TYRANT Review: “Prayers For Our Daughters”

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As the third season of nears the midway mark, “Prayers For Our Daughters” opens where the last episode left off, Molly upset over watching Emma die remotely as she vacantly demands Emma’s body back. The scene then switches to what has become of Emma’s body.

For some reason the Caliphate has disrobed Emma’s corpse and decides that not burying it is a good idea, despite the obvious hygiene issues. There’s probably some kind of symbolism in the indirect nudity of the body but for an organization that prefers women to be covered from head to toe and saying how much they don’t care about Americans, it seems like more work to take clothes off a corpse than to leave them on.

After Emma’s unofficial funeral, the scene then transitions to the other corpse from the last episode: Jamal. The former president has a very small showing, including Leila, Ahmed and General Cogswell. Leila mourns for her own losses in life rather than any sense of sadness at Jamal’s demise.

TYRANT -- "A Prayer for our Daughters" -- Episode 304 (Airs Wednesday, July 27, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ashraf Farah as Sheik Abdullah (center) Alexander Karim as Ihab Rashid (right). CR: Kata Vermes/FX

We then head to the war room where Bassam seems to finally express some sort of anger toward the men that killed his daughter—demanding the death of Rashid and his Caliphate cohorts. It’s a nice to change to see Bassam showing anger and feeling, even briefly.

Fauzi shows up to offer Bassam condolences and sympathy, saying, “We have no daughters.” He then states his intention to run for president of Abudeen, because that somehow mitigates the loss of the duo’s daughters. Given that Fauzi’s daughter was a Caliphate sympathizer and Emma was stereotypically apolitical, the sentiment seems slightly off kilter. But given Fauzi’s strong political stances it does make sense that he would run for office.

The next scene shows Molly going further off the deep end in mourning with a very made for Hollywood action that is so bizarre and unnecessary it further alienates her character from the viewer. While stroking Emma’s hairbrush and collecting her hair, she narrates the medical textbook definition of the possible ways that Emma could have died—reminding the viewer that she’s not just a grief-stricken mom, she’s also a doctor. For some reason, Emma’s bathwater has been left standing for what must be weeks or days, so Molly climbs in, fully clothed. Her immersion in Emma is more annoying than anything because the only person that cares about Emma is Molly, her character never developed to the point that the audience mourns with Molly. We’re pretty much just mourning the waste of scene that takes away from the main plot: getting the bad guy.

Speaking of getting the bad guy, that’s a for the army, not Molly the mommy. Yet Molly still finds herself in the war room, publicly acting as unreasonable and silly as possible. For some reason, Bassam feels that while she is in such a state he should ask about prayers for Emma. Molly then becomes not only an unreasonable woman, but an unreasonable American, lumping all Muslims together. It’s also unclear why Bassam asks Molly about any arrangements at all, as he generally makes decisions without consulting his wife.

On a more interesting front, we continue to learn more about Leila as we are introduced to her sister, Safiya, a powerful woman in her own right, who will likely begin playing a larger role as the season progresses.

It’s then back to the Caliphate, who are grooming children for an upcoming attack and Rashid’s partner explains that he uses an umbrella holder to fend off prying eyes. Clever General Cogswell catches on to the secretive shenanigans and tracks the evil villains to a hospital. Bassam holds off bombing the hospital for fear of innocent bystanders being harmed.

In the meanwhile, Sammy is continuing to have an affair with the married professor, which is now physical. Even more unlikely is that his parents notice his absence from the palace in the midst of their grief—since when do TV parents know when their kids are missing? And for some reason the professor wants to know more than Sammy’s body. Sammy has had more screen time than his deceased sister, but the audience still isn’t into him enough to care about his romantic life. At least, I’m not.

The main action of the episode finally arrives, if it can even be called action. The army has once again tracked down the Caliphate. This time Molly urges bombs to be dropped and Bassam doesn’t ask questions about potential bystanders. So bombs are dropped silently and cleanly as the army and grieving parents watch from afar.

It turns out that Leila has her own bomb to drop. As Ahmed fears becoming his father because he too is a murderer, Leila reveals what the audience has suspected since season 1: she was once in love with Bassam and he is Ahmed’s actual father.

TYRANT -- "A Prayer for our Daughters" -- Episode 304 (Airs Wednesday, July 27, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Adam Rayner as Barry Al-Fayeed, Jennifer Finnigan as Molly Al-Fayeed. CR: Kata Vermes/FX

Molly wants another bath, but the cleaning staff at the palace has finally decided to their jobs and she is so thwarted that she starts beating on maids until Sammy intervenes.

In the meanwhile, it turns out the Caliphate used children as shields and so Bassam and Molly managed to blow up a bunch of kids, not bad guys. In fact, the bad guy is a doting father himself. And having Bassam blow up kids was just part of his evil plan. He even spells it out for the viewer, in case you missed it.

So now Molly has more to be upset about than just Emma; she’s also responsible for murdering kids. Bassam feels similarly and takes comfort in Daliyah, who is always around when she’s needed. Sammy interrupts the cozy couple because Molly is once again inconsolable.

It turns out the Molly has found comfort in taking pills and the episode ends with Molly nodding off as Bassam watches in the dark.

Not the greatest episode, despite the reveals, but hopefully next week will get better as Leila may not be the only character that matters getting some—it looks like Bassam and Daliyah are getting physical, even as Molly may be heading back to Pasadena. Molly leaving is likely for the best, as chronic hysteria serves no purpose in terms of furthering the plot or creating a strong female lead.

TB-TV-Grade-B-
Season 3, Episode 4 (S03E04)
Series Title airs Days at 10PM on FX

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