Tyrant: “State of Emergency” Review
“ONLY AN AL-FAYEED CAN SAVE YOU NOW.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Towards the end of “State of Emergency,” Barry’s daughter Emma (in one of maybe two lines she had this week) mentioned how this whole weekend had been completely surreal. If you hadn’t already noticed it by then, that line will have highlighted just how fast paced this show has started. In the course of two episodes spanning a weekend, we’ve seen a wedding, a funeral, a hostage crisis, executions, some very significant deaths, and plenty of other noteworthy events. If Tyrant can keep up this pace while also finding a healthy balance with character development, this could become quite a good show.
Right now after only two episodes, I’m enjoying it but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. We’re still getting to know all of these characters but already some of them are feeling a little undercooked. There’s still plenty of time for this to turn around of course, and I’ll be hoping to see a bit more over the next few weeks. The aforementioned Emma has completely gotten the short end of the stick with only a few lines this week and nothing worth talking about at all. Justin Kirk’s US Diplomat John Tucker has simply been an American guy in a suit used to put Barry in conflict with his uncle Tariq this week. I might be being a little harsh considering we’re so early into the series but the number of characters who have taken the spotlight needs to grow a little quicker.
Barry grew back into life in Abbudin this week as he takes charge of a hostage crisis involving Nusrat, his new niece. Barry was initially hesitant to get involved but he quite quickly hopped right into a tussle with his uncle, the lovely General Tariq. Out of everyone we’ve seen so far, General Tariq might turn out to be a very dangerous long-term foe for Barry, as his clear ideals about how the country should be run point to the potential for a military coup down the line. Their first little coming together ended in a kind of draw between Barry and Tariq, with Barry peacefully resolving the situation only for Tariq to assassinate the hostage takers anyway. The fact that they didn’t shy away from showing the assassination, considering they were only kids, showed the show won’t be afraid to shy away from controversial situations.
All of this led to Barry deciding to stay behind in Abbudin and help Jamal. I have to say that this decision seemed way too quick for me, considering it was only a few hours before that that Barry was cursing the fact that he had returned home. Like his decision to return home in the first place, deciding to stay is another box that needed to be ticked so the show can continue with its premise, so it’s understandable. I’m just hoping that’s the end of the rushed storytelling now. It was interesting to see the continuation of last week’s flashback where Barry killed the prisoner. Learning that he did it so Jamal wouldn’t have to puts another spin on their relationship, and also helps us believe that Barry would be willing to stay behind for his brother.
After Jamal’s horrific crash last week I was expecting him to be in rather bad shape, so it was surprising to see him up and about by the end of the episode. Jamal is an absolutely horrific human being, but there’s something about him that gives him an almost childlike quality. He’s genuinely happy when Barry lets him know he’ll be sticking around, but I shudder to think about what might happen if Jamal learns of Barry’s previous intimate relationship with his wife Leila. Leila is piece of work in her own right, capable of going toe to toe with anyone when it comes to verbal sparring and also not afraid to threaten someone’s family to get what she wants. After living with Jamal for such a long time though it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for her.
A couple of other bits and bobs this week included the terrorists responsible for the attempt on Jamal’s life escaping into the countryside to gather their forces and plan their next move. The leader of this group is Ihab, the man Jamal invited to his son’s wedding last week, and it’s also worth mentioning that the daughter of Barry’s journalist friend is also amongst this group. Sammy’s flirtations with Abdul also continued this week, as Sammy once again got a lot more to do than his sister. There isn’t a whole lot to this story yet as it seems to be developing slowly enough, but I expect that it’ll have some heavy repercussions once it becomes public knowledge.
Tyrant has started quite steadily, and incredibly quickly too. We’re only two episodes in so it’s still hard to judge exactly how it’ll turn out, but there are plenty of seeds sewn for interesting stories. The stoic Barry and the powder keg Jamal will surely make for a fascinating combination going forward, as they struggle to stabilize Abbudin, so hopefully the rest of the characters will be built up around them and contribute to making this show great. Next week we’ll hopefully get to see more reactions to the news that Barry will be sticking around for a while, as I have a feeling not everyone will be as open to the idea as Jamal.
Are you sticking with ‘Tyrant?’ What do you think of the show’s progression? Let us know in the comments below.
* We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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