Warning: Spoiler Alert
“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
Jamal Al Fayeed President of the mythical middle-eastern nation Abbudin, never wanted the pressure of being a leader. A simple man with earthy-tastes, he told his brother Bassam that he really wanted to be a table-maker. A simple carpenter living his days in anonymity, with no pressures greater than having the table he created, ready when the customer wanted it.
Fans of the FX Network’s Original Series “Tyrant,” realize that Jamal’s wishes weren’t granted, as he succeeded his father last year as President of his homeland. To say his decisions since taking office are misguided, would be putting things quite kindly for Jamal. The world believes that he hung his brother Bassam, after a failed coup attempt. However Al Fayeed could not bring himself to kill his younger brother, leaving him in the middle od the desert to fend for himself.
In the previous episode, we saw that Bassam got saved by two men heading back to their village. We also witnessed what appeared to be an unrepairable rift develop between Jamal and the Chinese Ambassador, Abbudin’s new partner in oil development. The Ambassador’s wife got shot in the arm by agents of rebel leader Ihab Rashid, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Shunshin oil-refinery, as the gunmen tried to assassinate Al Fayeed, but his shot was far off it’s target.
The Chinese Ambassador told the President that China won’t do business with a country that failed to protect his wife. Al Fayeed responded that the man responsible for the incident would have his head on a stick, before the Chinese representative woke up the next morning.
We start the episode the following morning in Al Jaffa, the village that the rebels live in. Halima the young women we saw spray-painting “Free Bassam, Free Abbudin,” in the second season premiere, approaches her younger sister in the market and asks if she bought any figs. The younger girl makes an excuse why she didn’t, however Halima tells her to head to the other side of the market and get the fruit.
Halima meets up with her spray-painting partner in crime Marwan, who tells her he’s thinking of taking up arms to speed up the revolution. Halima says they promised each other they would abstain from using weapons as violence solves nothing.
We move to the headquarters of the rebel movement as Ihab Rashid gets a call from his second in command. He tells Rashid that large groups of soldiers just jumped into a bunch of military vehicles and heading for Al Jaffa. Ihab’s still on the phone when he sees the first military vehicle pull up. He immediately shouts to everyone one in the room to get out and seek shelter.
Back in the market the air’s filled with smoke and people start coughing, then gasping and falling to the ground. It’s obvious what happened, the head of the Abbudin military and Jamal’s uncle Tariq Al Fayeed, went behind the President’s back and ordered his soldiers to attack the village with chemical weapons.
Marwan tells Halima they must flee for there lives, but the young woman says she has to find her sister. Seconds later the sister arrives screaming that her eyes are burning, she was in the part of the market where the gas got released. We see bodies lying all over the ground.
Jamal storms through the palace and walks into the sauna, where Tariq is sitting. He grabs his uncle by the throat and throws him against the wall. Tariq says that Jamal can truthfully say he didn’t authorize the attack, the General says he saved his nephew, just as he saved Jamal’s father over 20-years before. The President tightens his grip around the old man’s neck and looks as if he’ll kill him there on the spot.
Tariq says that Jamal has a choice, he can kill his uncle and tell the world his military-commander acted behind his back. Or he can say that the rebels had the supply of chemical weapons and that they’re rockets hit them, the government had no idea that the rebels had a supply of chemical weapons. He says some will believe you, while others will not. However in time they’ll cease caring and Jamal can govern Abbudin however he wants. The President releases his neck and storms out of the sauna.
The two young men that found Bassam unconscious in the desert, are members of a Bedouin village. Their goal is still to turn Bassam over to the government for a reward, but their first goal’s to keep him alive. The older of the pair breaks into the village doctor’s office and steals an IV bag filled with fluids, that Bassam told them he needed. They start to head back to the spot they have him hidden, when Kasim and his mate run into the second of Kasim’s father’s wives. She asks him what’s in his knapsack and when he doesn’t answer she snatches it from him.
They head to where Bassam’s at and the woman named Daliyah helps hook him up to the IV bag. She tells Kasim and the other young man to fetch Kasim’s father and let him know they have a guest.
Jamal heads to his desk and sees an envelope waiting there for him. Enclosed are pictures of the victims from the attack. He flips through picture after picture of men, women and children, his face growing paler with each picture he sees. He finally stops looking and just closes his eyes in anguish.
He then meets with the Chinese Ambassador, who looks at him as if he were a barbarian. He says that China can’t be partners with a man that used chemical weapons on his own people. Jamal says that he didn’t authorize a chemical attack and their intelligence believes that the chemical weapons were being kept by the rebels. The Ambassador looks at him and asks if this is true, Jamal says our intelligence tells us that the rebel forces are crushed and the resistance is over. The Ambassador smiles and says that his nation would insist on a full United Nations investigation into the matter, but once that’s completed he believes the two countries can go forward on their project.
The President addresses the nation and the world on TV, saying that Western Propaganda has tried and convicted his nation, when they’ve done nothing wrong. He says that he didn’t authorize an attack of any WMD’s and that Abbudin’s Intelligence agencies believe that Ihab Rashid had chemical weapons at their headquarter. Back in Al Jaffa, Ihab Rashid’s still alive but coughing badly. He’s watching Al Fayeed address the world with a look of contempt and distrust on his face.
Back in the States, Molly talks with her son Sammy about his father. He says that he doesn’t think that Barry liked his son and Sammy really felt the same way. He says he signed up for a college class and registered under Molly’s maiden-name, to not stand out. The professor brought up Barry during their last class and said that he was a great man. He says every student in the class echoed the Professor’s opinion, but he stayed silent. He looks at his mother and asks if his father was such a great man, what did he leave him?
Back at the Bedouin village, the father Ahmos and his first wife arrive back at their home and meet Bassam. Ahmos says his son told him that Bassam claimed to be a medic in the army, but asks him why he wears the clothes of a prisoner? Al Fayeed says that he deserted from the army as he could no longer support the governments policies. Ahmos first wife says they should turn him in, he’ll only bring trouble to the family, but her husband says he’s their guest and he’ll do know such thing. He turns to Daliyah and tells her to get their guest some fresh clothes and show him where to clean up. He also provides Bassam with a cellphone to call his wife.
The doorbell rings at Molly’s home and it’s the attorney James Timmons she met the week before at the memorial for Barry. The lawyer informs them that he’s been in contact with the lawyers for the Al Fayeed family in the Middle East and it turns out Barry was not cut out of his father’s will. In keeping with Middle Eastern custom, the money’s now the property of the family’s male heir, Sammy. He’s inherited $100 million dollars.
Leila heads to the hospital in Al Jaffa to comfort the victims. A mother’s distraught because her young son’s lost his vision. The First Lady of Abbudin, tells the woman that she’s sending her personal physician and his staff to the village to treat the patients. Suddenly there’s a commotion as Halima tries to get close enough to talk to Leila, she tells the soldiers she knows the young woman and starts to talk to her. Halima shows Leila a picture of her sister and tells her she died in the attack.
Leila tells Halima how sorry she is for her loss, but the younger woman asks her how she can be sorry and guilty at the same time. Al Fayeed’s shocked by her words and tells her the government did not utilize chemical weapons. Halima asks if she repeats the lie often enough, does Leila believe it becomes the truth? She says her sister’s blood’s on Leila’s hands, then throws blood all over Al Fayeed. She’s taken out of the hospital by the guards, but she screams that the resistance is now stronger since the attack.
Kasim’s still determined to get the reward money for the escaped prisoner and he calls his buddy whose a private in the Abbudin army. He tells the private they have a medic who deserted from the army named Khalil and he wants to collect the reward. The private tells Kasim he must be stoned and delusional as there’s no record of any deserters. Kasim hangs up and tells his mate that the escaped prisoner lied about his identity.
Samira Nadal goes to the morgue to check out how badly the attack hurt the village and the resistance. She tells Ihab that there must have been over a hundred bodies and she saw about 30 members of the resistance among the dead, including Rashid’s second in command. Suddenly there’s a slamming on the door, Rashid opens it and then lets in two members of the resistance that escaped the attack.
They tell Ihab and Samira that they must leave the village, that the only reason they survived the attack was they were working at the refinery. Their wives and children are dead and they tell Rashid it’s his fault, as they supported him. They are no longer welcome in Al Jaffa.
Kasim tells Ahmos that he called his friend in the military and their guest has lied about his identity. Ahmos’ youngest son’s milking a goat and asks “Khalil” if he’s a Muslim and the man says he is. He asks him then why doesn’t he pray and Bassam responds he’s out of practice. The boy says he can’t be a good Muslim without praying and offers to teach him.
Ahmos tells his youngest son to go and help his brother, then he tells Bassam that his son found out he lied. Bassam tells him he told him the essence of his story, but the older man says that still isn’t the truth. Ahmos asks why there’s no report of his escape and Bassam replies because he’s supposed to be dead. Suddenly a military vehicle pulls up and Ahmos tells Bassam to go inside.
The soldier’s the private that Kasim called and Ahmos tells the young man that he’s Kasim’s father. He tells Ahmos that Kasim called him the night before saying they had an escaped prisoner and since he was in the area he figured he’d check it out. Ahmos chuckles and says that since the private knows his son, he’s likely aware of Kasim’s problem with drugs. He then says that their guest is a cousin from another part of the country and apologizes for the trouble, the private says no problem and gets in his vehicle and leaves.
Bassam thanks his host for not turning him in and Ahmos says he admires his convictions and his courage. He says he has nothing but contempt for a regime that once again gassed their own people. Bassam asks him what he’s talking about and it suddenly occurs to the older man that Bassam couldn’t have heard that a thousand people in Al Jaffa died of a gas attack. He says the sins of the father repeated by the son.
Leila’s gagging and crying back at the palace as she uses a scrub brush to get the blood off her hands. She tells Jamal she can’t believe what Halima said to her. He responds by saying that many in Abbudin won’t believe the story they’re telling the world. Leila suddenly realizes that Tariq actually did use chemical weapons on the village.
She’s now totally losing it, saying she didn’t want them to do the same things his father did. She says she wanted the people to love her, but they can never make this right. Jamal says this is just a small bump in the road and soon, the people will only think of her as their lovely and gracious first lady. He then says to Leila they need to do something to get their mind off the attack.
Bassam uses the cellphone to get caught up on all that’s happened in Abbudin since he’s been gone. He thanks his host for the use of the cellphone and Ahmos asks him if he called his wife, Bassam replies he hasn’t. He says he’s an enemy of the state and he’s concerned if he contacts Molly, they might go after her and his children. Ahmos tells his guest he can stay wit them as long as he wants and Bassam says that would put Ahmos and his family in danger. Ahmos tells his friend to feel no obligation to stay or leave.
Ihab Rashid prays and then kisses the forehead of his second in command. He then wraps his old friend in a shroud as Samira watches.
The afternoon prayer session takes place in the Bedouin village. Bassam stands at the back of the mosque, then walks ahead to where Ahmos and his youngest are praying and Bassam joins them in prayer.
Jamal’s decided to get Ahmed and his wife and Leila involved in a game of charades and the President’s trying to act out the phrase, but his family has no idea what the phrase is. Jamal finally says Gone With The Wind, like the book but the younger couple appear to never have heard of the American Classic.
The Story Continues Next Tuesday at 10:00 pm on FX.