Warning: Spoiler Alert
The Lion Tamer’s transformation into the new King Of The Beasts, took a giant leap forward on the seventh episode of the FX Original Series “Tyrant,” as Barry/Bassam Al Fayeed, allowed the end to justify the means in making some major decisions. This episode had many revelations, about events taking place currently, as well shocking information about the past. During the hour Barry went from telling his brother Jamal, that he and his family were flying home; to believing Abbudin may need him far more than he ever considered.
The episode began seconds after the previous one, as Jamal allowed his emotions to overtake his common sense, when Sheikh Rashid told the President of Abbudin, that he’d fear a race for the Presidency far more if he ran against Barry instead of Jamal. The elderly opposition leader went into a coughing jag and Jamal attacked him, knocking him onto the floor of a bathroom stall with a blow to his back, then grabbing his head and slammed it into a toilet. Al Fayeed walked out thinking, he’d soon be dead and all would think that the Sheik collapsed and hit his head on the porcelain when he fell.
Before security discovered the Sheik, Barry and American Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker had a brief conversation, in which Tucker brought up the nickname he had given Barry, the lion tamer. Al Fayeed asks why everybody’s making a big deal about that and the ambassador responds, that all Barry needs to know is certain people may have tried to start a regime change if he wasn’t by Jamal’s side. Right then Molly appeared and told them that the Sheik had collapsed and they rushed to where he laid.
Jamal felt far less secure when Barry and Molly examined the Sheik and Molly found a pulse and performed CPR on him, then transported the old man to the hospital. The attending physician told his two sons that they had stabilized the Sheik’s condition, but had to induce a coma because of the brain-swelling, but there was hope he would regain consciousness. Jamal walked into the room as the doctor announced his prognosis and told the Rashids that he would help them in any way possible and he postponed the ceremony signing the document calling for free and open elections, due to the situation. He then asked to talk to his brother and the two went into an empty room.
President Jamal Al Fayeed’s in reality a very simple man; had he been born to any other family in Abbudin, he’d probably live like a peasant. He’s strong and tough, but lacks any cunning or finesse; although raised from birth to become the President of his nation upon his father’s death, he’s overwhelmed at the situation he’s in. He feels like a caged animal and reacts in the same manner, lashing out at all he perceives a threat.
After clumsily trying to find out, whether the Sheik would regain consciousness, Jamal admits to Barry what he did and tells his brother that he needs him to make sure he doesn’t wake up. He wants his brother to inject Rashid so that the Sheik can’t tell the world about what Jamal did to him and Barry’s appalled at what he’s hearing. He tells Jamal, he won’t grant his request and when the President asks him what Barry thinks should happen, he says that he and Molly and the kids are heading back to California. He tells his Brother he’s broken and that Barry can’t fix him.
Jamal feeling abandoned heads back to the palace and starts drinking. Leila enters their bedroom and asks Jamal what’s wrong and he responds that they have a compound in the Maldives, where nobody lives and he and Leila could lie naked on the white sand beach and nobody would know them. She asks her husband why he’d desire anonymity when he’s been trained for his position of power since childhood? He tells her what he did to the Sheik and says he did a very bad thing.
Leila’s ecstatic instead of being upset and tells her husband that his actions are those of the man she married. He replies that Barry told him he’s broken and she says that Barry’s been poisoning his mind since his arrival, he should call off the elections and show his people he’s in charge. Leila then says they can do anything together and Jamal responds then they should get on a plane and fly to the Maldives that evening. She tells her husband, that he can’t up and leave in the middle of a crisis and he replies that she just told him they could do anything together.
Barry’s also back at the palace and his mother Amira, comes to talk about whether her son believes that the Sheik’s collapsing was in reality foul play and he asks why she would think that. She then confides in her youngest son, information only a handful of people are aware of. The Sheik’s supporters were not responsible for the bombing of the army barracks that broke off negotiations between Rashid and his father 20-years earlier. She then tells him that his father was not responsible for the gassing of his own people; his uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed committed both acts. He bombed his own soldiers to break off negotiations and when the President refused to gas the province the Sheik controlled, Tariq gave the orders to gas the people.
All the information that Amira told Barry, overloaded his senses and he lost it; first accusing his mother of lying, then asking why his father never revealed the truth to him, knowing his youngest son despised him for the atrocity. She replied that her husband feared for his son’s lives if they found out and Tariq would stop at nothing to get his own way. She asks if thinks Tariq’s responsible and her son responds with a derisive laugh and then told her the Sheik would have died immediately if Tariq did it. Barry asks who else knows, beside her and Tariq and we find out in the next scene.
Naturally the other individual’s the former President’s Chief Advisor Yussef and Barry asks him how he could even hold a civil conversation with Tariq and the old man says a line that succinctly surmised the rest of the episode “You do what you have to do to survive.” He explained that Barry’s father fought to get people together, while Tariq’s only concern’s been to keep the Al Fayeed family in power. Yussef then told him that the brothers’ differences in philosophy, made them a powerful duo; with the former President a visionary who wanted his people to prosper and Tariq the hammer that disposed of any threats to the regime. Barry then asks about the man he shot at the age of ten, a political prisoner that their father wanted young Jamal to shoot, but the boy lacked the nerve to pull the trigger, so Barry did the deed to end his father berating his brother. He asks Yussef to get the man’s address so he can talk to his widow and family.
Rebuffed by Leila, President Al Fayeed heads to the home of his American mistress Katerina, who’s surprised to see him as he had told her he would come by later in the week. After the couple have sex, they lie in bed together and Jamal asks the woman, if she’d share her bed with him if he was not President of Abbudin. She responds that if she was unattractive, Jamal wouldn’t want her, it’s the entire makeup of each of them that drew the couple together. Satisfied with her response, he asks her about running away to the Maldives together and describes the beauty and serenity of the islands.
Barry drive’s to one of the poorest sections of the capital and knocks on the door of the home his victim lived in before dying from the pistol shots. A young woman answers the door and tells Al Fayeed that the family moved away shortly after the father got shot and killed for being a traitor. She then says that moving when they had, saved the family from certain death, as all the residents of the neighborhood died in the gas attacks. We see by the expression in Al Fayeed’s face that perhaps some good came about as the result of his heinous act as a boy, if the family hadn’t moved out of fear the government would come after them as well, they’d been killed 20-years earlier.
After leaving the home Barry drives to a place he thought he’d left forever, a mosque and joins his fellow Muslims in prayer. As he puts on his shoes after the service, in walks his childhood friend Fauzi Nadal, quite surprised to find Barry in a mosque. Al Fayeed tells his old friend that he reached his tipping point earlier in the day He laughs at his own naiveté, believing he could make a difference in a country bound by tradition and fear. Fauzi, tells his old friend that the game just started and tells Barry not to diminish what he already accomplished, getting Jamal to agree to free and open elections was a move beyond exceeding any fantasy the people had. He then told his friend that he’s found himself waking up with hope for the first time in 20-years.
Barry’s mindset has turned 180 degrees in the last few hours, with the revelation that the man’s family was alive as a result of his inexcusable actions and Nadal’s conversation and realizes he can be the catalyst that sends Abbudin on the right course. He drives to the hospital the Sheik’s in and asks the Sheik’s older son Jamir how his father’s doing and Rashid responds there’s been no change, which the doctors take as a positive. He then asks Jamir and his brother Ihab for permission to spend some time with the Sheik, as he would like to tell him some things and the brothers grant his request, however first Ihab tells him that he’s always despised the Al Fayeed family, but thanks Barry for bringing his father back to Abbudin.
Barry pulls up a chair to the Sheik’s bed and he tells the unconscious opposition leader about the information he had learned from his mother earlier and that his father truly wanted to negotiate a peace agreement with Rashid. He then tells the old man, they have another chance to reach the agreement that eluded the Sheik and the former President, but for that to occur they must sacrifice Rashid and then injects him in the hand with some sort of chemical, which would result in a painless death in a few hours. He then tells the old man that he’s dying the way he lived, for the good of his people.
Back at Katerina’s place Jamal’s walking around her bedroom with a towel around his waist while she sleeps. His phone rings and he’s surprised at the number that shows up is Barry’s. The younger brother’s drinking at a bar when he tells the President he granted his request and the man he’s concerned about will be gone within others. Jamal thanks his brother and tells him he loves him as he comes to the realization that he dodged a major bullet, but his regime’s now safe.
Katerina wakes up, just as he disconnects and she asks him if that’s the pilot that will fly them to the Maldives that evening. She tells Jamal that nobody ever game up anything for her previously, especially not an entire country. The President climbs back in bed, kisses her and then puts a pillow over her face suffocating her to death. Apparently the President felt she’d be a threat now that he decided to stay in power, so he eliminated the threat.
Barry’s left the bar, but he’s walking the streets of Abbudin carrying a bottle wrapped in a brown bag and swigging from it. He stops to call John Tucker and tells the Ambassador he needs to meet with him, but Tucker responds it’s 4:00am. He then asks Barry what he’s so anxious to talk about and Al Fayeed says he wants the names of those who would like to see Jamal deposed, as his brother’s incapable of running Abbudin.
The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.