Viper In The Palace

All posts tagged Viper In The Palace

Photo Courtesy Of FX

Photo Courtesy Of FX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The mythical Middle-Eastern nation of Abbudin’s on the verge of a civil-war and the outcome of such a battle’s pretty much in doubt. The country’s rebel leader Ihab Rashid, joined forces with the Caliphate Army led by his old mate Abu Omar and have “liberated” the Bedouin village where Ahmos Al-Yazbek and his family live, from the rule of the Al Fayeed family. Then they drafted every male in the village, between the ages of 15-50 to join them in the fight to free Abbudin.

Despite their rhetoric the rebel forces don’t seem to be the friends of the people. Friends don’t beat an elderly man bloody to extract information, or steal his wife from their village. What the rebels never realized was that the village they “liberated,” could have captured a major asset in their fight to rule Abbudin. Bassam Al-Fayeed was among the residents when the troops first pulled into the village.

The rebel forces arrived in the village in the opening minutes of  the episode, blaring a message from their vehicles telling the residents that they were liberated and for them to congregate in the square. The rebels led by Rashid, stood upon a platform with an Abbudin official, the woman from the United Nations that was to accompany Daliyah Al-Yazbek to Germany. They shoot the official and the woman from the UN, but Rashid says they’ll show mercy to Daliyah and let her return to her family.

Ashraf Barhom, the actor that portrays Jamal Al-Fayeed didn’t have a lot of screen-time in this episode, but he’s such a great actor that he makes every moment count when he’s on the screen. Watching him toy with an adversary, when he holds the upper hand is one of the high points of this series. His current target’s his uncle Tariq, the commander of the Abbudin military, who disobeyed his nephews orders and staged a chemical attack on the city that was the rebel’s stronghold.

Tariq has to inform Jamal that Ihab Rashid not only survived the chemical attack, he went to Syria and joined forces with the Caliphate Army and they now control the Bedouin village. After ridiculing his uncle for not reaching his objectives during the unauthorized attack, he tells Tariq to call a council meeting. He tells his uncle that he’ll present his plan to deal with the situation to the other advisers.

Ahmos pulls Bassam aside and asks him to watch out for his two sons, when they leave the village to join the Caliphate attack. Bassam tells his host that he can’t join the battle, as the rebels will kill him and anybody he’s with once they recognize him.

Ahmos gives him a look of disgust, then he says to his guest that his way is to run away from everything. He ran away from his family, the government, the army and now the rebels. Bassam replies he realizes that’s what it looks like, but Al-Yazbek responds that’s what it is. He tells Bassam the direction to head if he can elude the guards, then takes off a bracelet and gives it to his guest. He tells Bassam to show the bracelet to another Bedouin and he’ll get accompanied to the Lebanese border.

Back at the palace, Jamal meets with his advisers and Tariq lays out his attack plans to defeat the rebels. The General tells the group that there are just two roads that access the village, he plans to make them impassable and then conduct an air-strike and bomb the village. The President says the village’s filled with civilians and the General remains silent.

Jamal asks what Intelligence believes would be the rebels next move if not stopped at the village, Tariq says the city that he ordered the chemical attack on. He says we think they’ll be sympathetic to their cause and the President responds of course they will because you gassed their city.

We see the wife of one of the rebel leaders, crouched behind a car and she’s holding a pistol. The young woman’s American and clearly disillusioned with her life, since emigrating to the Middle East. It appears she’s going to end her misery by taking her own life, but then Bassam comes up to a soldier from behind and says he’s stealing the jeep. He tells the soldier he doesn’t want to hurt him, but the soldier whips around and knocks the blade from Bassam’s hand.

The two struggle in the dirt, but Al-Fayeed grabs a large rock and splits the guy’s head open, killing him instantly. He hides the soldier’s body in a pen and then jumps into the jeep. However the woman’s in the backseat with the pistol aimed at his head and tells him to drive.

They make it past a checkpoint and then drive for about an hour, before they reach a large metal fence. Al-Fayeed says they’re walking the rest of the way, but the woman slips and sprains her ankle, dropping the pistol. Bassam picks it up and puts it in his waist-band, telling him he’s not going to hurt her. He says he wants to wrap her ankle, but they’ll find a shady spot to do it at. The woman looks amazed as she says you’re not leaving me.

The rebels have discovered the missing jeep and the rebel’s wife’s gone and they start beating on Ahmos to find out where Bassam went. He stays silent, but his son Kasim tells them he’s heading to Lebanon. He says his father was just being a good man and gave this stranger a home. He then tells them the route that Al-Fayeed’s taking.

The rebels are ready to leave the village, with all their new recruits in tow, when two helicopters show up on the horizon. Abu Omar tells Ihab Rashid to take cover and let his men handle it, but the two choppers quickly kill about 20-soldiers. The rebels have rocket-launchers though and shoot the two helicopters out of the sky. Two more quickly appear, they take out one and the other one flies away. The soldiers gather together and let out a victorious cheer. Rashid stares at the dead soldiers, but Omar looks at him like it’s to be expected.

Tariq hands Jamal a leather-bound folder, containing contingency plans if the Chines are forced to abandon the city, due to a rebel attack. The General says he assures the President that the plans are unneeded, but Jamal says you assured me that we’d stop them in the Bedouin village. He says that his uncle’s assurances are meaningless and then walks away.

Turns out that the young woman was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, but always felt out of place being a Muslim girl in America. What she doesn’t say to Bassam, but is readily apparent, is that her expectations of the Middle-East were based on a romantic notion. He’s wrapped her ankle and tells her to stand up and put weight on it.

She’s fine but they don’t get far, as they’re attacked by the woman’s husband and another soldier. First the husband beats the stuffing out of Al-Fayeed and then he grabs his wife and asked if Bassam touched her, she quickly responds he didn’t. Then she tells her husband she forced him to take her with him, saying she’d rather die than stay with him.

The husband throws her down on the ground, then sits on her stomach and starts choking her. The other soldier has his gun aimed at Bassam, but he’s watching the struggle. Al-Fayeed takes the soldiers knife out of his boot, stabs him then shoots him with the pistol, then kills the woman’s husband with his next shot.

He asks the woman if she’s alright and she nods yes. He then gives her the bracelet and tells her to show it to the people in the village and they’ll take her to the Lebanese border. She’s shocked that he’s not joining her, but he says he has to stay. He says these men are here to destroy my country and I can’t run anymore. She asks what he’ll do and he responds, whatever God sees fit and bids her farewell.

Molly and Sammy Al-Fayeed, along with their attorney James Timmons touch down at the airport at Abbudin, just as Jamal’s addressing the nation about the rebel attack. He uses the occasion to denounce Ihab Rashid, saying that he joined forces with a terrorist group from outside of the country, but he assures his nation that his forces will defeat the rebels.

The Caliphate army leave the Bedouin village, with an unwilling guest as Abu Omar’s taken with Daliyah and his first wife encourages him to take Ahmos’ second wife as his. Daliyah and her son Hani start crying, but it does no good as she’s taken away from him.

Bassam grabs the rifles from the soldiers and starts traveling back to Abbudin. Perhaps he believes that he and Jamal can bond over this common enemy and repair their ruptured relationship.

The President finishes his address to his nation and his wife Leila praises his speech, once he’s off camera. She then says this should teach the people the difference between these dirty terrorists and protesters who want to make their nation a better place.

Jamal looks at her and says Bassam was right he predicted all of this was going to happen. That Tariq couldn’t be trusted and Ihab Rashid would keep fighting. He said that instead of listening to his advice, he killed his brother instead.

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