As the new season of TYRANT begins, we are reminded of lingering questions from the season two finale: is Jamal dead? Will Bassam step up? Or will Ahmed take over? What will be the state of democracy in Abuddin?
The episode unfolds two weeks after Jamal’s shooting takes place and it looks as though Bassam and his family have settled into the palace quite comfortably. Then we head back in time to right after Jamal’s daughter-in-law is apprehended for shooting the president and uncertainty is in the air. Including uncertainty as to whether or not the shooting is fatal.
With Jamal, the most interesting character on the show (like so many villains), out of the picture, the action isn’t all that interesting. As he lies in a hospital bed, Bassam spends sleepless nights trying to figure out how to bring democracy to Abuddin, even as he continues to claim that his new position of official power is not something that he wants.
Bassam’s Bedouin romance, Delilah, continues to haunt him as he brings her further into the picture as the head of his new presidential committee, even as his wife expresses surprise at her role—and her appearance.
As Bassam tries to make adjustments in the mindset of Abuddin’s citizenry and leadership, plots are still taking place behind the scenes to undermine his plans for peace. First, we see his sister-in-law and nephew being held by the military for the relationship in Jamal’s war crimes. Then we see Leila’s trusted butler behind the scenes of staging her daughter-in-law’s cell suicide, which he later confesses to her. The Caliphates also return in their own powerplay.
And it seems that even the United States has something at stake in Abuddin, as the episode ends with the introduction of Chris Noth’s character, an American army general with a penchant for playing the violin.
The only tension in the episode comes from the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not Jamal will wake up. It is strongly hinted that he will live, which means that despite a slow start, there may still be something to look forward to this season beyond the elaborate costumes and hairstyles of the cast that serve as eye candy.
Season 3, Episode 1 (S03E01)
Tyrant airs Wednesdays at 10PM on FX
Carly Zinderman | Contributor