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'Tyrant' fan recap: Bassam's fall from grace is Leila's rise to power

Season 3 | Episode 7 | “Bedfellows” | Aired Aug 17, 2016

Is it just me, or does it feel like this might be the last season of Tyrant? Not that I want it to be the last season, but I’m trying to figure out just how Bassam’s storyline will be advanced beyond his current “I’m not like my brother but I am” scenario. For all the world, it feels like we’re nearing a climax of a novel, and Bassam, our anti-hero (or villain that we’ve been following in place of a hero or anti-hero) is about to get his comeuppance.

As he should, too. Bassam is the worst Abudinnian president ever. Even Jamal didn’t start war based on personal revenge. In fact, Leila and Fauzi both told Bassam to his face that he’s worse than Jamal. To me, he’s always been worse than Jamal; Jamal might have been a scumbag, but he was always upfront about it. Bassam acts like a nice guy, but he’s really a snake. You can’t trust people like that, let alone presidents.

Leila has told Bassam already that acting based on personal feeling might make him a good father, but it also makes him a bad president. Bassam’s motivation is to kill Ihab Rashid because he killed Emma. But is it logical to start a whole war, in which thousands of innocent soldiers and civilians will be killed, just to root out one man? The bombing Bassam is doing is bad enough, but at least he found out where Sheik Abudullah’s clan was this time around. Bassam would say that he’s bombing the terrorists to keep the rest of Abuddin safe, and indeed he is, but how concerned is he with Abuddin’s safety when he decides to limit people’s freedoms? As Fauzi told him, Bassam just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Now, not only is Bassam the most hated man in the country, but he’s making Fauzi lose the election, which is allowing for Leila and Al-Qadi’s unlikely partnership to take the lead.

Bassam’s seeming eventual flame-out might be a great thing for the show, since it just might make way for a new iteration of Tyrant; an iteration in which Leila is the one in charge. I’d love to see several seasons of Leila rebuilding Abuddin while hiding the bodies of the people she’s killed discreetly in her closet. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Leila is much quieter and stealthier about her deception than any of the men are. She practically said so earlier this season.

If the show’s team is actually considering giving Leila and her family the reins, then that just might be the most radical thing the show has done — even more radical than killing off characters like Rami and Nusrat, characters who could have made a Leila-centric season even better. But at the very least, a Leila-centric season or seasons would be a welcome radical change. I was happy when season 2 showed a much more pronounced focus on Leila, Nusrat, Ahmed, Rami, and others. Bassam was still in the mix, but we got to see much more of the Abuddinian characters and their point of views. Season 3 is populated with even more Middle-Eastern characters. If season 4 means the beginning of a Leila-led reign, then this show would finally become what it should have been from the beginning: a show about Middle-Eastern characters played by brown actors, not a show about the Middle East led by a white British actor playing a Middle-Eastern person.

Let’s take a look at Tyrant without the lens of whitewashing, though. A Leila-led season would be the best come-up for a character who has endured a lot while having to bite her tongue. She practically ran Abuddin when Jamal was alive; it’s about time she runs Abuddin for real. The show has delved head first into portraying Abuddin’s women as the backbone of the country, and rightly so. How great would it be if Tyrant put the cherry on top of this “ladies first” throughline and crowned Leila the President of Abuddin? It’s be monumental and a dramatic turning point for the show. In short: Let this happen, writers. If you happen to read this article, please, please let Leila become president.

If Leila were to become president, the immediate storyline would be how she and Al-Qadi would get along. You already know Al-Qadi would start vying for Leila’s power immediately. Right now, Al-Qadi is Leila’s stooge to a degree, but just wait until Leila gets power. Let’s see if he remains peaceful and passive then. But if I know Leila, she’d be able to defeat him. He’s just another man in her life, another obstacle to overcome on her way to glory.

Speaking of men in Leila’s life, Cogswell just straight killed that picture-taking dude, didn’t he? I don’t know exactly how the storyline of that man’s death will play into Leila’s bid for president, but it seems like it will. We’ll have to keep a pin in this. Leila’s immediate man problems come in the form of Bassam, who is acting like a spoiled child just because Leila’s not on his side anymore. It was after Bassam ordered Leila to get out of his car that she finally revealed the secret about Ahmed. Bassam seems to be taking it in stride, all things considered, but I don’t like seeing Ahmed get that close to Bassam. Somehow, Ahmed’s position as a wedge between Bassam and his mother coming into power will finally come into relief. I just hope Ahmed doesn’t screw things up.

On the subject of screwed up stuff, two people got their lives rocked in this episode. First is Sammy, who is, for some reason, still trying to be with Haitham. Why, dude? He’s already insulted you! Just go back to the palace! But Sammy has to get his butt handed to him yet again after directing Haitham to go into hiding in a place where he can be free as a gay man. This is when Haitham tells him he’s not gay; he might like sleeping with men, but Sammy can’t tell him who he is. He tells Sammy that the idea of being one or the other is very “American” of him. Basically, Haitham is saying that Sammy can’t just inflict his culture and worldview on everyone and expect everyone to just go along with it, like it’s naturally the right thing to do. Sammy shouldn’t be what his father is, which is the “American” (read: white) savior. Once again, Sammy leaves in dismay and tears.

The second person coming face to face with disapproval is Halima, the busybody. She’s had her nose in everyone’s political business since season 2. Her loyalty to Bassam is admirable but faulty. Her allegiance, and the fact that she messed with that dude she called the authorities on, led her down the sad path of literally being shamed in the town square. There was a lot of male privilege in that dude’s act of inciting the crowd of religious purists to call her a whore just because she was being openly affectionate with her boyfriend. With that said, it is fascinating to see Halima’s Westernization finally become a problem for her. Eventually, it would, especially since the current exhibitor of Western ideology is Bassam, who is in office and has bombed children, closed mosques, and is now about to start a revenge-based war that could tear his country apart. However, while Halima might be a sometimes annoying busybody, she’s not a whore, and it’s sad that she has to contend with that stereotype now.

What did you think of this episode of Tyrant? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Tyrant airs Wednesdays 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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