We should’ve known it was coming; after excellent penultimate finales of various shows, the finales themselves often disappoint. So after last week’s ‘Desert Storm’, Tyrant had its work cut out for it.
It’s reunion time in Abuddin, with Barry – now only going by his birth name Bassam, or so it seems – finally holding Molly in his arms again. After all that’s happened, they’re going to have to get to know each other again; get properly reacquainted. Apparently leading an improvised civil army into battle against another improvised army and win makes one kind of horny; Bassam wants to know if there’s any chance Molly might sleep with him on their first date.
Bassam doesn’t go and see his brother Jamal; Jamal goes and sees Bassam. Quite an honor for the president to pay such a visit, as Jamal explains the reason of him coming over. A little megalomania goes a long way, he must be thinking, placing himself above his brother like that. Well, nothing Jamal says or does really surprises me anymore. His run has ended, that’s becoming Abuddintly clear. There are no more cards to play. Especially with an ace, suddenly coming out of the sleeve of one of the writers on the show: the Arab League, who are investigating Jamal and his war crimes, specifically the gas attack. They want to remove him from power, but they need a witness. Someone to testify against him.
Leila’s agreed to do just that, on one condition. Her son should at the very least get a seat at the table. But there are other forces at work, too. Lea Exley (Leslie Hope) is back in town, putting her feelers out there. From all sides – leagues, agencies, the U.S. Embassy – there seems to be only one objective: Bassam for President. The only one hesitant to step up, is Bassam himself.
Staying in Abuddin
Although their daughter Emma’s doing god knows what god knows where – the show just stopped mentioning her completely – Molly and Sammy came to the same conclusion: it is their war now. They don’t say it with so many words, but the gist of it is they’re staying in Abuddin, as long as it takes, supporting Bassam, whatever he may decide.
Jamal’s out of options. His wife’s already signed a written statement that says she’s heard him say he deployed poison gas – which is something he actually didn’t do. There’s no other way out than to step down, promise to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible and live out the rest of his days in an Abuddinian equivalent of Camp David. But he didn’t do it. He did not order the annihilation of an entire village. He did in fact order not to use poison gas in any shape or form, but his uncle couldn’t resist. Therefor, he cannot for the life of him, plead guilty. Jamal stepping down is not going to happen.
When everybody’s gathered around to watch Jamal give his final speech, there are clues in the way it is shot, that something’s going to go down. For some reason, the frames chosen by the director (Gwyneth Horder-Payton) have a ‘there will be blood’ signature all over them. And there it is. While transferring from speech to rant, Jamal gets shot down.
Sand Flying Up
I think we’ve seen the last of Jamal, even though he’s proved to be one hell of a tough cookie; he survived the Pilot, which was a small miracle. But his time had come. The big question is what Tyrant is going to do with the only character who brought tension to the show now been jerked off stage. There’s no season 3 renewal yet, and FX has got some serious thinking to do, whether they want to continue the series. Tyrant has gone from an edgy, brewing desert version of 24 about one thousand and one nights, to a sort of Middle Eastern, soapy version of House of Cards. There needs to be more action. Higher stakes. Dialogue that doesn’t just recap, but drives the story forward. There’s so much this show could do, so much it could explore, but somehow they let everything play out neatly on the surface, as if they don’t want to burn their toes. Dig in, writer’s room. Dig to get that black gold, because we’re growing bored with just sand flying up the dunes.