Tyrant: A New Era In Abbudin

Photo Courtesy Of FX Network
Photo Courtesy Of FX Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Last summer on the FX Network Original Series “Tyrant,” we met the Al Fayeed brothers, the oldest Jamal, next in line to succeed his father as President of the mythical Middle-Eastern nation Abbudin and his younger brother Bassam. The younger brother fled the land of his birth and his family 20-year-earlier, changed his name to Barry and became a Californian pediatrician. Now married to an American doctor and the father of a teenage son and daughter, he and his family traveled back to his homeland last year, to attend the wedding of Jamal’s son.

Barry had only planned to spend a long weekend in Abbudin before flying back home to California, when his father died on the day of the wedding, elevating Jamal to the Presidency. The new leader asked his brother to remain in Abbudin as his chief-advisor as he was finding his way and to his wife and children’s amazement, Barry agreed to help him.

After being back in Abbudin for just weeks, Barry deduced that his brother wasn’t fit for the Presidency and for the good of the nation, he planned a bloodless coup. Along with an assist by the United States Ambassador to Abbudin, Barry planned to oust Jamal from the Presidency, allowing Jamal and his wife Leila to retain their assets and move to one of their other homes outside of the country.

Jamal however found out about the overthrow attempt in last season’s finale and sentenced his brother to a death sentence. We return to the Middle-Eastern nation four months later and we encounter a teenage couple spray-painting graffiti over placards of Jamal’s picture. A graphic tells us they sprayed “Free Bassam, Free Abbudin,” on the posters before sneaking into the night.

We get our first look at Barry in his cell, he appears gaunt and has grown a long unkempt beard and he’s reading, when Jamal comes into talk to him. There’s a chess-table set-up outside the cell, the brothers have played an ongoing game during the President’s visits, but Barry doesn’t feel like playing this time.

Jamal tells his brother that he looks thin and Barry responds his appetite hasn’t been strong, then asks to be allowed to see his wife Molly. The President ignores the request, saying he’ll get Barry some of those cookies he likes, from a nearby bakery, the younger brother asks if that’s a peace-offering? Jamal snorts then says he’s waiting for Barry to apologize to him.

Bassam says he’s sorry, then he says he’s sorry that he got them into this position. Jamal says that’s not the apology he wanted and Barry says he did what he had to do and now asks his brother to do the same. The older brother chuckles, saying he’ll decide when to make his move, he might keep Bassam locked up for life then leaves the prison.

The brothers’ uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, leader of the nation’s military shows Jamal’s wife Leila, pictures of the graffiti and asks when her husband will execute Bassam? Leila says that Jamal won’t discuss it and Tariq says while Bassam lives the people have hope, once he’s executed the masses will forget him and his message.

The failed coup-attempt, ended relations between Abbudin and the United States and the nation now has aligned itself with China and they’ve started building the Shunshin oil-refinery in the desert. Jamal and his son Ahmed watch as workmen build the facility. The President tells his son he’s naming him the new Minister for Energy Development. Ahmed says he knows nothing about the oil-industry and Jamal says they’ll learn about it together.

The son doesn’t appear pleased with the prospects and tells his father he’s involved with some investors in Dubai and they’re trying to build a boutique hotel in London. Jamal tells his son to let the investors know they’ll have to get themselves another partner, he’s staying in Abbudin.

Ihab Rashid the leader of the rebels, was supposed to be taking on Jamal in an open election, however that got cancelled after the coup-attempt. The rebel factions are still fighting and they take out a soldier and send one of their own men in his uniform in a truck behind the barricades. The driver leaves the truck, then detonates the bombs attached, killing seven soldiers in the strike.

Jamal meets with his advisers and Colonel Mahmoud informs the President that the rebels took out seven-soldiers. The President asks his advisers how they should retaliate and Tariq says that the rebels are located in Al Jaffa and he recommends a limited chemical-weapons strike. Tariq authorized the use of chemical weapons against his own countrymen, 20-years earlier killing thousands. Jamal asks to speak to the General outside the conference room.

Jamal tells his Uncle he won’t become a pariah and the use of chemical weapons is out. He tells Tariq to talk with Mahmoud and find where the rebels weapons are stashed and to bomb the weapons depot. He then says to his uncle that Tariq would never have dared brought up chemical weapons to Bassam, he says his brother’s in a cell, but Jamal keeps Bassam’s voice in his head.

It’s renovation day at the former American Embassy, as the Chinese are soon going to take over the facility. Plaques are being removed from walls and furniture’s being carried out, while Molly’s on Skype with her son Sammy in California. He and Emma are both back in the States and have gone back to school, while Molly awaits word on her husband’s fate. She cuts the call short when CIA Agent Lea Exley, the only American official in Abbudin enters the office.

Molly tells Exley about all the efforts she’s made trying to secure Barry’s release and the CIA operative tells her she’s doing a great job. Molly asks if she should stop her efforts, but Exley implores her to keep pushing and to keep hope alive, although both women get little comfort from that statement.

Barry’s childhood friend Fauzi Nadal now an anti-government journalist, goes to the rebel camp to talk with his daughter Samira. He’s gotten them each documentation to emigrate to Denmark, where Fauzi says they can fight the battle from a distance. Samira says she can’t go and that he should follow the example of his friend Bassam and stay and fight. The expression on Nadal’s face tells us that the message resonated with him.

Ahmed’s drunk and attempting to shoot a whiskey bottle from 20 feet away but misses his three shots by a wide margin. His wife Nusrat chides him for not telling her that his father appointed him the new Energy Development Minister, but Ahmed says he wants the two of them to leave Abbudin. Nusrat tells her husband that Jamal would disinherit them as well as the child they have on the way. She clutches her belly and says that their child’s an Al Fayeed and she wants that child to have all the benefits that go with that name.

The weapon depot gets destroyed and Ihab Rashid’s taken to a man that others claim gave up the location. The man starts crying, as he says that he did not give up any information, but he believes their cause is hopeless. He says all they’re doing is killing each other and that Jamal’s too powerful to overthrow.

Rashid tells the man he realizes he’s not the informant, as he lacks the guts to be a traitor, he pushes him away and tells him to take his wife and move to Beirut. He then tells the rest of his followers that any of them can leave with them. He says they’ll get more weapons and keep striking Al Fayeed until he falls.

Jamal’s mother comes to speak with him and Leila on Molly’s behalf, asking her son to let Bassam see his wife. Jamal tells her he won’t do that and asks her to leave. Leila says that until Jamal executes Bassam he looks weak, that pundits are saying he can’t make up his mind. He says the Chinese are coming the following evening, she says that Bassam should get executed in the morning.

Molly and Lea are talking in Molly’s office, when a group of soldiers enter the room and escort Molly out. The good news is she’s getting to see Barry, the bad news is their executing him in the morning. They have five minutes together, he asks about the kids and tells her where all the documents are. She says she has a million things to say to him and she doesn’t know where to start.

He asks her to tell him she forgives him and what he did was worth his life, but she bites her lip. He says everybody lies here, except for you. She grabs his face with her hands and says that Jamal called off the elections and curtailed free speech, just as Barry predicted. However she says he’s inspired the people and tells him about the “Free Bassam, Free Abbudin” movement. She says he made a difference.  A soldier comes in to take her away, Barry says he’s ready and he’s at peace. They kiss and she’s escorted out.

The next morning, Bassam’s hosed off and then given some ragged garments to wear. We see them slip a black-hood over his head, then we head to the scaffold where the President, his family and advisers are seated in a box. A man’s taken out to the scaffold, as the noose is put around his neck, Jamal rises from his seat. He nods his head, the trap door’s released and the man’s hung and his body stops moving. Jamal leaves the podium, shortly followed by Leila, who rushes into a bathroom and vomits. She then composes herself, Jamal’s in the shower letting the water soak over him, she joins him in there and she hugs him. However something seems off.

That night just before the Chinese delegation arrives, Jamal’s mother finds out that Bassam’s dead. She screams at her son and calls him a monster, he has some aides take her upstairs. Moments later Jamal, Leila and Ahmed greet the Chinese delegation.

The final scene takes place in the desert, as a chopper sits on the ground while Jamal and a soldier carrying a body walk through the sand. When they lay the man down, we see it’s Bassam, the soldier injects him with a hypodermic-needle and Bassam wakes up. The President hung another man in his place and gave Bassam a sedative to knock him out. Jamal says he could have forgiven Bassam for killing him, but he couldn’t forgive Bassam for forcing Jamal to have Bassam’s blood on his hands. So he says you can depend on this land you claim to love so much for your survival. Jamal and the soldier, climb into the chopper leaving Barry to fend for himself in the middle of nowhere.

The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 10:00 pm on FX.

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