As “Bedfellows” opens, the audience sees that Bassam has strange bedfellows indeed. He dreams of his dead daughter, even as we know he is cuddled up to his mistress. Emma encourages her father to try harder to kill the man that murdered her because even in death she is unable to see the bigger picture. Oddly enough, as the season has progressed Emma has become more important as a character after dying as she has managed to drive both of her parents to insanity. This opening scene of TYRANT which juxtaposes Emma’s ghost with Daliyah’s unwavering efforts to resolve any problems for Bassam sets the stage for the rest of the episode.
As the writers portray Bassam as becoming ever more tyrannical and repeatedly having other characters draw comparisons to the deceased, and far more interesting, Jamal, it seems that they are once again assuming that the audience is not understanding the title of the show. Obviously if one tyrant dies, another must follow in his place. Maybe it’s because they don’t trust Adam Rayner’s acting abilities to be as emotionally all over the place as the last tyrant’s? Whatever the cause, the episode is the best thus far of the season, even if lacks subtlety.
Although Daliyah claims that she isn’t just a woman that Bassam sleeps with, it is becoming more and more apparent that she is just that. She is unwilling to admit her disagreement with Bassam as she watches Fauzi speak against his friend, the president’s decision, to remove people from running for the upcoming election because he disagrees with the man’s politics—and because he is connected to Emma’s murder.
Speaking of the man who has been prevented from being President, Leila has teamed up with Al-Qadi to overtake Fauzi in the polls. It’s the first sign of real political compromise and both actors are able to pull off the sappy scene that shows how they have come to be unlikely bedfellows.
Meanwhile, the Caliphate is busy having a meeting of the minds that is kind of unnecessary. The scene sets things up for later in the episode but could probably be briefer and have less effect. The main point is that Rashid needs to get over his personal vendetta against Bassam for killing his wife and get on board with the Caliphate. For some reason this means marrying again because a true lifelong commitment comes only under pressure.
General Cogswell is busy advising Bassam on how war works and all the pitfalls and horrors it creates. Because Bassam is continuing to hallucinate Emma whether he’s awake or asleep, he is totally pro-war.
Maybe because the whole Cogswell and Leila thing is kind of boring, there’s been a new plot twist in the relationship. Leila’s conniving sister says that there’s a blackmailer on the loose so Cogswell takes his cigars to the streets to find and destroy the evidence. We’ll see where it goes but the twists on this subplot are so far rather mundane and don’t do much other than add screen time for Chris Noth.
Leila’s plot to partner with Al-Qadi is found out by Bassam and his pack of spies. She fights back against his implications, pointing to Jamal’s portrait and drawing further tyrannical connections. Bassam never looks or acts sleep-deprived whenever he is confronted about his behavior although Leila tells us that Bassam is looking poorly, so we know that Emma is indeed having an effect on him. Bassam’s interaction and care about his daughter really seem like too little too late and is getting tiresomely drawn out.
Once again, Bassam’s new rise to power lets him find out about Rashid’s upcoming nuptials and he immediately wants to start bombing because that’s always the most effect way to kill one guy. Shockingly, all kinds of Caliphate get blown up, yet Rashid manages to survive. It seems that Rashid is the new Jamal as he then decides to take over the Caliphate and admits to personal revenge. Bassam versus Rashid is finally something to look forward to during a season that has been a lot of building without a lot of reward.
Sammy is once again an emotional wreck on the professorial front even as the man in question once again spells out his feelings for country, men, self-preservation, etc. Hopefully, this will be the end of the affair as it doesn’t do much but make Sammy’s character even more annoying than usual, but who can tell. Maybe there’s another bomb waiting to be dropped here too.
Everything is juxtaposed against a backdrop of Leila and her new partner explaining their plans to their followers and eventually to the whole country. Leila looks more stunning than ever in a flowing white jumper as she announces her plan to unite secular and religious efforts in the country. Seriously, the costuming on the show is amazing. But maybe the makeup team could take a break from helping everyone to look their best and make Bassam appear as crazed with sleep deprivation as the other characters tell us he is.
As Bassam gets more and more upset over Leila’s political abilities to beat Fauzi in the polls, she admits to Ahmed’s true parentage. This leads to a touching moment between father and son, as Ahmed tears up and Bassam continues to be his usual cool cucumber, even while hugging.
Rashid declares war on Bassam via video as Bassam demands sleep from Emma’s specter. According to the previews, a lot of bombs are still on the way as we see the return of Molly and Fauzi’s questioning of Daliyah’s palatial presence. It looks like the slow and unnecessary build up of the season is finally coming to a point for the final few episodes and hopefully they won’t disappoint the way Bassam’s unemotional demeanor disappoints the audience watching and his co-characters.
Season 3, Episode 7 (S03E07)
Tyrant airs Wednesdays at 10PM on FX
Carly Zinderman | Contributor