Tyrant ended last week’s episode on an unsettling note, with Barry (Adam Rayner) finishing off what Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) started with the Sheik, and then making a rather bold statement regarding his brother’s ability, or rather inability, to run the country. “Meet the New Boss” immediately followed up on that sentiment and established a road map to where the rest of the season is headed. This episode also took the opportunity to create a sense of urgency, replacing the more glacial pace that had set in and alleviating some of the frustrations that viewers were starting to feel as the season sunk into a slight lull.
The single greatest moment of “Meet the New Boss” came very early on in the episode when Barry was meeting with John Tucker (Justin Kirk) regarding his feelings about the state of the new regime and his plans for social change. Tucker matter-of-factly states, “The U.S. is not in the business of regime change,” to which Barry just as plainly responds, “Say that again with a straight face.” What makes this even more interesting is that the U.S. would essentially be replacing a Middle Eastern dictator with an American. Yes, Barry is originally from Abbudin, but his ideals clearly line up with a more western perspective of democracy versus his brother’s deeply engrained tyrannical views. This scene is loaded with subtext that sets it apart from any of their previous interactions.
This was only the first of several intense conversations Barry had over the course of the episode, and it was nice to see his character be a little more on the aggressive side. He’s been making waves with his unique political perspective since he arrived back in his home country, but the majority of his actions have been more subtle.
In an attempt to keep his family away from the eminent chaos, he directly expressed his desire for Molly (Jennifer Finnigan), her free-loading sister, and the kids to return home under the auspices of a temporary stay, and misogynistic undertones aside, the way that Molly reacted and how the situation played out was a bit on the obnoxious side. Even more so when she finds out the actual reasons behind Barry’s strong request.
It’s great to see a female character who is intelligent and not afraid to speak her mind, but with the tumultuous nature of the country overshadowing their personal lives, which is still wildly unknown to her, it seems like as good a time as any for Molly to simply hold her tongue. Barry hasn’t been completely upfront with her since their arrival in Abbudin, but he always seems to act in the best interest of his immediate family. Even when it comes to Jamal.