the women of Tyrant. All the women exhibit strength, but the strongest has to be Leila.

Mahmoud is, naturally, scared of being killed by Jamal. But after Leila impresses upon Mahmoud how their lives were “already pending” with the Caliphate still in power, and their only chance of survival is Rami, Mahmoud commits treason and releases Rami. Finally free to do the work he was hired to do, Rami and Solomon quickly head to whatever part of Ma’an Bassam and his remaining four guys are holed up in to take down the Caliphate. Thank goodness, because after seeing everyone die around him, Bassam was getting ready to pass from this realm.

It’s worth noting that the act of war and leading an army finally slaked Bassam’s Al-Fayeed-esque bloodlust. I was wondering when he’d get tired of killing people. If I thought Samira’s death had affected him, it seems like his guilt was finally brought to its zenith when the soldier sacrifices himself in place of him. Hearing Jamal say he’s done with killing and just wants to do medicine is a relief. It also makes me ponder something else, which I’ll discuss after everything is said and done.

To go back to the palace very quickly, Leila is making even bigger moves than commit treason. She’s finally convinced Ahmed to trust her again (sort of, anyway) and they’re now in cahoots to take down Jamal. Leila specifically says they have to kill him, so that’s what I’m expecting as we head into the season finale. Leila and Ahmed also do something brave, which is confront Jamal about Bassam being alive and say that Rami was released. I’d be afraid to say I released Rami if Jamal was my husband, but Leila survives. She also makes Jamal believe that she believes that the Caliphate killed Amira. All the better to keep their plan hush-hush. I still don’t know how they got out of that room alive after saying they committed treason, but whatever, I’ll take it. That video of Bassam really helped a lot.

Now to the B-story: Bassam leading his men to death and/or victory. The gist of it is that Bassam is made to relive his guilt about Samira, add on to his guilt with the soldier’s sacrifice, and then frost his guilt cake the with blood of the 36 men and women he led into a suicide mission. Meanwhile, Sammy has come around to loving his dad, and Molly seems like she could be willing to patch up their relationship. I mean, she could not want to patch things up and still be crying with joy that he’s alive, but the overtone of Daliyah’s disappointment at Sammy mentioning Molly paints the scene for some romantic-triangle stuff next season. (I don’t think it’s been confirmed yet, but I think FX would be inclined to renew the show again.)

The reason the soldier sacrificed himself in the first place is because of Ihab. Going against Abu Omar’s wishes, Ihab took some of his men to seek out Khalil on the battlefield. Still mourning the death of his wife, he wants to kill Khalil himself. But going after Khalil makes Abu Omar angry, and Ihab gets locked up. But the real twist is when Rami’s men show up, bombing the place. Ihab can’t escape, so he gets severely injured from the blast to his makeshift jail cell. Wouldn’t it be fate that he would end up being taken care of by Bassam, the man who killed his wife? As Ihab says, he’d rather die. At this point, Ihab thinks the greatest punishment is for Bassam to allow him to live, but I’ll bet that if the show comes back for season three, Ihab will somehow become one of Bassam’s begrudging supporters. Which would be weird, since Bassam killed his wife. I’m just reading the tea leaves.

Since I’ve got my teacup out, let’s read some more tea leaves. If Bassam is done killing, then what good is his character? If we go back to the Godfather comparison, Michael didn’t stop killing once he got started. He only stopped when his daughter became a revenge killing for the rival family. Is Bassam really going to stop killing and only focus on healing, when he’s the closest he’s ever been to the palace, the title of president, and his brother, his target?

What I’m getting at is, with Bassam putting away his gun “for good” and Leila and Ahmed stepping into Godfather territory, does it mean that Tyrant is finally going to make the Abuddinian Al-Fayeed family the full thrust of the show going forward? Is Bassam going to be relegated to a secondary character who’s in support of Leila and Ahmed, or will he be written out completely? Like I said, if he’s not going after the title of president and he’s not going to kill Jamal, where do we go with his character? The only reason we’ve been following Bassam is because he wanted to be president himself! Perhaps I’m thinking in front of the story too much, because there ain’t no way Bassam is not going to eventually gun (literally and figuratively) for that presidential seat.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off!

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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