Warning: Spoiler Alert
Barry (Bassam) Al-Fayeed wanted nothing more than to take his family back to their home in Pasadena, CA. and away from the Middle Eastern nation that his family controls at the onset of the second episode of the FX series “Tyrant,” which aired Tuesday night. However as the episode concluded, he seemed to come to terms that he will never run far enough away from his role in his family, even after living in the USA for 20-years.
A day intended for celebration, grew darker by the moment starting in the last few minutes of the series pilot. Barry had brought his wife Molly and teenage children to his homeland for the first time to join in celebrating the marriage of Barry’s brother Jamal’s son. However the joy quickly vanished when the brother’s father and the country’s President, collapsed at the wedding and died soon after from complications of a stroke. Jamal, who was in line to succeed his father, cracked under the pressure and gave into his demons leading to a serious car crash soon after.
After getting his family situated at the palace, Barry heads to the hospital as Jamal undergoes major surgery. He talks with his sister-in-law Leila as well as Jamal’s son and his brand new bride as they await word on Jamal’s condition. It is not the way Nusrat thought her wedding day would end up and she tells her new husband she wants to go back to the palace. After talking to his mother, he takes his wife to a car that will bring her back to the palace.
Barry’s uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, tells his nephew that Jamal’s car crash was not an accident. It was an attack from an anti-government faction that’s looking for a way to exploit the transition in power. Tariq tells his nephew he is imposing harsh security measures in the capital city, including stopping and searching each passing vehicle, as well as imposing a curfew.
The scene shifts to a checkpoint in the city, as soldiers are searching each vehicles for suspicious activity. The camera focuses on a woman in a car, who undergoes the procedure, reminded of the curfew and waved through. The soldiers were less than thorough in their effort as we see the woman pull up to a building and underneath some blankets on the floor of the car’s backseat a young man comes out of his hiding place. We recognize him as the nephew of Walid Rashid, whom Jamal had heard rumors was planning on bombing the wedding, before he invited the family to the ceremony. He is back in the capital to try to overthrow the Al Fayeed family, in their time of weakness.
Jamal’s son is waiting for his father to get out of surgery when he receives a call from Nusrat, apologizing for leaving her new husband to head back to the palace and he replies that he was at fault. As she starts to respond we notice some young men standing on the street as her car passes them and they throw metal objects into the path, puncturing the vehicle’s tires. While it is spinning out it is T-Boned by another car and a group of young men approach the vehicle with rifles. Their plan is to kidnap Nusrat and hold her for ransom. As the police and soldiers arrive the young men scatter, leaving just three teens who extract her from the car and take shelter in a building. Jamal’s son hears it all happening on the still open phone line.
The three boys are no older than 15-years-old, led by one boy whose brother is in prison for acting out against the government; and he is the one who says he will sacrifice his life for his cause. He tells his two companions that if they are to die then Nusrat will also perish, striking a blow against the Al Fayeed family.
We head back to the palace as Barry encounters Molly and the American Ambassador to the country John Tucker. As Barry starts to tell them about the kidnapping, Molly cuts him short and tells her husband that Tucker had just told her. Asking the Ambassador his read of the situation, Tucker responds that with Jamal incapacitated, Tariq will use the kidnapping to impose martial law and will show no concern for Nusrat’s safety. Tucker tells him that he has no influence with Tariq, however he might listen to Barry, however he refuses to talk with his uncle.
Barry heads back to the hospital and talks with Leila, who asks him if he is ever going to stop running away from his homeland and his people. We see them as teenagers as Leila takes Bassam (Barry’s given name) to a cave he never knew existed. As he is marveling at the structure, Leila slips off her bathing suit and kisses and caresses the teen begging him not to move to the USA. We are well aware she did not get her wish granted.
Barry then finds his mother Amira Al Fayeed, and talks to her for the first time since getting on the plane back to America after his father’s death. His mother then asks him to try talking with his uncle and when he is hesitant, she also brings up his running away back to California, where he has no idea of his family’s problems. The conversation shakes her son up and he agrees to go down to the standoff and talk to Tariq.
The General’s surprised that his nephew has arrived at their location, directly across the street where Nusrat’s imprisoned, then shows his contempt when his nephew suggests negotiating with the boys. Tariq quickly dismisses his suggestion, then suggests his nephew go home to America. Barry informs him that he is going across the street to talk to the boys.
He startles them when he first approaches them, but convinces them he’s unarmed and only there to talk. When they realize who he is, the leader says that he will make a hostage that the government will exchange his brother for. Barry tells him that won’t happen and unless they follow his lead they will die in minutes. He then convinces the boys to allow Nusrat and him to leave and follow them out unarmed, and he would guarantee their safety. Seconds later they emerge from the building with soldiers spiriting away the Al Fayeeds while making the teens lay face down in the dirt and then handcuff them.
Barry asks his uncle to let the three boys go, unaware that Tariq had already issued the order for the boys execution via a shot to the head. Barry is so shocked at his uncle’s actions that he just walks away in silence.
He goes back to the hospital and Jamal has survived the surgery and making plans to eulogize their father the following day. Jamal thanks his brother for what he did and says their father always called Tariq a hammer and he saw everything as a nail. The older brother concedes that sometimes a situation call for a hammer.
Barry can’t sleep that night and Molly wakes up to find him staring at the ceiling and he tells his wife he keeps seeing the boys faces when he closes his eyes. He then asks Molly if he leaves his homeland knowing what Jamal will face, will he have blood on his hands? Molly says it sounds like her husband is asking for permission for the family to stay there.
The next day is the memorial service for the former President and Leila has given Jamal a prepared speech to read, which her husband refuses to read to the mourners. Leila asks Barry to talk with Jamal and after reading the speech tells his brother just to speak from his heart. The new President tells the audience that it was not easy being his father’s son as he was a tough and stubborn man. However that made his father lead his country into an era of prosperity. The speech is a huge success.
The final scene of the episode is late that night as Barry calls Jamal and wakes him from his slumber. He then asks his brother if he would like for he and his family to stay for a while to help Jamal and of course the new President’s pumped about the decision.
The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.