“THE WORLD IS WATCHING.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
It’s evident after only three episodes that Tyrant’s success is going to heavily rely on the relationship between Bassam (I’m ditching the name Barry as it becomes less and less relevant!) and Jamal. Bassam hasn’t been the most riveting character to watch on the show so far but through his conflicts with Jamal in this episode he started to show signs of sparking into life.
Our introduction to Jamal in the pilot gave us a clear indication of how much of a monster he is, but after twenty years out of the country, Bassam wasn’t to know how much his brother had changed. The most fascinating part of this episode was watching Bassam start to get a look at some of the horrors his brother has committed. Their confrontation during the night was explosive and led to a heart-felt chat in the steam room between the brothers where Jamal promised to change his ways now that he was President and had his family to support him. I don’t buy into it for a second, but I can understand why Bassam would be willing to go along with this convenient story. Through the use of flashbacks in the first two episodes we learned that Bassam protected Jamal, so it’s also quite likely that he feels guilty that he abandoned him after seeing how he has turned out.
Watching Bassam getting proactive and investigating the attempt on his brother’s life was a good way of showing us how resourceful Bassam can be. Going from the obviously coerced statement from that poor woman’s husband, Bassam set about trying to dig up the truth and see if Jamal was about to make a huge, rebellion inciting mistake. Adding a little spice to proceedings was Fauzi Nadal’s daughter getting caught along with the rebels, leading his to petition Bassam for help. While I’m happy to see some of these supporting characters getting fleshed out a bit more, Bassam’s time with Fauzi’s daughter was the weakest part of the episode. With some very weak dialogue and an all too easy to organize release from prison, this particular segment had me shaking my head a little.
The quote you can see at the top of this review, “The World Is Watching,” leads me nicely into what I’d like to see a bit more of in the series as we go forward. We’ve heard a lot about how the outside world views the events in Abuddin, but we haven’t really seen anything to represent this. Our only real connection to the outside is US diplomat John Tucker, but so far he hasn’t had much to do at all. However, we did get a few sound-bites about potential change in Abuddin towards the end when the prisoners were released. To me this could be a fascinating aspect of the series if we get to see the outside world’s view change as Bassam continues his work to bring stability to the country.
Still not really working at all is Bassam’s wife and kids. At the moment they just haven’t really been developed at all. I don’t want to keep harping on about this each week but after three episodes I was hoping we’d have a bit more from them. Sammy’s relationship with Abdul went to the next level but at the moment it just looks to be setting up a future plot device. Emma is an absolute nonentity on the show as it stands and I can imagine some people reading this will be wondering who the hell Emma is. Molly’s only action this week was to wait around for Bassam to decide that he didn’t want them to leave him. Sometimes a show can make a mistake by having a family be too involved in the main plot of the show, but at the moment Molly and the kids may as well not even be on the show.
“My Brother’s Keeper” is the best episode of Tyrant yet, but the progress hasn’t been as big as some people would have wished for. There are plenty of signs of encouragement to be had though. Bassam became more involved this week and showed how helpful he can be by averting a potential disaster. Jamal’s wicked side also became known to Bassam, but for the moment Jamal seems to have convinced Bassam that he can change. While the frustrating elements of the show remain, there’s still plenty to suggest that Tyrant will eventually rise above these problems and become an even better show.
Does Bassam’s family need to got back to Pasedena? Let us know in the comments below.
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