Warning: Spoiler Alert
Bassam Al Fayeed fled his homeland Abbudin at age 16, ashamed and mortified by the actions of his father, then the nation’s President. He moved to California, cut off contact with his family for 20-years and did his best to wipe away any trace of his background and to fit in the USA, where he became a doctor, married an American woman also a doctor, and have two teenage children. Five weeks ago he took his family back to the land of his birth, for the marriage of his older brother’s son. Now called Barry, he had mixed feelings about returning and wanted to leave as soon as the wedding conclude. However, within hours his father the President died and older brother Jamal was critically injured in a car accident, forcing his family to remain in Abbudin.
Jamal recovered and assumed the Presidency and Barry asked his wife if they could stay in Abbudin for a while to help his brother with a smooth transition. Now Special Consul and Adviser to the President, the younger brother has been very proactive since his return and in the fifth episode of FX Original Series “Tyrant,” the question’s become whether he’s still Barry, or is he Bassam? Is he the American doctor who wanted to stay away from the trappings of leadership, or his father’s son, born with a destiny to rule?
Anti-government leader Ihab Rashid and his followers have taken over the square of the Capital, protesting and calling for the end of the Al Fayeed regime. Barry’s childhood friend turned blogger critical of the Al Fayeed family Fauzi Nadal, set up a meeting between Ihab Rashid and Barry, however the younger brother realizes that the protester plans to use this meeting to get publicity. He’s not going to take it seriously and will call for Jamal and his family to give up power and leave Abbudin. Barry tells Fauzi to call Rashid and to cancel their scheduled meet on Rashid’s terms and to set up a private meeting between the two foes.
As Barry suspected Ihab’s telling his top aides that their side’s winning so why negotiate? He’s going to tell the American that anything less than Jamal’s resignation is unacceptable. Just when he’s about to tell his aides about how he’ll call the shots, his phone rings and Nadal tells him Barry’s decision and the young man shows his anger. He starts screaming to his aides about the treachery of the Al Fayeeds when Samira Nadal, daughter of Fauzi and one of Rashid’s most loyal followers tells the leader that he’s playing the same game that his opponents are.
Nadal drives Barry to a parking garage and heads home, while United States Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker is waiting there for Al Fayeed. Barry tells Tucker, that negotiations with Ihab Rashid will be fruitless and he wants to talk with his father Sheik Rashid (Mohammad Bakri) the man that tried to negotiate a lasting peace with the former President, but some of his over-zealous followers ended negotiations with an act of destruction. The Sheik has been in exile for 20-years and the United States arranged for his safe relocation. Barry asks Tucker to try to set up a meeting with the former leader and the Ambassador tells him he’ll give it his best shot.
Barry heads back to the palace and tells his wife Molly about his plan and she gets quite concerned for the safety of her husband and the future of their nuclear family. He responds with his standard line of just trying to help Jamal, but Molly questions his intent and asks if he’s really enjoying being a player on the world stage, more than he admits to? He tells her he’s going for his daily run; avoiding answering.
In the midst of his run guarded by four security men, his phone rings and Tucker’s on the other end and they are leaving as soon as Barry gets outside the palace gate. The two drive to a deserted area and a Jeep pulls up with four of the Sheik’s aides, including his other son, they tell the pair that Barry will go to the Sheik’s compound, but Tucker will remain behind. The Ambassador protests, but Rashid tells him that he wanted to kill Barry where they stood, but his father wants to meet with him. A black hood’s put over Barry’s head and they drive off in the Jeep.
The vehicle stops, Al Fayeed’s taken out with the hood on his head and there is sound of excessive coughing, when the hood’s taken off the Sheik is in front of him and apologizes for his coughing, the price of surviving the former President’s chemical gas attack on his village 20-years earlier. One of the Sheik’s men tries to shoot Barry, but his son shoots the attempted assailant first. The elder Rashid tells Barry, that yesterday he was his enemy but today he’s his guest and insists on eating before talking.
Back at the palace Jamal and his uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, are discussing why Jamal ordered Tariq for his troops to stand down when they were ready to storm the square and the President responds that Barry’s having a meeting with Ihab Rashid and the General tells him that his brother has not been near the protest leader. He then plays surveillance audio of Rashid’s boasts of having Jamal resign and leave Abbudin, the President tries calling Barry and gets his voicemail and hangs up.
The meal’s over and the Sheik tells the Special Consul to the President to walk and talk with him. Barry tells the Sheik he realizes how close he got to negotiating peace with his father and that the elder Rashid’s the one to broker a deal with Jamal. The Sheik responds that it’s now time for the next generation to take over and Al Fayeed responds the younger generation may become responsible for many unnecessary deaths. Rashid replies that he’s without fear of death as he’s seen so much of it and starts to walk away. Barry stops the Sheik in his tracks when he says he doesn’t believe his words, he’s survived 20-years in exile, which proves he retains hope.
The Jeep returns to where Tucker’s waiting and drops Barry off and the Ambassador immediately realizes that Al Fayeed didn’t get the response he wanted. Barry tells him that the Sheik asked to sleep on it and then demurred when he woke up. Barry heads to the Palace and sees Molly and tells her that she might have been right with her assessment, then thanks her for putting her life on hold for him. Jamal’s hosting a formal dinner at the Palace but he and Tariq burst through the doors to the living quarters and Jamal accuses his brother of being a traitor. Tucker walks in right then and tells the President that he might want to watch what’s going on in the square.
As the troops are given the orders to clear the square, the protesters rush the lines, standing nose-to-nose with the troops. Ihab is on the stage talking to his followers and praising them in advance for being the first martyrs sacrificed to overthrow the Al Fayeeds, then he sees something and he goes silent. Striding to the stage is the Sheik, who embraces his son’s head, then takes the microphone and talks to his followers who react as if they’ve seen a deity. He tells the crowd, he’s been exiled from his homeland for 20-years, but he’s returned, it’s time to forget about past atrocities and look ahead to a bright future. He then says he demands a meeting with President Jamal Al Fayeed, who gets angry that his opponent made a demand, but he realizes that the meeting could save the country from further bloodshed.
The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.