Tyrant Episode Ten-Final episode of Series One
“Contains scenes of strong violence”
Jamal to handsome Colonel Ziad:
“You are to head the army..”
Fauzi is the name of Bassam’s mate. Finally.
(I have been looking for it for a while)
“You want me to be your propagandist..”
The spy lady to Bassam:
“We’re out of the democracy business!”
But Bassam has already gone into shouty dictatorial mode.
In the beginning (of the episode): Jamal and Bassam are playing with their new fishing rods.
“Which one do you want?”
This is a really big deal to Jamal. Spending time with his brother.
Bassam looks bored. In every way.
“Yes”. He says.
“Remember when father caught that twenty pound yellow-tail!”
“No, that was me, says Jamal.
(er) “Yes, sure it was..” replies Bassam.
So Emma is already split up from the family.
Bassam seems to have forgotten the dramatic rule of the very dangerous nature of two main characters being out on a boat.
What did I tell you, Jamal: (on the boat)
“I have waited for twenty years for someone to play with”
“If things had been different…
“we would live in the same town, You would be the Doctor..”
“Our wives would have been friends”
“If we would have been the closest of brothers,”
“If things had been different..”
Bassasm: (Looking sheepish)
I am getting seriously worried about this boat trip.
” Let them think we have all drowned, “
“Head to open water..”
“We could be fishermen..”
Everything is about to go to hell in a hand-basket. I just know it.
“General, you may arrest your prisoner..”
“All afternoon on the boat I prayed..”
“I would have given it to you, I would have given you everything!”..
I’m gonna stop here. & Leave the end. Unwritten.
“You are the President, you can be merciful, you are my gentle son..”
“He was your gentle son, not me..”
“He is still your brother...”
Leila/ Layla to Bassam:
“You left me in September, then I spent the next twenty years of my life wishing you would come back”
“You’re going to spend the next twenty years wishing you hadn’t!”..;
Molly & Tucker.
“You stay here, as the only place that’s safe”
Tucker hugs Molly. In his incredibly beautiful pale blue suit and matching shimmering blue shirt and silk tie.
Jamal clinks glasses, two, with himself and talks to his father in a photograph.
“We need to discuss your brother..”
Well that was a bit of an anti-climax as a final episode. However I had considered that there might be a cliffhanger. Just not such an almighty one..
It did become clear I guess, at one point that they/ the drama that is were running out of time for the story to properly conclude shall we say. Oh well. Still, this means that there will be another series. Deservedly so.
Because I think that Tyrant was really rather good.
Granted Tyrant doesn’t have that high fizz of character intensity or buzz of action and suspense found in Homeland.Perhaps it is unfair of me to compare then. I suppose just because they are both set in the Middle East. They are two entirely different kettles of fish.
Although I believe that Gideon Raff I spotted in he credits as having worked on both series: Homeland and Tyrant. I also see Claire Danes is now a producer on Homeland. But I digress.
Tyrant whilst not so sharp snappy and sassy as Homeland has a rhythm and interest of its own. For now anyway Tyrant is a little low on characterisation. The believability of the characters. Their emotional story so to speak.
Jamal was certainly a high scorer on the believability scale with a rounded portrayal of his character’s deep intensity of emotion: love, jealousy, pique, rage and enraged violence. To name but a few. Jamal’s motivations,loyalties and longings become clear over time for us as viewers.
Barry or Bassam’s emotional life is less clear. He is much harder to read as a character. As I have described him in the notes in episodes, Barry is stony of face, stiff of posture. Upright and up-bearing. If there is such a word. Regal in bearing. There we have it. Barry had that royal blood/ stance all along.
Molly, who, by the way had full make-up on in bed in the final episode, dear drama makers this is a ridiculous enterprise and distracting to all of us who notice it. Resulting in temporary suspension of belief in the drama on going at that moment. As we reiterate the impossibility of this in real life.
But there you go. such strictures seem to mainly apply to women in American series. Not that I have kept score. But you can see how it is distracting. Right?
Yes, Molly’s character has been slight from the start but built up sporadically throughout. Since she necessarily took a back seat to Barry becoming fully Bassam.
A special mention must go to Amira. Both as actress and a character she sizzled on screen. it was blindingly obvious, I felt, that Amira could easily have taken over the running of the country. If that is what the Al-Fayeed family actually did. As a Dictatoress. If there is such a thing. However that just wouldn’t do.
Likewise Layla/Leila could easily have run the country. The combination of Amira and Layla would be truly scary indeed.
Layla grew on me over time, even though I suspected her of being dubbed in the beginning. The actresses and actors may have become more fluent sounding in English as time went on. Layla had a believable and intense air. Along with a credible love story albeit with a cringe-worthy flashback.
Layla wa also strong and fearless with a ruthlessness we were allowed to observe, infer or understand: that she had grown like this in reaction to Jamal. As well. Jamal and his cruelty. Towards women.
Both Jamal and Layla are multi-faceted characters. In some way Tyrant is also a story of a painful family loss. At a young age for all three of them: Bassam, Layla and Jamal. When Bassam was sent to America. The same goes for Barry/ Bassam’s mother and father. They all feel like the family that he left behind. They were indeed all grieving for him. And now?..
There were also very solid performances from the so called secondary characters: Yusuf was excellent I thought as was the sinister eye glittering “Uncle”/ General Tariq.
Also Fazuzi as Bassam’s mate was believable and convincing as the worried father and (we think) liberal Journalist/ activist. Secular or non-secular is not clear. Although his daughter’s views are clear. Her idea of freedom appears to be different to Basam’s. Or does it.
Likewise Ihab was a passionately convincing character. If a bit corny of speech-making I felt. His plan for the country wasn’t completely clear either. (Although he was religious)
None of this was delved into too deeply, thankfully. Apart from the politicking with the estimable scene stealing Shaykh Rashid and the attempt to build a democracy from the back of an envelope pretty much.
The young son and daughter of Barry/ Bassam and Molly were also very good. Coming into their own more towards the end. In spite of lamentably few appearances. Less so for the son.
We see young Emma , with her father’s clear blue eyes, diplomatically reasoning with the Policeman. Successfully extricating herself and ditzy sister out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Especially when unbeknownst to Emma, Bassam’s position is now precarious at best. Luckily the latest dungeon news does not feature on the Abuddin internet. Who is in, who is out. Who they cleared out.
I couldn’t help but find it amusing whilst remaining ridiculously (along with Bassam) and optimistically hopeful that Democracy can be cooked up from scratch almost on the back of an envelope: it was amusing to see laid bare the pitfalls of democracy to a dictator. Which is that you might not get voted in. Oops. From their point of view. Quelle horreure.
No really, it must be a bit of a shock for the Al-Fayeed family to countenance. Where will they go? What will they do? Perish the thought. They are Al-Fayeeds. It is our birthright, as evil Amira intones.
Yes evil overall and not forgotten by me for her scathing supposedly right on dismissal of the value of being a Doctor to “over-privileged American children”. But that’s what happens when you live in an inverse universe turned, or twisted, inside out.
Like when General Tariq applies his moral relativism to acts of war whilst forgetting that it was he who created a war. And his war is unofficial.
Still, post dictator-sville may be A OK, as Bassam explained: you can go live somewhere nice, with your pockets full of all the treasure you took from the peasant folk. The ones who live in a timeless and irrevocably ancient Star Wars land. With as many bullets and stones as stars.
Look on the bright side Jamal, if you’re off to exile you might even be able to pop down the shops without being recognised. Take up a hobby even a meaningful one. Take up sport. Work for world peace. Write your memoirs.
Much less time to be bored . Lot less time for rape and pillage. Same thing with democracy.
By the end of the series the drama has cleverly managed to make us ambivalent in our opinion of Jamal and Bassam. There is now not much to compare them. Not much difference, between them.
Barry didn’t expunge his sins as I had postulated might happen. Instead he doubled up on them. Hence Bassam is not so different in track record to Jamal.
Just as Jamal became a fully fledged character Barry also is shown literally as his expression
(in the bedroom with Molly as he pleads with him to leave) changes: becomes stiffer, set and almost imperceptibly, older.
I did wonder about Jamal’s slight speech affect, an imperfect ending to some of his words towards the end of a speech. When visibly or apparently moved. Was this slight stutter the actor’s own idiosyncrasy, perhaps accentuated by speaking another language. Or was it cultivated by the actor in a deliberate echoing of a real live (or dead) tyrant. All are possible.
Whichever, along with Jamal’s estimable performance of a charming psychopath, I found the speech affect slightly endearing. Which may be why, if it is part of his character, Jamal does it. Deliberately. To show emotion when he has none. Or to appear calm when he is really not.
Like with Jamal’s therapeutic in nature and genius fail safe line, given to him by Bassam.:
“I’ll take that under advisement..”
Yet, as we know, Jamal does have emotions. His bond with Bassam, his “little brother” is everything to him. The whole world and back again. He and Bassam are like the best and worst of each other at the same time.
Like twins separated too early. Which is kind of how Jamal has experienced his separation from Bassam.
Bassam is less bothered we feel, more distant and reluctant to show affection. However we know that there is emotion, deep down and bubbling. Bursting forth into his blazing blue eyes.
Bassam has demonstrated his loyalty to Jamal, family and his country and the equally has love for all three. Just don’t mention the Hippocratic oath.
Methinks that a King Solomon’s choice maybe on the cards for the next series. That whole tiresome eye for an eye thing. Saving face. Or sending the right message. It’s just so tough being a Dictator.
Where is Nusrat? Will Shaykh Rashid ever open the green door, like his half-alike sounding namesake Shaking Stevens? Will Molly fall for the delectably dressed and dashing John Tucker. Or he for her.
Will Bassam’s family ever leave? I did predict that Tyrant would be like Hotel California. Or Shangri-la.