Tyrant Review: “Gaslight” (Season 1, Episode 9)

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Tyrant firms up two conflicts that are central to the storyline. One, the dynamic between Barry and Jamal, and two, the relationship between Barry and his wife, Molly (Jennifer Finnigan). Jamal has shown time and time again since Barry’s return home that he looks up to his younger brother. That he aspires to be more like his Americanized sibling. Even ideals that he seemed to have originally opposed have become qualities in Jamal that are quickly becoming second nature – specifically, diplomacy. How Jamal is dealing with the current predicament speaks volumes about his character. He kills the guard, but keeps his uncle alive. Even though he is absolutely convinced that Barry is the one on his side and Tariq is a trader, Jamal’s sense of family dictates that Tariq not be put to death (err, unless he “slanders” Barry again).

Jamal’s blind loyalty to his brother is one of his most endearing qualities. Watching him episode after episode attempt to be a better president than he would have been otherwise makes it easy to become invested in his character. Watching him try to live up to the prodigal son, all the while knowing that Barry is the one plotting to overthrow him, edges on heart-wrenching. Despite the legitimate reasons behind Barry’s political move, it isn’t going to make it any less unbearable to watch as Jamal finds out that the one person her trusts absolutely is betraying him. Whether it comes next week on the season finale, or next season, it will undoubtedly be an emotional spectacle for everyone involved.

There’s also the issue of Molly. Molly has gone back and forth in her support for her husband’s choices. In “Gaslight,” she realizes that whether Barry accomplishes his mission or not, her life is about to change drastically. When she agreed to stay in Abbudin while Barry helped Jamal make the transition to president, this is probably not what she expected. All the fancy gowns and elaborate dinners can’t make her forget that at the core of this ruse is a family unit. It’s perhaps the thing about her that makes her most relatable. She has this uncanny ability to remain grounded, despite the decor.

At this point, Barry is set in his plan. He didn’t react to Molly’s request for him to return to the United States with the family whatsoever. And, frankly, watching his walk away from Tariq in cell, with his uncle yelling borderline true statements, showed Barry in a new light. His character has never been so entranced before, or so sure of himself.

Let us know how you think the writers are going to end the first season of Tyrant in the comments section below.

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