“I WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU ANYTHING.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
I’ve had a kind of love/hate relationship with Tyrant over the course of its debut season. Every show has its ups and downs, but Tyrant ranged back and forth between the good and the bad on a very regular basis. Recently the show had seemed to have found its footing, with Bassam’s plan to overthrow Jamal taking center stage, but the season finale endeavoured to throw away all of that solid work in favor of some truly terrible scenes.
There’s absolutely no guarantee we’ll get a second season of Tyrant, which has solid ratings but high production costs and behind the scenes troubles likely going against it right now. So with that being the case, it would seem smart to have a thrilling finale that pulls together all of the ongoing storylines and deliver a satisfying conclusion that would set up a potential second season, right? Wrong! Apparently the smart thing to do was devote an unbelievable amount of time (for a finale) to an awful subplot involving Bassam’s daughter and sister-in-law getting pickpocketed, arguing with a restaurant owner, nearly getting arrested, and then finally getting saved by a freaking internet search. Honestly this was excruciating to watch at times for me. I wanted to see how the Bassam and Jamal stuff played out but had to sit through several scenes that held absolutely no purpose other than to give Molly something to worry about.
The only surprise to come from this subplot was that nobody got kidnapped. I thought for sure we were going down the cliché route of a kidnapping that would cause Bassam to call off his plan, perhaps masterminded by Ihab. Now that I mention Ihab actually, I’ll bring up another gripe I’ve had with this season. So many different characters just came and went throughout the course of the season. Ihab looked to be a serious opponent to the Al-Fayeed regime at one stage, but he just disappeared when his father died and was barely mentioned again. Bassam’s kids dropped in and out of the story at will, and Sammy’s gay storyline and love interest got completely dropped. All of these elements didn’t have to return in the finale, but there was no resolution at all on several different plotlines, and the kids especially felt like they were just plot devices that were used to soak up a bit of time here and there.
The thing we all wanted to find out this week was whether Bassam’s coup would succeed or not, but even that storyline ended up spinning its wheels a bit. The outcome was probably the smart choice in the end, as having Bassam actually succeed and start running Abuddin would probably have been way too ridiculous in the grand scheme of things. That being said, I felt the Americans pulling their support for Bassam after weeks of build-up felt a little flat, and Bassam managing to reverse their decision a few scenes later was pretty jarring. I’ve mentioned in a previous review how I felt this coup-plotline felt a little rushed, and this back and forth between Bassam and the Americans would have benefitted with a bit more time to play out.
As has been the case for most of the season, Ashraf Barhom stole the show every time he was on screen. I must admit that I had my suspicions, but I didn’t quite call that he knew all about Bassam’s coup during their time on the boat. Watching those scenes back now actually makes them a lot better as you can see that Jamal is giving his brother every opportunity to reconsider and back down on his plan. Jamal’s words to Bassam about giving him control of Abuddin if he had asked rang a little false for me however, as I’m not quite certain that his ego would have allowed that. Ending with Bassam in a cell with his co-conspirators getting riddled with bullets upstairs was a good moment for the show, with the threat of execution looming large over his head. I found myself wishing that the show had taken a daring route and actually killed Bassam off, although that may have been a little too similar to a certain first season of a certain popular HBO show…
Where does Tyrant go now then? In my opinion, the future isn’t too bright for the show. The ratings seem good enough to warrant a second season, but the other factors that I previously mentioned will also influence the decision. If we do get a second season, I don’t see the show taking the brave route of executing Bassam, which will mean more ridiculous plotlines to manufacture a reason for him staying in the story. Jamal, with Tariq whispering in his ear, will likely be even more horrible after this massive betrayal, which could be interesting to watch at least. Jamal was the most captivating character on the show by a country mile this season, so thankfully he didn’t get killed off. Unfortunately, none of the other main characters died either, so get ready for more Al-Fayeed family hi-jinks if the show does get renewed!
Tyrant is by no means a terrible show and did offer up a few great episodes over the course of the opening 10. Unfortunately, some bad writing and so-so acting have pulled the show down, and I’m not sure that there’s any way to fix all of these problems if the show gets renewed. There should be a decision made soon about the show’s future, and I hope it does get another shot to right its wrongs, I’m just not entirely sure if I’d be tuning in to find out.
Does ‘Tyrant’ deserve a second season or has it run out of time? Let us know in the comments below.
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